Saffron Burrows is a British-American actress and former fashion model, best known for her appearances in movies like ‘Circle of Friends,’ ‘Troy,’ and ‘The Bank Job’. Born in a politically active family with socialist parents, she was involved in many political activities in her childhood, including selling ‘Socialist Worker’ newsletters for pocket money, and has even shared her home with striking miners. She began her modeling career at the age of fifteen after being discovered by a modeling scout in Covent Garden. She modeled for companies like ‘Yves Saint-Laurent’ and ‘Vivienne Westwood’ before making her television debut with the episode ‘Meurtre en Ardèche’ of the series ‘Les cinq dernières minutes’ in 1992. Soon after, she made her film debut by playing a small role in the film ‘In the Name of the Father’ followed by a bigger role in ‘Circle of Friends.’ She was involved in romantic relationships with actor Alan Cumming and director Mike Figgis before making an open announcement about being bisexual. She then dated actress Fiona Shaw before marrying writer Alison Balian.
Childhood & Early Life
Saffron Burrows was born on 22 October 1972 in London, England. Both of her parents are socialists and she is their only child. Her father is an architect and teacher, and her mother, Susie, is a teacher who is a strong supporter of the feminist movement.
She spent her childhood selling ‘Socialist Worker’ newsletters to earn pocket money and actively took part in marches and rallies with her mother and stepfather after school. She has also been interested in drama since her childhood.
At the age of eleven, she joined an anti-racism group. She has even shared her house with striking miners.
During her teenage, Saffron Burrows lived in Paris for five years and performed on stage in ‘The Powerbook’ and on French television. French is her second language.
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At the age of fifteen, Saffron Burrows was discovered by the fashion photographer Beth Boldt in Covent Garden. She went on to model in Paris and London for big brands like ‘Yves Saint-Laurent’ and ‘Vivienne Westwood,’ for which she gained immense popularity.
She made her acting debut in 1991 with a short film ‘The Body Beautiful’ in which she played the role of a model, and portrayed a small role in the television series ‘Les cinq dernières minutes’ in the episode ‘Meurtre en Ardèche’ in 1992.
In 1993, she made her film debut with a small role in Jim Sheridan's ‘In the Name of the Father’. Her first significant role was in the movie ‘Circle of Friends’ (1995), followed by a starring role in the Australian movie ‘Hotel de Love’ (1996).
Subsequently, she also starred in the BBC production of Dennis Potter's ‘Karaoke’ (1996). In 1999, she appeared in Mike Figgis' experimental film ‘The Loss of Sexual Innocence’, and in the thriller film ‘Deep Blue Sea,’ for which she was nominated for a ‘Blockbuster Entertainment Award’ as ‘Favorite Actress – Newcomer’.
Her other notable big screen credits include ‘Gangster No. 1’ (2000), ‘Troy’ (2004), ‘Perfect Creature’ (2006), ‘Reign Over Me (2007)’, ‘The Guitar’ (2008), and ‘The Bank Job’ (2008). Her television credits include ‘Boston Legal’ (2007-08), ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ (2010), and ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (2013-14).
Along with acting, she has also written book reviews and newspaper and magazine articles for ‘The Guardian’, ‘The Independent’, ‘The Times’ and ‘New Statesman’.
Saffron Burrows gained immense popularity for being a part of the film ‘Deep Blue Sea’ (1999) that earned her a nomination for the ‘Blockbuster Entertainment Award’ as ‘Favorite Actress – Newcomer’ in 2000. The film collected $164.6 million worldwide on a $82 million budget.
She was nominated consecutively for two years (2008 and 2009) for the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’ along with the other members of the cast of the TV series ‘Boston Legal’. Her individual performance as Lorraine Weller was also much appreciated.
Family & Personal Life
In the 1990s, Saffron Burrows was engaged to actor Alan Cumming. She later dated director Mike Figgis for a few years. The actress eventually came out as being bisexual. She was romantically involved with actress Fiona Shaw once.
Burrows was listed as the ‘90th most influential gay person’ in UK by the newspaper ‘The Independent’ in 2006.
She became an American citizen in 2009. Burrows married her lover of six years, writer Alison Balian, in 2013. She had given birth to their son in 2012 and had a daughter in 2017.
She has served as the Vice President of the National Civil Rights Movement and is a campaigner for disabled rights and equality. She was also involved with the Royal Society of the Arts.