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Shirley Henderson

Shirley Henderson in 2009
Born 24 November 1965 (1965-11-24) (age 44)
Forres, Morayshire, Scotland
Occupation Actress
Years active 1987–present
Official website

Shirley Henderson (born 24 November 1965) is a Scottish actress.


Early life

Henderson was born in Forres, in the county of Morayshire on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, but grew up in the village of Kincardine in Fife.[1][2][3] As a child she began singing in local clubs, at charity events, holiday camps and even a boxing contest.[1][4] Having joined an after-school drama club,[5] Henderson attended Fife College at the age of 16, where she completed a one-year course resulting in a National Certificate in Theatre Arts.[6] She moved to London at 17 where she spent three years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1986.[7][8]


Henderson got her first big break when Leonard White cast her as the lead in the children's television drama Shadow of the Stone on ITV. After this she spent the majority of her twenties concentrating on performing a wide variety of roles in the theatre. Early 1990 saw Shirley return to television screens when she appeared in the third series of the wartime drama series Wish Me Luck. More stage work followed before she landed the key role of Isobel in the popular BBC series, Hamish Macbeth in 1995.

Henderson then moved into films, playing Morag in Rob Roy (1995) and Spud's girlfriend Gail in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996). She continued her work in the theatre which included many productions at the National Theatre in London. 1999 saw critically acclaimed performances in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy — which also provided an opportunity for her to show off her singing skills — and Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland.

As well as numerous performances in small independent films, her reputation was such that roles in big-budget productions were also being offered to her. She played Jude in both Bridget Jones films and got the part of Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002),[9] and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). She also played French princess Sophie-Philippine in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006).

Small-screen appearances have included playing Marie Melmotte in The Way We Live Now (2001); Catherine of Braganza in Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003); and Charlotte in Dirty Filthy Love (2004).


Future work

Among Henderson's upcoming projects is an appearance in Michael Winterbottom's Seven Days, which is scheduled for release in 2012 on Channel 4 television in the UK and in cinemas in the rest of the world. It is being shot over five actual years so the ageing process of the characters will be genuine. This will be the fifth of Winterbottom's films in which Henderson has featured.





References and notes

  1. ^ a b Gilbey, Ryan; "Shirley Henderson: The rise of little voice", 5 December 2003 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  2. ^ "The Way We Live Now: Who's Who: Marie Melmotte — Shirley Henderson" (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  3. ^ Henderson's parents were born in the small town of Thurso in Caithness and she spent her summer holidays at her Grandmother's home in Shore Street.
  4. ^ Neill, Heather; "Mistress of the roles", 13 October 2002 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  5. ^ Hooton, Amanda; "Shirley Henderson — Ferocious fairy" The Scotsman Weekend, 15 March 1997 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  6. ^ Shimmon, Katie; "College days: Shirley Henderson, actress", 13 January 2004 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  7. ^ McLean, Gareth; "Shirley, by degrees", 6 November 2004 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  8. ^ "Guildhall School of Music and Drama: Alumni" (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  9. ^ At 37 years old, Henderson is the oldest actress to play a Hogwarts student on screen.
  10. ^ Hemley, Matthew; "O’Farrell’s nutty parenting novel to be adapted for ITV1 comedy", 9 October 2007 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  11. ^ "Archive page for Anna Weiss" (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  12. ^ Benedict, David; "Reviews: Theatre; One wedding, whose funeral?", 12 November 1997 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  13. ^ "The House of Bernarda Alba" (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)
  14. ^ Wilson, Sue; "Aiming high, but falling short ", 16 September 1997 (Retrieved: 22 August 2009)

External links


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