There is a glow of goodness and normalcy about actress Emma Thompson (1959-). Born in London, England, the star graduated from Cambridge in 1982 with a degree in English Literature. Her father was a successful director and her mother and younger sister are both actors.
"I place a high moral value on the way people behave," she once said. "I find it repellent to have a lot, and to behave with anything other than courtesy in the old sense of the word -- politeness of the heart, a gentleness of the spirit."
With radiant talent, Thompson wowed critics and won the Best Actress Oscar in the Merchant-Ivory adaptation of Howards End (1992). She spent five years writing the screenplay for Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1995, w/Kate Winslet), which won her another Oscar.
"You learn more from the experience of failing to please than you do from accepting an award," observed Thompson, who speaks French fluently and consistently celebrates grace and intelligence in her work.
The actress wrote the teleplay and starred in HBO's Wit (2001). Based on Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning play, the acclaimed drama captured the passion of a poetry professor's fight against ovarian cancer.
Of the performance, Thompson said, "I hope the audience gets from it what you always want from any piece of art, to have yourself shifted outside of yourself for a second."
Thoughtful and dedicated to excellence, Emma has taken a lead role in launching a global coalition to spread awareness about AIDS, particularly the crisis of HIV-infected women in Africa.
"On every level of society in our country and in Africa we have to start waking up and...talking about it," she said. "This disease is here and it kills."
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