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Gemma Chan

Actress

Gemma Chan (born 29 November 1982) is a British film, television, and theatre actress and former fashion model. She played Charlotte in season four of the Showtime and ITV2 series Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007); Ruth in Channel 4's Fresh Meat (2011); Mia Bennett in The Waters of Mars (2009), and Soo Lin in The Blind Banker (2010). She also appeared in the feature films Exam (2009) and Paramount Pictures' action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014). Chan made a film for Amnesty International to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Chan was born at Guy's Hospital in London, England. Her father grew up in Hong Kong and was an engineer. Her mother, a pharmacist at Guy's Hospital, emigrated from pre-Cultural Revolution Communist China via Hong Kong with her parents (Chan's maternal grandparents) and younger sister, growing up in Greenock, Scotland. Chan was raised near Sevenoaks, Kent, and attended Newstead Wood School for Girls in Orpington, Bromley, London. She later went on to read law at Worcester College, Oxford. Following graduation, Chan gained a training contract offer as a graduate at the law firm Slaughter and May, but instead pursued an acting career and studied at the Drama Centre London. Spotted at her showcase by British film producer Damian Jones, she signed to acting agent Nicki van Gelder. In 2006, Chan was one of the models in series one of Project Catwalk, the UK version of Project Runway. She has been photographed by Rankin for a campaign for Nivea Visage, having previously worked as a model in order to fund her studies and drama school training. Chan played geologist Mia Bennett in The Waters of Mars (2009), starring David Tennant and Lindsay Duncan, which aired 15 November 2009 in the UK. She was cast as a series regular in Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007), the fourth and final series airing on ITV2 in the UK and Showtime in the US in 2011. She also appeared in Sherlock (2010), and the fourth series of The IT Crowd (2006) for Channel 4. In 2012, Chan was a regular in series two of Sky Living's supernatural drama Bedlam (2011) and in True Love (2012), a five-part semi-improvised television series produced by Working Title for the BBC One. In 2013, she starred in new BBC One crime drama Shetland (2013), alongside Douglas Henshall and Steven Robertson, and guest starred in the BBC's Death in Paradise (2011). She was a cast-member of Channel 4 romantic drama, Dates (2013). Chan played the synthetic Anita/Mia in the AMC/Channel 4 eight-part science-fiction drama Humans (2015). Filming commenced in autumn 2014 with a June 2015 premiere. The second series premiered on 30 October. For her portrayal, she was nominated for numerous awards. In July 2016, Chan provided the voice "Dewdrop" in BBC One's animated television series Watership Down (2018). She appeared in the World War II drama film Shanghai (2010) and the comedy-drama Submarine (2010). Chan starred in Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Families (2015). She made her professional stage debut in the British Premiere of Bertolt Brecht's last play, Turandot, at the Hampstead Theatre, London, directed by Anthony Clark. In November 2012, she performed in The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie, a new play by Anders Lustgarten at the Finborough Theatre. In June 2013, she performed in the UK premiere of Yellow Face by American playwright David Henry Hwang at The Park Theatre, London, directed by Alex Sims. It was revived in 2014 at the Royal National Theatre with the original London cast returning. In November 2013, Chan performed in the world premiere of Our Ajax by Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Southwark Playhouse, London. Wertenbaker chose her to play the war goddess Athena after she saw her performance in Yellow Face.

Popularity: 9

Sidney Poitier

DirectorActor

Sidney Poitier was a native of Cat Island, Bahamas, although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents, Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier. He grew up in poverty as the son of farmers, with his father also driving a cab in Nassau. Sidney had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with his brother, in order to forestall a growing tendency toward delinquency. In the U.S., he experienced the racial chasm that divides the country, a great shock to a boy coming from a society with a majority of African descent. At 18, he went to New York, did menial jobs and slept in a bus terminal toilet. A brief stint in the Army as a worker at a veterans' hospital was followed by more menial jobs in Harlem. An impulsive audition at the American Negro Theatre was rejected so forcefully that Poitier dedicated the next six months to overcoming his accent and improving his performing skills. On his second try, he was accepted. Spotted in rehearsal by a casting agent, he won a bit part in the Broadway production of "Lysistrata", for which he earned good reviews. By the end of 1949, he was having to choose between leading roles on stage and an offer to work for Darryl F. Zanuck in the film No Way Out (1950). His performance as a doctor treating a white bigot got him plenty of notice and led to more roles. Nevertheless, the roles were still less interesting and prominent than those white actors routinely obtained. But seven years later, after turning down several projects he considered demeaning, Poitier got a number of roles that catapulted him into a category rarely if ever achieved by an African-American man of that time, that of leading man. One of these films, The Defiant Ones (1958), earned Poitier his first Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Five years later, he won the Oscar for Lilies of the Field (1963), the first African American to win for a leading role. He remained active on stage and screen as well as in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. His roles in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and To Sir, with Love (1967) were landmarks in helping to break down some social barriers between blacks and whites. Poitier's talent, conscience, integrity, and inherent likability placed him on equal footing with the white stars of the day. He took on directing and producing chores in the 1970s, achieving success in both arenas.

Popularity: 11

Jennifer Holland

Actress

In 2022 Jennifer Holland can be seen starring as Emilia Harcourt in HBO Max's highly anticipated action series "Peacemaker." Based on the DC Comics and executive produced and written by James Gunn, "Peacemaker" is the first DC Extended Universe television series, and follows Peacemaker (John Cena) who believes in achieving peace, at any cost. Holland shines as Harcourt, a loyal, lifelong black ops member who believes in her line of work, you do not hesitate to do your job. For Harcourt, emotions and friends are liabilities, and she is irked when inexperienced new recruit Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) joins her team, just another liability to navigate. Holland debuted as Harcourt in Warner Bros' "The Suicide Squad," Gunn's hyper-violent, triumphant reimagining of the 2016 feature. "Peacemaker" picks up where "The Suicide Squad" left off, and will premiere on January 13, 2022 on HBO Max. Additional television credits for Holland include starring in CMT's "Sun Records," "Rush Hour," "Perception," "The Glades," "American Horror Story," "Bones," "Rizzoli & Isles," "Cougar Town," and "CSI: Miami." In film, Holland recently appeared in Screen Gem's anti-superhero horror flick "Brightburn" opposite Elizabeth Banks. Born and raised outside of Chicago, Holland grew up as a competitive gymnast, where she discovered her love of performing. She participated in theater throughout middle and high school, joining the drama and film clubs to further explore her love of bringing characters to life. At just 16 years old she decided to pursue a professional career in Los Angeles, and made the move to the west coast to immerse herself in the industry. She has been working ever since. Over the years Holland has supported a myriad of charities as giving back is essential for her. She is an ongoing supporter of The Rainforest Trust, and is passionate about criminal justice reform, the reduction of human impact on the environment and climate change. When Holland isn't on set you can find her in the outdoors; she loves hiking, biking, kayaking, and being active. She is also a self-proclaimed astronomy geek; astronomers, theoretical physicists, engineers, and scientists are her heroes. Holland currently lives in the Los Angeles area, with her puggle Lola and cat Emily.

Popularity: 13
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