Helena Bonham Carter, CBE (born 26 May 1966) is an English actress. She made her acting debut in a television adaptation of K. M. Peyton's A Pattern of Roses before winning her first film role as the titular character in Lady Jane. She is known for her roles in films such as A Room with a View, Fight Club, and playing the villainess Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series, as well as for frequently collaborating with her domestic partner, director Tim Burton, in films such as Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. In 2012, she played Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, and Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables.
A two-time Academy Award nominee for her performances in The Wings of the Dove and The King's Speech, Bonham Carter's acting has been further recognised with six Golden Globenominations, an International Emmy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year honours list for services to drama, and received the honour from the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 22 February 2012.
Bonham Carter was born in Golders Green, London. Her mother, Elena (née Propper de Callejón), is a psychotherapist. Her father, Raymond Bonham Carter, who came from a prominent British political family, was a merchant banker and served as the alternative British director representing the Bank of England at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. during the 1960s.
Bonham Carter has two brothers, Edward and Thomas. She was educated at South Hampstead High School, an independent girls' school in Hampstead, London, and completed her A Levelsat Westminster School, a public school in Westminster. Bonham Carter was denied admission to King's College, Cambridge, not because of her academic performance but because school officials were afraid that she would leave during the course to pursue her acting career.
When Bonham Carter was five, her mother had a serious nervous breakdown, from which it took her three years to recover. Upon her recovery, her experience in therapy led her to become apsychotherapist herself – Bonham Carter now pays her to read her scripts and deliver her opinion of the characters' psychological motivations. Five years after her mother's recovery, her father was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma. He suffered complications during an operation to remove the tumour which led to a stroke that left him half-paralysed and using a wheelchair.With her two older brothers at college, Bonham Carter was left to help her mother cope. She would later study her father's movements and mannerisms for her role in The Theory of Flight, before his death in January 2004.
In 2001, Bonham Carter began her relationship with director Tim Burton, whom she met while filming Planet of the Apes. Burton has taken to casting her in his films, including Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. They live in two adjoining houses in Belsize Park, London. Bonham Carter owned one of the houses, Burton later purchased the other and they connected the two. In 2006, they bought the Mill House in Sutton Courtenay, England. It was previously leased by her grandmother, Violet Bonham Carter, and owned by her great-grandfather, former Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.
Their son Billy Raymond Burton was born on October 4, 2003. Bonham Carter gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Nell Burton, on December 15, 2007 in Central London.She says she named her daughter Nell after all the "Helens" in her family. Bonham Carter told The Telegraph and several other interviewers of her struggles with fertility and the difficulties she had during her pregnancies. She also said that before the conception of her daughter, she and Burton had been trying for a baby for 2 years and although they conceived naturally, they were considering IVF. She was 41 when she had Nell and stated that she 'wouldn't recommend leaving it too long, if you can help it, because it takes a lot of time and effort.'
In August 2008, four of her relatives were killed in a safari bus crash in South Africa, and she was given indefinite leave from filming Terminator Salvation, returning later to complete filming.
In 2008, Bonham Carter and Burton sold their American apartments for $8.75 million. In early October 2008, it was reported that Bonham Carter had become a patron of the charity Action Duchenne, the national charity established to support parents and sufferers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Bonham Carter is known for her unconventional sense of fashion, which has been described as "shabby chic". Despite her often controversial fashion choices, Vanity Fair named her on its 2010 Best-Dressed List and she was selected by Marc Jacobs to be the face of his autumn/winter 2011 advertising campaign. She cites Vivienne Westwood and Marie Antoinette as her main style influences.