Ruth Wilson MBE is an English actress who was born on January 13, 1982. She is best known for her roles as the title character in Jane Eyre (2006), Alice Morgan in the BBC psychological crime drama Luther (2010-2013, 2019), Alison Lockhart in the Showtime drama The Affair (2014-2018), and Mrs Wilson (2018). Since 2019, she has played Marisa Coulter in the BBC/HBO fantasy series His Dark Materials, for which she received the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actress in 2020. Her filmography includes roles in The Lone Ranger (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), and Dark River (2017). (2017).
Wilson has three Olivier Award nominations and two wins, including Best Actress for her performance as Anna Christie and Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. She is also a two-time Tony Award nominee for her performances on Broadway in Constellations and King Lear. She received nominations for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Drama for her role in Jane Eyre, for which she won a Golden Globe.
Wilson was born in Ashford, the daughter of investment banker Nigel Wilson and probation officer Mary Metson. Tobias "Toby" Wilson, Samuel "Sam" Wilson (a BBC journalist), and Matthew Wilson are her three older brothers. She is the granddaughter of novelist and MI6 officer Alexander Wilson and his third wife, Alison (née McKelvie), whom he had three times. Her paternal great-grandmother was from Ireland. Wilson was raised as a Catholic in Shepperton, Surrey.
She attended Notre Dame School, an independent Catholic girls' school in Cobham, before transferring to Esher College for sixth form. She worked as a model as a teenager. She studied history at the University of Nottingham and was involved in student drama at the Nottingham New Theatre while there. In 2003, she graduated from Nottingham, and in July 2005, she graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). She later co-founded Hush Productions. During her time at Nottingham, she took part in the TV war strategy game Time Commanders, where she assisted her teammates in the Battle of Pharsalus.
Wilson had one professional screen credit prior to her role in Jane Eyre: Suburban Shootout, a situation comedy in which she co-starred with Tom Hiddleston. In 2006-2007, she appeared as the young Mary in the second series of Suburban Shootout, a new Agatha Christie's Marple mystery (Nemesis) for ITV, and Stephen Poliakoff's BBC television drama Capturing Mary.
Wilson played Tanya in Gorky's Philistines at the Royal National Theatre from May to August 2007. She presented the 2007 Lilian Baylis Awards in June. Other 2007 projects included a guest appearance as Alison Fennel in the sitcom Freezing (which aired on BBC2 on 21 February 2008); narration of the documentary The Polish Ambulance Murders (which aired on BBC4 on 5 February 2008); and the portrayal of a mentally ill doctor in the dramatised documentary The Doctor Who Hears Voices (transmitted on UK Channel 4, 21 April 2008).
She played Stella in the Donmar Warehouse revival of A Streetcar Named Desire from July 23 to October 3, 2009. Wilson played the Village doctor, "No. 313," in the 2009 TV miniseries remake of The Prisoner, which premiered on AMC Television and ITV on November 15, 2009. She portrayed "Queenie" in a BBC1 adaptation of Andrea Levy's Small Island, which aired in December 2009 and was also broadcast on PBS in the United States in 2010.
She has played Alice Morgan, a research scientist and highly intelligent individual described by Luther as a narcissist, in the British psychological police drama Luther since 2010. Neil Cross, the series' creator, announced in September 2012 that he was working on a Luther spin-off centred on Wilson's character, though this has yet to happen as of 2018. As previously stated, "The BBC is enthusiastic about the project. The only real question would be how many and how frequently we would do it, whether it would be a one-time or recurring miniseries, a co-production or not." Wilson did not appear in Luther series four due to scheduling conflicts with The Affair, but she did return for series five.
Wilson co-starred with Jude Law in Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse from August 4 to October 8, 2011. Her performance prompted The Guardian to devote an editorial to Wilson's "courageous, edgy and compelling talent".
Wilson debuted as Alison Bailey in Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi's drama television series The Affair in 2014. She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Drama in January 2015 for her performance in the series' first season. She left the show after four seasons in 2018. Wilson left due to "frustrations with the nudity required of her, friction with Treem over the direction of her character, and what she ultimately felt was a 'hostile work environment,'" according to a December 2019 report.
Wilson made her Broadway debut at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in Nick Payne's play Constellations. She co-starred with Jake Gyllenhaal in the play, which ran from January 12 to March 14, 2015. She received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her performance.
Oz Perkins's film, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Wilson played Hedda Gabler in a new version by Patrick Marber at the Royal National Theatre from December 2016 to February 2017. The production, and especially Wilson's performance, received critical acclaim.
