Olivia Colman Biography

(Known for Her Comedic, Dramatic Roles in Film and Television)

Birthday: January 30, 1974 (Aquarius)

Born In: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK

Olivia Colman is a British actress best known for her critically acclaimed performances in television shows such as Peep Show and The Crown. Born and raised in Norfolk, she became passionate about pursuing acting and enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School from where she learned acting. After acting in theatrical plays in the late 1990s, she made her acting debut with a sketch comedy show titled Bruiser. In the 2000s, she received critical acclaim for her comic roles in various comedy sketch shows, sitcoms, TV series’ and films, such as Confetti, People Like Us, Hot Fuzz and Comedy Lab among others. In 2003, she had her breakthrough with the sitcom Peep Show and by the early 2010s, she had become a highly bankable star. She further received many accolades and major awards for her roles in film such as The Father, The Iron Lady and The Lobster. For The Father and The Favourite, she won the Academy Awards for Best Actress. She has also received Emmy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globe Awards for her performances in TV series such as The Crown, Accused and Twenty Twelve.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In January

Also Known As: Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman

Age: 50 Years, 50 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Ed Sinclair (m. 2001)

father: Keith Colman

mother: Mary

children: Finn Sinclair, Hall Sinclair

Born Country: England

Actresses British Women

Height: 5'7" (170 cm), 5'7" Females

Diseases & Disabilities: Post-natal Depression

City: Norwich, England

More Facts

education: Cambridge University

Childhood & Early Life

Olivia Colman was born Sarah Caroline Olivia Sinclair, on January 30, 1974, in Norwich, Norfolk, England, to Mary and Keith Sinclair. Keith worked as a chartered surveyor while Mary worked as a nurse. She was raised in a middle-class family with two siblings- an elder brother and a younger sister. Her sister Lisa Colman is also an actor.

She grew up in Norfolk and attended Norwich High School for Girls in Holt, Norfolk. She later attended Gresham’s School for her further school education.

Initially, she did not want to become an actor and planned to train to become a teacher. Before her mother took nursing as a career, she was a ballet dancer, which somehow inspired Olivia to pursue performing arts. At the age of 16, she acted for the first time on-stage when she played the titular role of Jean Brodie in a school production of the classic play The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Even though she wanted to pursue acting professionally, she initially attended Homerton College, Cambridge, where she spent a term receiving teacher’s training. But eventually, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an actor and got herself enrolled into the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She graduated from acting school in 1999 and began auditioning for roles in films and television.

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In 2000, she appeared playing a key role of Cathleen in the tragic play titled Long Day’s Journey into the Night, which was organized at the Lyric Theatre, London.

She made her first television appearance in 2000, in the British comedy sketch show titled Bruiser. Olivia played a struggling writer on the sketch, who pitches surreal television show ideas to her producer. The show ran for six episodes. While the show did not become vastly successful, it did establish that Olivia possessed a great talent for performing comedy.

In the early 2000s, she was hence approached for a similar sketch show titled The Mitchell and Webb Situation, where she appeared for five episodes. In 2001, she further appeared playing small roles in comedy series’ such as People Like Us and Comedy Lab.

She furthered her acting career playing more such roles in the television series’ such as Rescue Me, The Office, Gash and Eyes Down. It was in 2003 that she finally had her first career breakthrough. She appeared playing Sophie Chapman in the sitcom titled Peep Show. It was a recurring supporting role, but it did a fine job of establishing Olivia as a bankable comic actor. She appeared in 32 episodes of the show.

She started her film career in 2004 with a voice role as the mother in the animated comedy film titled Terkel in Trouble. She had her first proper feature film role in the 2006 film titled Confetti, where she played Joanna.

She followed it with a supporting role in the Edgar Wright directed film titled Hot Fuzz. The film received major critical and commercial acclaim.

As for her television appearances in the 2000s, she appeared playing supporting roles in the comedy shows such as Green Wing and Beautiful People. In the mid to late 2000s, she further stretched her filmography appearing in films such as Grow Your Own, I Could Never Be Your Woman and a short film titled Dog Altogether.

It was in the 2010s that she began receiving widespread critical acclaim for her acting skills. In 2010, she began playing the lead role in the BBC sitcom titled Rev, wherein she played Alexandra Smallbone. The sitcom received widespread critical acclaim as an ‘intelligent comedy’ and went on to win many awards and accolades. For her performance as the wife of a vicar, Olivia was nominated for Best Female in a Comedy Programme at the BAFTA awards 2015.

In the early 2010s, she took a turn from doing comedy roles and appeared in a psychological thriller television series titled Exile. The mini-series ran for 3 episodes and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. She further appeared playing a critically acclaimed supporting role in the comedy series titled Twenty Twelve.

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In 2011, she had her major film breakthrough when she appeared playing the lead role in the drama film titled Tyrannosaur. The film went on to become a massive critical success. Olivia was awarded a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress for her role as Hannah in the film. She also received a Kermode Award, a Jameson Empire Award and an Evening Standard British Film Award for the role.

In the same year, she further appeared in another critically acclaimed film titled The Iron Lady, for which she earned a London Film Critics’ Circle award.

In 2013, she began playing the lead role as DS Ellie Miller in the crime drama series titled Broadchurch. For her role as a police officer in the series, Olivia ended up winning a BAFTA TV Award and received a nomination for an International Emmy Award for Best Actress.

In 2015, she further appeared in the absurdist film titled The Lobster, for which she won a London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress, along with a British Independent Film Award. The film also went on to receive the Jury Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2016, she appeared playing Angela Burr in the mini-series titled The Night Manager, which went on to become a major critical and commercial success. For her performance, Olivia won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. In the same year, she also appeared playing a supporting role in the tragicomedy series titled Fleabag.

She further appeared playing a key role in the dark comedy series titled Flowers and played a voice role in the animated mini-series titled Watership Down.

In 2018, she played one of the lead roles in the period dark comedy film titled The Favourite. The film received international acclaim and Olivia won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award, along with the Academy Award for Best Actress.

She further appeared in the third and fourth season of the Netflix period drama series The Crown, where she played Queen Elizabeth II. She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance.

In 2020, she appeared playing a supporting role alongside Anthony Hopkins in the drama film titled The Father. Colman received a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the Oscars while the film went on receiving six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Personal Life

Olivia Colman met a law student named Ed Sinclair in the late 1990s. They began dating and in 2001, they got married. They have three children together and the family lives in South London.

Olivia is active in various philanthropic endeavours. She has suffered from postnatal depression after giving birth to her first child. Hence, she is a vocal advocate of mental health issues.

She is also a part of the charity named Tender, which works towards spreading awareness among youngsters regarding violence and sexual harassment.

She has also spoken against the violence and discrimination towards trans women.

See the events in life of Olivia Colman in Chronological Order

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