Sigrid Thornton
Sigrid Thornton is an Australian multi-award winning actress.

Early years

Thornton was born in Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

, the daughter of Merle, a teacher of women's studies and writer, and Neil Thornton, an academic. She spent most of her formative years growing up and attending school at St. Peter's Lutheran College in Brisbane. From 1966 to 1968 she lived with her parents in London, where she was a member of the Unicorn Theatre
Unicorn Theatre
The Unicorn Theatre is a producer of professional theatre for children in Britain. It is based in a RIBA Award–winning centre in Tooley Street, in the London Borough of Southwark, opened in 2005...


On her return to Brisbane she attended Twelfth Night Theatre
Twelfth Night Theatre
thumb|250px|Twelfth Night TheatreThe Twelfth Night Theatre is an established Australian entertainment venue located in Bowen Hills, in Brisbane, Queensland. Australian actors such as Rowena Wallace, Sigrid Thornton, Judith McGrath, Jon English, June Salter, Penny Downie, Carol Burns, Kate Wilson,...

 Junior Workshop, where she came to the attention of the theatre director Joan Whalley
Joan Whalley
Joan Whalley, OAM, was the artistic director of Twelfth Night Theatre in Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from 1960–1976....

. In 1970, during the Captain Cook Bicentenary Celebrations
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

, Thornton appeared before Queen Elizabeth II as a young Rosa Campbell-Praed in Looking Glass on Yesterday (written by Brisbane writer and Churchill Fellowship holder Jill Morris and directed by Joan Whalley). Four years later, Thornton landed the plum role in the Lady Mayoress
Lady Mayoress
Lady Mayoress is the term traditionally applied to the wife of a Lord Mayor of a major city in the United Kingdom or a capital city of an Australian state. It is not an elected office.-Lady Mayoress:...

 of Brisbane Social and Welfare Committee annual pantomime Christmas In Storyland in the role of Little Red Riding Hood, once again written by Jill Morris and directed by Joan Whalley.

Around this time, Thornton accompanied her mother to Melbourne, where she came to the attention of Hector Crawford. She acted in the Homicide episode "The Other Man", and the Division 4
Division 4
Division 4 was an Australian television police drama series made by Crawford Productions for the Nine Network between 1969 and 1975 for 300 episodes....

episode "Little Raver", in 1975. These appearances for Crawford Productions
Crawford Productions
Crawford Productions is an Australian television production company founded by Hector Crawford; the present incarnation of the company, Crawfords Australia, is now a subsidiary of the WIN television corporation.-History:...

 marked the start of a long and successful professional career in film and television.

Career takes off

Thornton quickly gained numerous roles in Melbourne and Sydney, where the majority of stage and television work took place at this time. She made her big-screen debut as Maria in the film adaptation of Henry Handel Richardson
Henry Handel Richardson
Henry Handel Richardson, the pseudonym used by Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson, was an Australian author. She took the name "Henry Handel" because at that time, many people did not take women's writing seriously, so she used a male name...

's colonial Australian novel, The Getting of Wisdom
The Getting of Wisdom
The Getting of Wisdom is a novel by Australian novelist Henry Handel Richardson. It was first published in 1910, and has almost always been in print ever since.-Plot introduction:...

(1977) directed by Bruce Beresford
Bruce Beresford
Bruce Beresford is an Australian film director who has made more than 30 feature films over a 40-year career.-Early life:...

. The same year she appeared in another more modern Australian film, The FJ Holden
The FJ Holden
The FJ Holden is a 1977 Australian film directed by Michael Thornhill. The FJ Holden is a snapshot of the life of young teenage men in Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia in 1970s....

directed by Michael Thornhill
Michael Thornhill
Michael Thornhill is a film producer, screenwriter, and director.He has a background in freelance journalism and publishing including working as a film critic....

. In 1978 Thornton displayed her versatility as a performer appearing in the Australian television sequel of the British comedy series Father, Dear Father in Australia
Father, Dear Father
Father, Dear Father is a British television sitcom produced by Thames Television for ITV from 1968 to 1973 starring Patrick Cargill. It was subsequently made into a spin-off film of the same title released in 1973....

alongside original cast member Patrick Cargill
Patrick Cargill
Patrick Cargill was a British actor known for his role on the British television sitcom Father, Dear Father.-Career:...

, as Sue Glover. The same year she appeared in the film Snapshot directed by Simon Wincer
Simon Wincer
Simon Wincer is an Australian film director and film producer. He attended Cranbrook School, Bellevue Hill, Sydney from 1950 to 1961. On leaving school he worked as a stage hand at TV Station Channel 7. By the 1980s he directed over 200 hours of television. In 1986 he directed the made for TV...

. A year later she appeared as Roslyn Coulson, a young woman imprisoned for shooting her mother's killer, in the long running Australian television drama Prisoner
Prisoner (TV series)
Prisoner is an Australian television soap opera which was set in the Wentworth Detention Centre, a fictional women's prison. The series was produced by the Reg Grundy Organisation and ran on Network Ten for 692 episodes from 27 February 1979 to 11 December 1986.The series was inspired by the 1970s...

