With her beautiful feline eyes and husky voice, actress Olivia Wilde has gained fame and recognition from her diverse roles as the residence bad girl, Alex Kelly, in The O.C. as well as Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley on House, M.D. to her new character as Devon in Vinyl, the HBO drama that digs into the ’70s rock music scene on an epic scale.
As a modern-day renaissance woman, Olivia was born Olivia Jane Cockburn in New York City into a family of journalists, her father, Andrew Cockburn, is from an upper-class British family and her mother, Leslie Cockburn, is American-born; her recent ancestry includes English, Scottish, German, Irish, and Manx. Her father was born in England and later became an Irish citizen, giving Olivia dual American and Irish nationality, and facilitating her brief study at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland.
When talking about her childhood, she has fond memories of Ireland. Olivia says, “I feel like the luckiest child in the world because I got to grow up in Ireland. I love the landscape, the cliff walks, the smell, the freezing cold water, and the music. Do I sound like some soppy romantic?” Additionally she said, “I even love the food. People always laugh at me when I say that. People in Ardmore would say, “Oh, isn’t living in America cool, you live in a big city, you get to be close to all these things we only see on TV”, but I found Ireland much more inspiring as a kid, much more fun, and the people had such an amazing effect on me, and I credit a lot of my growth as a child and a lot of my happiness with the people I was surrounded by in Ireland.”
In the early 2000’s, Olivia appeared in the short-lived Fox television series Skin and made her Hollywood debut in The Girl Next Door. However, it was as her role as Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley in House, M.D. that she achieved international stardom. Since then, she has been busy and has starred in the films Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens, In Time, People Like Us, The Words and most recently the The Lazarus Effect.
It is her role as mom to her beautiful son, Otis Alexander, born on April 20, 2014, that takes the stage front and foremost. Along with fiancé Jason Sudeikis, Olivia states, “motherhood is heart-exploding, blissful hysteria.” Otis was born exactly two weeks premature and named after late singer-songwriter Otis Redding of whom she is a huge fan since childhood.
While starring in films and popular television shows, Olivia shares the screen with renowned actors and simultaneously gives back to the community. In 2013, she launched the philanthropic company Conscious Commerce, with the mission to create a guide for conscious living by promoting the causes, brands, people and lifestyles that are forging a new paragon of living. In line with the Conscious Commerce mission, Olivia recently signed on to be the face of H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive Collection, which is made completely using organic and recycled materials. Following the devastating earthquake in 2010 in Haiti, where she had visited with her parents as a child, Olivia became passionate about rebuilding the country and joined the nonprofit organization Artists for Peace and Justice as a board member, which aims to help provide health care and education to the people of Haiti. She also participated in the 2012 documentary Half the Sky, which explored the oppression of women around the world. She is also active and sits on the foundation board of the ACLU of Southern California.
As Executive Director of Body Team 12, which in 2015 was nominated for an Oscar for a short subject documentary, Olivia is humbled and says, “Documentaries are a powerful and effective way of bridging the gap between two worlds, breaking through to new audiences that wouldn’t otherwise be engaged – in essence, not preaching to the choir.” Body Team 12 is tasked with collecting the dead at the height of the Ebola outbreak. These body collectors have arguably the most dangerous and gruesome job in the world. Yet despite the strain, they emerge as heroes while the film explores their philosophy and strength.
Additionally, Olivia produced and starred in the drama Meadowland, which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. She earned rave reviews for her emotionally charged performance as a mother coping with the heartbreak following her young son’s disappearance. Up next is the holiday comedy Love The Coopers, which follows the exasperated members of an extended family who gather for their annual holiday celebration. Olivia says, “Inspiration is the key to everything.”
Presently, she stars alongside Bobby Canavale in HBO’s Vinyl, a Rock ‘N’ Roll drama. Set in 1970s New York, the series is being produced by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter.
Olivia adopted her professional name “Wilde” after she developed a profound respect and admiration for Irish poet and writer Oscar Wilde and his body of literature. When asked about the meaning behind her tattoo on her wrist, which says, “All love, A”, and explained, “It’s in honor of my late uncle Alexander Cockburn. He was a dear dear friend. The tattoo is the last phrase he wrote to me. All love, A. It reminds me to love everyone, just as he did.”
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