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Janet McTeer was born on August 5, 1961 in Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom. She is known for her Oscar-nominated performances in Albert Nobbs and Tumbleweeds, as well as her Tony Award-winning performance as Nora Helmer in the 1997 Broadway revival of A Doll's House.
She moved to York, England, as a child, attended the Queen Anne Grammer School for Girls, and was bitten by the acting bug at an early age, performing for the Rowntree Players at Joseph Rowntree Theatre and working at York's Theatre Royal. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and launched her successful stage career at Manchester's acclaimed Royal Exchange Theatre.
She has enjoyed an exceptional career in theatre, especially on the London stage. Since earning a 1986 Olivier Award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer of the Year in Theatre (for her performance in The Grace of Mary Traverse), she has gone on to win an Olivier Award and receive a further three nominations, with three of the celebrated productions receiving a Broadway transfer. Her performance as Yelena in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya earned McTeer her first Olivier nomination for Best Actress in 1992. In 1997, she would wow critics and audience members alike with a stirring turn as Nora Helmer in Ibsen's A Doll's House, winning her first Olivier Award. That production would transfer to New York later that same year, resulting in McTeer's Broadway debut that earned her a Theatre World Award, a Drama Desk Award, and her first Tony Award.
Her next West End ventures included the title role in Schiller's Mary Stuart in 2005 (earning her another Olivier Award nomination in 2006) and the role of Veronica in the 2008 West End premiere of God of Carnage. She would go onto reprise both performances on Broadway, picking up a second Tony Award nomination and winning her second Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play in 2009 for Mary Stuart, and joining the Broadway company of God of Carnage in March 2010 and remaining with the production until the end of its Broadway run in June 2010. She returned to the London stage in the fall of 2015 and earned her fourth Olivier Award nomination in 2016 for her portrayal of La Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar Warehouse, which would also transfer to Broadway in the fall of 2016. Prior to this, during the summer of 2016, she would also make her Off-Broadway debut for The Public Theater as Petruchio in the Shakespeare in the Park all-female production of The Taming of the Shrew at the Delacorte Theater.
McTeer returned to Broadway from August 31 to November 18, 2018 to star as Sarah Bernhardt in Roundabout Theatre Company's world premiere of Bernhardt/Hamlet by Theresa Rebeck.
On screen, McTeer has also forged a prolific career, including an Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance in 1999's Tumbleweeds (arguably her big international breakthrough), Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance in 2011's Albert Nobbs, a Golden Globe-nominated performance in 2013's The White Queen, and an Emmy Award and Golden Globe-nominated performance in 2009's Into the Storm. Other notable screen credits include the role of Edith Prior in The Divergent Series franchise, Me Before You (2016), Maleficent (2014), The Woman in Black (2012), Damages (2012), Cat Run (2011), As You Like It (2006), Tideland (2005), The Intended (2002), Songcatcher (2000), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Carrington (1995), Wuthering Heights (1992), Hawks (1988), and Half Moon Street (1986). She was then seen in Marvel's popular Netflix series Jessica Jones as the title character's mother, Alisa Jones.
In 2008, she was honored by the Queen and appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.