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Helena Bonham Carter


Birth name:

Helena Bonham Carter




Golders Green, London, England, UK



Race or Ethnicity:


Sexual orientation:






Executive summary:

Marla in Fight Club


5' 4½" (1.64 m)


Helena Bonham Carter - Pictures

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Helena Bonham Carter - Biography


Helena Bonham Carter (born 26 May 1966) is an English actress. Bonham Carter made her film debut in the K. M. Peyton film, A Pattern of Roses, before appearing in her first leading role in Lady Jane. She is best known for her portrayals of Lucy Honeychurch in the film A Room with a View, Marla Singer in the film Fight Club, Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter film series, her Oscar-nominated performance as Kate Croy in The Wings of the Dove, her Golden Globe-nominated performance as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, as well as her other collaborations with Tim Burton, her domestic partner since 2001. Bonham Carter will play the villainous Red Queen, alongside notable actors such as Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway, and Christopher Lee, in her partner Tim Burton's 2010 film, Alice in Wonderland, and Enid Blyton in an adaptation of her life entitled Enid.

Bonham Carter was born in Golders Green, London. Her mother, Elena (née Propper de Callejón), is a psychotherapist. Her father, Raymond Bonham Carter, was a merchant banker and the alternate UK director representing the Bank of England at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. during the 1960s; he came from a famous British political family, being the son of English Liberal politician Sir Maurice Bonham Carter and renowned politician and orator Violet Bonham Carter, whose father was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, H. H. Asquith (1908–1916). Helena Bonham Carter's maternal grandfather, Eduardo Propper de Callejón, was of half Spanish and half Jewish ancestry, and served as a diplomat and former Minister-Counsellor at the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Bonham Carter's Jewish maternal grandmother, Hélène Fould-Springer, was the daughter of Baron Eugène Fould-Springer (a French-born banker), and Marie Cecile Von Springer (whose father was the industrialist Baron Gustav Springer). Hélène Fould-Springer's sister was the French philanthropist Liliane de Rothschild (1916–2003), the wife of Baron Élie de Rothschild, and her other sister, Therese Fould-Springer, was the mother of British writer David Pryce-Jones.
Bonham Carter has two brothers, Edward and Thomas, and is a distant cousin of fellow actor Crispin Bonham-Carter, who played Mr. Bingley in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Bonham Carter. Bonham Carter is also distantly related to Admiral Stuart Bonham Carter, Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels (through marriage), pioneering English nurse Florence Nightingale and is the grand-niece of Anthony Asquith, legendary English director of such classics as Carrington VC and The Importance of Being Earnest. Bonham Carter was educated at the South Hampstead High School, a girls' independent school in Hampstead, London and later at Westminster School, a co-educational independent school near the Palace of Westminster. Bonham Carter was denied admission to King's College, Cambridge University, not because of her grades or her test scores, but because school officials were afraid that she would leave mid-term to pursue her acting career. Because of Cambridge's rejection, Bonham Carter decided to concentrate fully on acting.
When Bonham Carter was just five, her mother had a serious nervous breakdown, from which it took her three years to recover. Upon her recovery, her experience in therapy led her to become a psychotherapist herself — Bonham Carter now pays her to read her scripts and deliver her opinion of the characters' psychological motivations. Five years after her mother's recovery, there was a more terrible familial blow. While holidaying in Greece, her father went deaf in one ear. He was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, and a routine operation was carried out to remove the benign tumour. It went badly wrong. After 9 hours in surgery, Raymond, only 50 years of age, had a stroke that left him half-paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. With her two older brothers (both now bankers) at college, Bonham Carter was left to help her mother cope. She would later study her father's movements and mannerisms for her role in The Theory of Flight.

