Lena Olin

Lena Olin Photo


Date of Birth: March 22, 1956

What's surprising about this Swedish beauty is that she resisted what was in her genes—acting. Her father, Stig, was a regular on Swedish radio as well as appearing in a few of Ingmar Bergman's early films while her mother was a stage actress who left the theater to devote herself full time to raising her children.

After graduating from high school, Olin worked as a hospital aide and substitute teacher before taking Bergman's advice to audition for the Royal Dramatic Theatre company that he was heading. If you think a little nepotism was involved in her getting accepted to the company you might want to think again since she failed her first audition. But on the second attempt she was accepted and was also soon cast in a bit part in Bergman's 1976 Face to Face.

Olin has continued to work with Bergman over the years, appearing in many of his films and stage productions. In fact, it was her stage performance in a Bergman production of King Lear that brought her to the attention of director Philip Kaufman and producer Saul Zaentz who cast her in the film of Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Playing a mistress by the name of Sabina and prancing around the screen in nothing more than a bowler hat, Olin's erotically charged performance propelled that film into a hit. It also turned Olin into a hot property in Hollywood. About baring herself in her Unbearable performance, she says, "I don't mind love scenes. If you're very modest in your personal life, it's interesting to explore other sides of yourself without consequences."

Recent work includes acting opposite Harrison Ford in Hollywood Homicide (2003) and a recurring role on ABC-TV's hit series Alias.

Married to director Lasse Hallström since 1994, they have a daughter named Tora. She also has a son from her first marriage.