Jenny Agutter

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Jenny Agutter
Jenny Agutter (2).jpg
Agutter in 2014
Jennifer Ann Agutter

(1952-12-20) 20 December 1952 (age 68)
Taunton, Somerset, England
Years active1964–present
Johan Tham
(m. 1990)
Website Jenny Agutter

Jennifer Ann Agutter OBE (born 20 December 1952) is a British actress. She began her career as a child actress in 1964, appearing in East of Sudan , Star! , and two adaptations of The Railway Children —the BBC's 1968 television serial and the 1970 film version. She also starred in the critically acclaimed film Walkabout and the TV film The Snow Goose (both 1971), for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.


She relocated to the United States in 1974 to pursue a Hollywood career and subsequently appeared in Logan's Run (1976), Amy (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), and Child's Play 2 (1990). Parallel to her Hollywood film roles, Agutter continued appearing in high-profile British films such as The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Equus (1977), for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and The Riddle of the Sands (1979). In 1981, she also co-starred in The Survivor , an Australian adaptation of the James Herbert novel, and was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

After returning to Britain in the early 1990s to pursue family life, Agutter shifted her focus to television, and in 2000, she appeared in a television adaptation of The Railway Children, this time taking on the role of the mother. She has continued to work steadily in British television drama, and since 2012, she has starred in the BBC's primetime ratings hit Call the Midwife . She also made a return to Hollywood film-making in 2012, appearing in The Avengers , and reprised her role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Agutter is married with one adult son. She supports several charitable causes, mostly in relation to cystic fibrosis, a condition from which her niece suffers, and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for charitable services.

Early life

Agutter was born in Taunton, Somerset, England. [1] She is the daughter of Derek Agutter (an entertainments manager in the British Army) and Catherine, and was raised Roman Catholic. [2] [3] As a child, she lived in Singapore, [4] Dhekelia (Cyprus) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaya). She was discovered at Elmhurst Ballet School, a boarding school she attended from ages eight to sixteen, [4] when a casting agent looked for a young English-speaking girl for a film. She did not get the part, but he recommended her to the producers of East of Sudan (1964).


Television and film

Agutter came to television audiences as Kirsty in the twice-weekly BBC series The Newcomers . The character Kirsty was the daughter of the new managing director of Eden Brothers, the fictional firm that was at the centre of the series. Agutter could appear only during school holidays. At this stage of her career, she was listed in credits as Jennifer. In 1968, she was featured in the lavish big-budget 20th Century Fox film musical Star! with Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence. In that motion picture, Agutter played Lawrence's neglected daughter Pamela. Later, she played Roberta in a BBC adaptation of The Railway Children (1968) and played the same part in Lionel Jeffries's 1970 film of the book. She followed this with a more serious role in the thriller I Start Counting (1969). She also won an Emmy as supporting actress for her television role as Fritha, in a British television adaptation of The Snow Goose (1971).

Agutter moved into adult roles, beginning with Walkabout (1971), playing a teenaged schoolgirl lost with her younger brother in the Australian outback. She auditioned for the role in 1967, but funding problems delayed filming until 1969. The delay meant Agutter was 16 at the time of filming, which allowed the director to include nude scenes. [5] Among them was a five-minute skinny-dipping scene, which was cut from the original US release. [6] She said at the 2005 Bradford Film Festival at the National Media Museum that she was shocked by the film's explicitness, but remains on good terms with director Nicolas Roeg. [7]

Agutter moved to Hollywood at 21 and appeared in a number of films over the next decade, including The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Logan's Run (1976), Equus (1977), for which she won a BAFTA as Best Supporting Actress), An American Werewolf in London (1981), and an adaptation of the James Herbert novel The Survivor (1981). Agutter has commented that the innocence of the characters she played in her early films, combined with the costumes and nudity in later adult roles such as Logan's Run, Equus, and An American Werewolf in London, are "perfect fantasy fodder". [8] [9]

In 1990, Agutter returned to the UK to concentrate on family life and her focus shifted towards British television. During the 1990s, she was cast in an adaptation of Jeffrey Archer's novel Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less and as the scandalous Idina Hatton in the BBC miniseries The Buccaneers , inspired by Edith Wharton's unfinished 1938 book, and made guest appearances in television series such as Red Dwarf and Heartbeat. In 2000, she starred in a third adaptation of The Railway Children, produced by Carlton TV, this time playing the mother. [10] [11] Since then Agutter has had recurring roles in several television series including Spooks , The Invisibles , Monday Monday and The Alan Clark Diaries . In 2012 Agutter resumed her Hollywood career, appearing as a member of the World Security Council in the blockbuster film The Avengers ; she reprised her role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). She currently plays Sister Julienne in the BBC television drama series Call the Midwife .


