Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968) is an American actress, best known for her roles as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the American TV series The X-Files, Moro in Princess Mononoke and Lady Dedlock in the BBC TV series Bleak House. She currently hosts Masterpiece on PBS.

Early life Edit

Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, the daughter of Rosemary Anderson, a computer analyst, and Edward Anderson, who owned a film post-production company.[1] Soon after her birth, her family moved to Puerto Rico for 15 months and then to Crouch End where she attended Fortismere School and finally Harringay[2] in London, so that her father could attend the London Film School. When Anderson was 11 years old, her family moved again, this time to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She attended Fountain Elementary and then City High-Middle School, a program for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities; she graduated in 1986.

With her English accent and background, Anderson was mocked and felt out of place in the American Midwest and soon adopted a Midwest accent. In addition, she had her nose pierced in the early 1980s and dyed her hair various colors. Her high school classmates voted her as "Most Bizarre," "Class Clown", "Most Likely to go Bald" and "Most Likely to be Arrested." She was caught trying to jam the high school doors by filling their locks with glue on the eve of her graduation.[3]

Anderson was interested in marine biology, but began acting her freshman year in high school productions, and later in community theater, and served as a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. She attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago (formerly the Goodman School of Drama), where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990. She also participated in the National Theatre of Great Britain's summer program at Cornell University.


Anderson moved to New York when she was 22 years old. To support herself when she started her career, Anderson worked as a waitress. She began her career in Alan Ayckbourn's play, Absent Friends at the Manhattan Theatre Club alongside Brenda Blethyn; she won the 1990-91 Theatre World "Newcomer" Award for her role. Her next theatrical role was in Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

Anderson moved to Los Angeles in 1992, spending a year auditioning. Although she had once vowed she would never do TV, being out of work for a year changed her mind. Anderson did Home Fires Burning for a cable station, as well as the audio book version of Exit to Eden. She broke into mainstream television in 1993, with a guest appearance on the collegiate drama, Class of '96, on the fledgling Fox Network.

As a result of her guest appearance in Class of 96, Anderson was sent the script for The X Files at the age of 24. She decided to audition because "for the first time in a long time, the script involved a strong, independent, intelligent woman as a lead character." Producer Chris Carter wanted to employ her, but Fox wanted someone with previous TV exposure and greater sex appeal.[4] Fox sent in more actresses, but Carter stood by Anderson, and she was eventually cast as Special Agent Dana Scully. Anderson got the part assuming it would run for 13 episodes, the standard minimum order for American TV networks. Filmed in Vancouver and then in Los Angeles, the series would run for nine seasons, and included two films, released in 1998 and 2008. During her time on The X Files, Anderson won several awards for her portrayal of Special Agent Scully, including an Emmy Award, Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for "Best Actress in a Drama Series." While filming, Anderson met assistant art director Clyde Klotz, whom she would eventually marry.

Anderson is the youngest actress - at the age of 29 years old in 1997 - to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Primetime Drama Series Emmy Award since Lindsay Wagner won at the age of 28 in 1977.

Anderson had roles in a handful of films during the run of The X-Files and starred in The House of Mirth, an adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel of the same name.

In 1999, Anderson had a supporting role in the English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, where she voiced the character of Moro. Anderson is a proclaimed lover of Miyazaki's work. She also took part in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, and appeared as a guest on US TV special Celebrity Magic.

In 2001 Anderson participated in a TV Magic special, assisting The Pendragons. Anderson, dressed only in a green bikini, took part in the Verti-Saw illusion. Placed inside a tall metal framework, Anderson's ankles were shackled to the base of the frame, and her wrists to it's roof. At this point, a buzz saw was brought out, and placed between her ankles, and metal guide positioned in front of her, along the mid-line of her body. She was then sawn in half, and metal blades slid between the two halves of her body, which were moved to the opposite sides of the stage.[5]

When The X-Files ended in 2002, Anderson performed in several stage productions and worked on various film projects. She has participated in narrative work for documentaries on scientific topics.

She also featured in the TV magic special "Magic's Sexiest Illusions Ever", in which she was sawn in half whilst naked. [6]. Anderson's segment, filmed in a small rehearsal space, involved a face-up Buzz Saw Illusion. Anderson began by slowly stripping, whilst providing a commentary to camera on the various elements of the illusion. She explained how she would be restrained, and how the buzz saw would cut her in half. At the end of her explanation she apparently placed herself into a light trance, before lying back on a padded bench to allow two assistants to strap her ankles, wrists and neck to the bench. A white cloth was draped over her waist, and the buzz saw then cut through it and apparently Anderson. The two halves of the bench were moved apart, showing that Anderson had apparently been sawn in half.

In 2005, she appeared as Lady Dedlock in the BBC television adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House, had a starring role in the Irish film The Mighty Celt (for which she won an IFTA award for Best International Actress) and performed in A Cock and Bull Story, a film version of the novel Tristram Shandy.

