|Born||14 May 1945
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Francesca Annis (born 14 May 1945) is a Brazilian-born British actress, particularly well known for her film and television appearances, most recently the BBC series Wives and Daughters, Cranford, and Deceit.
Annis was born in Rio de Janeiro to a British father, Lester William Anthony Annis (1914-2001) and a Brazilian-French mother, Mariquita Purcell (1913-2009). She moved to England with her family at the age of 7, where she was convent educated. She trained as a ballet dancer and then studied drama at the Corona Stage Academy. She began acting professionally in her teens, and made her film debut in the 1950s. In 1967 she played Estella in a television adaptation of Great Expectations. She also presented children's television programmes.
While becoming an increasingly well-known face on screen, she has enjoyed a successful stage career, playing many leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company in productions such as The Comedy of Errors. At the National Theatre in 1981 she played Natalya Petrovna in Peter Gill's production of Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country.
She gained notoriety for her performance as Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski's controversial 1971 film interpretation of Macbeth, particularly her recitation of the famous sleepwalking soliloquy in the nude.
She continued to be a leading television actress throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, appearing in series such as Edward the Seventh (as Lillie Langtry, a role she reprised in Lillie), Madame Bovary and Parnell and the Englishwoman, in which she played Kitty O'Shea. Her films have included Krull (1983) and Dune (1984). She has appeared as "Tuppence" with James Warwick as "Tommy" in Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime stories. She has also appeared in Onassis: The Richest Man in the World, in which she played Jacqueline Kennedy.
Annis was in a long relationship with actor Ralph Fiennes, who left his younger wife, Alex Kingston, for the considerably older Annis. They met while performing Hamlet in 1994. Annis portrayed Gertrude with Fiennes playing Hamlet. However on February 7, 2006, Fiennes and Annis announced their separation after 11 years together. Annis has three children from a previous long-term relationship with Patrick Wiseman that began in 1976. She has two brothers, Quenton D. and Tony P. Annis.