Birthplace: Zambia, Africa
Mission: Impossible 2 star Thandie Newton originally set her sights on becoming a dancer. The daughter of a Zimbabwean mother (a princess of the Shona tribe) and an English father, she spent her early years in Zambia until political unrest forced the family to move to England. Enrolled at London's Art Educational School at age 11, she studied modern dance. After being sidelined for a time with a back injury, she was encouraged to audition for a role in Australian director John Duigan's Flirting. The movie was a huge success in Australia and a launching pad for another notable, actress Nicole Kidman, but Newton's career languished, so she turned her attention to earning a degree in anthropology from Cambridge University, while picking up acting gigs, notably Interview with a Vampire (1994) and Jefferson in Paris (1995), between semesters. Roles in Bertolucci's so-so Besieged and Beloved were next, but her career soared when she landed a role opposite Tom Cruise in his second Mission: Impossible outing. Jonathon Demme's The Truth About Charlie (2001) paired her with Mark Wahlberg. She was a member of the cast of the critically-acclaimed Crash (2005). Married to English-Spanish director Oliver Parker, she gave birth to daughter Ripley in 2000 and another daughter, Nico, in 2004.