British actress Holliday Grainger has starred on television shows such as The Borgias and Bonnie and Clyde, and in films like Bel Ami and Anna Karenina.
Born in Didsbury, Manchester, England, on January 1, 1988, Holliday Grainger began appearing on British television shows as a child. Since landing the lead role in 2009’s The Scouting Book for Boys, she has had parts in films such as Bel Ami, Anna Karenina and Great Expectations. She has also starred on the American TV series The Borgias and portrayed Bonnie Parker in 2013’s Bonnie and Clyde.
Holliday Grainger was born on January 1, 1988, in Didsbury, Manchester, England. For some time she thought she had been named after blues singer Billie Holiday, but her mother later clarified that the name Holliday had been chosen after considering two other similar names: Mollie and Billie.
When Grainger was very young, her parents split up; she was raised by her mother, Jan, a graphic designer. Despite not having a lot of money growing up, Grainger was able to take lessons in piano, ballet, gymnastics and martial arts.
Holliday Grainger was only 6 years old when she first appeared on television, playing a part on the dramatic comedy All Quiet on the Preston Front. Her early work often found her taking on wild child roles. She appeared on several British TV shows, including Casualty, Doctors and Dalziel and Pascoe.
Though Grainger admitted in a 2010 interview that acting had initially been something she only did “as a hobby,” her dedication to the profession increased as she grew older. She left her studies at Leeds University in order to take a role on the BBC series Waterloo Road.
Grainger’s first big film role came in 2009, when she starred as a young runaway in The Scouting Book for Boys. Only two years later, she shared the screen with Mia Wasikowska, Dame Judi Dench and Michael Fassbender in the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre. In 2012, she had film roles in Bel Ami (opposite Robert Pattinson), Anna Karenina (with Jude Law and Keira Knightley) and Great Expectations (alongside Helena Bonham Carter).
American audiences got to know Grainger when she began starring on Showtime’s The Borgias, a Renaissance-era historical drama inspired by the real-life Borgia clan. In 2013, the young actress took on one of the title roles in the cable television miniseries Bonnie & Clyde. Grainger portrayed Bonnie Parker, one of two outlaws trying to evade the authorities while on a crime spree. The show also features Emile Hirsch (as Clyde Barrow), Holly Hunter and William Hurt.
Her career has been flying high, but Grainger—who received a degree in English from the Open University in 2012—has expressed doubts about spending her life in the spotlight. “I don’t have any massive ambitions to be a movie star,” she said in a 2012 interview with the Daily Mail. “I’d like to continue acting as long as I enjoy it. I’m grateful to be where I am, but maybe at some point I’ll be ready for the next stage in my life when there isn’t acting.”
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