Cate Blanchett


Catherine Élise “Cate” Blanchett was born in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe. Her mother June, was an Australian property developer and teacher, and her father, Robert DeWitt Blanchett, Jr., was from Texas and a US Navy Petty Officer who later worked as an advertising executive. The two met while Blanchett’s father’s ship, the USS Arneb was in Melbourne. When Blanchett was ten, she lost her father to a heart attack. She has two siblings; her older brother Bob is a computer systems engineer, and her younger sister Genevieve, has worked as a theatrical designer.

Blanchett has described herself as being “part extrovert, part wallflower” during childhood. She studied economics and fine arts at the University of Melbourne before leaving Australia to travel overseas. This included a trip to Egypt where a fellow guest at a hotel in Cairo asked if she wanted to be an extra in a movie. The next day she found herself in a crowd scene cheering for an American boxer losing to an Egyptian in the film Kaboria, starring the Egyptian actor Ahmad Zaki. Blanchett returned to Australia and later moved to Sydney to study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1992 when she began her career in the theatre.

Blanchett’s husband is playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton, whom she met in 1996 while she was performing in a production of The Seagull. They were married in 1997 and have three sons: Dashiell, Roman and Ignatius.

Blanchett began making a name for herself in the theatre world soon after graduating from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1992. She quickly won roles in the Sydney Theatre Company’s productions of Top Girls and Kafka Dances and won the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Newcomer Award for the latter in 1993. Blanchett also received critical acclaim for roles in theatre productions of Hamlet, The Tempest, and The Seagull.

After several appearances on Australian and American television, Blanchett made her feature film debut in 1997’s Paradise Road. Later that year, she grabbed Hollywood’s attention with her performance opposite Ralph Fiennes in Oscar and Lucinda (1997). In 1998, Blanchett’s Golden Globe-winning portrayal of England’s queen in Elizabeth earned the 29-year-old actress her first Academy Award nomination.

Blanchett turned in a superb supporting performance in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, also featuring and in 2000, she starred as a psychic woman in a small Southern town in the thriller The Gift. The following year, she co-starred with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton in the comic caper Bandits and with Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore in The Shipping News. She also headlined the World War II-era drama Charlotte Gray, playing a British woman who is drawn into the French resistance movement. In 2005, Blanchett earned an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of the legendary Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator.

In 2007, Blanchett returned to one of her most famous characters in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Picking up a later chapter in the life of Queen Elizabeth I, the film explores how the monarch handled threats to her rule as well as her relationship with explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. She earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and Golden Globe nomination for her work on the film. That same year, Blanchett took on another famous figure. She was one of the actors to portray music legend Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, which garnered her another Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination in the supporting actress categories.

Blanchett and her husband joined the board of the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008 as Artistic Directors, and have been instrumental in introducing a long-term and multifaceted environmental and social sustainability program that benefits the Sydney Theatre Company, the environment and the communities in which participants work.