Jennifer Ehle (born December 29, 1969) is an English-American award winning actress of stage and screen. She is probably best known for her starring role as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 mini-series Pride and Prejudice.
Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to English actress Rosemary Harris and American author John Ehle, Ehle made her stage debut as a toddler in A Streetcar Named Desire, in which her mother played Blanche Dubois. She spent her childhood between the UK and America, attending 18 different schools including the Interlochen Arts Academy. Her drama training was split between the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
In 1992, Peter Hall cast her in an adaptation of The Camomile Lawn, a novel by Mary Wesley, in which she and her mother played the same character at different ages. This story, produced by UK's Channel 4, is a 4-part mini-series about lives and loves of a family of cousins from 1939 to the present. Ms. Ehle displays full-frontal nudity in a number of scenes, although the series was hardly pornographic; it was nominated for the BAFTA "Best Drama Serial" award, and won for "Best Costume Design."
Her performance as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 BBC television adaptation of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice gained her a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award. After a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she gained her first major feature film role in Paradise Road. She continued pursuing a career both on stage and screen, winning critical acclaim and a Best Performance by a Leading Actress Tony Award for her 2000 Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing. Her mother was also nominated for the same award that year for Waiting in the Wings. After a hiatus, she returned to the stage in 2005 in The Philadelphia Story at the Old Vic opposite Kevin Spacey. The following year she played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth as part of the Shakespeare in the Park. She won her second Tony award for portraying three characters in Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia triptych, which ran from October 2006 until May 2007.
Her most recent films include Before the Rains, an Indian-US co-production directed by Santosh Sivan, and Pride and Glory with Edward Norton and Colin Farrell. In 2008 she was featured in a CBS telefilm, The Russell Girl.
Ehle dated actors Toby Stephens, from The Camomile Lawn, and Colin Firth, Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. She is now married to the writer Michael Ryan and they have a son together, George. They currently reside in upstate New York.