LENA OLIN Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Lena Maria Jonna Olin                                                           
Born: 22 March 1955 Stockholm, Sweden                                                 
Lena Maria Jonna Olin (born March 22, 1955) is an internationally acclaimed           
Academy Award-nominated Swedish actress.                                             
Olin, the youngest of three children, was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the             
daughter of Britta Alice (nee Holmberg), an actress and singer, and Stig Olin, a     
director, singer, composer, and an actor who appeared in several of Ingmar           
Bergman's films. Her brother is the Swedish singer Mats Olin. She was a top           
student and graduated with a 4.9 average in her graduation scores (with the           
highest in Sweden being 5.0). In October 1975, Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia     
in Helsinki, Finland. Before her acting career she worked both as a sub teacher       
and as hospital nurse, and studied medicine at university.                           
After studying acting at Sweden's National Academy of Dramatic Art (Scenskolan       
aka NAMA today) 1976-79, Olin performed for over a decade with Sweden's Royal         
Dramatic Theatre-ensemble (1980-1994) in classic plays by Shakespeare and             
Strindberg, and appeared in smaller roles of several Swedish films directed by       
Bergman and in productions of Swedish Television's TV-Theatre Company.               
It was Ingmar Bergman who had cast her for the first time (in a small part in         
Face to Face), after she had not passed her first audition for theatre school         
because of her shyness. Later she acted at the national stage in Stockholm in         
several productions directed by Bergman, and with Bergman's production of King       
Lear (in which Olin played Cordelia) she toured national theatres in Paris,           
Berlin, Copenhagen, Moscow and Oslo, a.o. Critically acclaimed stage credits for     
Olin at Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre include the leading part as The Daughter     
in A Dream Play by Strindberg, Margarita in the stage adaption of The Master and     
Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters, Ann in           
Edward Bond's Summer, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare, Ben       
Johnson's The Alchemist, the title role in Ingmar Bergman's rendition of             
Strindberg's Miss Julie and her neurotic Charlotte in the contemporary drama         
Nattvarden (The Last Supper) by Lars Noren (also director).                           
Olin's international debut in a lead role on film was in the 1984 Swedish film       
After the Rehearsal, which was directed by Bergman. The year before she had           
appeared in a small role in Bergman's Fanny and Alexander. In 1988, Olin starred     
opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in her first English speaking and internationally           
produced film, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and became a respected actress     
outside of Europe as well. Olin upon this received offers from the US and             
Hollywood. In 1989, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting       
Actress for her work in Enemies: A Love Story, in which she portrayed the             
survivor of a Nazi camp. In 1994 Olin starred in Romeo Is Bleeding and played         
her, perhaps, most extreme character to date; the outrageous hit woman Mona           
Demarkov - still one of the actresses most popular portrayals on film. Olin was       
offered but turned down the roles of the Catwoman in Batman Returns (the role         
eventually went to Michelle Pfeiffer), Maria Ruskin in The Bonfire of the             
Vanities (the role eventually went to Melanie Griffith), Ada McGrath in The           
Piano (the role eventually went to Holly Hunter) and Catherine in Basic Instinct     
(the role eventually went to Sharon Stone).                                           
Olin and Lasse Hallstrum collaborated on the 2000 film Chocolat, which received       
five Academy Award nominations, and on Casanova (2005). From 2002 to 2006, Olin       
appeared opposite Jennifer Garner in her first American television role ever; on     
the second season of the successful television series Alias. For her work on the     
series as Irina Derevko, Olin received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding       
Supporting Actress in 2003. Olin received good reviews for her part in Alias         
particularly her chemistry with Victor Garber, who played her former husband and     
sometime-enemy Jack Bristow and was rumored to have been offered a salary in         
excess of $100,000 per episode to remain part of the cast. She                       
left the show after her first and only season, however, to spend more time with       
her family in New York.                                                               
In May 2005, Olin returned to Alias for a two-episode appearance at the end of       
the show's fourth season, and subsequently appeared again in the fifth season,       
initially in a cameo in December 2005, and then following a four-month hiatus         
she appeared again in April 2006, and for the finale on May 22, 2006. Upcoming       
projects are films The Devil You Know and Daughter of the Queen of Sheba (which       
is to be directed by Lasse Hallstrum).