(known overseas as Prisoner: Cell Block H). Thornton starred in 1981 in Duet for Four. 1982 saw her take on the roles of Jessica Harrison in the films The Man from Snowy River and its sequel The Man from Snowy River II. 1983 marked an appearance in Street Hero
Street Hero
Street Hero is an AFI award winning, Australian film which stars Vince Colosimo, Sigrid Thornton, Sandy Gore, Bill Hunter and Ray Marshall. It is directed by Michael Pattinson.-Plot:...

. She starred in 1983's miniseries All the Rivers Run
All the Rivers Run
All The Rivers Run is an Australian television miniseries from 1983 and 1989, starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters. The miniseries is based on the Australian historical novel by Nancy Cato, first published in 1958. The film is marketed with the tagline A sweeping saga of one woman's struggle...

. 1986 saw her in The Lighthorsemen (film)
The Lighthorsemen (film)
The Lighthorsemen is a 1987 Australian feature film about the men of a World War I light horse unit involved in the 1917 Battle of Beersheeba...

, the TV adaptation of Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute Norway was a popular British-Australian novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He used his full name in his engineering career, and 'Nevil Shute' as his pen name, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.-...

's novel The Far Country
The Far Country (1952 novel)
The Far Country is a novel by Nevil Shute, first published in 1952.In this novel, Shute has some harsh things to say about the new National Health Service, as well as the socialist Labour government, themes he would later develop more fully in In the Wet...

, Great Expectations, the Untold Story and Slate, Wyn & Me. In 1988 she appeared as Amelia Lawson, the Bank Manager, in the American television drama series Paradise
Paradise (TV series)
Paradise is an American Western family television series, broadcast by CBS from 1988 to 1991. Created by David Jacobs and Robert Porter, the series presents the adventures of fictitious gunfighter Ethan Allen Cord, whose sister left her four children in his custody when she died.-Synopsis:Paradise...

. Syndication of All the Rivers Run and The Man from Snowy River brought her to a wider international audience. 1991 marked yet another film, Over the Hill
Over the Hill
Over the Hill is a 1992 drama film directed by George T. Miller. It stars Olympia Dukakis and Sigrid Thornton.-Cast:*Olympia Dukakis as Alma Harris*Sigrid Thornton as Elizabeth*Derek Fowlds as Dutch*Bill Kerr as Maurice*Steve Bisley as Bendedict...

directed by George T. Miller
George T. Miller
George Trumbull Miller is a Scottish-born Australian film and television director and producer. He has directed The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Man from Snowy River, Prey and Zeus and Roxanne.-External links:...

 and in 1996, Love in Ambush directed by Carl Shultz. Her leading role as Laura Joy Gibson in the more modern Australian television series SeaChange
SeaChange was a popular Australian television show that ran for 39 episodes from 1998 to 2001 on the ABC. It was created by Andrew Knight and Deborah Cox and starred Sigrid Thornton, David Wenham, William McInnes, John Howard, Tom Long and Kerry Armstrong...

from 1998 to 2000 brought greater Australian audience appeal.

Stage highlights

Thornton is known for her stage
Stage (theatre)
In theatre or performance arts, the stage is a designated space for the performance productions. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience...

 roles, including an early 2000s production of The Blue Room co-starring with Marcus Graham
Marcus Graham
Marcus Graham is an Australian television and stage actor who has also starred in several films, including Mulholland Drive and Josh Jarman. He was known as a teenage heartthrob in the early 90s while starring in the Australian TV soap E Street as the character "Wheels"...

. In 2009 she made her debut with Opera Australia
Opera Australia
Opera Australia is the principal opera company in Australia. Based in Sydney, its performance season at the Sydney Opera House runs for approximately eight months of the year, with the remainder of its time spent in the The Arts Centre in Melbourne...

 in its production at Melbourne's Arts Centre
The Arts Centre (Melbourne)
The Victorian Arts Centre is a performing arts centre consisting of a complex of theatres and concert halls in the Melbourne Arts Precinct, located in the inner Melbourne suburb of Southbank in Victoria, Australia....

 as Desiree Armfeldt in Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist for stage and film. He is the winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Laurence Olivier Award...

 and Wheeler
Hugh Wheeler
Hugh Callingham Wheeler was an English-born playwright, screenwriter, librettist, poet, and translator. He resided in the United States from 1934 until his death and became a naturalized citizen in 1942. He had attended London University.Under the noms de plume Patrick Quentin, Q...

's A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. Inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, it involves the romantic lives of several couples. Its title is a literal English translation of the German name for Mozart's Serenade...

