Born in Lancashire, England, actress Anna Friel shot to fame at age 16 playing Beth Jordache, British television's first lesbian character, on the serial "Brookside."
Friel continued to develop a following with her role in the BBC-2 movie "The Tribe" (1998), playing a seductive member of a cult-like Goth group. She segued to the big screen as the brazen flirt Prue in David Leland's World War II drama, "The Land Girls" (1998). A sprightly blonde, with mischievous eyes and a knowing smile, Friel brought a combination of innocence and vivacious charm to her portrayal of a working-class girl, amplifying the character to something more than a simple tart. She continued to establish herself as a film actress as Ewan McGregor's wife in "Rogue Trader" (1998), the biopic of Nick Leeson, whose financial dealings brought about the collapse of Barings Bank. She joined a stellar cast that included Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christian Bale and Rupert Everett for another telling of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999), playing Hermia, the love-torn daughter of an overly controlling father (Bernard Hill) who wants her to marry another man (Bale).
Friel began making more of a name for herself in the United States, first by appearing in small independent films, followed by regular series work on television. She headlined the British-made "Mad Cows" (1999), playing a newly single mother who shoplifts and stages a prison break scheme with her best friend (Joanna Lumley) so she can find the couple who adopted her son. She also appeared in the films; "Sunset Strip," "An Everlasting Piece," "St. Ives," "Me Without You" and "Timeline."
Friel then decided to try her hand at American television. She scored a television hit with "Pushing Daises," an oddball, stylized tale of a man (Lee Pace) with the power to bring the dead back to life unless he touches them again, sending them back to a permanent death. Friel played his childhood sweetheart Chuck, whom he revives after she is murdered on a cruise ship, only to fall hopelessly in love and never be able to touch her again.
In 2008, Friel earned her first Golden Globe nomination for her role in the highly-acclaimed series. Friel earned a Golden Globe nomination in 2008 for her role in the highly acclaimed series. However, declining ratings led to its cancellation the following year. Not long after the final episode aired, Friel hit movie screens in "Land of the Lost" (2009), adapted from the 1970s Saturday morning series about a family who find themselves transported to prehistoric times. Despite the star power of leading man Will Ferrell, the film had tough competition at the summer box office and negative reviews aided in keeping moviegoers away.
Friel returned to Great Britain for her next pair of features, beginning with "Angel Makers," then "Limitless," followed by "Public Enemies."
2014 sees her return to American television with the female lead in NBC's "Odyssey" where she plays a stranded solider.
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