Uma Thurman was born in Boston, but she was raised in such far-flung locales as India (during grade school), Amherst, Massachusetts, and Woodstock, New York. Her father was the first American to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk (he is currently chairman of the religion department at Columbia University) and her mother is a psychotherapist who was briefly married to psychedelic guru Timothy Leary. All four of the Thurman children are named for Hindu deities; "Uma" translates into "bestower of blessings").
A little ill-at-ease amongst her peers because of her unconventional name and upbringing, at 15 Thurman left school to move to New York City. Once in the Big Apple, she supported herself by washing dishes and by modeling—as her mother had done years before when she was fresh off the boat from Sweden.
A year later, Thurman got her first film gig as a young vamp who seduces men to rob them in the low-budget thriller, Kiss Daddy Good Night (1987). She was the only one to escape the film with a favorable notice. It was the role she played at 18 as the convent-sheltered naïf seduced out of her corset by John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons (1988) that catapulted her into fame.
"That showing part of the human body would have such an overwhelming effect and be the cause of such insane media amazed me," she remembers about Dangerous Liaisons. "It was a shocking thing to be ripped out of my innocence and suddenly put up as some kind of hot thing that had absolutely no translation for me in my vernacular whatever. It sort of stunned me."
Thurman again impressed audiences with her role in Pulp Fiction (1994). The gig landed her an Oscar nomination (her only one to date) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe in the same category. In 2003, she landed the lead part of The Bride in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and reprised the role for its sequel the following year. Uma was seen in the 2012 films Bel Ami with Robert Pattinson and Playing for Keeps alongside Gerard Butler. The film Nymphomaniac: Volumes I and II (2014) followed.
In 2015 she joined the cast of the NBC drama Slap, playing the role of Anouk. A role as scary enforcer Lenny Cohen on Bravo's comedy/crime/drama The Imposters, which lasted two seasons from 2017 - 2018, was next for the actress. Another TV role immediately was available on the 10-episode Netflix series Chambers in 2019.
Back on the big screen, she played Robert De Niro's daughter in The War with Grandpa (2020), which finally released to theaters during the pandemic, having been filmed two years earlier.
Once married to fellow actor Gary Oldman for a brief time, Thurman married actor Ethan Hawke May 1, 1998, whom she became involved with during filming of the 1997 futuristic thriller Gattaca. The couple have a daughter, Maya Ray, born July 8, 1998 and a son Roan, born January 15, 2002, but they were divorced after it was reported that Hawke cheated with a Canadian model while he was in Montreal filming.
As for how Uma perceives herself, she says, "People probably get their coffee from a waitress every morning that's better-looking than I am. But I'm on the movie screen, so I'm there to be fantad about."
The War with Grandpa (2020)
Down a Dark Hall (2018)
The House That Jack Built (2018)
The Con Is On (2018)
Nymphomaniac: Volumes I and II (2014)
Love, Marilyn (2013)
Bel Ami (2012)
Playing for Keeps (2012)
Bel Ami (2012)
Eloise in Paris (2010)
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
The Accidental Husband (2009)
The Life Before Her Eyes (2007)
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)
The Producers (2005)
Accidental Husband (2005)
Be Cool (2005)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
The Golden Bowl (2000)
Sweet and Lowdown (1999)
Les Miserables (1998)
The Avengers (1998)
Batman & Robin (1997)
Beautiful Girls (1996)
The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996)
A Month by The Lake (1995)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
Final Analysis (1992)
Jennifer Eight (1992)
Henry & June (1990)
Where the Heart Is (1990)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989)
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
Johnny Be Good (1988)
Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987)