American actress (Dangerous Liaisons 1988) and model Uma Thurman wears Versace dress at Cannes Closing Gala 2017
Uma Karuna Thurman (born April 29, 1970) is an American actress and model. She has performed in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action movies. Following her appearances on the December 1985 and May 1986 covers of British Vogue, she starred in Dangerous Liaisons (1988). Thurman rose to international prominence with her performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award, the BAFTA Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in several more films throughout the 1990s such as Batman & Robin (1997), Gattaca (1997) and Les Misérables (1998).
Thurman was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Film for Hysterical Blindness (2002). Hailed as Quentin Tarantino’s muse, she reunited with the director to play the main role in both Kill Bill films (2003–2004), which brought her two additional Golden Globe Award nominations. Other acting credits in the decade include Be Cool (2005), The Producers (2005) and My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006). She received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her five-episode role in Smash (2012), and garnered critical praise for her supporting performance in the Volume I of Lars von Trier’s two-part art drama Nymphomaniac (2013).
Thurman was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her forename “Uma” (Sanskrit उमा) literally means “splendour, light” and it is also one of the epithets of Hindu female Goddess Parvati, while her second name “Karuna” (Sanskrit करुणा) means “compassion” or “empathy”. Her father, Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, is a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies; an academic and writer, he lived as an ordained Buddhist monk for three years. Her mother, Nena von Schlebrügge, was German nobility and a high-fashion model, discovered in Stockholm, who moved to New York City at the age of 17 to join the Ford Modelling Agency. Thurman’s mother was born in Mexico City, Mexico, of Swedish, German and Danish descent, while Thurman’s father was born in New York, and has English, Scottish and Irish ancestry. Thurman received a Buddhist upbringing, and spent altogether around two years in the Indo-Himalayan town of Almora. She now considers herself to be an agnostic. She grew up mostly in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she went to Amherst Regional Middle School, then moved to Woodstock, New York. She has three brothers, Ganden (b. 1967), Dechen (b. 1973), and Mipam (b. 1978), and a half-sister named Taya (b. 1961), from her father’s previous marriage. Thurman’s first cousin, once removed, is Swedish football player Max von Schlebrügge.
Thurman is described as having been an awkward and introverted girl who was teased for her tall frame, angular bone structure, enormous feet and unusual name (sometimes using the name “Uma Karen” instead of her birth name). When Thurman was 10 years old, a friend’s mother suggested a nose job. As a child, she suffered bouts of body dysmorphic disorder.
She attended Amherst Public Schools. In the eighth grade she discovered her love for acting. Talent scouts noticed her performance as Abigail in a production of The Crucible and offered her the chance to act professionally. Thurman attended Northfield Mount Hermon School, a preparatory school in Massachusetts, before dropping out to pursue a career in acting.