Who Is Gillian Anderson? From American Gods to Margaret Thatcher In ‘The Crown’

Famous for her many roles in works such as The X-Files, American Gods, The Fall, and Sex Education, Gillian Anderson is an actress and activist whose career has seen many highs. It has been announced that she will also appear in the historical series The Crown, in which she will play the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Anderson started her career as far back as 1986 and more than three decades later, she has been involved in close to a hundred projects that include theatre productions, films, TV shows, and games.

Background and Early Life

As noted, Gillian is an actress and activist. She was born Gillian Leigh Anderson in Chicago, the United States, on August 9, 1968, to Rosemary Alyce and Homer Edward Anderson III. While her mother was a computer analyst, her father owned and ran a company that was into film post-production.

Of English, Irish, and German descent, she was brought up in different places including Puerto Rico where her family moved to and then North London where she attended Coleridge Primary School.

She was raised as the eldest of three siblings together with a brother named Aron, and a sister called Zoe. While Aron who was a DJ died in 2011 as a result of a brain tumor, Zoe who is now a ceramicist is married to her gay partner.

By the time she was 11, her family was back to the states where they settled in Michigan, although they still kept their London apartment. She continued with her education in Fountain Elementary and then City High-Middle School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

When she was still in her early teenage ages, she adopted a punk appearance and became a rebellious child who experimented on drugs and got into as many troubles as she could. At 14, she was put in therapy. As predicted by her classmates who voted her the class clown and the one most likely to get arrested, she got into trouble with the law on her graduation night and was arrested for breaking into her high school.

As a young girl growing up, Gillian had always loved acting and so when she was in high school, she auditioned for a role in a community play. Before then, even with her love for acting, all she wanted to become was an archaeologist. Later, she would harbor the desire of becoming a microbiologist. Finally, she settled for what was her first love; acting. From high school acting, she proceeded to community acting.

To further improve her arts, she went to Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts where she interned and then obtained a degree in Fine Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. The Sex Education actress also attended Cornwell University where she ran a summer program offered by the National Theatre of Great Britain.

A Deep Dive Into Her Career

Who is Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson and Margaret Thatcher (Image Source)

Gillian Anderson has come a long way to land her role of Thatcher in The Crown, which is a Netflix historical drama series running into its fourth season. Her first role as a professional film actress was in 1986 when she appeared in Three at Once followed by another role in A Matter of Choice in 1988.

Her first major film was The Turning in 1992 and since then, she has got many more films including The X-Files (1998), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Johnny English Reborn (2011), The Departure (2015), Viceroy’s House (2017), and the 2019 film, The Sunlit Night among many other great films.

On TV, Anderson has also had a good number of productions to her name including 1993’s Class of ’96 which was her first TV show. Others are The X-Files (1993 to 2002; 2016 to 2018), Bleak House (2005), The Fall (2013 to 2016), and Hannibal (2013 to 2015). In 2017, she was in American Gods and then in 2019, she got a role in Sex Education.

Through her career, she has won a good number of awards that include a Golden Globe, Saturn Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards for her role in The X-Files, and British Independent Film Awards for her role in The House of Mirth, among many others. She has also received nominations for the Gold Derby TV Awards and Critics’ Choice Television Awards for her portrayal of the Media goddess in American Gods.


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