Bonham Carter has not received any formal training in acting. In 1979, she won a national writing contest and used the money won to pay for her entry into the actors directory Spotlight. She made her professional acting début at the age of 16, in a television commercial. She also had a part in a minor TV film A Pattern of Roses.
Her first starring film role was as Lady Jane Grey in Lady Jane which had mixed reviews. The story reflected the troubled life of England's nine-days' Queen from her troubled adolescence and arranged marriage to her ill-fated accession and subsequent execution. Her breakthrough role was Lucy Honeychurch in A Room with a View which was filmed after Lady Jane, but released beforehand. Bonham Carter also appeared in episodes of Miami Vice as Don Johnson's love interest during the 1986–87 season and then, in 1987, opposite Dirk Bogarde in The Vision. Bonham Carter auditioned for the role of Nancy Spungen in Sid and Nancy, however she lost out to Chloe Webb, and turned down the role of Bess McNeill in Breaking the Waves due to the sexual content. The role went to Emily Watson, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the role.
These early films led to her being typecast as a "corset queen", and "English rose," playing pre- and early 20th century characters, particularly in Merchant-Ivory films. She has since expanded her range, with her more recent films being Fight Club, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Big Fish and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Bonham Carter speaks French fluently, starring in a 1996 French film Portraits chinois. In August 2001, she was featured in Maxim. She played her second Queen of England when she was cast as Anne Boleyn in the ITV1 mini-series Henry VIII; however her role was restricted, as she was pregnant with her first child at the time of filming. Bonham Carter was a member of the 2006 Cannes Film Festival jury that unanimously selected The Wind That Shakes the Barley as best film.
Bonham Carter played Bellatrix Lestrange in 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and 2009's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She will reprise the character in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Bonham Carter received positive reviews as Lestrange, described as a "shining but underused talent". She then played Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd's (Johnny Depp) amorous accomplice in the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The film was released on 21 December 2007 in the US and 25 January 2008 in the UK. Directed by Tim Burton, Bonham Carter received a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance. She won the Best Actress award in the 2007 Evening Standard British Film Awards for her performances in Sweeney Todd and Conversations With Other Women, along with another Best Actress award at the 2009 Empire Awards. Bonham Carter also appeared in the fourth Terminator film entitled Terminator Salvation, playing a small but pivotal role.
In May 2006, Bonham Carter launched her own fashion line, "The Pantaloonies", with swimwear designer Samantha Sage. Their first collection, called Bloomin' Bloomers, is a Victorian style selection of camisoles, mop caps and bloomers. The duo are now working on Pantaloonies customized jeans which Bonham Carter describes as "a kind of scrapbook on the bum".
Bonham Carter joined the cast of partner Tim Burton's 2010 film, Alice in Wonderland as the The Red Queen. Bonham Carter appears alongside Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Christopher Lee and Alan Rickman. Bonham Carter's role consists of two merged roles, The Queen of Hearts, and The Red Queen. In early 2009, Bonham Carter was named one of The Times newspaper's top 10 British Actresses of all-time. Bonham Carter appeared on the list with fellow actresses Julie Andrews, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Audrey Hepburn.
Bonham Carter signed to play author Enid Blyton in the BBC Four television biopic, Enid. It is the first depiction of Blyton's life on the screen, and Bonham Carter stars with Matthew Macfadyen and Denis Lawson.

