Cate Blanchett was born on May 14, 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to June (Gamble), an Australian teacher and property developer, and Robert DeWitt Blanchett, Jr., an American advertising executive, originally from Texas. She has an older brother and a younger sister. When she was ten years old, her 40-year-old father died of a sudden heart attack. Her mother never remarried, and her grandmother moved in to help her mother.
Cate graduated from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1992 and, in a little over a year, had won both critical and popular acclaim. On graduating from NIDA, she joined the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Caryl Churchill’s “Top Girls”, then played Felice Bauer, the bride, in Tim Daly’s “Kafka Dances”, winning the 1993 Newcomer Award from the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle for her performance. From there, Blanchett moved to the role of Carol in David Mamet’s searing polemic “Oleanna”, also for the Sydney Theatre Company, and won the Rosemont Best Actress Award, her second award that year. She then co-starred in the ABC Television’s prime time drama Heartland (1994), again winning critical acclaim. In 1995, she was nominated for Best Female Performance for her role as Ophelia in the Belvoir Street Theatre Company’s production of “Hamlet”. Other theatre credits include Helen in the Sydney Theatre Company’s “Sweet Phoebe”, Miranda in “The Tempest” and Rose in “The Blind Giant is Dancing”, both for the Belvoir Street Theatre Company. In other television roles, Blanchett starred as Bianca in ABC’s Bordertown (1995), as Janie Morris in G.P. (1989) and in ABC’s popular series Police Rescue (1994). She made her feature film debut in Paradise Road (1997).
Cate married writer Andrew Upton in 1997. She had met him a year earlier on a movie set, and they didn’t like each other at first. He thought she was aloof, and she thought he was arrogant, but then they connected over a poker game at a party, and she went home with him that night. Three weeks later he proposed marriage and they quickly married before she went off to England to play her breakthrough role in films: the title character in Elizabeth (1998) for which she won numerous awards for her performance, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama. Cate was also nominated for an Academy Award for the role but lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow. 2001 was a particularly busy year, with starring roles in Bandits (2001), The Shipping News (2001), Charlotte Gray (2001) and playing Elf Queen Galadriel in the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy. She also gave birth to her first child, son Dashiell, in 2001. In 2004, she gave birth to her second son Roman.
Also, in 2004, she played actress Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s film “Aviator” (2004), for which she received an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. Two years later, she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for playing a teacher having an affair with an underage student in “Notes on a Scandal” (2006). In 2007, she returned to the role that made her a star in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007). It earned her an Oscar nomination as Best Actress. She was nominated for another Oscar that same year as Best Supporting Actress for playing Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There” (2007). In 2008, she gave birth to her third child, son Ignatius. She and her husband became artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company, choosing to spend more time in Australia raising their three sons. She also purchased a multi-million dollar home in Sydney, Australia and named it Bulwarra and made extensive renovations to it. Because of her life in Australia, her film work became sporadic, until Woody Allen cast her in the title role in Blue Jasmine (2013), which won her the Academy Award as Best Actress. She ended her job as artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, while her husband continued there for two more years before he too resigned.
In 2015, she adopted her daughter Edith in her father’s homeland of the United States. That same year, she and her husband sold their multi-million dollar home in Australia at a profit and moved to America. Reasons varied from her wanting to work more in America to wanting to familiarize herself with her late father’s American heritage. She played the title role of Carol (2015), a 1950s American housewife in a lesbian affair with a younger woman, for which she received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress. While most actresses might slow down in their forties, Blanchett did the opposite by stretching her boundaries even further, such as when she played 13 different characters in Manifesto (2015) and then making her Broadway debut in 2017 in “The Present”, which is her husband’s adaptation of Chekhov’s play “Platonov” for which she earned a Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Play. Also in 2017, she was selected for the highest honor in her birth country: the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
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