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Sigrid Thornton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sigrid Thornton

Sigrid Thornton (cropped).jpg
Thornton at the AACTA Awards in Sydney, Australia, January 2012
Sigrid Madeline Thornton

(1959-02-12) 12 February 1959 (age 62)
  • stage and screen actress
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Tom Burstall (1981–present)

Sigrid Madeline Thornton AO (born 12 February 1959) is an Australian film and television actress. Her television work includes Prisoner (1979–80), All the Rivers Run (1983), SeaChange (1998–2019) and Wentworth (2016–2018). She also starred in the American Western series Paradise (1988–91). Her film appearances include Snapshot (1979), The Man from Snowy River (1982), Street Hero (1984) and Face to Face (2011). She won the AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama for the 2015 miniseries Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door.


Early years

Thornton was born in Canberra, the daughter of Merle, an academic and writer, and Neil Thornton, an academic.[1] She was raised in Brisbane, attending St. Peter's Lutheran College. For two years, she lived in London, where she was a member of the Unicorn Theatre.

Back in Brisbane she attended Twelfth Night Theatre Junior Workshop and in 1970, during the Captain Cook Bicentenary Celebrations, Thornton appeared before Queen Elizabeth II as Rosa Campbell-Praed in Looking Glass on Yesterday.[2] Thornton was a student of noted theatre director, Joan Whalley.


She acted in TV series Homicide and Division 4 in 1975. She also appeared on The Sullivans, as Elizabeth "Buffy" Turnbull.

In 1977, Thornton made her film debut as Wendy in The FJ Holden directed by Michael Thornhill, and in the same year as Maria in the film adaptation of Henry Handel Richardson's colonial Australian novel, The Getting of Wisdom (1977) directed by Bruce Beresford. In 1978, Thornton appeared in the Australian television sequel of the British comedy series Father, Dear Father in Australia and Cop Shop,. The same year she played Angela in the film Snapshot (aka The Day After Halloween) directed by Simon Wincer, for which role she was nominated for Australian Film Awards Best Actress in a Feature Film in 1979.

In 1980, she appeared as Roslyn Coulson in the Australian television drama Prisoner (known overseas as Prisoner: Cell Block H).[3] Thornton starred in 1981 in Duet for Four. In 1982, she took on the roles of Jessica Harrison in the films The Man from Snowy River and its sequel in 1988 The Man from Snowy River II. In 1983, she marked an appearance in Street Hero. She starred in 1983's miniseries All the Rivers Run.[4] 1986 saw her in The Lighthorsemen, the TV adaptation of Nevil Shute's novel The Far Country,[5] Great Expectations: The Untold Story and Slate, Wyn & Me.

From 1988 to 1991, she appeared as Amelia Lawson in the American television drama series Paradise. Syndication of All the Rivers Run and The Man from Snowy River and The Man from Snowy River II brought her to a wider international audience.

In 1991, she starred in Over the Hill directed by George T. Miller and in 1996, Love in Ambush directed by Carl Shultz. She starred as Laura Joy Gibson in the Australian television series SeaChange from 1998 to 2000,[6] winning the Most Outstanding Actress award in 1999 and 2000.

Stage highlights

Thornton's stage performances include a 2002/03 touring production of The Blue Room directed by Simon Phillips for the Melbourne Theatre Company opposite Marcus Graham.[7] In 2009 she made her debut with Opera Australia in its production at Melbourne's Arts Centre as Desiree Armfeldt in Sondheim and Wheeler's A Little Night Music, directed by Stuart Maunder.[8]

In 2014, she won critical acclaim for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire for the Black Swan State Theatre Company in Perth.[9]

In 2015, she appeared in the premiere of Stephen Beckett's play Diary of a Nobody, inspired by the 1892 novel The Diary of a Nobody, at the Princess Theatre, Launceston, Tasmania.[10] The same year, Thornton played the part of Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne.[11]

Recent film and television work

In 2002, Thornton starred in Australian thriller The Pact, directed by Strathford Hamilton, written by Hugh O'Brien.

In 2003, Thornton appeared in Mittens directed by Emma Freeman. In 2004, she played a geneticist in a four-episode arc on MDA. She shaved her head for her role in the 2005 telemovie Little Oberon.

Thornton hosted the Nine Network's What's Good For You.

In 2010, she appeared in Underbelly: The Golden Mile as recurring character Geraldine "Gerry" Lloyd, an Australian Federal Police detective and investigator for the Wood Royal Commission.[12]

In 2011, Thornton starred in Face to Face, an independent Australian film directed by Michael Rymer.[13]

In 2012, she participated in Who Do You Think You Are.[14]

In 2016, Thornton appeared in the fourth season of SoHo drama series Wentworth for seven episodes as a special guest star. She portrayed the character of Sonia Stevens (initially played by Tina Bursill in Prisoner), a woman on remand for the suspected murder of her best friend.[15]

Thornton returned for season 5 of Wentworth as a main cast member and served as the main antagonist in season 6, until her characters death in episode 7, "The Edge".

In 2018, she appeared in Anh's Brush with Fame.

The "Sigrid Factor"

In his book The Big Shift, about changing Australian demographics and culture, Bernard Salt coined the term the "Sigrid factor" pointing out that Australian towns in which movies had been made featuring Thornton had prospered since that time.[16] More broadly he referred to changing Australian cultural values which were well reflected in the types of places in which Sigrid Thornton had acted: the Riverland during the 1980s All the Rivers Run and the coast in the 2000s SeaChange.