Wilson starred as Alison Wilson, her real-life grandmother, in the BBC drama Mrs Wilson in November 2018. Alison Wilson was the third of four wives of novelist and former MI6 officer Alexander Wilson. They had been together for 22 years. Alison discovered another wife of her husband's after his death in 1963, with whom she eventually collaborated on the funeral. The other wife and her children attended the funeral as 'distant relatives' to avoid adding to the shock for his children.
Alison died in 2005, unaware that he had two more wives. In a December 2018 Radio Times interview, Ruth Wilson explained that the script for the series, which showed Alison uncovering all of the wives, was dramatised to reveal the full story during the series. She also served as an executive producer for the show.
Wilson won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actress in October 2020 for her portrayal of Marisa Coulter in His Dark Materials. It was announced in November 2020 that she would play Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul in a film adaptation of J. T. Rogers' Tony Award-winning play Oslo.
Wilson was awarded the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for her contributions to drama.
|2007||Get Off My Land||Woman||Short film|
|2012||Anna Karenina||Princess Betsy|
|2013||The Lone Ranger||Rebecca Reid|
|Saving Mr. Banks||Margaret Goff|
|2016||I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House||Lily|
|2017||How to Talk to Girls at Parties||PT Stella|
|2018||The Little Stranger||Caroline Aryes|
|TBA||The Book of Ruth||Ruth||Post-production|
|2022||See How They Run||Petula Spencer|
|2003||Time Commanders||Herself||Episode: "Pharsalus"|
|2006||Jane Eyre||Jane Eyre||4 episodes|
|2006–07||Suburban Shootout||Jewel Diamond||10 episodes|
|2007||Agatha Christie's Marple||Georgina Barrow||Episode: "Nemesis"|
|2007||Capturing Mary||Young Mary||Television film|
|2007||A Real Summer||Mary / Geraldine||Television film|
|2008||Freezing||Alison Fennel||Episode: "#1.2"|
|2008||The Doctor Who Hears Voices||Ruth||Television film|
|2009||Small Island||Queenie||Television film|
|2009||The Prisoner||Sara / 313||6 episodes|
|2010–19||Luther||Alice Morgan||13 episodes|
|2014–18||The Affair||Alison Bailey||Main role, 33 episodes|
|2017||Reported Missing||Narrator||Series 1, 3 episodes|
|2018||Mrs Wilson||Alison Wilson||3 episodes|
|2019–22||His Dark Materials||Marisa Coulter||Main role, 20 episodes|
|2021||Oslo||Mona Juul||Television film|
|2007||Philistines||Tanya||Lyttelton Theatre / Royal National Theatre|
|2009||A Streetcar Named Desire||Stella||Donmar Warehouse|
|2010||Through a Glass Darkly||Karin||Almeida Theatre|
|2011||Anna Christie||Anna Christie||Donmar Warehouse|
|2013||The El Train||Mrs Rowland, Rose||Hoxton Hall|
|2015||Constellations||Marianne||Samuel J. Friedman Theatre|
|2016–2017||Hedda Gabler||Hedda Gabler||Royal National Theatre|
|2019||King Lear||Cordelia / Fool||Cort Theatre|
|2022||The Human Voice||Woman||Harold Pinter Theatre|
|2008||The Mayor of Casterbridge||Elizabeth-Jane||BBC Radio 4|
|2009||The Promise||Lika||BBC Radio 3|
|2009||The Lady of the Camellias||Marguerite Gautier||BBC Radio 4|
|2010||Spitfire!||Daphne||BBC Radio 4|
|2007||British Academy Television Award||Best Actress||Jane Eyre||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||A Streetcar Named Desire||Won|
|2012||Best Actress||Anna Christie||Won|
|2014||Golden Globe Award||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||The Affair||Won|
|2015||Satellite Award||Best Actress in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Tony Award||Best Leading Actress in a Play||Constellations||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Honoree|
|2017||Satellite Award||Best Actress in a Drama Series||The Affair||Nominated|
|British Independent Film Award||Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film||Dark River||Nominated|
|Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actress||Hedda Gabler||Nominated|
|2019||British Academy Television Award||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Mrs Wilson||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||King Lear||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|2020||BAFTA Cymru||Best Actress||His Dark Materials (TV series)||Won|
|2021||British Independent Film Award||Best Actress||True Things||Nominated|
|Stockholm Film Festival||Best Actress||Won|
|Satellite Award||Actress in a Miniseries, Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television||Oslo||Nominated|