Bonham Carter was in a relationship with actor Kenneth Branagh (with whom she appeared in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and The Theory of Flight), from 1994 to the summer of 1999. In 2001, she began her current relationship with director Tim Burton whom she met while filming Planet of the Apes. Burton has taken to casting Bonham Carter in his movies, including Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Alice in Wonderland. They live in Belsize Park, London, in neighbouring houses with a connecting doorway because they felt they could not live in the same residence.
They purchased the house when she became pregnant with the couple's first child, son Billy Raymond Burton, who was born on 4 October 2003. The couple maintains a close relationship with actor Johnny Depp, who appears in many of Burton's films. Depp is Billy Ray's godfather, accepting the role after Burton persuaded Bonham Carter to ask him. At age 41, she gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Nell Burton, on 15 December 2007 in Central London. She says she named her daughter Nell after all the "Helens" in her family lineage.
In August 2008, when four of her relatives were killed in a safari bus crash in South Africa, she was given indefinite leave from filming Terminator Salvation, and returned later to complete filming.
In 2008, Bonham Carter and Burton put their American apartments up for sale. The apartments are in the Greenwich Village area, in New York City. The couple sold them for a collective $8.75 million. In early October 2008, it was released that Bonham Carter had become a patron of the charity Action Duchenne, the national charity established to support parents and sufferers of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Bonham Carter released the statement:
"As a patron of Action Duchenne, I would like to urge as many people as possible to find out about the work of the charity and the devastating effects of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Treatments and a cure seem tantalisingly close but they will not appear without further support and funding. Please join Action Duchenne in helping to make muscle wasting history.
In December 2008, Bonham Carter lent her voice to an MTV domestic violence public service announcement, reciting a passage about love from the First Epistle to the Corinthians. The 60-second commercial features a dysfunctional couple in a domestic environment. No dialogue is heard — only accompanying music and Bonham Carter's voice. Bonham Carter recorded her vocal in a single take for the ad, which aired on 2 December 2008. The ad will air across MTV in the UK and across Europe as part of MTV's Staying Alive campaign. MTV will also make the ad available online and is considering running it in cinemas.
In early 2009, Bonham Carter joined fellow Hollywood A-listers Ewan McGregor, Kate Winslet, Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren and others in leaving the imprint of her lips on a card and signing it. The kiss prints, which are featured in the window of Newcastle’s famous Fenwick store, will now be auctioned off for charity.


Helena Bonham Carter - Personal Quotes


"I hate this image of me as a prim Edwardian. I want to shock everyone."

"I should get a few ribs taken out, because I'll be in a corset for the rest of my life."

[On breast-feeding her baby]: "People say, "You're still breast-feeding, that's so generous". Generous, no! It gives me boobs and it takes my thighs away! It's sort of like natural liposuction. I'd carry on breast-feeding for the rest of my life if I could."


