- 3 July 1965
- Elling, Frederikshavn, Denmark
Danish beauty Connie Nielsen consistently lights up the screen with an eclectic bevy of film roles. She was born in Frederikshavn, Denmark, to a mother who worked as an insurance clerk, and a father, Bent Nielsen, who was a bus driver. Nielsen began her acting career working alongside her mother on the local revue and variety scene. At 18, she headed to Paris to continue her pursuit of acting, which led her to further work and study in Rome and Milan. In addition to being an accomplished actress, Nielsen is also a trained singer, dancer and is fluent in English, German, Danish, Swedish, French and Italian. She resides in New York. However, it was Nielsen's portrayal of "Princess Lucilla", opposite Russell Crowe's Maximus in Ridley Scott's Academy Award-winning Gladiator (2000), which first garnered a mass appeal. She won Best Actress Awards from the Danish Academy Awards and from the San Sebastian Film Festival for her role in the Danish drama Brothers (2004) (aka Brothers), which was released by Focus Features and IFC Films. She then appeared in the World War II epic The Great Raid (2005) opposite Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Fiennes and James Franco for director John Dahl and produced by Miramax; the dramatic thriller Return to Sender (2004) directed by Bille August, which premiered at The Toronto Film Festival in 2004; and the black comedy The Ice Harvest (2005) with John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Randy Quaid, directed by Harold Ramis for Focus Features. In 2003, Nielsen starred as an industrial spy in a corporate war in the critically acclaimed suspense thriller Demonlover (2002), directed by Olivier Assayas and co-starring Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon. Her other lead roles range from The Hunted (2003) by director William Friedkin (with Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro; to Basic (2003) by director John McTiernan (opposite John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson); to One Hour Photo (2002) where she starred opposite Robin Williams; to Mission to Mars (2000) opposite Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle; to The Devil's Advocate (1997) starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. Additionally, Nielsen has received a Best Actress Award from the Empire Awards for her role in Gladiator (2000), and has given unforgettable performances as a German heroin junkie in Permanent Midnight (1998) opposite Ben Stiller and as an unmatronly Texas mother in Rushmore (1998) opposite Bill Murray. Other film credits include Innocents (2000) (aka The Innocents) opposite Jean-Hugues Anglade, Voyage (1993) with Rutger Hauer and Eric Roberts.