Katherine Mathilda “Tilda” Swinton (born in London on November 5th 1960) is a British actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films.  She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Michael Clayton.  Her mother, Judith Balfour (Lady Swinton), was Australian, and her father, Major-General Sir John Swinton KCVO, is Scottish. The Swinton Family is an ancient Anglo-Scots family that can trace its lineage to the High Middle Ages.

Swinton attended two independent schools, the West Heath Girls’ School (where she was in the same class as Diana, Princess of Wales), and also Fettes College for a brief period.  In 1983, she graduated from New Hall at Cambridge with a degree in Social and Political Sciences.  While at Cambridge she joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. She has two Honorary Doctorates: one from Napier University in Edinburgh (received in August 2006), and one from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, (received July 2006).  She was a contributing editor to the literary magazine Zembla.

Swinton worked with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, and the Royal Shakespeare Company before embarking on a career in film in the mid-1980s.  Her early film work included several film roles for director Derek Jarman, notably War Requiem (1989) playing a nurse opposite Sir Laurence Olivier as an old soldier.  In 1991, Swinton won theVolpi Cup Best Actress award for her role in the postmodern film Edward II.  Swinton also played the title role in Orlando, Sally Potter’s film version of the novel by Virginia Woolf.  In recent years, Swinton has taken on more mainstream roles and you can see this filmography HERE.

Swinton lives in Nairn, in the Highland area of Scotland, with Scottish painter John Byrne and their twin children: a son, Xavier, and a daughter, Honor.  She travels with her partner Sandro Kopp, a German painter. She has been with Kopp since 2004 and the relationship has Byrne’s blessing. In an interview, Swinton commented on her domestic situation: “It’s the way we have been for nearly four years. I’m very fortunate. It takes some extraordinary men to make a situation like that work.”

SEE ALSO: Charlie Rose Interviews Tilda Swinton


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