Olivia Wilde (born Olivia Jane Cockburn, March 10, 1984 in New York City, New York) is an American actress. She is known for starring in the TV series The O.C., House and Vinyl, and the films TRON: Legacy, Alpha Dog, Cowboys & Aliens, The Change-Up, The Lazarus Effect and Year One. She had a small role in The Girl Next Door and Her.
Before we start talking about her accomplishments, we might as well talk about her (ludicrously complicated and highly entertaining) ancestry. She is the daughter of Andrew Myles Cockburn, a journalist; her mother, Leslie Cockburn, is an American-born former 60 Minutes producer and candidate for Congress in Virginia. Her uncles, Alexander Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, also worked as journalists, as have her cousins, Stephanie Flanders and Laura Flanders (daughters of her aunt Claudia Cockburn by Michael Flanders). Her older sister, Chloe Cockburn, is a civil rights attorney in New York; her aunt, Sarah Caudwell, was a writer, and her paternal grandfather, Claud Cockburn, was a novelist and journalist.
Her father's upper-class British ancestors lived in several countries during the height of colonialism and the British Empire, including Beijing (where her paternal grandfather was born), Kolkata, Mumbai, Cairo, and Tasmania (one of her paternal great-great-grandfathers, Henry Arthur Blake, was Governor of Hong Kong). Wilde's father's ancestors include abolitionist and Anglican minister James Ramsay, politician George Arbuthnot, lawyer, judge, and literary figure Henry Cockburn, Lord Cockburn, Lord Provost of Edinburgh Sir William Arbuthnot, 1st Baronet, and Sir Thomas Osborne, 9th Baronet (and therefore current Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne). Wilde's ancestry includes English, Irish, Scottish, Manx, and German; she is also of more distant Sephardi Jewish descent from a paternal ancestor, Ralph Bernal (17831854), a British Whig politician and actor.
She lived in Ireland when she was a child and studied acting at Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. She has dual citizenship in American and Ireland.
Her parents were friends of Mick Jagger. When Olivia was 4 years old, she was eavesdropping one night on a conversation between diplomat Richard Holbrooke and singer Mick Jagger, until Jagger noticed her and shooed her to bed. She later played one of the leading roles in Vinyl, which Jagger co-created and -exec produced (and whose son, James, is a co-star).
She also married Italian prince Tao Ruspoli when she was 19, but divorced him in 2011. Nowadays she married to SNL alum Jason Sudeikis. They had a son in 2014 named Otis.
She also wrote and directed a short film called Free Hugs in 2011. In 2019 she directed her feature-length debut Booksmart.
Tropes associated with Olivia Wilde:
- Brainy Brunette: Actually she's blonde but dyed her hair brunette. Most of her roles are fairly intelligent as well. In regards to the trope, she's said:"I'm a natural blonde, but I feel like a brunette. I feel like people treat me now how I should be treated. People used to be shocked, when I was blonde, that I wasn't stupid. I used to get these comments that I swear people thought were compliments. Like, 'Oh! You're smart!' like they couldn't believe it."
- Deadpan Snarker
- Ms. Fanservice: Frequently flaunts her body in works, from lesbian scenes in House, to skin tight bodysuits in TRON: Legacy, to tanktops and skinnydipping in Drinking Buddies, to full-frontal nudity in Vinyl.
- Spy Catsuit: In Tron: Legacy.
- Stage Name: She chose the surname Wilde after Oscar Wilde.
- What Beautiful Eyes!