Joanne Whalley is an English actress who is known for portraying the role of ‘Liz Diamond’ in the 2009 British crime drama film ‘44 Inch Chest’. She won the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Performance along with her fellow cast members for the film. She has also appeared in numerous television productions in her acting career which started back in 1974. Some of her notable roles on television were of ‘Marjorie Dawson/Sarah Hughes’ in ‘How We Used to Live’, ‘Vanozza Cattaneo’ in ‘The Borgias’, and ‘Claudia’ in ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’. Whalley has appeared in over thirty films in her career; these include ‘Dance with a Stranger’, ‘Willow’, ‘Scandal,’ and ‘A Good Man in Africa’. The actress was nominated at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival for the Best Actress Golden Nymph Award for her role in the series ‘The Borgias’ that impressed everyone. She was also involved in music for a brief time in her early career.
Childhood & Early Life
Joanne Whalley was born in Salford, Lancashire, on August 25, 1961. She went to Bredbury Comprehensive School while growing up in Stockport, Cheshire, and later attended Braeside School of Speech and Drama.
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Joanne Whalley started her career on television with a role in the British soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ in the mid-1970s. Later, she appeared in ‘Crown Court’ as ‘Janice Scott/Linda Mason’ and ‘Emmerdale Farm’ as ‘Angela Read’.
Whalley then picked up the role of ‘Marjorie Dawson/Sarah Hughes’ in the television show ‘How We Used to Live’ in 1976. Over the next few years, she appeared in television shows and TV films like ‘Omnibus’, ‘Coming Home’, ‘A Kind of Loving’, and ‘A Christmas Carol’.
In 1985, Whalley was signed for the role of ‘Emma Craven’ in the British television show ‘Edge of Darkness’. She was part for the show for five episodes and was praised by the critics as well as the audience for her strong performance.
Joanne Whalley appeared in ‘The Singing Detective’ as ‘Nurse Mills’ in 1986 and later played the title character in the television miniseries ‘Scarlett’. She also appeared in the CBS television film ‘Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’.
After a long break from television, Whalley returned with some small roles before featuring in the teen drama series ‘Gossip Girl’ as ‘Princess Sophie Grimaldi’.
She earned a lot of praise for her next role on television in the early 2010s. Whalley portrayed the character of ‘Vanozza Cattaneo’ in the historical series ‘The Borgias’. She was part of the show for 25 episodes, playing one of the lead roles between 2011 and 2013.
Her next big role on television came in 2015 when she appeared in the miniseries ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ as ‘Claudia’ for 12 episodes. She then appeared in the ITV fantasy epic series ‘Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands’ as ‘Rheda’.
Joanne Whalley made her film debut in the 1982 film ‘Pink Floyd—The Wall’. She then went on to appear in over thirty films in her career. Her role in her second film, ‘Dance with a Stranger’, a British tragedy film, is considered one of her better performances to date.
She later appeared in Ron Howard’s directorial fantasy film ‘Willow’ (1988) as ‘Sorsha,’ and the subsequent year, appeared in the drama film ‘Scandal’. ‘Scandal’ was based on an affair involving British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. She played the character of ‘Christine Keeler’ in the movie.
After appearing in films like ‘Kill Me Again’, ‘Navy SEALs’, ‘The Big Man’, and ‘Shattered’, she featured in the Mark Frost directorial ‘Storyville’ as ‘Natalie Tate’. Her next big role came in the 1993 drama film ‘The Secret Rapture’ in which she played the character of ‘Katherine Coleridge’.
In the next decades, Joanne Whalley appeared in films like ‘Mother's Boys’, ‘A Good Man in Africa’, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Little’, ‘Before You Go’, and ‘Flood’.
In 2009, Whalley appeared in the critically acclaimed film ‘44 Inch Chest’ which was the directorial debut of Malcolm Venville. Whalley, along with the rest of the entire cast, won the Best Ensemble Performance award at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards in 2010.
Joanne Whalley’s role of ‘Emma Craven’ in the political drama series ‘Edge of Darkness’ is one of the highlights of her career. She appeared in the series that consisted of six episodes lasting for fifty-five minutes each. Whalley was nominated at the BAFTA TV Awards for Best Actress for her role in the show.
Whalley portrayed the historical figure ‘Giovanna dei Cattanei’ aka Vanozza Cattaneo, the mistress of Cardinal Rodrigo de Borgia (also known as Pope Alexander VI), in the series ‘The Borgias.’ She was nominated in the Outstanding Actress - Drama Series category at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival in 2011 for her strong performance in the series.
Family & Personal Life
Joanne Whalley and actor Val Kilmer got married in 1988, the same year they met for the first time on the set of ‘Willow’. Together, they have two children, Jack Kilmer and Mercedes Kilmer. The couple ended their marriage with a divorce in 1995, citing irreconcilable differences.