|February 23, 1983|
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Born on Feb. 23, 1983 in London, England, Emily Blunt was one of four children to her father, Oliver, a barrister, and her mother, Joanna, a teacher who once enjoyed an acting career on stage and television before having a family. While growing up, Blunt excelled at singing, playing cello and horseback riding, but had not considered following in her mother's acting footsteps because she, herself, struggled with a stutter. Blunt eventually overcame the hurdle with speech therapy, which included learning to adopt different accents and voices. Unbeknownst to her at the time, the vocal exercises were her introduction to character interpretation. When she was 16, Blunt attended the performing arts school, Hurtwood House, and with only six months of training behind her, was promptly cast alongside some of the most respected actors in the business, making her stage debut opposite Dame Judi Dench in Sir Peter Hall's production of "The Royal Family" (2001). Hailed by critics for her performance, she was named "Best Newcomer" by The Evening Standard. She followed up by playing Juliet in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Chichester Festival in 2002.
Blunt made her foray into television with the U.K. series "Boudica" (2003), playing warrior queen Alex Kingston's daughter. The series was later broadcast on PBS in the United States. More television roles in period dramas followed, including playing Catherine Howard - fifth wife of Henry VIII - opposite Ray Winstone in "Henry VIII" (2003, Granada Television), and a spoiled socialite who meets an unpleasant fate in the Agatha Christie thriller, "Death on the Nile" (A&E, 2004). She made a big impression shortly thereafter in the independent feature "My Summer of Love" (2004), in which she was a manipulative young woman who becomes involved with a former prison inmate (Paddy Considine). The BAFTA-winning film shone the spotlight brightly onto Blunt, leading to the inevitable shift toward more substantial roles in larger productions. She played a vestal virgin with psychic abilities in the overripe historical miniseries "Empire" (ABC, 2005), and gained more positive reviews when she starred opposite Susan Sarandon and Sam Neill in the Australian film, "Irresistible" (2005), in which she played a young woman whom Sarandon believes is attempting to seduce her husband.
Blunt returned to BBC TV in 2005 and earned a Golden Globe win for her meaty role as a teen with a troubled parental relationship in "Gideon's Daughter," again holding her own in the company of respected veteran players like Bill Nighy and Miranda Richardson. Meanwhile, "The Devil Wears Prada" marked Blunt's Hollywood debut, and her turn as Emily, who alternately fears and worships Meryl Streep's steely boss while making life miserable for her new co-worker (Anne Hathaway), garnered much positive press for the film; some critics even singled her out as the best character in the movie. Blunt had been working steadily for several years prior to her breakout with "Devil," but the energetic young actress soon enjoyed the luxury of having a much larger, broader range of offers to pick from. Her almost cartoonish role in "Prada" notwithstanding, she displayed a preference for character roles that were more realistic and richly layered, like the socially awkward teacher Prudie in "The Jane Austen Book Club" (2007).
Blunt maintained her dead-on American accent throughout the rest of 2007, with the relative newcomer again thrown into the ring with great actors like John Malkovich in "The Great Buck Howard" and Tom Hanks in "Charlie Wilson's War." In the former, she played a magician's publicist, while in the latter she gave a married man a tongue bath. She also starred in the horror film "The Chill" (2007) and had a small role in the well-received Steve Carell comedy, "Dan in Real Life" (2007). Off-screen, Blunt's romantic relationship with popular jazz vocalist Michael Bublé landed her in the gossip pages, and the actress even made a guest vocal appearance on his 2007 album, Call Me Irresponsible. However, the couple split in 2008 after three years together. Not long after, she began dating "The Office" (NBC, 2005- ) star, John Krasinski, to whom she became engaged in August 2009. The two married less than a year later in Lake Como, Italy.
Blunt's own career continued to blossom with several more film releases, including a starring role in "Young Victoria" (2009), a British costume drama in which she portrayed the Queen during her young romance with Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). For her work in the film, Blunt received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama. Blunt went on to co-star with Amy Adams in "Sunshine Cleaning" (2009), a comedy about a struggling family who launch a crime scene clean-up company, and played the good-hearted object of desire of a werewolf (Benecio Del Toro) in "The Wolfman" (2010). Continuing along that same vein, she was the object of affection for a love-struck assassin (Bill Nighy) in the British comedy, "Wild Target" (2010). She rounded out that year with the big budget adaptation of "Gulliver's Travels" (2010), which starred Jack Black in the role of Lemuel Gulliver.
Turning to science fiction with "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011), Blunt was a gifted ballerina whose would-be romance with a rising U.S. congressman (Matt Damon) is derailed by a group of mysterious men representing a higher power and trying to enforce their laws of predestination on the potential lovers. After playing Miss Piggy's receptionist in "The Muppets" (2011), Blunt was one-half of an engaged couple - the other half played by Jason Segel - whose relationship becomes more strained the longer their engagement lasts in "The Five-Year Engagement" (2012). Always game to tackle a variety of projects, the actress starred opposite Mark Duplass and Rosemarie Dewitt in the acclaimed indie dramedy, "Your Sister's Sister" (2012), before playing the romantic interest to a man with Asperger's syndrome (Ewan McGregor) in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" (2012). Her performance in this film would garner her a Golden Globe nod for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Blunt next starred opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson's highly-anticipated futuristic thriller, "Looper" (2012).