Thandie Newton was born on 6 November 1972 in Zambia, Africa. Her mother, a Zimbabwean princess of the Shona tribe, and her father, a white Englishman, lived with their daughter in Zambia until 1977 when political turmoil prompted the family to move to Cornwall, England.
At 16, while studying modern dance at the London Art Educational School, Newton auditioned for a role in the film "Flirting" (1992), directed by Australian John Duigan. Newton got the part, her first appearance on the big screen and the start of her professional collaboration with Duigan. On the set of "Flirting", Newton met Nicole Kidman, who would later become Mrs. Tom Cruise.
After appearing in Danny Cannon's "The Young Americans" (1993) and in Anna Campion's (Jane's sister) "Loaded" (1994), Newton received the opportunity to star opposite Mr. Cruise as well as Brad Pitt in Neil Jordan's "Interview With The Vampire" (1994).
While studying a degree in anthropology from the prestigious Cambridge University, Newton starred in the Merchant/Ivory production of "Jefferson In Paris" (1995), opposite Nick Nolte and Greta Scacchi. She reteamed with director John Duigan to star opposite Jason Patric in yet another period piece, "The Journey Of August King" (1995).
Determined to not be typecast, Newton joined the production of the gritty "Gridlock'd" (1997), which starred indie actor Tim Roth and hip-hop icon Tupac Shukar. She then headlined the contemporary love story, "The Leading Man", (1998) alongside rocker Jon Bon Jovi, again directed by Duigan.
Newton next smoldered on screen with British actor David Thewlis ("Naked") in acclaimed film-maker Bernardo Bertolucci's "Besieged" (1999). Thereafter, she played the pivotal part of the ghostly apparition that haunted Oprah Winfrey in Johnathan Demme's cinematic adaptation of Toni Morrison's best-seller, "Beloved". It is interesting to note that the English translation of Newton's Zulu-derived name, "Thandiewe", is "Beloved".
2000 sees Newton reteaming with "Interview With The Vampire" co-star Tom Cruise in the big-budget "MI:2". Newton plays Nyah Hall, a thief who wins the heart of Crusie's Ethan Hunt and also serves as the love interest for the film's lead villain, renegade agent Sean Ambrose (played by Scottish actor Dougray Scott).
Newton is married to screenwriter/director Oliver Parker - the man responsible for "Othello", starring Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh, as well as "An Ideal Husband", starring Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett and Minnie Driver.