Francesca Annis

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Francesca Annis
Annis in trailer for Flipper's New Adventure (1964)
Born (1945-05-14) 14 May 1945 (age 73)
Kensington, London, England
Years active1959–present
Partner(s)Patrick Wiseman (1976–1990s)
Ralph Fiennes (1995–2006)

Francesca Annis (born 14 May 1945) [1] is an English actor. She is known for television roles in Reckless (1998), Wives and Daughters (1999), Deceit (2000) and Cranford (2007). A six-time BAFTA TV Award nominee, she won the 1979 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the ITV serial Lillie . Her film appearances include Krull (1983), Dune (1984), The Debt Collector (1999) and The Libertine (2004).

Reckless is a British television serial written by Paul Abbott. Produced by Granada Television for the ITV network, it aired in six parts in the UK in 1997.

<i>Wives and Daughters</i> novel by Elizabeth Gaskell

Wives and Daughters, An Every-Day Story is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, first published in the Cornhill Magazine as a serial from August 1864 to January 1866. It was partly written whilst Gaskell was staying with the salon hostess Mary Elizabeth Mohl at her home on the Rue de Bac in Paris. When Mrs Gaskell died suddenly in 1865, it was not quite complete, and the last section was written by Frederick Greenwood.

Deceit is a British television mystery thriller miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by Clare Francis, that first broadcast on BBC One on 2 April 2000. Stuart Orme served as director, while Nicolas Brown served as producer. The miniseries, which stars Francesca Annis, Peter O'Brien and Christopher Fulford, follows housewife Ellen Richmond (Annis), whose husband mysteriously disappears after going out sailing on his yacht.


Early life and education

Annis was born in Kensington, London in 1945, to an English father, Lester William Anthony Annis (1914–2001) and a Brazilian-French mother, Mariquita (Mara) Purcell (1913–2009).[ citation needed ] Both were sometime actors and Mara a sometime singer. [2] Mara was from a wealthy Brazilian family. [2] The Annises moved to Brazil when Francesca was one year old, and spent six years there,[ citation needed ] returning to England when she was seven. [2] In recollecting the years in Brazil, she described her parents as running "a nightclub on Copacabana beach", and her mother Mara "performing as a blues singer". [2]

Kensington district within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London

Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, West London, England.

French Brazilians refers to Brazilian citizens of full of partial French ancestry or persons born in France who reside in Brazil. Between 1850 and 1965 around 100,000 French people immigrated to Brazil. The country received the second largest number of French immigrants to South America after Argentina (239,000). It is estimated that there are 2 million Brazilians of French descent today.

Annis was educated at a convent school, and trained in her early years as a ballet dancer, [2] [3] with training in the Russian style at the Corona Stage Academy. [4]


Annis began acting professionally in her teens, and made her film debut in The Cat Gang (1959). Her first major film role was as Elizabeth Taylor's handmaiden in Cleopatra (1963), in which she was cast at the age of 16 while still studying Russian ballet. [2] Her big break was as one of the leads in the 1965 West End stage musical Passion Flower Hotel . [4] She played Estella in a television adaptation of Great Expectations (1967) and presented children's television programmes. She garnered attention for her performance as Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski's film version of Macbeth (1971) in which she performs the sleepwalking soliloquy nude. The critic Kenneth Tynan was present when the scene was shot:

Elizabeth Taylor British-American actress

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s, and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. She continued her career successfully into the 1960s, and remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh-greatest female screen legend.

<i>Cleopatra</i> (1963 film) 1963 film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Cleopatra is a 1963 American epic historical drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with a screenplay adapted by Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall and Sidney Buchman from the book The Life and Times of Cleopatra by Carlo Maria Franzero, and from histories by Plutarch, Suetonius, and Appian. It stars Elizabeth Taylor in the eponymous role. Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, and Martin Landau are featured in supporting roles. It chronicles the struggles of Cleopatra, the young Queen of Egypt, to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.

West End theatre term for mainstream professional theatre staged in and near the West End of London

West End theatre is a common term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of "Theatreland" in and near the West End of London. Along with New York City's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London.

