A breakthrough role for the tall, blonde actress came when she played Cecile de Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons (1988). More attention came with the NC-17 rated Henry & June (1990), but it was Thurman’s role in the Quentin Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction (1994) that earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Donning a short black wig to play femme fatale Mia Wallace opposite John Travolta’s hit man Vincent Vega, Thurman earned a place in film history.
After roles in The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996) and the Ted Demme film Beautiful Girls (1996), Thurman met her future husband Ethan Hawke on the set of Gattaca (1997).
Thurman returned to smaller films after playing the villainess Poison Ivy in the reviled Joel Schumacher effort Batman & Robin (1997) and Emma Peel in a remake of The Avengers (1998). She worked with Woody Allen and Sean Penn on Sweet and Lowdown (1999), and starred in Richard Linklater’s drama Tape (2001) opposite Hawke. Thurman also won a Golden Globe award for her turn in the made-for-television film Hysterical Blindness (2002), directed by Mira Nair.
A return to the mainstream spotlight came when Thurman redeemed with Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), a revenge flick the two had dreamed up on the set of Pulp Fiction (1994). She also turned up in the John Woo cautioner Paycheck (2003) that same year. The renewed attention was not altogether welcome because Thurman was dealing with the break-up of her marriage with Hawke at about this time. Thurman handled the situation with grace, however, and took her surging popularity in stride. She garnered critical acclaim for her work in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) and was hailed as Tarantino’s muse. Thurman reunited with Pulp Fiction (1994) dance partner John Travolta for the Get Shorty (1995) sequel Be Cool (2005) and played Ulla in The Producers (2005).
Birth Name Uma Karuna Thurman
Height 5′ 11″ (1.80 m)