Julie Frances Christie (1941-) b. Chubua, Assam, India.
British actress Julie Christie was born in India, a middle-class child of the Raj, was educated at a convent school in England, and from an early age attended drama school in London. She emerged as a star in the 1960s, representing the liberated woman before women’s liberation was formally recognised. In Billy Liar (1963), in her first major role, she is the free spirit in the grim northern city who cuts through the male dreams of leaving, and actually escapes, leaving Tom Courtenay‘s bags on the station platform as monuments to lost desire.
In Darling (1965), the iconic movie of the period, her character is both celebrated for her freedom and punished for her independence, playing out the ambivalence of the sexual revolution. Her performance won her an Oscar, and awards from the New York Critics and the British Film Academy. Carrying her independence into her personal life and career, Christie has been discriminating and her filmography contains few of the clunkers that pepper the careers of most British stars of her generation. During the remainder of the Sixties and early-Seventiew she appeared in numeerous iconic British films including John Schlesinger‘s underrated Far From the Madding Crowd (1967); the entrancing Lara in David Lean‘s Dr Zhivago (1965); as a conformist wife and a rebel lover in François Truffaut Fahrenheit 451 (1966); the upper-middle-class late Victorian girl engaged in a Lawrentian romance in Joseph Losey‘s The Go-Between (1971) and as the architect’s wife haunted by grief and guilt in Nicolas Roeg‘s Don’t Look Now (1973).
She has been as successful in Hollywood as in Britain in securing interesting projects, including her role in Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) for which she received an Oscar nomination. Her recent work has included a number of voice commentaries on television documentaries on political issues, and her commitment to feminism led her to accept a lead role in Sally Potter’s The Gold Diggers (1983), a low-budget film with an all-women crew on which all participants were paid the same wage. Her great performance in Sarah Polley’s Away From Her (2006) as the middle-aged wife accepting the onset of Alzheimer’s earned her yet another Oscar nomination.