"Francesca does it very sportingly and with no fuss ... though of course the set is closed, great curtains are drawn around the acting area ... and the wardrobe mistress rushes to cover Francesca with a dressing gown the instant Roman says, 'Cut'". [5] [ full citation needed ]

Her films have included Krull (1983) and Dune (1984). She appeared as Tuppence with James Warwick as Tommy in The Secret Adversary (1983) and the subsequent series, Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime (1983–84). She appeared in Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988), in which she played Jacqueline Kennedy. She portrayed Mrs. Wellington in the second film and directorial debut by Prince, Under The Cherry Moon (1986).

<i>Krull</i> (film) 1983 film by Peter Yates

Krull is a 1983 British-American science fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Peter Yates and produced by Ron Silverman with a screenplay by Stanford Sherman. It follows a journey of Prince Colwyn and his group of outlaws on the planet Krull to save future queen Princess Lyssa from the Beast and his constantly teleporting Black Fortress. The film began development in 1980, when Columbia Pictures president Frank Price gave Silverman the idea to produce a fantasy film, and was finally released in July 1983. Yates's directing on Krull differed from his previous films that were more realistic; he took the "challenge" of directing a motion picture like Krull since he could rely only on his imagination instead of doing research, and screenplays that encouraged experimentation with modern special effects were rare in the early 1980s.

<i>Dune</i> (1984 film) 1984 epic science fiction film by David Lynch

Dune is a 1984 American epic science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch and based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as young nobleman Paul Atreides, and includes an ensemble of well-known American and European actors in supporting roles. It was filmed at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City and included a soundtrack by the rock band Toto, as well as Brian Eno.

James Warwick is an English actor and director, best known for his roles on television and London's West End and New York's Broadway theatre.

Annis has also pursued a stage career, playing leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company  – Luciana in Trevor Nunn's musical version of The Comedy of Errors in 1976, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet alongside Ian McKellen in 1977.[ citation needed ] At the National Theatre in 1981, she played Natalya Petrovna in Peter Gill's production of Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country .[ citation needed ] At the Comedy Theatre between September 2005 and January 2006, Annis starred as Ruth in Epitaph for George Dillon with Joseph Fiennes. [6] She returned to the stage in April 2009, to star as Mrs. Conway in Rupert Goold's National Theatre revival of J. B. Priestley's Time and the Conways . [7]

She has appeared in television productions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, appearing in series such as Edward the Seventh (1975) as Lillie Langtry, a role she reprised in Lillie (1978); Madame Bovary (1975); and Parnell and the Englishwoman (1991), in which she played Kitty O'Shea; as well as the miniseries Reckless (1998) and its 2000 sequel. Annis co-starred with Michael Gambon and Dame Judi Dench as Lady Ludlow (an aristocrat opposed to the education of the lower classes) in the BBC1 costume-drama series Cranford (2007). More recently, Annis played a leading role in the ITV drama Home Fires .

Personal life

Annis was in a relationship with photographer Patrick Wiseman that began in 1974, [2] raising three children, Charlotte, Taran, and Andreas, all of whom were given their father's surname.[ citation needed ] Annis began a relationship with Hamlet co-star Ralph Fiennes in 1995, ending her 23-year relationship with Wiseman in 1997; [2] Fiennes in turn divorced his wife of four years, Alex Kingston. [8] Annis is said to have "apologised to Wiseman" over their parting. [2] Annis and Fiennes announced their separation on 7 February 2006, after 11 years together, [2] [9] [10] in a parting described as "acrimonious", following rumours that he had an affair with a Romanian singer. [2]

In an interview with Tim Auld of The Telegraph in 2009, Annis described herself as being one that tends "to forget the bad things – I don't dwell on them. I think, 'Oh, f– it, life's too short,'" and that though single, she "believes it is better to be with someone than alone", stating "I think you live a fuller life... to have someone else's input on anything – a book, a meal, your children, life, a walk – is fantastic" and expressing optimism as she looked to the rest of her seventh decade, stating "'I like to have a big open canvas. I am a glass-half-full person. Something will turn up, you know, and whatever it is it'll be fine.'" [2]


