One of the most luminous actresses to grace the British screen, as well as those of the rest of the world, Julie Christie is known for both her onscreen magnetism, which has not faded as she has grown older, and her offscreen reclusiveness. The daughter of an India-based British tea planter, she was born in Chukua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1941, and grew up on her father's tea plantation. Educated in England and on the Continent, she planned to become an artist or a linguist before she altered her life's goals by enrolling in the Central School of Speech Training in London. In 1957, she first stepped on-stage as a paid professional with the Frinton Repertory of Essex.
Celebrated less for her stage work than for her continuing role in a popular British TV serial, A for Andromeda, Christie made her film debut in a small role in Crooks Anonymous (1963). After a rather charming ingénue stint in The Fast Lady (1963) (the lady was a car, not the ingénue), she received her first prestige part in Billy Liar (1963), gaining critical acclaim for this and her subsequent supporting part in Young Cassidy (1965). Thus, Christie was not the "newcomer" that some perceived her to be when she shook film audiences to their foundations in Darling (1965), a poignant time capsule about a stylishly amoral sexual butterfly. Christie won numerous awards for Darling, not the least of which were the British Film Academy award and the American Oscar.