Anderson attracted controversy for her participation in the HBO special Extreme Magic, which also featured magician Criss Angel. The special, which featured Angel's trademark mix of bizarre and gruesome magic, featured Anderson as a sceptic who is drawn into the magician's show and participates in a number of his unpleasant illusions, including being sawed in half by a giant buzz saw without any boxes covering her. Anderson also performed a number of illusions on other guests, including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alyssa Milano, and Carmen Electra. The last segment featured Angel and Gillian Anderson meeting a Electra on a California beach, apparently at random. Angel invited Electra to help him show Anderson some magic. At a beach front cafe, Angel hypnotised Electra (still in her bikini) and had Anderson place her in hand and ankle cuffs. Electra was then pushed into a canvas sack, and the sack was placed into a cardboard box. Angel then instructed Anderson to drive metal swords through the box, to her obvious concern. At the conclusion of the trick the top of the box was opened, revealing the sack impaled on the poles, but no trace of Electra herself.

In 2006, Anderson was nominated for a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) for Best Actress and won the Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Award for Best Actress for her role in Bleak House. Anderson also received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie" for her performance as Lady Dedlock. Furthermore, she was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Bleak House and came in second place in the Best Actress category of the 2005 BBC Drama website poll for her performance as Lady Dedlock (Billie Piper came in first and Anna Maxwell Martin came in third).

During 2006 and 2007, Anderson appeared in two British films: The Last King of Scotland (2006) and Straightheads (2007).

In December 2007, it was announced that Anderson will host PBS' Masterpiece Theatre during the Jane Austen series.

On December 10, 2007, Anderson began filming for The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Filming concluded on March 11, 2008. The movie was released on July 25, 2008, with a DVD release to follow on December 2, 2008.

Gillian will portray Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse in London's West End for a limited engagement running from May 14, 2009 until July 18, 2009.


Personal lifeEdit

Anderson has a sister, Zoe, who appeared uncredited as 14-year-old Dana Scully on The X-Files episode Christmas Carol.

Anderson has been married twice. She married her first husband, Clyde Klotz, The X-Files series assistant art director, on New Years Day, 1994, on the 17th hole of a golf course in Hawaii in a Buddhist ceremony. They divorced in 1997. In December 2004, Anderson married Julian Ozanne, a documentary filmmaker, in the village of Shella on Lamu, an island off the coast of Kenya. Anderson and Ozanne announced their separation on April 21, 2006, after 16 months of marriage.[7] After separating from Ozanne in 2006, Gillian became involved with her current partner, Mark Griffiths. Anderson has three children. She has a daughter with ex-husband Klotz, Piper Maru (for whom The X-Files episode, "Piper Maru," was named). Piper was born on September 25, 1994, in Vancouver, Canada. During Anderson's pregnancy, The X-Files creator, Chris Carter, created an alien abduction storyline that kept Anderson off-camera long enough for labor, delivery and a 10-day maternity leave. Carter was named Piper's godfather. In the year of 2000, Piper had a small (and uncredited) appearance in her mother's movie The House of Mirth. She has two sons with Griffiths, Oscar Griffiths (born November 1st, 2006)[8] and Felix Griffiths (born October 15, 2008).

In 1996, Anderson was voted the "Sexiest Woman in the World" for FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll.[9]

Anderson provides philanthropic and charitable assistance in the support of finding a cure for neurofibromatosis. She serves as NF, Inc.'s Honorary Spokesperson and is a Patron of the Neurofibromatosis Association (based in the UK). Her support stems from her brother being diagnosed with NF-1.[10] She is also a member of the board of directors for Artists for a New South Africa and a campaigner for ACTSA: Action for Southern Africa. Furthermore, Anderson is a an active member of PETA, supporting animal rights.[11][12]


Other TV appearancesEdit

Stage appearancesEdit

Other worksEdit

References Edit

  1. Gillian Anderson Biography (1968-)
  2. The Official Gillian Anderson Website
  3. Margy Rochlin (October 1997). "Gillian Anderson Uncensored". US magazine. Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  4. "The Official Gillian Anderson Website - About Gillian - Biography". Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  5. "Template:Citation error". 
  6. "Template:Citation error". Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  7. "X Files star now to become X-wife". Daily Mail. April 22, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  8. "Boy for Scully and Mr X". The Times. November 19, 2006.,,2087-2460323,00.html. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  9. Gillian Anderson Official Site. "FHM #81". 
  10. "The Official Gillian Anderson Website - Charities". Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  11. "Turkey Passes Its First Comprehensive Animal-Protection Law". Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  12. "List of Famous Vegetarians". Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  13. Bridges, Dunst & Anderson to Alienate People -
  14. Glen Schaefer (2008-03-12). "Filming of the X-Files sequel wraps". Vancouver Province. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  15. "Masterpiece Theatre Introduces Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery! and Masterpiece Contemporary". 
  16. "The G-Files: the search for Gillian Anderson's roots". Retrieved 2006-10-04. 

External links Edit