Olivia Williams

Last updated on the 31 May 2024 by Maeve

Olivia Williams headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 26 July 1968, North London, England.

Olivia Williams, wasn’t destined for a conventional path. Though surrounded by law – both her parents were barristers and her sister followed suit – Olivia gravitated towards the world of storytelling. Her education at South Hampstead High School and Newnham College, Cambridge, honed her intellect and a degree in English Literature provided a strong foundation for her future artistic pursuits.

However, the call of the stage proved irresistible. After graduating, Olivia enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, followed by a prestigious three-year stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

While excelling on stage, Olivia began dipping her toes into the world of television. Her first notable screen appearance came in 1996’s miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” where she played the intelligent and reserved Jane Fairfax.

In 1997, Olivia Williams landed her breakout film role opposite Kevin Costner in “The Postman.” Though the film itself received mixed reviews, Olivia’s talent shone through. This opened doors to a string of critically acclaimed projects, including Wes Anderson’s quirky comedy “Rushmore” (1998) and the supernatural thriller “The Sixth Sense” (1999).

The new millennium brought even more diverse roles. Olivia’s portrayal of the emotionally complex heroine in “The Heart of Me” (2002) earned her a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress. She continued to impress audiences with her performances in films like “Broken” (2008), which saw her reunite with Wes Anderson and Roman Polanski’s political thriller “The Ghost Writer” (2010).

The Halcyon - Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams
The Halcyon – Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams

Television also provided Olivia Williams with a platform to showcase her talent. She brought a touch of sophistication to popular shows like “Friends” and “Dollhouse,” proving her ability to captivate audiences in both episodic and serialised formats. More recently, she has starred in critically acclaimed series like “The Halcyon” and “Counterpart”.

In 2003 she married actor Rhashan Stone and the couple have two daughters.


Suggested viewing


The Heart of Me (2002)

The Heart of Me poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.6

In 1930s London, a passionate affair between a free-spirited woman and her wealthy sister’s husband unravels their lives, leaving a trail of heartbreak and forcing them to confront the consequences of their choices.

Top cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Olivia Williams, Paul Bettany, Eleanor Bron, Luke Newberry, Tom Ward, Gillian Hanna, Andrew Havill.


Miss Austen Regrets (2007)

Miss Austen Regrets poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.0

An aging Jane Austen, famed for her novels about love and marriage, confronts her own romantic regrets while helping her niece traverse the complexities of finding a suitable husband, sparking a poignant reflection on the choices that shaped her life.

Top cast: Olivia Williams, Samuel Roukin, Greta Scacchi, Imogen Poots, Phyllida Law, Pip Torrens, Harry Gostelow, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Bonneville, Adrian Edmondson, Sylvie Herbert, Jason Watkins.

Jane Austen

Pride & Prejudice     Emma tv series poster


The Halcyon (2017)

The Halcyon poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.7

A luxurious London hotel in the heart of World War II becomes a microcosm of wartime Britain. Staff and guests from all walks of life grapple with love, loss and the looming conflict, as the Blitz and social upheaval test the resilience of the human spirit.

Top cast: Steven Mackintosh, Olivia Williams, Hermione Corfield, Matt Ryan, Kara Tointon, Alex Jennings, Mark Benton, Sope Dirisu.


Case Sensitive (2011)

Case Sensitive poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.8

A detective duo with contrasting styles clash while investigating the suspicious deaths of a mother and daughter in their luxurious home. As they delve deeper, hidden secrets and conflicting alibis emerge, forcing them to question if it was murder, suicide or something even more sinister.

Top cast: Olivia Williams, Darren Boyd, Peter Wight, Ralph Ineson, Rupert Graves, Amy Beth Hayes, Tom Goodman-Hill.

More mixed-gender detective duos

McDonald and Dodds poster     Shetland poster


Olivia Williams full filmography @ Wikipedia
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