Who Is Uma Thurman?
Uma Thurman first made a splash in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, earning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination. After starring in The Avengers and Batman and Robin, she later garnered more attention for another collaboration with Tarantino, as a vengeful, sword-slashing assassin in the two-volume epic Kill Bill.
Early Life and Films
Actress Uma Thurman was born on April 29, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts. Named for a Hindu deity, Thurman made her film debut in Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987), a low-budget thriller. Her first well-known role was as Venus in Terry Gilliams's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). Wearing only hair extensions in her brief performance as the Roman goddess of love, the alluring young actress went on to take a number of sexually charged roles over the next few years.
At age 18, she bared all in Dangerous Liasons (1988), a big-budget period piece starring John Malkovich and Glenn Close, and in 1989 she starred in Henry and June, the first film to be released with an NC-17 rating.
After appearing in a number of marginally successful Hollywood movies, Thurman stepped off the beaten track to appear in Pulp Fiction (1994), the second movie by acclaimed independent director Quentin Tarantino. For her nuanced performance as a glamorous underworld moll, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
Thurman capitalized on the popular success of Pulp Fiction by appearing in a series of big-budget productions, including Gattaca (1997), Batman and Robin (1997), Les Miserables (1998) and The Avengers (1998). Shen then embarked on a more "independent" tack, favoring a series of riskier projects that included Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown (1999), a Merchant/Ivory production of Henry James' The Golden Bowl (2000) and Chelsea Walls (2001), directed by then-husband Ethan Hawke.
'Kill Bill' and 'The Producers'
In 2003 and '04, Thurman starred in Tarantino's two-volume epic Kill Bill as a vengeful sword slashing assassin. The actress also starred with Ben Affleck in the sci-fi thriller Paycheck. With 2005's The Producers, Thurman took on musical comedy with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
But her humor missed its mark with My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), which proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment. Directed by Griffin Dunne, 2008's The Accidental Husband also explored love and revenge. It featured Thurman as a radio talk show host who convinces a woman to break up with her boyfriend.
In recent years, Thurman has taken on a variety of roles, from playing a mythic monster in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) to a powerful Parisian woman in Bel Ami (2012), as one of Robert Pattinson's love interests. She also had a recurring television role around this time, on the musical drama Smash, and later appeared in the culinary-themed drama Burnt (2015), with Bradley Cooper.
After a series of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement in late 2017, Thurman signaled that she would weigh in on the matter soon enough.
The moment came in a New York Times interview published in February 2018. Thurman said that she, too, had been violated by the studio chief, but admitted to more complicated feelings on the subject, as she felt that her contributions to Weinstein-produced flicks like Pulp Fiction enhanced his image as someone other actresses could feel comfortable working with
The interview also provided some startling revelations about Tarantino: According to the actress, some of the more difficult scenes from the Kill Bill films, including footage of its star getting spat on and being strangled by chains, were conducted by the director himself. Furthermore, he refused to use a stunt driver for one scene, even through the actress didn't feel safe in the reconfigured car. Thurman ultimately lost control of the car and crashed, resulting in a concussion and knee and neck pain that continues to plague her.
Thurman married British actor Gary Oldman in 1990. They divorced in 1992. In 1998, she married Gattaca co-star Ethan Hawke, and in the same year they welcomed their first child, Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke. In 2001, the couple had a son, Roan. Thurman and Hawke split up two years later and divorced in 2004. Thurman and boyfriend Arpad Busson welcomed a daughter on July 15, 2012.
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