Christie's breakthrough film role was in Billy Liar (1963). In 1966, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1965 film Darling. That same year, she starred as Lara in Doctor Zhivago. In the following years, she starred in Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Petulia (1968), The Go-Between (1971), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971; for which she received her second Oscar nomination), Don't Look Now (1973), Shampoo (1975), and Heaven Can Wait (1978).
From the early 1980s, Christie reduced her appearances in mainstream films. She has continued to receive significant critical recognition for her work, including Oscar nominations for the independent films Afterglow (1997) and Away from Her (2006). In 1997, she received the BAFTA Fellowship.
Christie was born on 14 April 1940 at Singlijan Tea Estate, Chabua, Assam, British India, the elder child of Rosemary (née Ramsden), a painter, and Francis "Frank" St. John Christie. Her father ran the tea plantation where she was raised. She has a younger brother, Clive, and an older (now deceased) half-sister, June, from her father's relationship with an Indian woman, who worked as a tea picker on his plantation. Frank and Rosemary separated when Julie was a child.
She was baptised in the Church of England and studied as a boarder at the independent Convent of Our Lady school in St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, after being expelled from another convent school for telling a risqué joke that reached a wider audience than originally anticipated. After being asked to leave the Convent of Our Lady as well, she later attended Wycombe Court School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, during which time she lived with a foster mother from the age of six.
After her parents' divorce, Christie spent time with her mother in rural Wales. As a teenager at the all-girls' Wycombe Court School, she played "the Dauphin" in a production of Shaw's Saint Joan. She later studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Christie made her professional stage debut in 1957, and her first screen roles were on British television. Her big break came in the 1961 BBC serial A for Andromeda. She was a contender for the role of Honey Rider in the first James Bond film, Dr. No, but producer Albert R. Broccoli reportedly thought her breasts were too small.
In 1962, Christie appeared in feature films with co-starring roles in a pair of comedies for Independent Artists: Crooks Anonymous and The Fast Lady. Her breakthrough role, however, was as Liz, the friend and would-be lover of the eponymous character played by Tom Courtenay in Billy Liar (1963), which earned her a BAFTA Award nomination. The director, John Schlesinger, had cast Christie only after another actress dropped out of the film.
Life magazine hailed 1965 as "The Year of Julie Christie" when the young actress became known internationally for her role as an amoral model in Darling, directed by Schlesinger. Christie, who won the lead role after the casting of Shirley MacLaine fell through,[unreliable source?] won numerous accolades for her performance, including the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Christie starred in two other films released in 1965, first appearing as Daisy Battles in Young Cassidy, a biopic of Irish playwright Seán O'Casey, co-directed by Jack Cardiff and (uncredited) John Ford. Her last film of the year was David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, adapted from the epic/romance novel by Boris Pasternak. The film was a box office smash, and Christie's role as Lara Antipova would become her most famous.[unreliable source?]
In 1966, Christie played a dual role in François Truffaut's adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451, where she starred opposite Oskar Werner. Later, she played Thomas Hardy's heroine Bathsheba Everdene in Schlesinger's Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), and the title role, Petulia Danner, in Richard Lester's Petulia (1968), opposite George C. Scott.
Christie's persona as the "swinging 60s British bird" she had embodied in Billy Liar and Darling was further cemented by her appearance in the documentary Tonite Let's All Make Love in London. In 1967, Time magazine said of her: "What Julie Christie wears has more real impact on fashion than all the clothes of the ten best-dressed women combined."
In 1971, Christie co-starred with Alan Bates in Joseph Losey's romantic drama The Go-Between, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. She earned a second Best Actress Oscar nomination the same year for her role as a brothel madame in Robert Altman's postmodern western McCabe & Mrs. Miller. The film marked the first of three collaborations between Christie and Warren Beatty, who described her as "the most beautiful and at the same time the most nervous person I had ever known." The two had a high-profile but intermittent relationship between 1967 and 1974. After the relationship ended, they worked together again in the hit comedies Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). Her other films during the 1970s include Nicolas Roeg's controversial thriller Don't Look Now (1973), in which she had a graphic sex scene with Donald Sutherland, and the science-fiction/horror film Demon Seed (1977), based on the novel of the same name by Dean Koontz.
