Spotlight on All About Eve star Gillian Anderson

Updated on 10 October 2018

From humble beginnings as a small-town, teenage rebel to landing the lead role on one of the most well-known American television series of all time, we’ve got all the juicy details on former X-Files star Gillian Anderson. The actress, who seems to never age and remains remarkably stunning, has enjoyed a magnificent acting career and her road to fame is an interesting one, indeed. Now set to star as Margo Channing in All About Eve, which opens at the Noel Coward Theatre next year, we are casting the spotlight on Gillian Leigh Anderson.

Pictured: Promo shot of Gillian Anderson as Margo Channing in All About Eve

Gillian Anderson was born in 1968 in Chicago, Illinois to Rosemary Alyce and Homer Edward Anderson III, who owned a film post-production company. She spent most of her childhood growing up in North London while her father attended the London Film School. When she was 11, the family moved back to the States, settling down in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As a result of her upbringing in the UK, Anderson is bidialectal and she was often made fun of in the Midwest for having a British accent. She eventually adopted a Midwestern accent to fit in and she is famous to this day for code switching between the two dialects depending on whether she is in the UK or the US. As a teenager, Anderson was a rebel who would dress all in black and listen to punk rock. She sported a nose piercing and would often shave the side of her head or dye her hair multiple colours similar to Cyndi Lauper at the time. She also spent her teenage years experimenting with drugs and many of her classmates voted her to be ‘bizarre’, a ‘class clown’ and a troublemaker who was ‘most likely to get arrested’. And on the night of her high school graduation, getting arrested is exactly what happened to her after she was caught breaking into her school in a failed attempt to pull a prank and glue all the locks on the doors. She got away with it pretty easy, but it’s still hard to picture a young Agent Scully as such a rebellious girl, yet rebellious she was.

During her high school years, Anderson acted in a number of school plays, including Arsenic and Old Lace, and she also performed in community theatre production while working as an intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre & School of Theatre Arts. Following high school, she moved to Chicago to attend The Theatre School at DePaul University where, in 1990, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts. In her senior year of uni, she starred as Eugenie in A Flea in Her Ear. Anderson’s next big move, like many aspiring actors, was to move to the Big Apple where she worked as a waitress to support herself while acting on the side. In 1991, she played Evelyn in Absent Friends at the Manhattan Theatre Club and Celia in The Philanthropist at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1992, Anderson moved to Los Angeles where she spent a year doing auditions and casting calls. She appeared in her first film entitled The Turning before landing her first role on television in a guest spot on Class of ’96. With just this one television credit, Anderson was sent the script for the pilot of The X-Files, and she had no idea it would be her claim to fame. Intrigued with an intelligent woman as a lead character, she gave it a go and impressed the producer, Chris Carter, who wanted to hire her on the spot. However, the Fox Network was initially reluctant to cast her and preferred a woman with a little more sex appeal and television exposure. When Fox sent in more actresses to audition, Carter was still adamant Anderson and the network caved in. Thus, FBI Special Agent Dana Scully was born, making Anderson an instant household name.

Anderson has portrayed the character of Dana Scully for over two decades, including in the series’ initial run from 1993–2002, a 1997 episode of The Simpsons (“The Springfield Files”), the 1998 film The X-Files: Fight the Future and its 2008 sequel The X-Files: I Want To Believe, and the X-Files series revival from 2016–2018. She has won a number of major awards for the role, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama in 1997, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1997, two Screen Actors Guild Awards in 1996 and 1997 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and a Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television.

Anderson is, in fact, the first actress in history to win a SAG, a Golden Globe and an Emmy in the same year, and while we’re talking about records, she was also the first woman to write and direct an episode of The X-Files (Series 7, Episode 17: “all things”). Anderson is also famous for starting an unprecedented phenomenon dubbed The Scully Effect in which many young women were inspired to become scientists, doctors, police officers, and FBI agents thanks to her character, Dana Scully. Considering the shoddy role models that plague pop culture nowadays, cough The Kardashians cough, this was one pretty impressive movement in its day.

Anderson made her Off-West End London stage debut in 1999 when she performed in The Vagina Monologues and returned to perform for the series in 2000. Following the end of the initial run of The X-Files in 2002, Anderson moved back to London where she had long since considered to be home, sweet home. She made her West End stage debut in 2002 when she played Melinda Metz in What The Night Is For at the Comedy Theatre (now the Harold Pinter Theatre) and has since then played in a number of stage productions. Her stage credits include The Sweetest Swing in Baseball at the Royal Court Theatre, We Are One: A celebration of tribal peoples at the Apollo Theatre, and A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic London. Next year’s All About Eve will mark Anderson’s first stage appearance since 2016’s Letters Live at the Freemasons’ Hall.

In addition to her many stage credits, Anderson is also noted for providing the voice of Moro in the 1999 animated film, Princess Mononoke, and for playing Miss Havisham on the 2011 Great Expectations television miniseries, for which Anderson gained critical acclaim after many initially thought she was too young to play the role and was miscast. However, one thing is for sure, Anderson sure knows how to prove everyone wrong.

All About Eve premieres on 2 February 2019 at the Noel Coward Theatre with a booking period set until 11 May 2019. The all-new show based on the 1950 film of the same name is directed by Olivier Award winner Ivo van Hove and also stars Lily James as Eve alongside Gillian Anderson. Tickets to All About Eve are now on sale!

All About Eve is expected to sell out fast! Be sure to book your tickets sharpish for the best seats at the best prices!

Purchase your All About Eve tickets.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.