Birth name
Julie Frances Christie
5' 2" (1.57 m)
Mini biography

Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom `Al Pacino' called "the most poetic of all actresses," was born in Chukua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1941, the daughter of a tea planter and his Welsh wife Rosemary, who was a painter. The young Christie grew up on her father's tea plantation before being sent to England for her education. Finishing her studies in Paris, where she had moved to improve her French with an eye to possibly becoming a linguist (she is fluent in French and Italian), the teenager became enamored of the freedom of the Continent. She also was smitten by the bohemian life of artists and planned on becoming an artist before she enrolled in London's Central School of Speech Training. She made her debut as a professional in 1957 as a member of the Frinton Repertory of Essex. Christie was not fond of the stage, even though it allowed her to travel, including a professional gig in the United States. Her true métier as an actress was film, and she made her debut in the science-fiction television series "A for Andromeda," Her first film was a bit part in the Ealing-like comedy "Crooks Anonymous" (1961), which was followed up by a larger ingénue role in another comedy, "The Fast Lady" (1962). The producers of the James Bond series were sufficiently intrigued by the young actress to consider her for the role that subsequently went to Ursula Andress in "Doctor No" (1962), but dropped the idea because she was not busty enough. Christie first worked with the man who would kick her career into high gear, director `John Schlesinger' , wen he choose her as a replacement for the actress originally cast in "Billy Liar" (1963). Christie's turn in the film as the free-wheeling Liz was a stunner, and she had her first taste of becoming a symbol if not icon of the new British cinema. Her screen presence was such that the great `John Ford' cast her as the young prostitute in "Young Cassidy" (1965). Charlton Heston wanted her for his film "The War Lord" (1965), but the studio refused her salary demands. Although Amercan magazines portrayed Christie as a "newcomer" when she made her breakthrough to superstardom in Schlesinger's seminal Swinging Sixties film "Darling" (1965), she actually had considerable work under her professional belt and was in the process of a artistic quickening. Playing an amoral social butterfly who undergoes a metamorphosis from immature sex kitten to jaded socialite, Christie won raves, including the Best Actress Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Film Academy. She had arrived, especially as she had followed up "Darling" with the role of Lara in `David Lean' 's adaptation of `Boris Pasternak' 's "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), one of the all-time box-office champs. Christie was now a superstar who commanded a price of $400,000 per picture, a fact ruefully noted in Charlton Heston's diary (his studio had balked at paying her then-fee of $35,000). More interested in film as an art form than in consolidating her movie stardom, Christie followed up "Zhivago" with a dual role in "Fahrenheit 451" (1966) for director `Francois Truffaut' , a director she admired. Next, she starred as Thomas Hardy heroine Bathsheba Everdene in Schlesinger's "Far From the Madding Crowd" (1967), a film that is far better remembered now than when it was received in 1967. Critics lambasted the film and Chrisite for being too "mod" and thus untrue to one of Hardy's classic tales of fate. Critics suggested that the character of Bathsheba would have been better served by `Vanessa Redgrave' , who was a more accomplished actress than Christie, the argument went, and who would have been "truer" to the part as written by Hardy.

While Redgrave is a fine actress, in hindsight, Christie is better cast as she is more likely to fatally attract the attentions of three men and thus utterly transform their lives. With her unique beauty and possessed of a free spirit that animates her on-screen characterizations, Christie had a movie star charisma that is lacking in Redgrave. Perhaps that is why, along with the beautiful cinematography of `Nicholas Roeg' , the movie is much thought of now. It is believable that three very disparate men (played by the very disparate actors Alan Bates, Peter Finch and Terence Stamp) would give over their lives wholly to a woman of Christie's charisma, whereas Redgrave -- as is evidenced by her flat portrayal of Queen Guinevere in "Camelot" (1967) -- likely would only have won the life-long devotion of a fellow Trotskyite. Almost thirty years later, Schlesinger's rapid cutting in the scene in which Stamp's trooper impresses Christie's Bathsheba with his swordsmanship is no longer jarringly modern but part of the cinematic tradition. And it must be kept in mind that a film is a mirror of the time in which it is made, not of the era in which the material adapted to the screen was created, and "Far From The Madding Crowd" is a prime example of the best of mid-'60s British cinema.

