Personal detailsName: Tilda Swinton
Born: 5 November 1960 (Age: 53)
Where: London, England
Height: 5' 11"
Awards: Won 1 Oscar and 1 BAFTA, nominated for 1 Golden Globe
All about this star
When in 2005 Tilda Swinton appeared as Jadis, the supreme force of evil in the epic fantasy The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, her appointment came as something of a surprise to all. She was not familiar to mainstream audiences, despite having recently appeared alongside Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio. The art-house crowd , knowing her well as Sally Potter's immortal Orlando and a longtime collaborator with Derek Jarman, would not have expected her to contemplate headlining such a blockbuster. Feminists, too, aware of the sexual politics running through much, if not all of Swinton's work, might've blanched at her agreeing to play such an icon of female wickedness. Yet here she was, staring icily out from the posters, daring anyone to argue.
That, at least, should come as no surprise. Tilda Swinton is without doubt the most challenging actress Britain has produced in years. Hailing from a madly traditional family, she broke free during punk times and, unlike most punks, continued to test herself and her audiences with a caustic mixture of art and politics. Becoming known as "the Greta Garbo of the avant garde", she rejected a training with the Royal Shakespeare Company to follow her own wilder path. Though not always easy to decipher, her intelligent experiments have been constantly fascinating to watch. And Jadis is just another of these, as if Swinton decided to become a worldwide superstar simply because it would be something different to do. Her career (though she would never use that word herself) including an Oscar win in 2008, has been literally extraordinary.
She was born Katherine Matilda Swinton on the 5th of November, 1960, in London. She had two older brothers, James and Alexander, with another boy, William, arriving in 1965. Her lineage was excessively impressive, the Swintons' recorded history stretching back well over a thousand years. Their crest, featuring a boar chained to a tree proper (their motto is J'Espere) possibly sprang from their bravery in clearing wild pigs from the woods of Northumbria, which then reached to the north of Edinburgh. Perhaps it simply referred to their property at Swinewood. Certainly their name and crest were first recorded in the year 886 when their Germanic ancestor Edulf, Lord of Bamburgh, officially acknowledged Alfred the Great as his overlord. From then on the family - packed with soldiers, statesmen and priests - would own swathes of property in northern England and southern Scotland, though they'd concentrate themselves in Scotland when William the Conqueror began to subdue Yorkshire, Durham and Nothumberland in his notorious "Harrying of the North".
Throughout British history, the name Swinton would continually pop up.