, directed by Stuart Maunder, opposite Nancye Hayes and Robert Grubb
Robert Grubb
Robert Grubb is an Australian actor. He studied acting at National Institute of Dramatic Art , where he graduated in 1978.Grubb played the role of Dr. Geoffrey Standish in the popular series The Flying Doctors...


Recent film and television work

In 2003 Thornton appeared in Mittens directed by Emma Freeman. More recently she has played a brilliant geneticist
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 in a four-episode arc on MDA
MDA (TV series)
MDA is an Australian television series that aired between 2002 and 2005 on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation . It concerned the day-to-day operation of legal firm MDA, which specialised in medical defence.-Synopsis:...

and also in 2005, the telemovie Little Oberon
Little Oberon
Little Oberon, directed by Kevin Carlin, is a 2005 Australian telemovie starring Sigrid Thornton.The movie was filmed during 2004 in and around the town of Marysville, Victoria, Australia....

, a role for which she shaved her head.

Thornton hosted the Nine Network
Nine Network
The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

's award-winning health show, What's Good For You
What's Good For You
What's Good For You is a Logie Award-winning Australian health and lifestyle television program that airs on the Nine Network. It investigates myths and fables concerning health and well being...

, a program which examines popular conceptions of how to ensure good health.

In 2010, she appeared in Underbelly: The Golden Mile
Underbelly: The Golden Mile
Underbelly: The Golden Mile is a 13-part Australian television mini-series loosely based on real events that stemmed from the nightclub scene of the Sydney suburb of Kings Cross. The timeline of the series is the years between 1988 and 1999. it primarily depicts the running of Kings Cross and the...

as recurring character Geraldine "Gerry" Lloyd, an Australian Federal Police
Australian Federal Police
The Australian Federal Police is the federal police agency of the Commonwealth of Australia. Although the AFP was created by the amalgamation in 1979 of three Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, it traces its history from Commonwealth law enforcement agencies dating back to the federation of...

A detective is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. The latter may be known as private investigators or "private eyes"...

 and investigator for the Wood Royal Commission
Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service
The Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service was held in the State of New South Wales, Australia between 1995 and 1997. The Royal Commissioner was Justice James Roland Wood...


In 2011, Thornton will star in Face to Face
Face to Face (2011 film)
Face to Face is an independent Australian film directed by Michael Rymer, based on the play of the same name, written by Australian playwright David Williamson. It stars Vince Colosimo, Sigrid Thornton, Luke Ford and Matthew Newton....

, an independent Australian film directed by Michael Rymer
Michael Rymer
Michael Rymer is a television and film director, best known for his work on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica TV series, for which he directed the pilot miniseries and several episodes of the series...

The "Sigrid factor"

In his book The Big Shift, about changing Australian demographics and culture, Bernard Salt
Bernard Salt
Bernard Salt is an author, business advisor and media commentator. He rose to prominence with the release of his first book The Big Shift in which he predicted a rise in the demand for coastal lifestyle property underpinned by the imminent retirement of the baby boom generation...

 coined the term the "Sigrid factor" amusingly pointing out that Australian towns in which movies had been made featuring Thornton had prospered since that time. More broadly he was actually referring to changing Australian cultural values which were well reflected in the types of places in which Sigrid Thornton had acted: the Riverland during the 1980s All the Rivers Run and the coast in the 2000s SeaChange.


Thornton has won, and been nominated, for severalLogie Awards in her acting career. She has won:
  • Most Outstanding Actress (1999 and 2000, for her role in SeaChanege.

She has been nominated for:
  • the Gold Logie (in 2000 and 2001)
  • Most Outstanding Actress (in 2001)
  • Most Popular Actress (in 2000 and 2001)

Personal life

Thornton is married to actor and film risk manager Tom Burstall, son of Tim Burstall
Tim Burstall
Tim Burstall was an Australian film director, writer and producer, best known for the motion picture Alvin Purple....

; the couple has two children, Ben and Jaz.


Thornton is known for her ongoing work with World Vision
World Vision
World Vision, founded in the USA in 1950, is an evangelical relief and development organization whose stated goal is "to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of...

, the Royal Children's Hospital
Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
The Royal Children's Hospital is a major children's hospital in Melbourne, Australia.As the major paediatric hospital in Victoria, the Royal Children's Hospital and offers a full range of clinical services, tertiary care and health promotion and prevention programs for children and adolescents...

, Vision Australia
Vision Australia
Vision Australia is a not-for-profit organisation and Australia's largest provider of services for people with blindness and low vision.-Vision and Mission:...

, Reach Foundation and other charitable causes. She has lobbied successive governments to keep libraries open and to resource the Australian film and television industry so it can tell more Australian stories. As a result of her advocacy, she has been appointed to numerous Australian federal and state film bodies, including Film Victoria
Film Victoria
Film Victoria is a statutory authority of the State Government of Victorian, Australia that provides strategic leadership and assistance for film, television, and digital media production in the Australian state of Victoria....

 and is regularly involved in helping to sustain and develop the industry.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.