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Hermione Norris (born 1st February 1967) is an English actress.

Norris attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in the 1980s before taking small roles in theatre and on television. In 1996, she was cast in her breakout role of Karen Marsden in the comedy drama television series Cold Feet. She appeared in every episode of the series from 1998 to 2003 and was nominated for a British Comedy Award.

From 2002 to 2005, she co-starred in the crime drama series Wire in the Blood as Carol Jordan, and from 2005 to 2009 co-starred in the BBC One spy drama Spooks as Ros Myers. Her role in Spooks won her the award for Best Actress at the 2008 ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards, and another nomination the next year. From 2007 to 2009, she co-starred in the ITV comedy drama Kingdom, opposite Stephen Fry.

Norris is married, with two children.

Early life and education[edit]Edit

Hermione Norris was born on 1st February 1967 as the second of four children (she has two sisters and a brother). Her parents, Michael and Helen Norris (née Latham), a businessman and health visitor respectively, divorced when she was four years old. She moved with her mother and siblings to live with her grandmother in Derbyshire, but moved back to London a few years later. She failed her eleven plus exam but won a scholarship to Elmhurst Ballet School in Surrey. While there, she took up drama at an after-school club, performing alongside her dance studies until she left aged 17. For the next two years she did "various office jobs to get by".

At age 19 she enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). On an exchange to the Moscow Art Theatre School she played Nina in a production of The Seagull.After leaving college at the age of 21, she lived in a house in Brixton with four other actors. At the same time, she had to deal with the sudden death of her father.

Career[edit]Edit

Norris made her professional stage debut in a 1989 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which earned her her Equity card. She made her television debut in the 1991 BBC serial The Men's Room, playing the daughter of Bill Nighy's character. Other early television roles include appearances in Agatha Christie's Poirot, the television serial Clarissa, and a 1991 episode of Drop the Dead Donkey. She continued to make guest appearances in series such as Between the Lines and Casualty. When out of work, she supported herself by working on Sainsbury's supermarket checkouts, and selling double glazing in a shopping centre.

After being out of work for four months in 1996, Norris considered quitting acting and reading for a degree in law, intending to become a solicitor. However, she got a part in Cold Feet playing Karen Marsden, a middle-class woman who feels trapped by her middle-class lifestyle. Norris appeared in every episode and was nominated for a British Comedy Award for Best Actress in 2001.

During the six years Cold Feet ran, Norris appeared in a leading role in the BBC drama Berkeley SquareKilling Time: The Millennium Poem, starring opposite Christopher Eccleston, and the 2002 television film Falling Apart, playing a woman in a violent relationship. In 2002, she co-starred with Robson Green in Wire in the Blood, playing Detective Inspector Carol Jordan. She stayed with the series until 2005 when she was replaced by Simone Lahbib. Further film roles include an appearance in an adaptation of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim, and in David Kane's Born Romantic.

At the end of 2005 she was cast in the BBC One spy drama Spooks, playing Ros Myers. She appeared throughout the 2006 series, then in eight of the ten episodes in the 2007 series before taking time off filming for maternity leave. She returned to the show for the 2008 series. For her part, she won the Best Actress award at the inaugural ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards. She was nominated in the same category the next year. She left the series in 2009 after four years.

From 2007 to 2009, she appeared in three series of Kingdom playing Beatrice Kingdom, the half-sister of Stephen Fry's character. She took the role as a change of pace from the "ice maiden" characters she often portrays. In 2010, she stars opposite Trevor Eve in the remake of Bouquet of Barbed Wire. In 2010, she was cast in the television science fiction drama Outcasts as Stella Isen, the head of security on an extraterrestrial human colony. Filming occurred on location in South Africa. From November 2010, Norris is due to play Ruth Condomine in a national tour of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit. She will star opposite her Cold Feet co-star Robert Bathurst, and Alison Steadman. Of the play, Norris said, "Coward's insights into the way the female mind works are excellent. Elvira's manipulations and Ruth with her control issues, they're both utterly believable".

Personal life[edit]Edit

In 2002, Norris began a relationship with Simon Wheeler, a writer on Wire in the Blood. The couple married in December 2002 in a ceremony at the Tower of London. Their first child, Wilf, was born in June 2004, and their daughter, Hero, followed in August 2007. Her father-in-law is General Sir Roger Wheeler, the Chief of the General Staff from 1997 to 2000.

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