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Emma Thompson was born in Paddington, London, England, into a family of actors. Her mother, Phyllida Law, has acted with Thompson on several films. Thompson’s sister, Sophie, is an actress as well.
Thompson was a popular and bright student at Cambridge University, where she studied English Literature and was part of the university's Footlights Group, the famous group where many of the Monty Python members first met.
Graduating in 1980, Thompson embarked on her entertainment career, beginning with stints on BBC Radio and touring with comedy shows. She got her first major break in television, on the 1983 comedy skit program Alfresco, writing and performing along with her fellow Footlights Group alums Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Thompson found herself collaborating again with Fry in 1985, this time in his stage adaptation of the play Me and My Girl in London's West End, in which she had a leading role, playing Sally Smith.
She won rave reviews and the role led to her being cast as the lead in the 1987 BBC television miniseries Fortunes of War. She and her co-star in the series, Kenneth Branagh married in 1989. They continued to work together professionally and they even formed a production company together. In the late 80s and early 90s, she starred in a string of well-received and successful television and film productions, such as 1992’s Howards End, for which earned trans-Atlantic honors with both an Academy Award and a BAFTA award.
She divorced Branagh in 1994 and is now married to fellow actor Greg Wise, who she co-starred with in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility. Over the years, Thompson has showcased her talent with classic wit in period pieces as well as more timely movies.
In honor of her 55th birthday on April 15, here is a Top 10 list of Emma Thompson movies.