Biography: Lauren Ambrose

With extensive experience in theater, television and film, Lauren Ambrose is one of the most versatile and poised actors of her generation.

Ambrose recently had a recurring role on the critically acclaimed Starz series Torchwood: Miracle Day as the ambitious and ruthless public relations practitioner, Jilly KitzingerTorchwood: Miracle Day, a spinoff of the U.K. hit television show Doctor Who, premiered on Starz on Friday, July 8, 2011, and is an adaptation of the BBC Worldwide Productions franchise for American audiences.

Ambrose’s recent film credits include the independent film Think of Me, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is awaiting further distribution. Directed by Bryan Wizemann, the film stars Ambrose as a struggling single mother living in Las Vegas who must decide how to give her child the best life possible, even if it means giving her up.  The heartfelt portrayal garnered Ambrose a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.

Ambrose will next be seen co-starring in Mike Birbiglia’s directorial debut, Sleepwalk With Me.  Written by Birbiglia and based on his one-man show of the same name, the independent film was produced by Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp and made its debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

In 2009, Ambrose lent her voice to the title role of KW in the Warner Bros. live-action adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are,” opposite Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Dano, Forest Whitaker and James Gandolfini.  Directed by Spike Jonze and based on the classic children’s book by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are follows the imaginary adventures of a little boy named Max who is punished for “making mischief” by being sent to his room without supper.

Earlier that year, Ambrose starred as Queen Marie in the Broadway revival of Eugène Ionesco’s 1962 tragicomedy Exit the King, opposite Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush.  Directed by Neil Armfield, this adaptation follows King Berenger (Rush), who has been informed he has only 90 minutes to live.  His partner wife (Sarandon) advises him of his sentence while his trophy wife (Ambrose) attempts to distract his attention from this unfortunate reality.  Ambrose is introduced as “the second wife to the king but first in his heart.”

Ambrose’s other film credits include The Other Woman, directed by Don Roos and starring Natalie Portman; Cold Souls, opposite Paul Giamatti, Emily Watson and David Strathairn; A Dog Year, opposite Jeff Bridges; Starting Out in the Evening, opposite Frank Langella and Lili Taylor; Diggers, opposite Paul Rudd; and Can’t Hardly WaitAmbrose won the Outfest Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film for her lead performances in Swimming, a coming-of-age story, and the black comedy Psycho Beach Party, adapted from Charles Busch’s play.

Ambrose is best known for her critically acclaimed work as Claire Fisher on the HBO series Six Feet Under.  In the five seasons the show was on the air, Ambrose received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, in 2002 and 2003.  She was also seen on television, opposite Parker Posey, in FOX’s The Return of Jezebel James.

In April 2006, Ambrose made her Broadway debut, appearing in the Tony award-winning production of Clifford OdetsAwake and Sing!, opposite Mark Ruffalo and Ben Gazzara and directed by Bartlett Sher.  In 2004, Ambrose made her stage debut at the National Theatre in London in a production of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Buried Child, directed by Matthew Warchus.

Ambrose currently resides in New York City.

Filmography courtesy of Universal Pictures and Relativity Media. Wanderlust opens March 24th, 2012.

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