Although no one then knew it, the period 1967-68 represented the high-water mark of Christe's career. Fatefully, like the Hardy heroine she had portrayed, she had met the man who would transform her life and her pretensions to a movie career in their seven-years-long love affair, the American actor Warren Beatty. Living his life was always far more important than being a star for Beatty, who viewed the movie star profession as a "treadmill leading to more treadmills" and who was wealthy enough after "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) to not have to ever work again. Christie and Beatty had visited a working farm during the production of "Madding Crowd" and had been appalled by the industrial exploitation of the animals. Animal rights would henceforth be a very important subject to Christie. Christie's last box-office hit in which she was the top-liner was "Petulia" (1968) for `Richard Lester' , a film that featured one of co-star `George C. Scott' 's greatest performances, perfectly counter-balanced by Christie's portrayal of an "arch-kook" who was emblematic of the `60s. After meeting Beatty, Julie Christe essentially surrendered any aspirations to screen stardom, or at maintaining herself as a top-drawer working actress (success at the box office being a guarantee of the best parts, even in art films.) She turned down the lead in "They Shoot Horses Don't They" (1969) and "Anne of a Thousand Days" (1969), two parts that garnered Oscar nominations for the second choices, Jane Fonda and Geneviève Bujold. After shooting "In Search of Gregory" (1969), a professional and box office flop, to fulfill her contractual obligations, she spent her time with Beatty in Calfiornia, renting a beach house at Malibu.

She did return to form in `Joseph Losey' 's "The Go-Between" (1971), a fine picture with a script by the great `Harold Pinter' , and she won another Oscar nomination as the whore-house proprietor in Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs Miller" that she made with her lover Beatty. However, like Beatty himself, she did not seek steady work, which is professional suicide for an actor who wants to maintain a standing in the first rank of movie stars. (Her idol is Marlon Brando, another notoriously finicky actor who disdained stardom and the Hollywood star-making machine who was more committed to personal causes than to a career.) Beatty, who generally controlled his own projects as producer, could afford to be choosy, but not so Christie. She turned down the role of the Russian Empress in "Nicholas and Alexandra," another film that won the second-choice an Oscar nomination. She dd appear in the landmark mystery-horror film "Don't Look Now" (1974), but that likely was as a favor to the director, Nicholas Roeg, who had been her cinematographer on "Fahrenheit 451," "Far From the Madding Crowd" and "Petulia." In the mid `70s, her affair with Beatty came to an end, but the two remained close friends and worked together in "Shampoo" (1975) and "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), two huge hits. Christie was still enough of a star, due to sheer magnetism rather than her own pull at the box-office, to be offered $1 million to play the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis character in "The Greek Tycoon" (a part eventually played by Jacqueine Bisset to no great acclaim). She signed for but was forced to drop out of the lead in "Agatha" (which was filled by Vanessa Redgrave, oddly miscast against the far shorter `Dustin Hoffman' ) after she broke a wrist roller-skating (a particularly southern Californian fate!). She signed for the female lead in "American Gigolo" (1980) when Richard Gere originally was attached to the picture, but she dropped out when John Travolta muscled his way into the lead. When Travolta himself dropped out and Gere was subbed back in, it was too late for Christe to reconsider, as the part already had been filled by model-actress `Lauren Hutton' . (Christie and Gere eventually appeared together in "Power" (1986), which was directed by `Sidney Lumet' , a director she had longed to work with. She reportedly received $1 million, such was the allure that Christie maintained even though it had been nearly a decade since she was in a hit movie.)

