Jennifer Ehle

Jennifer Ehle

Ehle in 2016
Born Jennifer Anne Ehle[1][2]
(1969-12-29) December 29, 1969
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Michael Ryan (m. 2001)
Children 2
Parent(s) John Ehle
Rosemary Harris

Jennifer Anne Ehle (/ˈl/; born December 29, 1969) is an English-American actress. She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice. For her work on Broadway, she won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for The Real Thing, and the 2007 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for The Coast of Utopia. She is the daughter of English actress Rosemary Harris and American author John Ehle.

Ehle made her West End debut in Peter Hall's 1991 production of Tartuffe, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1995. Other television credits include The Camomile Lawn (1992) and A Gifted Man (2011–12). She has also appeared in supporting roles in such films as Wilde (1997), Sunshine (1999), The King's Speech (2010), Contagion (2011), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), RoboCop (2014), and Fifty Shades of Grey (2015).[3]

Early life

Ehle was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to English actress Rosemary Harris and American author John Ehle. Her ancestry includes Romanian (from a maternal great-grandmother) and German.[4][5]

Ehle appeared as a toddler in a 1973 Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which her mother played Blanche DuBois.[6] She spent her childhood in both the UK and the US, attending several different schools, including Interlochen Arts Academy. She was raised largely in Asheville, North Carolina. Her drama training was split between the North Carolina School of the Arts[7] and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.[8]


Ehle made her West End debut as Orgon's wife in the 1991 Peter Hall Company production of Tartuffe, for which she won second prize at the Ian Charleson Awards.[9][10] Hall then cast her as Calypso in a 1992 television adaptation of Mary Wesley's novel The Camomile Lawn, in which she and her mother played the same character at different ages.[11] This story, produced by UK's Channel 4, was a five-part miniseries about the lives and loves of a family of cousins from 1939 to the present. The two would later reprise this different age portrayal of a character as Valerie in István Szabó's 1999 movie Sunshine.

Her performance as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice earned her a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award. After a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company,[12] she gained her first major feature film role in Paradise Road. She continued her career on both stage and screen. In 2000, she received further critical acclaim for her Broadway debut as Annie in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, winning both a Theatre World Award and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. Her mother was also nominated for the same award that year for Waiting in the Wings.[13] After a hiatus, Ehle returned to the stage in 2005 in The Philadelphia Story at the Old Vic opposite Kevin Spacey. The following year, she played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth as part of the Shakespeare in the Park, and won her second Tony award for portraying three characters in Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia triptych, which ran from October 2006 until May 2007.[14]

Her more recent film work includes Before the Rains, an Indian-U.S. co-production directed by Santosh Sivan, and Pride and Glory with Edward Norton and Colin Farrell. In 2008, she was featured in the CBS telefilm The Russell Girl.

In August 2009, it was announced that Ehle would play the character of Catelyn Stark in the pilot of HBO's Game of Thrones, an adaptation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy book series. Ehle filmed the pilot episode, but decided it was too soon to return to work after the birth of her daughter. She was replaced by Northern Irish actress Michelle Fairley.[15][16]

In 2010, Ehle starred alongside John Lithgow in the production of Mr. & Mrs. Fitch presented by Second Stage Theatre.[17] She played Myrtle Logue, wife of King George VI's speech therapist Lionel Logue, in The King's Speech. George was played by her Pride and Prejudice costar Colin Firth.

In 2011, Ehle played Dr. Ally Hextall in Steven Soderbergh's critically acclaimed Contagion. In the autumn of 2011, Ehle began a costarring role in the American television series A Gifted Man. Her character is a ghost who visits with her ex-husband and asks him to assist with her low-income clinic.

In 2012, Ehle played CIA officer Jessica in Zero Dark Thirty. In 2014, Ehle played Liz Kline in the remake, Robocop, also starring alongside James Spader as Madeline Pratt in the American TV series The Blacklist. She played Anastasia Steele's mother in the 2015 Fifty Shades of Grey film,[3] and has also been cast in Spooks: The Greater Good.[18]

