Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August
9, 1968) is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG winning actress, best known for
her roles as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the American TV series The
X-Files, Moro in the English dub of Princess Mononoke, Lily Bart in The
House of Mirth and Lady Dedlock in the BBC TV series Bleak House.
Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Rosemary Anderson,
a computer analyst, and Edward Anderson, who owned a film post-production
company. Soon after her birth, her family moved to Puerto Rico for 15
months and then to Crouch End and finally Harringay in North 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. To
this day, her accent depends on her location - for instance, in an
interview with Jay Leno she spoke in an American accent, but in an
interview with Michael Parkinson she spoke with an English 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.
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 20 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,
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. 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 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.
When The X-Files ended, Anderson performed in several stage productions
and worked on various film projects. She has participated in narrative
work for documentaries on scientific topics. 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.
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
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 released on December 2, 2008.
Gillian portrayed Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse
in London's West End during a limited engagement which ran from May 14,
2009 until July 18, 2009.
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. 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), 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 2000, Piper had a
small (and uncredited) appearance in her mother's movie The House of
Mirth. Anderson also has two sons, Oscar (born November 1, 2006) and Felix
(born October 15, 2008).
In 1996, Anderson was voted the "Sexiest Woman in the World" for FHM's 100
Sexiest Women poll. In 2008 she also placed 21st in FHM's All Time 100
Sexiest Hall of Fame.
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.
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 an active member of PETA, and supports animal
"I am more spontaneous than my
"Fame is complicated and definitely overrated. There are perks to it
that are unfathomable. But the other aspect is there's little to no
privacy at all - being anywhere at any time and knowing that
somebody you cannot see is probably taking a picture of you, which
has happened hundreds of times. I look around and cannot see anyone
and a couple of weeks later I see a photo of me looking around."
(Movieline interview, Dec. 1998)
"When I think of normal, I think of mediocrity... and mediocrity
scares the f*ck out of me!!"
"It's easier to be myself here. I can go out wearing whatever the
hell I want, no matter how ridiculous it looks. If I do that in
America, people look at me like I'm insane. There are aspects of the
British press which are incredibly intrusive, but then you'll go to
a premiere and someone will ask permission to take a photo, and when
you say, "That's enough", they'll back off. In the States, you go to
a restaurant and there are people lined up outside with eight-
by-10s of you. Or they just follow you with a video camera. I had
someone deliberately rear-end my car a few years ago in LA, and
there was a video camera: they were videoing my reaction. Luckily, I
was in a good mood."
"I know people who are embarrassed to be American. They don't like
showing their passports. It's becoming a scary place. It takes
someone very brave not to be quiet, someone who doesn't mind death
threats, their life being turned upside down, news cameras outside
their door. There is no freedom of speech in America anymore. They
are not living up to the constitution. There's so much fear in
America and control."
"My tendency is towards the opposite of health and taking care of
myself. My natural tendency is destructive. In order not to act on
that, I have to be careful. The minute I don't feel like that, if I
let down my guard, I'm in trouble."
"I often showed up ungroomed. It didn't occur to me. Then I'd end up
at a premiere and I'd think, what are you doing? I remember being at
a restaurant with a famous British actress. I knew there were
paparazzi outside. My intention was to make a beeline for the car.
But then, as we were walking outside, she applied lipstick. I
thought, what is she doing? But her public image is very glamorous.
It's a different mindset."
"I don't show my face [in LA] very much, and so that makes it a bit
more complicated for me in terms of work. They [producers] need to
see you in the press, and in their face, in meetings, auditions,
whatever. And as far as they're concerned, I haven't provided enough
of an example of the kind of things that I can do, as an actor, for
them to justify hiring me without me sitting down in front of them
or having me dance around."
"I don't usually like seeing things I'm in. I get really depressed