Christie turned down the part of Louise Bryant in "Reds", a part written by Warren Beatty with her in mind, as she felt an American should play the role. Beatty's current over, Diane Keaton, won an Oscar nomination for the part. Still, she remains a part of the film, Beatty's long-gestated labor of love, as it is dedicated to "Jules."

Christie moved back to Britiain and become the UK's answer to Jane Fonda, campaigning for various social and political causes, including animal rights and nuclear disarmament. The parts she did take primarily were driven by her social consciousness, such as appearing in Sally Potter's first feature-length film, "The Gold-Diggers," a feminist parable entirely made by women who all shared the same pay scale. Roles in "The Return of the Soldier" (1982) and Merchant-Ivory's "Heat and Dust" (1983) seemed to herald a return to form, but Christie -- as befits such a symbol of the freedom and lack of conformity of the '60s -- decided to do it her way. She did not go "careering," even though her unique talent and beauty was still very much in demand by filmmakers. At this point, Christie's movie career went into eclipse. Once again, she was particularly choosy about her work, so much so that many came to see her, essentially, as retired.

A career renaissance came in the mid-1990s with her turn as Gertrude in Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" (1996). As Christie said at the time, she didn't feel she could turn Branagh down as he was a national treasure. But the best was yet to come: her turn as the faded movie star married to handyman Nick Nolte and romanced by a younger man in "Afterglow" (1997), which brought her rave notices. She received her third Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, and showed up at the awards as radiant and uniquely beautiful as ever. (Christie was plainly relieved that she did not win the award.)

In the decade since "Afterglow," she has worked steadily on film in supporting roles. Christie, as an actress who eschewed vulgar stardom, proved to be an inspiration to her co-star Sarah Polley, the Canadian actress with a leftist political bent who also abhors Hollywood. Of her co-star in "No Such Thing" (2001) and "The Secret Life of Words" (2005), Polley says that Christie is uniquely aware of her commodification by the movie industry and the mass media during the 1960s. Not wanting to be reduced to a product, she had rebelled and had assumed control of her life and career. Her attitude makes her one of Polley's heroes.

Christie has lived with left-wing investigative journalist Duncan Campbell (a Manchester Guardian columnist) since 1979, first in Wales, then in Ojai, California, and now in London's East End. In addition to her film-work, she has narrated many books-on-tape. In 1995, she made a triumphant return to the stage in a London revival of Harold Pinter's "Old Times," which garnered her superb reviews.


Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#26). [1995]

Born at 10:00am-LMT

Julie's father ran a tea plantation in India, where she grew up.

Measurements: 35B-23-36 (as young ingenue, 1966) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

The off-screen romance of Terence Stamp and Christie while they were filming Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) inspired The Kinks' hit, "Waterloo Sunset", hence the line "Terry met Julie" in the song.

Former co-owner of Katira Productions, along with boyfriend Warren Beatty (named after Beatty's parents Kathlyn and Ira.)

Was best friends with actress Sharon Tate.

Is currently active in nuclear disarmament and animal rights [2004]

Brother Clive Christie is a professor of SouthEast Asian studies at Cambridge University

Close friends with actresses 'Shirley Maclaine' , Catherine Deneuve and Faye Dunaway

Director David Lean nicknamed her 'sunflower' for her beautiful personality and director John Schlesinger nicknamed her 'Trilby' after the 19th century novel about a lovable bohemian

Directors she works with often enjoy working with her so much that they use her several times, Robert Altman in McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) and Nashville (1975); John Schlesinger in Billy Liar (1963), Darling (1965), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) and Separate Tables (1983) (TV); Nicolas Roeg directed her in Don't Look Now (1973) and was cinematographer on Doctor Zhivago (1965), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and Petulia (1968) and lover Warren Beatty used her in Shampoo (1975) and _Heaven Can Wait (1978)_ .

Fluent in English, French, and Italian

Has lived with investigative journalist Duncan Campbell since 1979.

Her idol is Marlon Brando

Her mother Rosemary, a Welsh painter, was a childhood friend of Richard Burton.

