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Biography

The Quintessential English Rose Whose American!

Trivia: you would think that such a star would have no problems buying a house but like the rest of us she had problems getting a mortgage.

Jennifer Ehle was born on the 29th December 1969, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. Jennifer Ehle is the daughter of novelist John Ehle (The Journey of August King, Winter People) and actress Rosemary Harris (Tom and Viv, Hamlet, Looking for Richard). Born in North Carolina, Jennifer changed schools 18 times growing up in order to follow her mother's frequent moves as an actress. She attended London's Central School of Speech and Drama, but she dropped out in her final term when Sir Peter Hall offered her a leading role in Channel 4's production of The Camomile Lawn (with her mother playing her character aged).

Her first movie role was as Cynthia Powell (John Lennon's first wife) in 1993's Backbeat. She was in several Alan Bleasdale Presents television productions and won acclaim as the slain army wife Penny McAllister in Beyond Reason. The first time most American audiences were introduced to Jennifer was in January of 1996, when A&E showed the BBC/A&E production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Her role as Elizabeth Bennet won her a 1996 BAFTA award as Best Actress. She had a relationship with Colin Firth whom she met while filming.

Jennifer also has done theater work. She was seen in Tartuffe in the West End and has performed as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company in such roles as Lady Anne in Richard III, Amanda in The Relapse, and Serafina in The Painter of Dishonour... (more).


Jennifer had a role in the ensemble historical drama Paradise Road. Her co-stars included Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Cate Blanchett, and Julianna Margulies. The movie is about women who were captured by the Japanese and put into concentration camps during World War II. To combat the brutality of their condition, the women decide to form a singing group. Jennifer was also in the next Alan Bleasdale Presents production, which was a movie based on Francis Durbridge's 1960 serial Melissa. It aired on Channel 4 starting on May 14th.

Also released in 1997 was Wilde, starring Stephen Fry, Jude Law, and Vanessa Redgrave. Jennifer played the role of Constance, Oscar's wife. Since the movie was about Oscar Wilde's affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, she had a supporting role.

Ehle also had a role in Rose Troche's Bedrooms and Hallways. Her co-stars included Kevin McKidd, Hugo Weaving, and Simon Callow. She was also seen in Sunshine, which also starred Ralph Fiennes and her mother played Jennifer's character at an older age. She also filmed Possession, which co-starred Gywneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, and Aaron Eckhart.

In 1999 she appeared in the so-so movie This Years Love (Catherine McCormack is unintentionally hilarious as the posh woman trying desperately to play a working class supermarket check-out girl - it is just not believable to put it mildly).

Jennifer made her Broadway debut in the Noel Coward play, Design for Living. She had the lead role in Gilda, and she won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Annie in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing. She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 for Best Actress for her performance in The Real Thing at the Donmar Warehouse and at the Albery Theatre

Upcoming roles which are currently in post-production (2004) include Alice Ferris in Alpha Male, and Betsy Chase in The River King.

She married Michael Ryan in November 2001. Currently lives in London.

Her last name is pronounced "EE-lee."

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