Born in Golders Green in London on May 26th 1966, Helena Bonham Carter was born into a family with significant ties to British politics. Her Grandmother Violet was Baroness Asquith of Yarnbury, whilst Helena’s Great-Grandfather H.H Asquith was one time Primer Minister of Great Britain.
Raised with her two brothers Edward and Thomas, she was privately educated in London, and upon winning a national writing contest aged sixteen, paid for membership into actors directory ‘Spotlight’. Following minor appearances in front of the camera, Bonham Carter’s first major film role was in the 1984 costume drama Lady Jane. It was A Room With A View that was her breakthrough role however, (filmed after Lady Jane but released beforehand) and following a handful of other film and television appearances (including two episodes of Miami Vice), by 1990 she landed the role of Ophelia in Franco Zeffirelli’s screen version of Hamlet. Bonham Carter revisited Shakespeare by portraying Olivia in 1996’s Twelfth Night.
Merlin (for which she was Emmy and Golden Globe nominated), Frankenstein and Howard’s End were further films that enhanced Bonham Carter’s reputation as one of Britain’s finest young actresses, but it was 1997’s ‘The Wings Of A Dove’ that saw widespread acclaim come her way. Based on Henry James’ 1902 novel, her portrayal of Kate Croy, a woman who plans with the man she loves for him to woo a terminally ill yet wealthy woman saw her nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar, ultimately losing out in the latter to Helen Hunt. By the time she was cast as Marla Singer in David Fincher’s critically acclaimed Fight Club, she was a household name.
The turn of the Millennium saw Bonham Carter star in the big screen remake of Planet Of The Apes, but the film was deemed by many critics a flop. It was the first of five collaborations with director Tim Burton, with Big Fish, The Corpse Bride (voice only), Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and her Golden Globe nominated appearance in Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street following. The pair have been an item since meeting on the set of Planet Of The Apes, with Bonham Carter having previously dated her Frankenstein co-star Kenneth Branagh. Bonham Carter and Burton have two children, Billy Ray and Nell.
Like in The Corpse Bride, Bonham Carter lent her vocal talents to 2005’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, and has played Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, having replaced Helen McCroy who stepped down due to pregnancy. Bonham Carter will reprise the role in the remaining three Harry Potter films, and has also been cast in the upcoming Terminator sequel Terminator Salvation.