Sophie Okonedo, OBE (born 1968) is a British actress, who has starred in successful British and American productions. In 1991, she made her acting debut in the British critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama, Young Soul Rebels. She has received an Academy Award nomination for her critically acclaimed role in Hotel Rwanda, a Golden Globe nomination for Tsunami: The Aftermath, and BAFTA nominations for Criminal Justice and Mrs. Mandela. Her other film roles included Aeon Flux, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Dirty Pretty Things, Skin and The Secret Life of Bees.
Okonedo was born in London the daughter of Joan (née Allman), a pilates teacher, and Henry Okonedo (1939–2009), who worked for the government. Her father was Nigerian, and her mother, an Ashkenazi Jew, was born in the East End, to Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Poland and Russia. She was brought up in her mother's Jewish faith. When Okonedo was five years old, her father left the family, and she was brought up in relative poverty by her single mother ("but we always had books," she has said).
Okonedo trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She has worked in a variety of media including film, television, theatre and audio drama. She performed in Scream of the Shalka, a webcast based on the BBC television series Doctor Who as Alison Cheney, a companion of the Doctor. As well as providing the character's voice, Okonedo's likeness was used for the animation of the character. In 2010, Okonedo portrayed Liz Ten (Queen Elizabeth X) in the BBC TV Series Doctor Who episodes "The Beast Below" and again briefly in "The Pandorica Opens".
Okonedo has three children, from her previous relationship. They live in Muswell Hill, London. On her heritage, Sophie says, "I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be black" and calls her daughter an "Irish, Nigerian Jew".