Rachel Anne Griffiths (born 18 December 1968) is an Australian film and television actress. She came to prominence with the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding and her Academy Awardnominated performance in Hilary and Jackie (1998). She is best known for her portrayals of Brenda Chenowith in the HBO series Six Feet Under and Sarah Walker Laurent on the ABC primetime drama Brothers & Sisters. Her work in film and television has earned her a Golden Globe Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and three Australian Film Institute Awards.
Griffiths was born in Melbourne, but spent her early childhood on the Gold Coast. She is the daughter of Anna, an art teacher and arts/education consultant, and Edward Griffiths. She moved to Melbourne at the age of five, with her mother and two older brothers. When she was 11, her father left home with an 18-year old woman.
After earning a Bachelor of Education degree in drama and dance at Victoria College, Rusden, she began her career as a member of Woolly Jumpers, a Geelong-based community theatre group. She had her first success as the creator and performer of Barbie Gets Hip, which played at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 1991.
Griffiths and Toni Collette were relative unknowns when they were cast as best friends and fellow outcasts in the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding. Her performance won her critical acclaim and both the Australian Film Critics Award and theAustralian Film Institute Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She followed this triumph in 1996 with the role of an earthy, ill-mannered pig farmer's daughter in Michael Winterbottom's Jude.
In 1997, Griffiths sparked a controversy after attending the opening of the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. Topless and uninvited, her stated reasoning being the protest of the views taken by the media and state government towards the new casino, and inspired by the story of Lady Godiva.
Griffiths joined forces again with Muriel's Wedding director P. J. Hogan for her American film debut, My Best Friend's Wedding, in 1997. That same year she starred in My Son the Fanatic, a British film in which she portrayed a tough Yorkshire prostitute who becomes involved with a considerably older Pakistani taxicab driver, played by Om Puri.
Griffiths received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of real-life flautist Hilary du Pré opposite Emily Watson as her sister, famed cellist Jacqueline "Jackie" du Pre, in Hilary and Jackie (1998). She then appeared in 2001's Blow, opposite Johnny Depp and Ray Liotta.
In 2001, Griffiths was cast as one of the leads in Six Feet Under. Her performance as emotionally scarred massage therapist Brenda Chenowith earned her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as two Emmy Award nominations. In the third season, she missed four episodes due to her first pregnancy. Her second pregnancy was written into the show's final season and she appeared in almost every episode of the series. She also played a supportive housewife in the film The Rookie opposite Dennis Quaid for which she garnered generally good reviews.
As of 2006, she became part of the ensemble cast, co-starring alongside Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty and Matthew Rhys, of the dramatic series Brothers & Sisters, in which she portrays Sarah Walker, who inherits control of the family business after her father's death. Griffiths received a 2007 Emmy nomination and a 2008 Emmy nomination for her work on the series. Griffiths received 2008 and 2009 Golden Globe nominations for her work onBrothers & Sisters. Additionally, she appeared as "Inez Scull" in the 2008 mini-series adaptation of Larry McMurtry's Comanche Moon.