Thandiwe Adjewa "Thandie" Newton (born 6 November 1972) is an English actress. She has appeared in a number of successful British and American films, including The Pursuit of Happyness; Run, Fat Boy, Run; Mission: Impossible II; Crash and W.
Newton was born in London, England, and is the daughter of Nyasha, a Zimbabwean health-care worker, and Nick Newton, an English laboratory technician and artist. Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambia in some biographies, however she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London, during a two-week trip by her parents. The name "Thandiwe" means "beloved" in Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa or Swazi and the name "Thandie" is pronounced Tan-dee. According to Newton, her mother is a Zimbabwean Shona Princess. Raised in London and Penzance, Cornwall, she went on to read Archaeology and Anthropology at Downing College, Cambridge, from 1992 to 1995, where she achieved a 2:1.
Newton made her film debut in Flirting (1991). She gained international recognition in the Merchant Ivory production of Jefferson in Paris as Sally Hemings, which led to her being cast in Jonathan Demme's Beloved (1998), in which she played the title character. She played the female lead Nyah Hall in the film Mission: Impossible II. When this film went over schedule, she had to pull out of the film Charlie's Angels, and her character ultimately went to Lucy Liu.
Between 2003 and 2005, Newton played Makemba "Kem" Likasu, the love interest, and later wife of Dr. John Carter on the American television series ER. She reprised the role once more for the series finale in 2009. In 2004 also appeared in The Chronicles of Riddick and Crash. In the latter, she played a wealthy black woman who, along with her husband, finds herself the target of a racist policeman (played by Matt Dillon). Newton was honoured with a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress in 2006. She also played Chris Gardner's wife, Linda Gardner, in The Pursuit of Happyness.
In addition to her film and television credits she played the title role in a 2006 radio pantomime version of Cinderella.
In 2007, she starred alongside Eddie Murphy in the comedy Norbit as his love interest, and opposite Simon Pegg as his ex-girlfriend in the comedy Run Fat Boy Run.
Newton next portrayed U.S. National Security Advisor-turned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in W., Oliver Stone's film biography of President George W. Bush. The film was released 17 October 2008.
Newton was an introducer at Wembley Stadium on 7 July 2007 for the UK leg of Live Earth. She was due to introduce Al Gore to the concert, but he was delayed, leaving Newton to tell jokes to try and entertain the audience.
Newton is set next to portray the United States President's First Daughter Laura Wilson in 2012, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich, set to be released 13 November 2009.