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Olivia Colman is a British actress best known for playing Carol Thatcher, the daughter of Margaret Thatcher, in the 2011 biopic The Iron Lady.
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Olivia Colman studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, cutting her professional acting teeth on several episodes of the BBC sketch comedy Bruiser in 2000. With countless TV roles paving the way, in 2011, Colman landed parts in The Iron Lady and Tyrannosaur—films that would bring her dramatic critical acclaim and become her calling cards into the larger film world,
and ultimately lead her to the role of the Queen Mother Elizabeth in the 2012 film Hyde Park on Hudson, among other roles.
Born in 1974 in Norfolk, England, Olivia Colman attended Homerton College, Cambridge, and spent a semester studying to be a teacher. While at Cambridge, thinking she was headed into a drama audition, she "accidentally" auditioned for, and then joined, Footlights, a theatrical club that has become a pillar in the British comedy community (it was here that she met future co-stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb (of The Mitchell and Webb Situation). She went on to receive her dramatic training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, but it was comedy that really launched her career, beginning with the BBC sketch comedy show Bruiser in 2000.
From Bruiser, Colman moved on to a score of other TV series, appearing on 30 shows from 2000 to 2010. Her first was The Mitchell and Webb Situation, on which she appeared several times, and she landed recurring roles on such British shows as Gash, Look Around You, Peep Show and Green Wing. With her work on Green Wing (2004–2006) and Peep Show (2003–2010), her comedic reputation really took hold. For her work on Peep Show, Colman earned a nomination for a British Comedy Awards (best television comedy actress).
When not on TV, Colman has made several forays onto the big screen. With her first effort, Terkel in Trouble, only her voice made it into the animated film, but it was quickly followed by the movies Buried Alive and Confetti (in which she plays a nudist), both low-budget comedies. Hot Fuzz, a comedy that found big success with international audiences, was released in 2007. In the film, Colman plays an overzealous, hypersexed policewoman—a role that shined a spotlight in Colman's comedic chops on the silver screen.
Film work then became more regular for the actress, and she would appear in two more theatrical releases in 2007: I Could Never Be Your Woman and Grow Your Own. Although her acting had been chiefly in comedic and TV roles, and she remained a regular on TV even while making movies, 2011 found Colman landing films that would send her career to a different level.
In 2011, Colman got the role of Carol Thatcher, the daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (played by Meryl Streep) in The Iron Lady, a film that went on to earn several award nominations and wins, bringing the entire cast critical acclaim. Next up was the role of Hannah in Tyrannosaur, which earned Colman a Sundance Film Festival Breakout Performance Award (shared with costar Peter Mullan) and a nomination for a British Independent Film Award.
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Examine this group to learn more about the cast of the 2012 Franklin D. Roosevelt biopic Hyde Park on Hudson. The film stars Bill Murray as FDR, Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt, Samuel West as King George VI, Olivia Colman as the Queen Mother Elizabeth and Laura Linney as Margaret Suckley, a longtime friend of the late president.
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