Lia Williams (born 26 November 1964) is an English actress, notable for many stage, film, and television appearances. She is possibly best known for her role in the motion picture, Dirty Weekend (1993). Williams received a Tony Award nomination for her lead performance in the 1996 production of Skylight. She has also worked as a director.
Williams trained at the Arts Educational School in Hertfordshire and then the London Studio Centre. She gained early experience in amateur theatre in Surrey where she met her first husband. After graduating, she worked a season at Paco Borau's Benidorm Palace as a show-girl, in order to gain her Equity Membership. She made her stage debut understudying in the comedy Daisy Pulls it Off at Southampton's Nuffield Theatre, which moved to London's Gielgud Theatre in 1983 where she graduated to a leading role.
An accomplished stage actress, Williams’s breakthrough performance came in 1991 when she was awarded the London Critics Circle Most Promising Newcomer Award for her performance in The Revengers' Comedies. In 1993, she created the role of Carol in the London production of David Mamet's Oleanna. In 1997, Williams appeared in London's West End and on Broadway in David Hare's Skylight. Her performance earned her a Best Actress Tony Awardnomination. In 2001, Williams appeared again in the West End and on Broadway in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming.
Other theatre performances include Mappa Mundi for the National Theatre (2002), Rosalind in As You Like It for the RSC (2005), The Hothouse for the English National Theatre (2007), Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular (2007), the role of Ellida Wangel in Henryk Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea (2008), and alternating in the roles of Anna and Kate in Pinter's Old Times opposite Kristin Scott Thomas (2013).
In 1993, Williams made her film debut in Michael Winner's Dirty Weekend, playing the lead role of Bella, a mild-mannered secretary who murders a peeping tom with a hammer. Subsequent film appearances have included supporting roles in Firelight (1997), Shot Through the Heart (1998), The King Is Alive (2000), Chica de Rio (2001), and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (2007).
In 2001, Williams appeared opposite Sheila Hancock in the TV serial The Russian Bride, a modern day reimagining of Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin. Williams was awarded the Best Actress Golden FIPA award for her performance. In 2004, Williams received a Best Actress BAFTA nomination for her performance in the BBC drama May 33, in which she portrayed a young woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder. The role also earned her a Royal Television SocietyBest Actress nomination.
Other recent television appearances include supporting roles in the Agatha Christie adaptations Sparkling Cyanide (2003) and By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2006), and guest roles in series such as Silent Witness (2002), Heartbeat (2002), The Last Detective (2005), and A Touch of Frost (2005).
In September 2009, Williams joined the cast of the ITV comedy drama series Doc Martin. Williams plays Edith Montgomery, an old flame of the eponymous Dr Martin Ellingham, who is played by Martin Clunes.
Williams has been directing short films since 2002, her debut being Feathers (2002), which was based on a short story by Raymond Carver. In 2008, her short film The Stronger (2007) was nominated for the Best Short Film Award at theBAFTA Film Awards. In 2009, Williams directed Dog Alone, a dialogue-free short film which was broadcast as part of British Sky Broadcasting's Ten Minute Tales season.
Williams lives in West Hampstead with her second husband, writer/producer Guy Hibbert, and her son from a former marriage, Josh. She and her husband also run their own production company, Tilting Ground Productions.