In 1967 Time magazine said of her, "What Julie Christie wears has more real impact on fashion than all the clothes of the ten Best-Dressed women combined."

Julie discovered she wanted to become an actress when, at age nine, she snuck out of her Paris boarding school and spent the day with a complete stranger who was an aspiring actor

Julie gave friend Sharon Tate a copy of Thomas Hardy's novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" with the inscription "For my Hardy heroine" (Julie had recently become a Thomas Hardy heroine in Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)). Sharon gave the novel to her husband Roman Polanski shortly before her death. When Polanski later made the film Tess (1979) he dedicated it "For Sharon".

Robert Altman said of her, "She's my incandescent, melancholy, strong, gold-hearted, sphinx-like, stainless steel little soldier."

The infamous dinner-party scene in Shampoo (1975) was completely improvised by Julie and Warren Beatty, much to the surprise of the rest of the cast and director Hal Ashby

Turned down roles in Rosemary's Baby (1968), Valley of the Dolls (1967), American Gigolo (1980), Chinatown (1974), The Godfather (1972) and a re-make of the Greta Garbo classic Camille (1984) (TV).

Was once fashion designer Christian Lacroix's muse, he designed the pink chiffon gown with matching slippers that she wore to the 1971 Academy Awards, and contnued to outfit her throughout her career

Ranked #29 in Mr.Skin's Top 100 Celebrity Nude Scenes

Ranked #34 in Celebrity Skin's 50 Sexiest Starlets of All Time

Ranked #5 in Hello Magazine's 25 British Beauties

Ranked #9 in FHM magazine's '100 sexiest women of all time'

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Movie Stars (#91)

In an April 29, 1966 Life Magazine cover story, Christie named Sidney Lumet as the only American among a list of directors she'd like to work with. Twenty years later, she got her wish, appearing in the Lumet-directed Power (1986).

Turned down the role of Louise Bryant in her former lover Warren Beatty's Reds (1981) as she thought the role should be played by an American. Beatty's then-lover Diane Keaton won a Best Actress Academy Award nomination playing the role.

Originally signed for the role of the Senator's wife in _American Gigolo (1980)_ when Richard Gere was signed to the project, but quit when Gere was ditched in favor of John Travolta. Travolta later dropped out and Gere was hired for the film, but Christie was not offered the role that was eventually played by Lauren Hutton. Ironically, a rumor in the 1970s held that Christie and Hutton were lovers. Christie and Gere would eventually appear together in Sidney Lumet's Power (1986).

Was Charlton Heston's first choice as co-star The War Lord (1965), according to Heston's published diaries "Charlton Heston: The Actor's Life; Journals 1956-1976". She was vetoed by the studio.

Was considered as the first "Bond Girl" for Dr. No (1962). She was not chosen because she was considered to be too flat-chested by the producers.

Was the producers first choice to play Presidential widow Liz Cassidy, a role modeled on Jacqueline Kennedy, in The Greek Tycoon (1978). She turned it down, and the role was played by Jacqueline Bisset.

Lived with Warren Beatty from 1967 to 1974

Turned down roles in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), all roles that won the actresses who eventually played them Best Actress Academy Award nominations.

Accompanied her long-time lover Warren Beatty on a trip to Russia which inspired him to write his Oscar-winning epic Reds (1981) which ultimately took him 13 years to write. Beatty had always planned to have Christie play the role of Louise Bryant, but when Reds (1981) began filming several years after the couple's breakup, Christie turned down the role and Beatty gave it to Diane Keaton. However, Beatty dedicated the film to Christie by hinting to her in his best director Oscar acceptance speech. "For Jules" can also be seen in the final credits of the film.