Personal life

Ehle married writer Michael Ryan on November 29, 2001,[19] and they have two children: a son, George, born February 6, 2003, and a daughter, Talulah, born March 4, 2009.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Camomile Lawn, TheThe Camomile Lawn Young Calypso Miniseries, 5 episodes
1993 The Maitlands Phyllis BBC TV production of Ronald Mackenzie's 1930s play
1995 Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet Miniseries, 6 episodes
1997 Melissa Melissa Miniseries, 5 episodes
2008 Russell Girl, TheThe Russell Girl Lorraine Morrissey TV movie
2011 Game of Thrones Catelyn Stark Unaired pilot episode
2011 Gifted Man, AA Gifted Man Anna Paul 16 episodes
2013 Low Winter Sun Susan Episode: "Ann Arbor"
2014, 2015 The Blacklist Madeline Pratt 2 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Backbeat Cynthia Powell
1997 Paradise Road Rosemary Leighton-Jones
1997 Wilde Constance Lloyd Wilde
1998 Bedrooms and Hallways Sally
1999 Sunshine Valerie Sonnenschein
1999 This Year's Love Sophie
2002 Possession Christabel LaMotte
2006 Alpha Male Alice Ferris
2005 River King, TheThe River King Betsy Chase
2008 Pride and Glory Abby Tierney
2008 Before the Rains Laura Malayalam-language film
2009 The Greatest Joan
2010 King's Speech, TheThe King's Speech Myrtle Logue
2011 Ides of March, TheThe Ides of March Cindy Morris
2011 Contagion Ally Hextall
2011 Adjustment Bureau, TheThe Adjustment Bureau Brooklyn Ice House Bartender
2012 Zero Dark Thirty Jessica
2014 RoboCop Liz Kline
2014 A Little Chaos Madame De Montespan
2014 Black or White Carol Anderson
2014 The Forger Kim Cutter
2015 Advantageous Isa Cryer
2015 Fifty Shades of Grey Carla Wilkes
2015 Spooks: The Greater Good Geraldine Maltby
2016 The Fundamentals of Caring Elsa
2016 Little Men Kathy Jardine
2016 A Quiet Passion Vinnie Dickinson
2017 Fifty Shades Darker Carla Wilkes [21]
2017 The Miseducation of Cameron Post Filming


Year Title Role Company Venue
1959 Pink Thunderbird Edinburgh Festival
Laundry and Bourbon Edinburgh Festival
1991 Tartuffe Elmire Peter Hall Company
1992 Breaking the Code Pat Green Triumph Productions Tour
1995–1996 Richard III Lady Anne Royal Shakespeare Company
1995–1996 Painter of Dishonour Serafina Royal Shakespeare Company
1995–1996 Relapse, TheThe Relapse Amanda Royal Shakespeare Company
1999 Real Thing, TheThe Real Thing Annie Donmar Warehouse
1999 Summerfolk Varvara Mikhailovna National Theatre
2000 Real Thing, TheThe Real Thing Annie Albery Theatre and Barrymore Theatre
2001 Design for Living Gilda Roundabout Theatre Company American Airlines Theater
2005 Philadelphia Story, TheThe Philadelphia Story Tracy Lord The Old Vic, London
2006 Macbeth Lady Macbeth Shakespeare in the Park Delacorte Theater
2006 Coast of Utopia, TheThe Coast of Utopia: Voyage Liubov Bakunin Vivian Beaumont Theater
2006 Coast of Utopia, TheThe Coast of Utopia: Shipwrecked Natalie Herzen Vivian Beaumont Theater
2007 Coast of Utopia, TheThe Coast of Utopia: Salvage Malwida von Meysenbug Vivian Beaumont Theater
2010 Mr. and Mrs. Fitch Mrs. Fitch Second Stage Theatre




  1. "World Authors, 1980–1985".
  2. "Performing Arts".
  3. 1 2 Jennifer Ehle to play mum in 50 Shades of Grey. 3 News NZ. 9 October 2013.
  4. Rosemary Harris and the Picture: Madonna of the Slaughtered Jews. Retrieved on February 8, 2013. Archived July 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. "ehle".
  6. "Jennifer Ehle".
  7. "Drama – Home Page".
  8. "High Profile Alumni".
  10. 1 2 Lees, Caroline. "Classic recipes for success". Sunday Times. 9 February 1992
  11. Dave Kehr (June 16, 2000). "AT THE MOVIES; A Resemblance? It's Only Natural". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  12. "What Lizzie did next". The Age. Melbourne. April 23, 2005. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  13. Doug Feiden (June 5, 2000). "'Kiss Me Kate' is big Tony winner 'Copenhagen' and 'Contact' also honored". Daily News. New York. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  14. "Utopian win for Jennifer Ehle and Tom Stoppard at Tony Awards". Daily Mail. London. June 11, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  15. "Fairley to replace Ehle in HBO's 'Thrones'". The Hollywood Reporter. October 14, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  16. Jace Lacob (September 22, 2011). "A Gifted Man's Leading Lady". The Daily Beast.
  17. "Tony Winners Lithgow and Ehle Are 'MR. & MRS. FITCH' For Second Stage Theatre" August 19, 2009, Broadway World
  18. Stuart Kemp (November 7, 2013). "AFM: Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle Sign on for 'Spooks'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  19. "Jennifer Ehle – Biography". Yahoo! Movies. 15 January 2014.
  20. Moore, Suzanne (20 December 2011). "Celebrities' Christmas memories". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  21. McNary, Dave (September 13, 2016). "'Fifty Shades Darker': Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan Get Steamy in New Trailer [VIDEO]". Variety. Retrieved September 14, 2016.

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