Francesca Annis

Francesca Annis is an English actress, best known for television roles in Reckless (1998), Wives and Daughters (1999), Deceit (2000) and Cranford (2007).

Date of birth

Francesca Annis was born on May 14, 1945.


Annis was born in Kensington, London in 1945 to an English father, Lester William Anthony Annis (1914–2001) and a Brazilian-French mother, actress Mariquita (Mara) Purcell (1913–2009), both sometime actors and Mara, a singer. Mara was from a wealthy Brazilian family, and the Annises moved to Brazil when Francesca was a year old, and spent six years there, returning to England when she was 7. In recollecting the years in Brazil, she describes her parents as running "a nightclub on Copacabana beach," and her mother Mara "performing as a blues singer."


Francesca was educated at a convent school, and trained in her early years as a ballet dancer, with training in the Russian style at the Corona Stage Academy.

Love life

Francesca Annis has been in two significant relationships in her life. In 1974, she began dating photographer Patrick Wiseman. The couple never married and had three children together: Charlotte, Taran, and Andreas, all of whom adopted their father’s surname. She began a relationship with actor Ralph Fiennes after they worked together in ‘Hamlet’ in 1995. At the time, she was still with Wiseman while Fiennes was married to actress Alex Kingston. Annis and Wiseman parted ways in 1997. She has since revealed that she has apologised to Wiseman. She and Fiennes underwent a bitter split amidst the speculations that was cheating on her with a Romanian singer.

Net worth

Not yet established.


Annis began acting professionally in her teens, and made her film debut in The Cat Gang (1959).

Her first major film role was as Elizabeth Taylor's handmaiden in Cleopatra (1963), which she was cast in while still studying Russian ballet.

Her big break was as one of the leads in the 1965 West End stage musical Passion Flower Hotel. She played Estella in a television adaptation of Great Expectations (1967) and presented children's television programmes.

She garnered attention for her performance as Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski's film version of Macbeth (1971) in which she performs the sleepwalking soliloquy in the nude. 

Her films have included Krull (1983) and Dune (1984). She appeared as Tuppence with James Warwick as Tommy in Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime (1983–84) stories as well as its preceding The Secret Adversary (1983).

She appeared in Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988), in which she played Jacqueline Kennedy.

She portrayed Mrs. Wellington in the second film and directorial debut by the musician Prince, Under The Cherry Moon (1986).

Annis has also pursued a stage career, playing leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company – Luciana in Trevor Nunn's musical version of The Comedy of Errors in 1976, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet alongside Ian McKellen in 1977.

At the National Theatre in 1981 she played Natalya Petrovna in Peter Gill's production of Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country. At the Comedy Theatre, September 2005 – January 2006, Annis starred as Ruth in Epitaph for George Dillon with Joseph Fiennes.

She returned to the stage in April 2009 to star as Mrs. Conway in Rupert Goold's National Theatre revival of J. B. Priestley's Time and the Conways.

She has appeared in television productions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, appearing in series such as Edward the Seventh (1975) as Lillie Langtry, a role she reprised in Lillie (1978); Madame Bovary (1975); and Parnell and the Englishwoman (1991), in which she played Kitty O'Shea; as well as the miniseries Reckless (1998) and its 2000 sequel.

Annis co-starred with Michael Gambon and Dame Judi Dench as Lady Ludlow (an aristocrat opposed to the education of the lower classes) in the BBC1 costume-drama series Cranford (2007).

Annis played a leading role in the ITV drama Home Fires.

Francesca appears on the 2020 TV miniseries, Flesh and Blood as Vivien.

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Francesca Annis
First Name Francesca
Surname Annis
Home City London, England
Current City