Favorite filmmaker is Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Turned down the role of Lara in Doctor Zhivago (1965) at the time the most coveted role in Hollywood, several times before finally accepting

Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1979

Her mentor, director John Schlesinger, envisioned a cast of Al Pacino, Julie Christie and Laurence Olivier for Marathon Man (1976). Pacino has said that the only actress he had ever wanted to work with was Christie, who he claimed was "the most poetic of actresses." Producer Robert Evans, who disparaged the vertically challenged Pacino as "The Midget" when Francis Ford Coppola wanted him for The Godfather (1972) and had thought of firing him during the early shooting of the now-classic film, vetoed Pacino for the lead, insisted on the casting of the even-shorter Dustin Hoffman instead! On her part, Christie -- who was notoriously finicky about accepting parts, even in prestigious, sure-fire material -- turned down the female lead, which was then taken by Marthe Keller (who, ironically, became Pacino's lover after co-starring with him in Bobby Deerfield (1977). Of his dream cast, Schlesinger only got Olivier, who was nominated for a "Best Supporting Actor'-Oscar. Pacino has yet to co-star with Christie.

Has played the mother of two Defense Against the Dark Arts professors from the "Harry Potter" series. In Hamlet (1996), she plays the mother of Kenneth Branagh, who went on to play "Gilderoy Lockhart". In Dragonheart (1996), she plays mother to David Thewlis, who plays "Remus Lupin". Christie herself also appears in the third film, with Thewlis.

Has worked with director-screenwriter and actress Sarah Polley three times: co-starring with Polley in No Such Thing (2001) and the Goya Award-winning Vida secreta de las palabras, La (2005) ("The Secret Life of Words"), and taking the lead in Polley's first feature film as a director, Away from Her (2006). Polley is one of the many co-workers impressed by not only Christie's talent, but her intelligence and independence. After appearing with her in No Such Thing (2001) Polley -- who lost her mother when she was 11 years old -- said that Christie had become one of her surrogate mothers.

Future long-term lover Warren Beatty first espied Christie at the 1967 Royal Command Performance of the film Born Free (1966) in London, which he attended with his then-girlfriend, Leslie Caron. Caron and Beatty were situated near Chrstie in the reception line for Queen Elizabeth II, and Beatty first saw Christie in person when he turned to watch the Queen shake hands with her. Beatty inveigled his friend Richard Sylbert, who was production designer on Christie's film Petulia (1968), to tell her to call him. She did, he flew up to the San Francisco location of the Petulia (1968) shoot and, after a rocky start, they became lovers. She made her first public appearance with Beatty at a sneak preview of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) for the Hollywood elite. It took them several months to rid themselves of their then-current lovers before they came together in a committed relationship, although they usually maintained separate households for the length of their long romance. Most of those who knew them said they shared a passion for the truth. Beatty told his friends he had asked Christie to marry him, but she refused as she did not want children. Christie believed in monogamy, but Beatty felt that as long as they weren't married, he could engage in multiple affairs as long as he remained loyal to her. Eventually, Christie tired of his womanizing and their relationship ended after seven years. His longest and most lasting relationship until he married Annette Bening, the mother of his four children, Beatty considered Christie his wife and told the press in 1971 that he would pay her alimony if they split up, if she wanted it. They did, but she didn't. When Beatty was awarded the Irving Thalberg Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in the year 2000, Christie was one of the friends and co-workers who appeared in a film tribute to her former lover.

Her performance as Diana Scott in Darling (1965) is ranked #75 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

Inspired the song "Julie Christie" on the Better than Chocolate soundtrack.

Turned down the role of Laura Fischer, Paul Newman's girlfriend, in The Verdict (1982). Subsequently, Charlotte Rampling was cast in the role.

Personal quotes

"Men don't want any responsibility, and neither do I."

"We showcased a utterly immoral, grotesquely greedy, decadent society that we felt was imminent."- On making Shampoo (1975) with Warren Beatty and Robert Towne

"I'm terribly dependent on him, like a baby to its mother, so we travel backwards and forward to be with each other." - On her relationship with Warren Beatty

"Always a foot soldier, never a general." - on the prospect of ever directing a film

[on fame] "All that concentrated adulation is terribly corroding."

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