Helena Bonham Carter - Filmography


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (2011) .... Bellatrix Lestrange
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (2010) .... Bellatrix Lestrange
... aka The Deathly Hallows (USA: short title)
The King's Speech (2010) .... Queen Elizabeth
Alice in Wonderland (2010) .... The Red Queen
The Gruffalo (2009) (TV) (voice) .... Mother Squirrel
Enid (2009) (TV) .... Enid Blyton
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) .... Bellatrix Lestrange
... aka HP and the HBP (International: English title: informal short title)
... aka Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Hong Kong: English title)
... aka Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: An IMAX 3D Experience (USA: IMAX version)
... aka The Half-Blood Prince (USA: short title)
Terminator Salvation (2009) .... Dr. Serena Kogan
... aka T4: Salvation (USA: promotional abbreviation)
... aka Terminator salvation - L'inizio della fine (Italy)
... aka Terminator: Die Erlösung (Germany)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) .... Mrs. Lovett
... aka Sweeney Todd (USA: short title)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) .... Bellatrix Lestrange
... aka Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
... aka The Order of the Phoenix (USA: short title)
Sixty Six (2006) .... Esther Reubens
Magnificent 7 (2005) (TV) .... Maggi Jackson
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005/I) (VG) (voice) .... Lady Tottington
Corpse Bride (2005) (voice) .... Corpse Bride
... aka Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (Singapore: English title) (USA: complete title)
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) (voice) .... Lady Campanula Tottington
... aka Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (UK: poster title)
Conversations with Other Women (2005) .... Woman
... aka Conversation(s) with Other Women (Australia)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) .... Mrs. Bucket
... aka Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
Big Fish (2003) .... Jenny - Young / Jenny - Senior / The Witch
Henry VIII (2003) (TV) .... Anne Boleyn
Live from Baghdad (2002) (TV) .... Ingrid Formanek
Till Human Voices Wake Us (2002) .... Ruby
The Heart of Me (2002) .... Dinah
Novocaine (2001) .... Susan
Planet of the Apes (2001) .... Ari
Football (2001) (as Helena Bonham-Carter) .... Mum
Carnivale (2000) (voice) .... Milly
... aka Carnivale (France)
The Nearly Complete and Utter History of Everything (1999) (TV) .... Lily
Women Talking Dirty (1999) .... Cora
Fight Club (1999) .... Marla Singer
... aka Fight Club (Germany)
The Theory of Flight (1998) .... Jane Hatchard
The Revengers' Comedies (1998) .... Karen Knightly
... aka Amour, vengeance et trahison (France)
... aka Sweet Revenge (USA: cable TV title)
Merlin (1998/II) (TV) .... Morgan Le Fey
Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1997) .... Rosemary
... aka A Merry War (New Zealand: English title) (USA)
... aka Comstock and Rosemary
The Wings of the Dove (1997) .... Kate Croy
The Petticoat Expeditions (1997) .... Narrator
"The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century" (1996) TV series .... Vera Brittain (unknown episodes)
... aka 1914-1918 (UK)
Portraits chinois (1996) .... Ada
... aka Shadow Play
Twelfth Night (1996) .... Olivia
Jeremy Hardy Gives Good Sex (1995) (V)
Margaret's Museum (1995) .... Margaret MacNeil
... aka Le musée de Margaret (Canada: French title: TV title)
Mighty Aphrodite (1995) .... Amanda
Frankenstein (1994) .... Elizabeth
... aka Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (USA: complete title)
"Absolutely Fabulous" .... Dream Saffron (1 episode, 1994)
... aka Ab Fab (Australia: short title)
- Hospital (1994) TV episode .... Dream Saffron
Butter (1994) (TV) .... Dorothy
A Dark Adapted Eye (1994) (TV) .... Faith Severn (adult)
Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald (1993) (TV) .... Marina Oswald
... aka Marina's Story
Dancing Queen (1993) (TV) (as Helena Bonham-Carter) .... Pandora/Julie
... aka Rik Mayall Presents Dancing Queen
Howards End (1992) .... Helen Schlegel
Brown Bear's Wedding (1991) (TV) (voice) (as Helena Bonham-Carter) .... White Bear
Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991) .... Caroline Abbott
"Jackanory" .... Reader (5 episodes, 1991)
- The Way to Sattin Shore: Part 5 (1991) TV episode .... Reader
- The Way to Sattin Shore: Part 4 (1991) TV episode .... Reader
- The Way to Sattin Shore: Part 3 (1991) TV episode .... Reader
- The Way to Sattin Shore: Part 2 (1991) TV episode .... Reader
- The Way to Sattin Shore: Part 1 (1991) TV episode .... Reader
Hamlet (1990/I) .... Ophelia
Getting It Right (1989) .... Lady Minerva Munday
Francesco (1989) .... Chiara
... aka Franziskus (West Germany)
... aka St. Francis of Assisi
Arms and the Man (1989) (TV) .... Raina Petkoff
Six Minutes with Ludwig (1988) .... The Star
La maschera (1988) .... Iris
... aka The Mask (International: English title)
A Hazard of Hearts (1987) (TV) .... Serena Staverley
The Vision (1987) (TV) .... Jo Marriner
Maurice (1987) (uncredited) .... Lady at Cricket Match
"Miami Vice" .... Dr. Theresa Lyons (2 episodes, 1987)
- Theresa (1987) TV episode .... Dr. Theresa Lyons
- Savage (1987) TV episode .... Dr. Theresa Lyons
Lady Jane (1986) .... Lady Jane Grey
A Room with a View (1985) (as Helena Bonham-Carter) .... Lucy Honeychurch, Miss Bartlett's cousin and charge
A Pattern of Roses (1983) (TV) .... Netty, The Past (introducing)


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