Actress Minnie Driver became known to the world as the chubby Benny in the movie ‘Circle of Friends’. The multi-talented personality’s interest in music has also made her a popular singer and a song writer. This beauty of British origin entered the entertainment world in 1990 with a small role in a TV series. Her appearance in a deodorant advertisement `Right Guard’, was her first brush with popularity. She realized acting was her vocation after watching Meryl Streep in ‘Sophie’s Choice’. Originally named Amelia Fiona J Driver, she is popularly known by her nickname ‘Minnie’. During her early years, she sang jazz vocals and played guitar for a few extra bucks. Linked romantically to stars John Cusack and Matt Damon, she has seen many relationships. Her much-publicized engagement with actor Josh Broslin eventually ended. She has a son whose father’s name she later revealed as Timothy J Lea. He was a writer for the TV series ‘The Riches’ in which she had starred. She has a home close to the sea to pursue her surfing passion. Her latest song album is ‘Ask Me to Dance’. The popular and talented actress and singer has received many awards and accolades over the course of her brilliant career.
Childhood & Early Life
Minnie Driver (original name Amelia Fiona J Driver) was born in 1970 on January 31 in London, as a result of an affair between millionaire Ronald Driver and designer Gaynor Churchward (née Millington). Ronnie, has her father was popularly called, had an extra-marital relationship with her mother, about which his legally wedded wife was not aware of.
Her father was a World War II front gunner and mother was a former couture model. Ronnie’s wife was kept out of the fact that he had another family. When Minnie was six years old, her parents separated.
She has an elder sister, Kate Driver, a model, who is now a producer and manager. From her father’s marriage she has a step-brother Charlie Driver. Her mother’s subsequent marriage gave her another step-brother Ed Churchward.
A resident boarder at Bedales School in Hampshore, she travelled to Barbados (where her father resided) during school holidays. She had a cultured upbringing attending finishing schools at Paris and Grenoble.
Minnie developed her skills as an actor at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. She is an alumnus of the prestigious Collingham College in Kensington.
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Minnie Driver appeared in a minor role in a TV series in 1990. Her career took off in 1991 with a TV commercial ad for ‘Right Guard’ deodorant. In the same year, she made her first stage appearance.
Her name popped up on TV now and then due to a small part in the series ‘Casualty’. During the same time, her name became associated with the famous comedians Armando Iannucci and Steve Coogan. Other sitcoms where she appeared were `Love Joy’, `The House of Eliott’ and `Peak Practice’.
The movie ‘Circle of Friends’ released in 1995, found her many admirers as she played one of the lead roles alongside Chris O’ Donnell. This was a major turning point in her career. The same year saw her act in a 007 movie `Golden Eye’. In the subsequent years she played roles in the blockbuster movies, `Sleepers’ and `Grosse Pointe Blank’.
Minnie’s Oscar nomination was announced in 1997 for acting in the much acclaimed movie, ‘Good Will Hunting’. She was nominated in the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ category. The same movie got her a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award and London Film Critics Circle Award. Out of her many rumored flings, her name was linked with the lead actor Matt Damon.
In her film career, Minnie Driver has featured in many movies in a variety of meaty roles. The late 1990s saw her appear in a number of hit movies like ‘Hard Rain’ with Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater, ‘The Governess’, and ‘An Ideal Husband’. The well-liked ‘Will & Grace’ TV comedy series witnessed her act in a persistent role as the character Lorraine Finster.
Some of the movies she acted in from 2000 onwards are ‘Return to Me’ followed by `Owning Mahowny’, `Ella Enchanted’, `The Phantom of the Opera’, `Delirious’ and `Take’. Other roles to her credit are her appearance in one of the episodes of ‘Modern Family.’
Her association with the TV series ‘The Riches’, earned her several award nominations and also got her a son, fathered by the sitcom writer and TV producer, Timothy J Lea.
She waited for five months after her son Henry Story Drivers’ birth to begin work in the drama film ‘Conviction’ which was released in 2010. She followed it with a stellar performance in ‘Barney’s Version’ for which she received the `Genie Award’ under the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ category.
She starred in a TV movie called ‘Return to Zero’ for which she got nominations for the 2014 Critics’ Choice Television Award and Primetime Emmy Award.
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Minnie Driver appeared in the recently aired ‘About a Boy’ NBC series in 2014-15. She also acted in the film ‘The Crash’ directed by Aram Rappaport, released in 2017.
In 1997, Minnie Driver appeared in a major role in the movie ‘Good Will Hunting’ which also starred Robin Williams, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck. The film was a critical as well as commercial success and made Driver a well-known name.
In 2004, she released the album ‘Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket’ followed by ‘Seastories’ in 2007. Her latest album is titled ‘Ask Me to Dance’. Her songs have gotten her a huge fan following due to their popularity.
Her voice was used in Disney’s `Tarzan’ movie in 1999 and also, as `Lady Eboshi’ in `Princess Mononoke’, a Japanese film dubbed in English.
Awards & Achievements
Minnie Driver won the ‘Most Promising Actress’ prize in ‘Chicago Film Critics Association Awards’ for ‘Circle of Friends’ in 1995. She has also been nominated for several esteemed awards like the Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, MTV Movie Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards’ and many others.
For her role in the film ‘Take,’ she won the California Independent Film Festival Award and Tiburon International Film Festival Award in the Best Actress category in 2007.
Personal Life & Legacy
Minnie Driver had a brief romance with actor Josh Broslin who she was once engaged to. They broke up in October 2001 after claims that Barbra Streisand (Josh’s step-mother) was too interfering.
She has a son Henry Story Driver with TV producer and writer Timothy J. Lea.
She is a vegetarian who loves the sea and has a residence very near a beach owing to her surfing passion.
She keeps her private life a well-guarded secret and even refused to come out with the name of her son’s father for quite some time. She eventually yielded the information. Currently, the internet is posted with images of her with boyfriend Neville Wakefield, a renowned art curator.
There is a bitter feud brewing between Minnie and her neighbours in Hollywood over a property border dispute. This has been going on for about a year and the quarrel is said to have headed to court for settlement.