Emma Thompson (born 15 April 1959) is a British actress, comedian, screenwriter and author. She first came to prominence in 1987 in two BBC TV series, Tutti Frutti and Fortunes of War, she won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her work in both. Her first major film role was in the 1989 romantic comedy The Tall Guy. In 1992, Thompson won multiple acting awards, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress, for her performance in the British drama Howards End. The following year Thompson garnered dual Academy Award nominations, as Best Actress for The Remains of the Day and as Best Supporting Actress for In the Name of the Father.
In 1995, Thompson scripted and starred in Sense and Sensibility, a film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel of the same name, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role among other awards. Other notable film and television credits have included the Harry Potter film series, Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Wit (2001), Love Actually (2003), Angels in America (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005), Stranger than Fiction (2006), Last Chance Harvey (2008), An Education (2009), Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), Men in Black 3 (2012) and Brave (2012). In 2012, Thompson authored The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the publication of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Thompson is a patron of the Refugee Council and president of the Teaching Awards.
Thompson was born in Paddington, London, England. Her father was English director and actor Eric Thompson, best known for having written and narrated The Magic Roundabout, shown on BBC children's television in the 1960s and 1970s. Her mother is the Scottish actress Phyllida Law and her younger sister is actress Sophie Thompson. Thompson has spent part of her life in Scotland and has stated that she "feel[s] Scottish".
While at Cambridge, Thompson was romantically involved with actor Hugh Laurie, a fellow Footlights member and an undergraduate at Selwyn College, just across the road from Newnham. Thompson continues her friendship with Laurie.
She married actor Kenneth Branagh on 20 August 1989. They acted together several times, in the TV series Fortunes of War, and in hit films such as Dead Again, Henry V, Peter's Friends, and Much Ado About Nothing. They divorced in October 1995.
Thompson married actor Greg Wise in 2003 in Dunoon, Scotland (she has a second home in nearby Ardentinny). The couple have a daughter, Gaia Romilly, born in 1999. In 2003, the couple informally adopted a 16-year-old Rwandan refugee named Tindyebwa Agaba and support ActionAid since 2000. They successfully resisted his deportation back to Rwanda, his family having been killed in the genocide.