1959The Cat GangSylvia
Carry On Teacher Schoolgirl
1960 No Kidding Priscilla
His and Hers Wanda
1963 Cleopatra Eiras
West 11 Phyl
1964 Murder Most Foul Sheila Upward
Saturday Night Out Jean
Crooks in Cloisters June
The Eyes of Annie Jones Annie Jones
Flipper's New Adventure Gwen
1965 The Pleasure Girls Sally
1966Run with the WindJean Packer
1970 The Walking Stick Arabella Dainton
1971 Macbeth Lady Macbeth
1973 Penny Gold Delphi/Diane
1978The Comedy of ErrorsLuciana
1980Why Didn't They Ask Evans?Lady Frances Derwent
1982Coming Out of the IceGalina
1983 Krull Widow of the Web
1984 Dune Lady Jessica
1986 Under The Cherry Moon Mrs. Wellington
1994 Doomsday Gun Sophie
1999 The Debt Collector Val Dryden
2002 Copenhagen Margrethe Bohr
2004 The Libertine Countess
2005 Revolver Lily Walker
2008 Shifty Valerie
2012Loving Miss HattoJoyce
2018 King Of Thieves Lynne Reader

Selected stage appearances

Selected television appearances

1960 BBC Sunday-Night Play Anne Miller(Episode: "The Wind and the Sun")
Probation Officer Judy Bealle1 episode
1962 ITV Play of the Week Margery Hamilton(Episode: "The Gentle Assassi")
1964 Danger Man Sheila/Judy(Episodes: "No Marks For Servility"
"That's Two of Us Sorry")
The Human Jungle Mary(Episode: "Wild Goose Chase")
1965 ITV Play of the Week Christine Burrows(Episode: "An Aspidistra in Babylon")
1966 The Saint Maria(Episode: "Locate and Destroy")
ITV Play of the Week Catherine(Episode: "A View from the Bridge")
1967 Great Expectations Estella
1972Stage 2Solveig
1973 A Pin to See the Peepshow Julia Almond
1974 The Wood Demon Helen
1975 Madame Bovary Emma Bovary
1975 Edward the Seventh Lillie Langtry (Episodes 7 "Dearest Prince" and 8 "The Royal Quadrille")
1978 Lillie Lillie Langtry
1980 Why Didn't They Ask Evans? Lady Frances "Frankie" Derwent
1983 The Secret Adversary Prudence Cowley
Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime Prudence "Tuppence" Beresford
1984I'll Take ManhattanLily Davina Adamsfield
1985 Magnum P.I. Penelope St. Clair(Episode: "Deja Vu")
1986Inside StoryPaula Croxley
1991 Parnell and the Englishwoman Katharine O'Shea
1993 Between the Lines Angela Berridge
1996 Dalziel and Pascoe Bonnie Fielding(Episode: "An Autumn Shroud")
1998 Reckless Anna Fairley
1999 Wives and Daughters Hyacinth Gibson
2005 Jericho Lady Clare Wellesley
2006 Jane Eyre Lady Ingram
2007 Agatha Christie's Marple Lady Selina Hazy(Episode: At Bertram's Hotel )
Cranford Lady Ludlow
2009 Return to Cranford Lady Ludlow
2010 The Little House Elizabeth
2015–2016 Home Fires Joyce Cameron11 episodes

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
1974 BAFTA TV Award Best Actress A Pin to See the Peepshow Nominated
1976BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressMadame BovaryNominated
1977 Olivier Award Best Actress in a Revival Troilus and Cressida Nominated
1979BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressLillieWon
1998BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressRecklessNominated
1999BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressRecklessNominated
2000BAFTA TV AwardBest Actress Wives and Daughters Nominated

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  1. Birthdays,, 14 May 2008; accessed 12 August 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "Francesca Annis interview". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  3. Ciara Dwyer. "Fine without Fiennes". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  4. 1 2 "Francesca Annis, actor – portrait of the artist | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  5. Diary, 16 February 1971: The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan (ed. John Lahr, 2001)
  6. 1 2 Matt Wolf (4 October 2005). "Epitaph for George Dillon". Variety. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  7. 1 2 Michael Billington (5 May 2009). "Theatre review: Time and the Conways / Lyttelton, London | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  8. Sheldon, Michael (14 August 2003). "'I'm not afraid to take risks'". The Daily Telegraph . London. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  9. Hoggard, Liz (12 February 2006). "Francesca Annis: Pretty woman – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  10. Hoggard, Liz (12 February 2006). "Francesca Annis: Pretty woman – Profiles – People – The Independent". Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-30.