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Name: Katherine Matilda Swinton

Date of birth: November 5th, 1961, in London

Tilda Swinton has spent her childhood on a Scottish family seat, probably the oldest of the island. She went to school with Lady Diana. She attended Cambridge University, where she received a degree in social and political sciences. While at Cambridge, she became involved in acting, performing in a number of stage productions. Following graduation, Tilda Swinton began her professional theatre career, working for Edinburgh's renowned Traverse Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She is a rebel, a dialectic-trained thinker with a psychological depth feeling and a persistent interlocutor. In personal things, however, she is extremely kind, cordial and helpful. Tilda Swinton doesn't call herself an not but a performer; therefore she likes to place her successes with the Royal Shakespeare Company or with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh into the background.
For her it is important that she answers for her work completely alone; she looks at her appearances with Derek Jarman not as roles, but as pictures. She swears on teamwork and on work-in-progresses. In co-operation with Derek Jarman she could develop her distinctive style which she attributes to the anti-illusionistic theatre of Brecht and to the play maxim Helene Weigel.

Tilda Swinton is very versatile and known throughout Britain for her idiosyncratic performances.
She talks about transformation as if of a world-view:
"Transformation is the only thing which we can really rely on. I actually believe in transformation. Changes are unavoidable; the more we trust changes, the better we feel. If an individual is afraid of changes, it is only about a feeling, it doesn't have a real background. There is no reason to be afraid at all. One has to collar the fear."

She made her mark in film with her extraordinary performance as Orlando in Sally Potter's 1993 film of the same name. Tilda Swinton about the androgynous concept:
"I would arrange the androgynous more under the generic term 'immortality'. In this imaginary arena one can play with all possible ideas, in order to find out what really obstructs us in such a way. The only way to fasten all these suppression moments and handicaps is simply to continue what would be possible, because then all obstacles inevitably become apparent. If I speak of the reality of the androgynous I mean if we accepted that male like female beings experienced suppression from the beginning, that girls such as boys are squeezed in behaviour patterns then we would encounter the fact that there is a time ' before' it and that we must understand this period as a time of innocence, liberty and infinite possibilities. Even if it was only a short time we all carry  this memory in us, a real memory, which is situated before the time of knowledge of what is male and what is female female, the time of humanity."

In 1985, Tilda Swinton began her long collaboration with Derek Jarman, both as a friend and fellow artist. She made her screen debut in his Caravaggio (1986) and appeared in every one of the director's films until his death from AIDS in 1994. It was for her role as the spurned queen in Jarman's anachronistic, controversial Edward II (1992) that she earned her first dose of recognition, becoming a familiar face to art-house audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and earning a Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her work in the film. The acclaim and recognition Tilda Swinton garnered was amplified the same year with her title role in Sally Potter's award-winning adaptation of Orlando, Virginia Woolf's classic tale of an Elizabethan courtier who experiences drastic changes in both gender and lifestyle over the course of 400 years.

Following appearances in Jarman's Blue (1993, voice only) and in his acclaimed biopic Wittgenstein (1994), she earned some of her strongest notices to date for her lead in Female Perversions (1996), in which she played a successful lawyer trying to cope with her own insecurities and self-destructive tendencies. Tilda Swinton then portrayed another brilliant, troubled woman in Conceiving Ada (1997), a science fiction piece that cast her as the real-life daughter of Lord Byron, a woman who was widely held to be the inventor of the first computer.

Never one to choose films for their simplicity or mainstream appeal, she subsequently appeared in Love Is the Devil (1998), John Maybury's controversial account of the life and times of artist Francis Bacon. She then portrayed a battered wife in The War Zone (1999), Tim Roth's hellish portrait of extreme family dysfunction.
She most recently completed a leading role in Robert Lepage's Possible Worlds.

Her extensive stage work in the eighties includes a number of plays directed by Stephen Unwin, among them Peter Arnott's White Rose (1985), Bertold Brecht's Die Massnahme and Manfred Karge's award-winning one-woman play Man to Man, later reprising her role in John Maybury's 1991 film version. In 1988 she played Mozart in Pushkin's Mozart and Salieri directed by Karge in Vienna, Berlin and London. On television, she appeared in the BBC-1 production of John Byrne's Your Cheatin' Heart.
She also made a nine-minute film, Will We Wake, commissioned by BBC-2 and broadcast in December, 1998.

Tilda Swinton appeared in the music video for Orbital's "The Box" (circa 1997) from their "In Sides" album. She performed an alien.
In 2000 year she could be seen in Danny Boyle's blockbuster film The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio.
In the process, she has emerged as one of the most talented and fascinating actresses of her generation.
In 2001 Tilda Swinton provides a moving portrait of suburban anguish in Scott McGehee's The Deep End.

Additional Info

  • In 1995 and 1996, she won international acclaim for The Maybe, a performance-art creation by the artist Cornelia Parker in which she spent seven days sleeping eight hours a day in a glass case, first at The Serpentine Gallery in London and then at Museo Barraceo in Rome. 
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  • 1997  - 3rd Place The BSFC Award. Best Actress in "Female Perversions"
  • 1993 - The "Golden Space Needle" at Seattle Intl. Film Festival. Best Actress for "Orlando"
  • 1991 - The "Volpi Cup" at Venice Film Festival. Best Actress for "Edward II"
  • 2001 Berliner Filmpreis
  • 2001 Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress in "The Deep End"
  • 2001 Bremen Film Award
  • 2002 Sierra Award for Best Actress in "The Deep End"
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