Having moved to Los Angeles in 1967 ("I was there because of a lot of American boyfriends") Christie returned to the United Kingdom in 1977, where she lived on a farm in Wales. In 1979, she was a member of the jury at the 29th Berlin International Film Festival. Never a prolific actress, even at the height of her fame and bankability, Christie turned down many high-caliber film roles, including Anne of the Thousand Days, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Reds, all of which earned Oscar nominations for the actresses who eventually played them.[unreliable source?][unreliable source?]
In the 1980s, Christie appeared in non-mainstream films such as The Return of the Soldier (1982) and Heat and Dust (1983). She had a major supporting role in Sidney Lumet's Power (1986) opposite Richard Gere and Gene Hackman. In 1988, she starred in the television film Dadah Is Death, based on the Barlow and Chambers execution, playing Barlow's mother who desperately fights to save her son from being hanged for drug trafficking in Malaysia.
In 1996, Christie appeared as Gertrude in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. Her next critically acclaimed role was the unhappy wife in Alan Rudolph's 1997 domestic comedy-drama Afterglow, which gained her a third Oscar nomination. Also in 1997, she received the British Academy's highest honour, the BAFTA Fellowship.
In 2004, Christie made a brief cameo appearance in the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, playing Madam Rosmerta. That same year, she also appeared in two other high-profile films: Wolfgang Petersen's Troy with Brad Pitt and Marc Forster's Finding Neverland, as Kate Winslet's mother. The latter performance earned Christie a BAFTA nomination as supporting actress in film.
Christie portrayed the female lead in Away from Her, a film about a long-married Canadian couple coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. Based on the Alice Munro short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain", the movie was the first feature film directed by Christie's sometime co-star, Canadian actress Sarah Polley. She took the role, she says, only because Polley is her friend. Polley has said Christie liked the script but initially turned it down as she was ambivalent about acting. It took several months of persuasion by Polley before Christie finally accepted the role.
In July 2006 she was a member of the jury at the 28th Moscow International Film Festival. Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2006 as part of the TIFF's Gala showcase, Away from Her drew rave reviews from the trade press, including The Hollywood Reporter, and the four Toronto dailies. The critics singled out the performances of Christie and her co-star, Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, and Polley's direction. Christie's performance generated Oscar buzz, leading the distributor, Lions Gate Entertainment, to buy the film at the festival to release the film in 2007 to build momentum during the awards season.
On 5 December 2007, she won the Best Actress Award from the National Board of Review for her performance in Away from Her. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and the Genie Award for Best Actress for the same film. On 22 January 2008, Christie received her fourth Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the 80th Academy Awards. She appeared at the ceremony wearing a pin calling for the closure of the prison in Guantanamo Bay.
In 2008, Christie narrated Uncontacted Tribes, a short film for the British-based charity Survival International, featuring previously unseen footage of remote and endangered peoples. She has been a long-standing supporter of the charity, and in February 2008, was named as its first 'Ambassador'. She appeared in a segment of the 2008 film, New York, I Love You, written by Anthony Minghella, directed by Shekhar Kapur and co-starring Shia LaBeouf, as well as in Glorious 39, about a British family at the start of World War II.
In 2011, Christie played a "sexy, bohemian" version of the grandmother role in Catherine Hardwicke's gothic retelling of Red Riding Hood. Her most recent role was in the political thriller The Company You Keep (2012), where she co-starred with Robert Redford.
In the early 1960s, Christie dated actor Terence Stamp.[unreliable source?] She was engaged to Don Bessant, a lithographer and art teacher, in 1965, before dating actor Warren Beatty for several years. She is married to The Guardian journalist Duncan Campbell; they have lived together since 1979. In January 2008, several news outlets reported that the couple had quietly married in India two months earlier, in November 2007, which Christie called "nonsense", adding, "I have been married for a few years. Don't believe what you read in the papers."
