Cate Blanchett - Biography & Career
Cate Blanchett was born in Melbourne, Australia on May 14, 1969, to an Aussie mother and a Texan father. She is of French ancestry, was raised by her mother following her father's passing when she was ten. She attended Methodist Ladies College [MLC] where she was part of "Cato" House drama group. One of her very first plays was "Odyssey of Runyon Jones"...a fantasy about a young boy whose dog dies. Cate also directed her fellow students in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?". After growing up in Melbourne, she began studies of fine arts and economics at the University of Melbourne, but, departed, after a fashion, to continue her education via travel. After the expiration of her vistor's visa forced her to leave England, she eventually found herself in Egypt, desperate for money. In an effort to earn some cash, and get a crack at craft services, she signed on as an extra in an Arabic boxing film. It was the first time she had ever been on a film set, but, it wouldn't, obviously, be the last.
Upon her return to Melbourne, she enrolled at Australia's prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art. After graduation she joined the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Caryl Churchill's "Top Girls", then played Felice Bauer, the bride in Timothy Daly's musical "Kafka Dances". She won the Newcomer Award from the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle for her performance. From there, Cate went on to star as Carol opposite Geoffrey Rush in David Mamet's searing polemic, "Oleanna", also for The Sydney Theatre Company. Consequently, she achieved an unprecendented feat, picking up her second gong of the year by also winning the Rosemont Best Actress Award. In 1995, she was nominated for Best Female Performance for her turn as Ophelia in the Belvoir Street Theatre Company's production of "Hamlet". Her other theatre credits include Helen in the Sydney Theatre Company's "Sweet Phoebe", Miranda in "The Tempest", and Rose in "The Blind Giant Is Dancing", both for the Belvoir Street Theatre Company. Later, like "Oscar and Lucinda" co-star, Ralph Fiennes, she moved on to Chekov, playing Nina in "The Seagull".
In the realm of television, Cate co-starred in ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) Televsion's "Heartland", winning critical acclaim in this examination of rural aborigines. She also earned notice as Bianca in ABC's "Bordertown", as Janie Morris in "G.P.", and in ABC's popular series, "Police Rescue". Cate revised her character of Rosie from "Heartland" in the non-feature film, Parklands. She made her feature debut as a shy Australian nurse in Bruce Beresford's, Paradise Road. She next starred in Cherie Nowlan's debut feature, Thank God He Met Lizzie, playing the title role. For this, Cate won the prestigious AFI (Australian Fim Institute) Best Supporting Actress Award. Cate's next venture was the critically acclaimed, Oscar and Lucinda, directed by noted Australian director, Gillian Armstrong. Cate captivated audiences and critics alike, playing opposite Ralph Fiennes, with her bewitching and mesmerizing portrait of Lucinda Leplastrier.
In June of 1997, she married Andrew Upton, a script and cointinuity editor she had met on the Parklands shoot. It was Cate's starmaking portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth that shot her into the stratosphere in terms of both popular and critical acclaim. Cate's chameleonlike qualities astounded both the industry and the public. As a result of Elizabeth, Cate was honored with many awards for her performance. Blanchett went on to star with Angelina Jolie, John Cusack, and Billy Bob Thornton in the Mike Newell comedy Pushing Tin (1999). Although the film got a lukewarm response, Blanchett was praised for her performance as a Long Island housewife. The same year, she played another housewife, albeit one of an entirely different stripe, in Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband. Despite a uniformly strong cast including Jeremy Northam, Rupert Everett, and Julianne Moore, the film received very mixed reviews, although, as was usually the case, Blanchett won praise for her contribution to it.
Remaining remarkably busy through 2003, Blanchett would appear in no less than five films in 2001 alone. After following Pushing Tin with a supporting role in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Blanchett joined Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci with her role as a kindhearted though materialistic showgirl in The Man Who Cried before starring as a fortune teller who may hold the key to a mysterious murder in director Sam Raimi's The Gift. Gaining positive notes for her uncanny ability to move effortlessly and convincingly between a wide range of characterizations, Blanchett appeared as a hostage of love in the crime comedy Bandits before re-teaming with Gift co-star Giovanni Ribisi in director Tom Tykwer's Heaven. Her busy year already off to a hectic start, Blanchett then faced the daunting task of appearing in not one but three films with her role as Galadriel, Queen of Lothlorien, in the eagerly anticipated Lord of the Rings trilogy. As if her plate wasn't full enough, Blanchett would also appear in 2001 in both The Shipping News and director Gillian Armstrong's Charlotte Gray before rounding out the Lord of the Rings trilogy with The Two Towers in 2002 and The Return of the King in 2003.