Quirky actress Helena Bonham Carter was born in 1966 in London, England, into a histories family filled with politicians, royals and performers. She landed her first acting role in a commercial at the age of 16 and moved quickly on to a role in a TV movie and her major first big screen appearance in the Merchant Ivory film A Room With a View (1985).
For a number of years, Bonham Carter would be known for her work with Merchant/Ivory, starring in Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991) and Howard’s End (1992). Her delicate beauty suited her roles in these period pieces perfectly. Though she continued to take roles as a proper lady, other types of characters began to sprinkle into her filmography, such as a role in the 1995 straight to video production Jeremy Hardy Gives Good Sex. In 1999 she burst completely out of her Victorian princess shell with a brilliantly twisted performance opposite Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s Fight Club.
Good things come in strange packages, and such it was with the 2001 film Planet of the Apes. Though a widely panned movie, it was on this set that Bonham Carter met Tim Burton, who would go on to be not only her frequent film collaborator but also her partner and the father of her two children. Having begun her career as a delicate English lady she has fully embraced her quirky side to make films with Burton that include Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland.
Another frequent Burton collaborator, Johnny Depp is not only a close friend but also the godfather to Bonham Carter and Burton’s first child, son Billy Ray, born in 2003. Daughter Nell followed in 2007. The family lives in London. Bonham Carter is active in Action Duchenne, a charity that supports parents and patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
photo by Tony Shek