In the late 1960s, her advisers adopted a very complex scheme in an attempt to reduce her tax liability, giving rise to the leading case of Black Nominees Ltd v Nicol (Inspector of Taxes). The case was heard by Templeman J (who later became Lord Templeman), who gave judgment in favour of the Inland Revenue, ruling that the scheme was ineffective.
She is also active in various causes, including animal rights, environmental protection, and the anti-nuclear power movement and is also a Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as well as Reprieve, and CFS/ME charity Action for ME.
|1961||Call Oxbridge 2000||Ann||episode: Episode #1.3|
|A for Andromeda||Christine
|1962||Crooks Anonymous||Babette LaVern|
|Fast Lady, TheThe Fast Lady||Claire Chingford|
|The Andromeda Breakthrough||Andromeda||episode: Cold Front
|1963||Billy Liar||Liz||Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best British Actress|
|The Saint||Judith Northwade||episode: Judith|
|ITV Play of the Week||Betty Whitehead||episode: J.B. Priestley Season #3: Dangerous Corner|
|1965||Young Cassidy||Daisy Battles|
|Doctor Zhivago||Lara Antipova||
|Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best British Actress (joint with Doctor Zhivago)|
|1967||Far from the Madding Crowd||Bathsheba Everdene|
|1969||In Search of Gregory||Catherine Morelli|
|1971||Go-Between, TheThe Go-Between||Marian – Lady Trimingham||Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role|
|McCabe & Mrs. Miller||Constance Miller||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress|
|1973||Don't Look Now||Laura Baxter||Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role|
|1975||Shampoo||Jackie Shawn||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1977||Demon Seed||Susan Harris||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1978||Heaven Can Wait||Betty Logan|
|1981||Memoirs of a Survivor||'D'||Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actress|
|1982||Return of the Soldier, TheThe Return of the Soldier||Kitty Baldry|
|Les quarantièmes rugissants||Catherine Dantec|
|1983||Heat and Dust||Anne|
|Gold Diggers, TheThe Gold Diggers||Ruby|
|Separate Tables||Mrs. Shankland||(TV movie)
Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Theatrical or Non-Musical Program
|1986||Champagne amer||Betty Rivière|
|Miss Mary||Mary Mulligan||Havana Film Festival Award for Best Actress|
|Sins of the Fathers||Charlotte Deutz||(TV miniseries)|
|1988||Dadah Is Death||Barbara Barlow||(TV movie)|
|1990||Fools of Fortune||Mrs. Quinton|
|1992||Railway Station Man, TheThe Railway Station Man||Helen Cuffe||(TV movie)|
|Karaoke||Lady Ruth Balmer||episode: Wednesday
|2000||Miracle Maker, TheThe Miracle Maker||Rachael||(voice)|
|2001||Belphégor - Le fantôme du Louvre||Glenda Spender|
|No Such Thing||Dr. Anna|
|2002||I'm with Lucy||Dori|
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Madam Rosmerta|
|Finding Neverland||Mrs. Emma du Maurier||Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|2005||Secret Life of Words, TheThe Secret Life of Words||Inge|
|2006||Away from Her||Fiona Anderson||
|2008||New York, I Love You||Isabelle||segment: Shekhar Kapur|
|2011||Red Riding Hood||Grandmother|
|2012||The Company You Keep||Mimi Lurie|
|1957||Frinton Repertory of Essex||RSC|
|1964||The Comedy of Errors||Broadway|
|1973||Uncle Vanya||Chichester Festival Theatre (and on tour, Bath, Oxford, Richmond and Guildford)|
|1997||Suzanna Andler||Wyndhams Theatre & Theatre Clywd|
|1995||Old Times||Royal Court Theatre|
|2007||Cries From The Heart|