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Shirley Henderson grew up in Fife, Scotland and studied at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since graduation, her stage career has included stints at the National Theatre (under the direction of Sir Peter Hall), the Royal Court, the Traverse, Hampstead, and the Citizens. She most recently starred in Anna Weiss at the Whitehall Theatre, directed by Michael Attenborough.
She starred on the television series Hamish Macbeth while also embarking on a film career. Her early credits include Michael Caton-Jones' Rob Roy and Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. Michael Winterbottom then cast Ms. Henderson in Wonderland; she has since reunited with the director on The Claim, 24 Hour Party People (for which she received a London Film Critics Circle award nomination), and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story.
She won a Scottish BAFTA Award for her performance in Juliet McKoen's Frozen, which also brought her Best Actress honors at the 2005 Marrakech International Film Festival and the 2006 Cherbourg-Octeville Festival of Irish & British Film. She is the only actress to have won the latter award twice, having won three years prior for her work in Don Coutts' American Cousins. For the latter film, she was also voted Best Actress in the 2003 Bowmore/Scottish Screen/Sunday Times film awards, which are Scotland's Oscars equivalent.
Ms. Henderson was a British Independent Film Award nominee for Frank Van Passel's Villa des Roses and Lone Scherfig's Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, for which she won the Best Actress award at the 2003 Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema.
Her other films include Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, for which she was a London Film Critics Circle award nominee; John Crowley's Intermission; Sally Potter's Yes; Alison Peebles' award-winning AfterLife; Sharon Maguire's Bridget Jones's Diary and Beeban Kidron's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Shane Meadows' Once Upon a Time in the Midlands; Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette; Oliver Parker's I Really Hate My Job; Nick Moore's soon-to-be-released Wild Child; and, directed by Chris Columbus and Mike Newell, respectively, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Ms. Henderson's telefilms and miniseries include Joe Wright's award-winning Charles II: The Power and the Passion (a.k.a. The Last King); David Richards' The Taming of the Shrew; David Yates' The Way We Live Now; Adrian Shergold's Dirty Filthy Love; and Philip John's Wedding Belles.