Category Archives: Famous People

Is Gillian Anderson British?

Ever since Gillian Anderson stopped being Agent Dana Scully on the X-Files she has started to be very British. I think the first time I noticed it was in ‘The Last King of Scotland’, but then I just thought it was another American doing the accent; an accent good enough for me to look at my best mate and ask, ‘Is she British?’ Everything I have seen her in since she stopped chasing aliens I ask myself that question again. Her British accent is impeccable, but there is something about her American accent that makes me think that isn’t the one she’s faking.

 There are several British exports that have successfully fooled the American audience into thinking they are one of theirs, I remember the look of horror and fervent denial when I revealed that Hugh Laurie is one of ours to some of my American friends. Yes, House MD is a Brit. He is an Oxford born, Eton and Cambridge educated Brit at that. You need to only look up clips of Jeeves and Wooster to see how very British he is, and have they not realised House looks very much like that chap from all of those Blackadder series?

They’re not the only ones who are fooled though. There are Brits in existence who believe that Gwyneth Paltrow is one of ours having heard her accent in ‘Sliding Doors’ and ‘Emma’. Whilst she may have married a Brit and though we appear to have thoroughly adopted her now, she is still an American. Confusion over accents abounds on both sides of the Atlantic.

What further complicates the Gillian Anderson issue is her tendency to switch accents depending on where the interview is taking place. She is not the only one to do this though, Christian Bale has fooled many into thinking he is American because he adopts an American accent during stateside interviews. Have no doubt, Batman is a Brit.

I have had Tweets sent to me all morning about whether or not she is British, with opinion firmly divided. So, once and for all, is Gillian Anderson British?

Simply, no. She was born in Chicago, Illinois but moved around as a child. She lived in Puerto Rico for over a year shortly after she was born, and then (here’s where the British accent comes from), she lived in London whilst her father attended the London Film School. When she was 11 years old her family moved to Michigan. Although I don’t know many Americans who don’t love the accent now, children can often be cruel (here’s where the American accent comes from) and she felt out of place so adopted a suitably American Midwest accent.

There we go. Born an American, raised a Londoner; a successful hybrid of the two. As the lady herself said, “I always felt I wasn’t completely American and I wasn’t completely British: there was a feeling of having my feet in both places.”

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