Melanie Thandiwe Newton OBE (/tænˈdiːweɪ/ tan-DEE-way; born 6 November 1972), formerly credited as Thandie Newton, is an English actress. Newton has received various awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award and a British Academy Film Award, in addition to nominations for two Golden Globe Awards. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to film and to charity.
Newton is known for starring roles such as the title character in Beloved (1998), Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), Tiffany in Shade (2003), Dame Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Christine in Crash (2004), for which she received a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Linda in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Libby in Run Fatboy Run (2007), Stella in RockNRolla (2008), Condoleezza Rice in W. (2008), Laura Wilson in 2012 (2009), Tangie Adrose in For Colored Girls (2010), and Val in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Since 2016, Newton has played a sentient android, the madam Maeve Millay, in the HBO science fiction-western series Westworld, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and two Critics Choice Awards, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe Award, Saturn Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2017, she portrayed DCI Roz Huntley in the BBC drama series Line of Duty, which earned her a nomination for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress.
Newton was born in Westminster, London, England, to Nyasha, a Zimbabwean member of a Shona chiefly family, and Nick Newton, an English laboratory technician and artist. Her family had been living in Zambia and later returned there, where her younger brother was born. Her birthplace has been incorrectly reported to be Zambia in some sources, but she has confirmed in interviews that she was born in London. Thandiwe is a name of Nguni origin, meaning "beloved".
When she was three years old, the family moved to England, settling in Penzance, Cornwall, so her father could help run his family's antiques business. She attended St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School. Newton remarked at a TED conference, "From about the age of five, I was aware that I didn't fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white Catholic school run by nuns. I was an anomaly." She began dropping the letter w in "Thandiwe", leaving it as "Thandie", pronounced /ˈtændi/ TAN-dee in English.
Newton was raised in London and Penzance. She studied dance at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Between 1992 and 1995, Newton studied at Downing College, Cambridge, where she obtained a degree in social anthropology.
Newton married English writer, director, and producer Ol Parker in 1998. They have three children: two daughters, including Nico, and a son born in 2014. All three were home births. She is vegan and was named PETA's "Sexiest Vegan of 2014" in the UK.
In 2006, Newton contributed a foreword to We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children, a book of children's writing published in aid of the NSPCC. In it, she wrote about her childhood memories of growing up in Cornwall, and the way in which the county's cultural heritage made it easy for her to "enrich every situation with layers of magic and meaning".
In 2007, Newton sold her near-new BMW X5 and replaced it with a Toyota Prius after Greenpeace stuck a "This gas-guzzling 4x4 is causing climate change" sticker on her BMW. In 2008, Newton visited poverty-stricken Mali, describing it as a "humbling experience". She visited the village of Nampasso in the Ségou Region of the country. In 2013, Newton led the One Billion Rising flash mob in London, for an end to violence, and for justice and gender equality.
David Schwimmer (who directed Run Fatboy Run) called the actress "the queen of practical jokes". Newton has expressed an affinity for Buddhism.