January 20, 1962
England, United Kingdom
The dark-haired younger sister of England's darling, Emma Thompson, Sophie Thompson has been turning in impressive supporting performances in films since the mid-1990s. The daughter of two stage veterans, Thompson began her professional career behind the footlights, specializing in Shakespeare, acting with such renowned companies as the Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company. Among the plays in which she has appeared are "The Winter's Tale," "Much Ado About Nothing," "As You Like It" and "Hamlet." Thompson has also scored in non-Shakespearean plays and musicals, including Caryl Churchill's "Top Girls," "Bedtime Story," "Period of Adjustment" and "The Chalk Garden." Her 1994 performance in Alan Ayckbourn's "Wildest Dreams" earned her an Olivier Award nomination and she won the award in 1996 as the nervous fast-talking bride Amy in an acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Company."Much of Thompson's television work has gone unseen outside of Britain, such as BBC productions of "The Crucible," "Casualty," "Bomber Harris," "A Traveller in Time" and the comedy series "Nelson's Column." She showed up in the US on an episode of sister Emma's variety show "Thompson" and a Granada production, "Sherlock Holmes: The Master Blackmailer" (aired on PBS in 1993).Her film career began slowly, with a bit part (as a Mission girl) in the comedy "The Missionary" (1981). She returned to stage and TV work until 1986, when she had another small role in "The Death of the Heart" and it was another five years before she resurfaced in the romantic comedy "Twenty-One," as the best friend of heroine Patsy Kensit. Film fame first arrived with the 1994 smash hit "Four Weddings and a Funeral," in which Thompson portrayed Lydia, bride number two. Next came a Jane Austen double-header: she was delightful as the hypochondriac sister of Anne Elliott (Amanda Root) in Roger Michell's "Persuasion" (1995) and gave a brilliant performance as the endearingly annoying Miss Bates in Douglas McGrath's "Emma" (1996). In the latter, Thompson's onscreen mother was played by her mum, Phyllida Law.