Agutter has appeared in numerous theatre productions since her stage debut in 1970, including stints at the National Theatre in 1972–73, the title role in a derivation of Hedda Gabler at the Roundhouse in 1980 and with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982–83. In 1987–88, Agutter played the role of Pat Green in the Broadway production of the Hugh Whitemore play Breaking the Code , about computer pioneer Alan Turing. [12] In 1995 she was in an RSC production of Love's Labour's Lost staged in Tokyo. [12] She is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children in the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres. [13]


In 2008, she also guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Bride of Peladon [14] and played an outlawed scientist in The Minister of Chance . [15] She has appeared as a guest star character ("Fiona Templeton") in the Radio 4 comedy Ed Reardon's Week . [16]


Agutter appears on the 1990 Prefab Sprout song "Wild Horses", speaking the words "I want to have you". [17]

Personal life

At a 1989 arts festival in Bath, Somerset, Agutter met Johan Tham, a Swedish hotelier [18] who was a director of Cliveden Hotel in Buckinghamshire. [19] They married in August 1990, [20] and their son Jonathan [21] was born on 25 December 1990. [18] Agutter lives in London, but has a keen interest in Cornwall [22] and once owned a second home there on the Trelowarren Estate, in one of the parishes on the Lizard peninsula. [23]

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for charitable services. [24]

Agutter has been attached to several causes throughout her career. She has been involved in raising awareness of the illness cystic fibrosis, which she believes was responsible for the deaths of two of her siblings. Her niece has the disease. At Agutter's suggestion, an episode of Call the Midwife focused on cystic fibrosis. [25] She has also worked in support of charities, in particular the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, of which she is a patron (she is also a carrier of the genetic mutation). [26] [27] [28] In August 2014, Agutter was also one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September 2014's referendum on that issue. [29]



1964 East of Sudan Asua
1966 A Man Could Get Killed Linda Frazier
1968 Gates to Paradise Maud
Star! Pamela Roper
1969 I Start Counting Wynne
1970 The Railway Children Roberta "Bobbie" Waterbury
1971 Walkabout Girl
1976 Logan's Run Jessica 6
The Eagle Has Landed Molly Prior
1977 Equus Jill Mason BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
The Man in the Iron Mask Louise de la Vallière
1978 China 9, Liberty 37 Catherine Sebanek
Dominique Ann Ballarda.k.a. "Dominique Is Dead"
1979 The Riddle of the Sands Clara
1979 Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure Priscilla Mullins
1980 Sweet William Ann Walton
1981 Amy Amy Medford
The Survivor HobbsNominated – Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
An American Werewolf in London Nurse Alex PriceNominated – Saturn Award for Best Actress
1984 Secret Places Miss Lowrie
1989 Dark Tower Carolyn Page
1990 King of the Wind Hannah Coke
Child's Play 2 Joanne Simpson
Darkman Burn DoctorUncredited Cameo
1992 Freddie as F.R.O.7 Daffers
1995 Blue Juice Mary Fenton
2001 The Parole Officer Victor's Wife
2002At DawningEscaping womanShort film
2004Number One Longing, Number Two RegretKenosha
2006Heroes and VillainsJune
2007 Irina Palm Jane
2009 Glorious 39 Maud Keyes
2010 Burke and Hare Lucy
2011 Outside Bet Shirley Baxter
Golden BrownSarah
2012 The Avengers Councilwoman Hawley
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2015 Queen of the Desert [30] Florence Bell
TinMarjorie Dawson
2018 Sometimes Always Never Margaret
2022 The Railway Children Return Roberta "Bobbie" Waterbury


1965 The Newcomers Kirsty KerrBBC TV series
1968 The Railway Children Roberta FaradayBBC TV series
1970 The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens Young Maria Beadnall / Mary Hogarth / Ellen TernanTV film
1971 The Snow Goose Fritha Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
1972The Wild DuckHedvigBBC TV "Play of the Month" broadcast on BBC 1 on 19 March
A War of ChildrenMaureen TomeltyAmerican (CBS) TV film set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles
ShelleyMary ShelleyBBC TV series
1974 Thriller Dominie LancefordSeries 2, Episode 3: "Kiss Me and Die"
1975 Shadows SueSeason One, Episode Four: "The Waiting Room"
1977 The Six Million Dollar Man Dr. Leah Russell"Deadly Countdown" Parts 1 & 2
1980 Beulah Land Lizzie CorlayTV mini-series
1985 Love's Labour's Lost RosalineBBC TV film
Magnum, P.I. Krista VillerochSeason 5, Episode 96: "Little Games"
Silas MarnerNancy LammeterBBC TV film
1986 The Twilight Zone Morgan le Fay Season 1, Episode 24: "The Last Defender of Camelot"
Murder, She Wrote Margo ClaymoreSeason 3, Episode 4: "One White Rose for Death"
1987 The Twilight Zone JacindaSeason 2, Episode 10: "Voices in the Earth" [31]
1990 Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less Jill AlberyBBC TV mini-series
1992 Dream On Ellen Season 3, Episode 22: "No Deposit, No Return"
1993 Red Dwarf Professor Mamet"Psirens"
1994 Heartbeat Susannah Temple-Richards Series 4, Episode 8: "Fair Game"
1995 The Buccaneers Idina HattonBBC TV mini-series
2000 The Railway Children MotherITV
2002 Spooks Tessa Phillips BBC TV series
2003 Britain's Finest Presenter Channel 5 Series 1, Episode 2: "Gardens"
2004 The Alan Clark Diaries Jane ClarkBBC TV series
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Jemma SandersonBBC TV Series 3, Episode 3
Agatha Christie's Marple Agnes CrackenthorpeSeries 1, Episode 3: "4.50 from Paddington"
2005 New Tricks Yvonne BarrieBBC TV Series 2, Episode 1
2006 Agatha Christie's Poirot Adela MarchmontSeason 10, Episode 4: "Taken at the Flood"
2007 Diamond Geezer VanessaITV series
2008 The Invisibles Barbara RileyBBC TV series
2009 Monday Monday Jenny MountfieldITV1 TV series
2010 Midsomer Murders Isobel ChetthamITV1 TV series, Episode 72: "The Creeper"
2012–present Call the Midwife Sister JulienneBBC TV series

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