Hannah Waddingham Biography: In Her Own Words – Exclusive Video, News, Photos
Hannah Waddingham is an English actress and singer. She is best known for her renowned musical theater work and for her starring role as Rebecca Welton in the 2020 comedy television series Ted Lasso.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM BIOGRAPHY: EARLY LIFE, FAMILY, EDUCATION
Hannah Waddingham was born on November 16, 1974 (Hannah Waddingham age: 46) in Wandsworth, London. Both her mother, Melodie Kelly, and her maternal grandparents were opera singers. Waddingham attended Streatham and Clapham High School, an all-girls private school in South London. She then graduated from the British drama school the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts and began performing on the stage almost immediately.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM BIO: HER JOURNEY INTO ACTING
In June 2021, Waddingham spoke exclusively with uInterview about how she got her start in the acting world. Gesturing emphatically with her hands, Waddingham described her first role in the interactive comedy theater show Joni and Gina’s Wedding as her introduction to comedy and drama.
“[Joni and Gina’s Wedding] really let me cut my teeth because you have to be quick-witted and on it and go with whatever someone else has said and keep it positive,” Waddingham said. “And that’s probably what got me into the worlds of comedy and drama… being able to mix and ebb and flow through each other.”
Check out the full interview at the top of this page.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM BIO: ACTING CAREER, GAME OF THRONES
In addition to Joni and Gina’s Wedding, one of Waddingham’s earliest roles was in the 2000 musical Lautrec, where she played Suzanne Valadon. In 2002, Waddingham played the lead role of Starbird in the musical Space Family Robinson, directed by Oliver Campbell Smith. Waddingham’s 2006 performance as the Lady of the Lake in the London and Broadway productions of Spamalot earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. She received a second Olivier Award nomination in 2010 for her portrayal of Desirée Armfeldt in Trevor Nunn’s revival of the musical A Little Night Music. Also in 2010, Waddingham played the central role of the witch in Regent Park’s revival of Into the Woods. Waddingham continued her reign in the world of musical theater with her role of the Wicked Witch of the West in the original 2011 production of The Wizard of Oz. In 2012, Waddingham starred in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s revival of Kiss Me, Kate, also directed by Nunn, for which she received her third Olivier Award nomination.
Waddingham made her film debut in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008), where she played the minor role of Elizabeth Maddox. In 2012, Waddingham played a factory worker in the musical film Les Misérables, acting alongside Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe and other major stars. Waddingham’s first starring role was in the 2018 British psychological thriller drama Winter Ridge, directed by Dom Lenoir. The film won more than a dozen awards at independent film festivals despite operating on a low budget. 2019 marks Waddingham’s most recent film appearance, where she played a minor role in the American comedy film The Hustle, starring Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson and Alex Sharp.
Between 2002 and 2015 Waddingham appeared in 15 different TV shows, but her big break in the television world occurred in 2016 with her recurring role as Septa Unella in HBO’s Game of Thrones. She appeared in eight episodes over seasons five and six, working primarily with leading actress Lena Headey. In 2018, Waddingham was cast as Jax-Ur on the Syfy show Krypton, first as a recurring character and then as a starring cast member. Waddingham continued her small-screen run in 2019 with a supporting role in the popular Netflix show Sex Education, where she played Sofia Marchetti. Her second big break in the television world occurred in 2020 with her role as Rebecca Welton in the American comedy show Ted Lasso, where she starred alongside Jason Sudeikis. Her portrayal garnered international acclaim and landed her Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2021 Critics Choice Awards. Not slowing down, Waddingham has already guest-starred in two shows in 2021 – Midsomer Murders and Murder, They Hope.
Beyond acting and performing, Waddingham has also explored music recording. Her recording of “Our Kind of Love,” a song originally from the musical The Beautiful Game, hit No. 41 on the UK Singles Chart in October of 2000. She also is featured on the 2002 Space Family Robinson soundtrack recording, where she sings the part of Starbird.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM BIO: ‘TED LASSO’ uINTERVIEW
In her exclusive interview with uInterview, Waddingham also discussed her recent role in the wildly popular Apple TV+ show Ted Lasso. Waddingham plays the AFC Richmond owner and recent divorcee Rebecca Welton opposite Sudeikis, who plays the titular character.
Waddingham explained that her performance was inspired in part by Karren Brady, the former managing director of Birmingham City F.C. and current member of the House of Lords. “Karren Brady is such an unapologetically glamourous woman, but she doesn’t for a second forget her power, and how that’s alright,” said Waddingham. “She doesn’t try and use her sexuality or her femininity to get herself any further, but she also doesn’t let you forget it. She’s a charismatic and vulnerable woman and lets you see all of it, and on top of that is hugely successful.”
Waddingham also spoke about the experience of working with Sudeikis. According to Waddingham, “there were plenty of ‘pinch me’ moments because I’ve been a fan of his for years.” Waddingham was so starstruck at times that she had to work on getting over “that thing of thinking ‘stop watching him like an audience member and actually be in the scene with him’.”
Waddingham recalled, in particular, one scene where she had to adapt to Sudeikis’ comedic improvisation. “There were times where he would just be riffing, being ridiculous. Like when he sang ‘first concert, best concert’, all of that, and he’s just going and going and going, and me as Rebecca, I just have to cut him off,” she said.
Waddingham was highly complimentary of Sudeikis as a co-star, saying, “in the scenes where Ted and Rebecca really engage… Jason knew how to push my buttons and [get] me to where I needed to be emotionally, and so I felt a real privilege being clearly with a fellow actor, not just a film star, who wanted the best out of his co-star.”
Ted Lasso follows the journey of an American football coach (played by Sudeikis) taking on the management of a European football club (soccer). Waddingham described to uInterview the difference between the European culture around soccer and the American culture around football. “When I was living and working in New York, I was really struck by how we may speak the same language in theory, but we really don’t,” she said. “There are some things that are the same, but there are some things that are wildly different, so it’s fun playing all of that.”
Check out the full interview below.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM: PERSONAL LIFE, PARTNER, KIDS
Waddingham has been with her current partner, Gianluca Cugnetto, for about a decade. Waddingham welcomed her first child in 2014. Waddingham was eight months pregnant with her daughter for her Game of Thrones audition, and the baby was only 10 weeks old when Waddingham went to Croatia to film scenes for the show.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM: CURRENT PROJECTS
Waddingham will return as Rebecca Welton on July 23 of 2021, when season 2 of Ted Lasso premiers.
Season 3 of Sex Education is anticipated to come out on Netflix in October 2021. In the meantime, watch the Season 2 trailer below.