Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter (1966-) b. Golders Green, London, England.
Born in Golders Green, London, Helena Bonham Carter comes from a well-heeled family of aristocrats and politicians; Helena’s great-grandfather H.H. Asquith was Britain’s prime minister from 1908 to 1916. Helena’s pale skin and classical good looks made her a natural for costume drama. After graduating from London’s Westminster School she attended Cambridge University only to later rebuff an academic career in favour of acting. Helena made her screen debut in 1985, playing the ill-fated title character of Trevor Nunn’s Lady Jane. This led to her casting as the protagonist in the critically acclaimed Merchant/Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View (1986), the film proved a great critical success, winning eight Academy Award nominations.
Typecast as a period actress, she next appeared in further period pieces like Maurice (1987), Howards End (1992), and The Wings of a Dove (1997). In the following years she slowly moved away from her previous characters to play more contemporary roles, notably as the dysfunctional Marla in David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), but also an amorous chimp in Tim Burton’s remake of The Planet of the Apes (2001) and the dentist seducing Susan opposite Steve Martin in Novocaine (2001).
Following her engagement to director Tim Burton in 2001, their personal relationship and professional careers have flourished in tandem. Bonham Carter has subsequently appeared in numerous Burton films, including alongside Ewan McGregor in the charming fantasy Big Fish (2003), as Charlie’s mother in the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s s Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and a cannibalistic pie-maker in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Sweeney Todd (2007). In 2007, Bonham Carter joined the extended cast of the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter franchise as the femme fatale Bellatrix Lestrange.