Personal life and advocacy

Thornton is married to actor Tom Burstall and has two children. She is known for her work with World Vision, the Royal Children's Hospital, Vision Australia, Reach Foundation and other charitable causes.[17] She has lobbied successive governments to keep libraries open and to resource the Australian film and television industry. She has been appointed to several federal and state film bodies, including Film Victoria[3] and is involved in helping to sustain and develop the industry.[18]


Title Year Role Notes
Matlock Police 1975–76 Simone Foley, Cathy Simpson 2 episodes
The FJ Holden 1977 Wendy
The Getting of Wisdom 1977 Maria
The King of the Two Day Wonder 1978 Maria
Father, Dear Father 1978 Sue Glover 14 episodes
Cop Shop 1978 Helen Davis, Karen 2 episodes
Snapshot 1979 Angela
Prisoner 1979–80 Roslyn Coulson 30 episodes
The Last Outlaw 1980 Kate Kelly 4 episodes
I Can Jump Puddles 1981 Mabel 2 episodes
Duet for Four 1982 Carline Martin
The Man from Snowy River 1982 Jessica Harrison
1915 1982 Frances 7 episodes
All the Rivers Run 1983 Philadelphia Gordon 8 episodes
Street Hero 1984 Gloria
Best Enemies 1985 Fennimore
Slate, Wyn & Me 1987 Blanche McBride
The Lighthorsemen 1987 Anne
The Man from Snowy River II 1988 Jessica Harrison
Paradise 1988–91 Amelia Lawson 51 episodes
Over the Hill 1992 Elizabeth Harris
Whipping Boy 1996 Cass Meridith
SeaChange 1998–2000,
Laura Gibson Main Cast - 47 episodes
The New Adventures of Ocean Girl 2000 Narrator 10 episodes
Inspector Gadget 2 2003 Mayor Wilson Direct-to-video
The Pact 2003 Susan Tuttle
MDA 2005 Dr. Robyn Masterton 4 episodes
Underbelly 2010 Gerry Llyod 7 episodes
Face to Face 2011 Claire Baldoni
BFFs 2014 Jacqueline
Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door 2015 Judy Garland 2 episodes
Scare Campaign 2016 Vicki
Wentworth 2016–18 Sonia Stevens 26 episodes
The Code 2016 Lara Dixon 6 episodes
Orange Is the New Brown 2018 Dr. Vulva, Nigella Lawson 2 episodes
Lambs of God 2019 Rose Stanford 2 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result[19]
1975 Sammy Award Best Television Juvenile Performance Homicide Won
1979 Australian Film Institute Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Snapshot Nominated
1979 Silver Logie Best Actress in a Miniseries/Telemovie 1915 Nominated
1984 Silver Logie Best Actress in a Miniseries/Telemovie All the Rivers Run Won
1990 Viewers for Quality Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Paradise Nominated
1999 Australian Caption Centre Personality of the Year Nominated
Silver Logie Most Outstanding Actress SeaChange Nominated
2000 Silver Logie Most Outstanding Actress Won
Silver Logie Most Popular Actress Nominated
Gold Logie Most Popular Personality on Australian Television Nominated
2001 Gold Logie Most Popular Personality on Australian Television Nominated
Silver Logie Most Popular Actress Nominated
Silver Logie Most Outstanding Actress Nominated
2003 Helpmann Award Best Female Actor in a Play The Blue Room Nominated
2005 AACTA Award AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama Little Oberon Nominated
2015 AACTA Award AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door Won



  1. ^ Sigrid Thornton: biography and credits
  2. ^ Morris 1970, p. [page needed].
  3. ^ a b Griffin, Michelle (18 September 2005). "The Sigrid weapon". The Age. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  4. ^ Warden, Ian (2 April 1984). "Familiar damsel saved from ravagingly good shipwreck". The Canberra Times. p. 26. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  5. ^ Wallace, Lisa (14 September 1987). "An Australian miniseries for everyone". The Canberra Times. p. 6. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  6. ^ Idato, Michael; Lallo, Michael (17 October 2018). "Nine revives ABC drama SeaChange – with Sigrid Thornton at the helm". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Thornton, Graham red hot in the Blue Room" by Helen Thomson, The Age, 16 January 2003
  8. ^ A Little Night Music Archived 3 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Opera Australia
  9. ^ "Sigrid Thornton shines as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire" by Jay Hanna, Perth Now, 20 March 2014
  10. ^ "Event Details: Sigrid Thornton in Diary of a Nobody"
  11. ^ "Anthony Warlow returns to Australian stage for Fiddler on the Roof". Herald Sun. 13 September 2015.
  12. ^ McWhirter, Erin (8 September 2009). "Sigrid Thornton plays hard cop in Underbelly The Golden Mile". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Face to Face". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Season 2, episodes – Who Do You Think You Are". SBS. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  15. ^ Sarah Thomas (5 November 2015). "Sigrid Thornton joins Wentworth as part of Foxtel's home-grown roster for 2016". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  16. ^ Salt 2001, p. [page needed].
  17. ^ Quinn, Karl (5 December 2015). "'There is no endgame': Sigrid Thornton on a life embracing change". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  18. ^ Thornton, Sigrid (28 March 2006). "National Press Club Address: Expanding Horizons". National Press Club, Council of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  19. ^ Thornton, Sigrid. "Biography". Retrieved 10 April 2020.


  • Morris, Jill (April 1970). A Looking Glass on Yesterday. Brisbane: Captain Cook Bicentennary Committee.
  • Salt, Bernard (2001). The Big Shift. Hardie Grant Publishing. ISBN 978-1-876719-29-6.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 19 November 2021, at 20:17
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