Born on November 6, 1972 in Zambia, actress Thandie Newton is the daughter of an English father and a Zimbabwean mother (who was a tribal princess). In 1977, Thandie's family was forced to move back to England due to political tensions in Zambia.
Thandie studied modern dance at the London Art Educational School but when she suffered a back injury, she ended up auditioning for a role in the movie Flirting. Thandie got the part in the Australian movie about a Ugandan girl who falls in love with a white boy. The film was released in 1991 and did very well in Australia.
Thandie moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting but ended up being turned down often because of her British accent. She returned to England to obtain a degree in anthropology at Cambridge, but continued acting. Her next major film role came in 1994's Interview With the Vampire, based on the Anne Rice novel of the same name in which Thandie played Yvette. In 1995's Jefferson in Paris, she played the slave Thomas Jefferson was romantically involved with. In 1996, Thandie played opposite Jon Bon Jovi in The Leading Man.
1997's Gridlock'd drew critical acclaim for the young actress playing a drug-addicted jazz singer. Tim Roth and Tupac Shakur co-starred. The following year, Thandie also starred in the much-talked about (but commercially unsuccessful) movie adaptation of the Toni Morrison book Beloved.
Perhaps Thandie's greatest film success came in the Summer, 2000 John Woo blockbuster Mission: Impossible 2 with Tom Cruise. This was the first time Thandie received a significant amount of attention in the US. Thandie was supposed to be in Charlie's Angels as well, but she had to back out and Lucy Liu got the part instead.
Thandie is married to screenwriter Oliver Parker and has a daughter, Ripley, born in September, 2000.
Filmography (up to 2002):
The Truth About Charlie (2002)
It Was an Accident (2000)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
In Your Dreams (1997) (TV)
The Leading Man (1996)
The Journey of August King (1995)
Jefferson in Paris (1995)
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
Pirate Prince (1993) (TV)
The Young Americans (1993)
Filmography from www.imdb.com.