Gillian Leigh Anderson (born August 9, 1968) is an Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning American actress, best known for her roles as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in the American TV series The X-Files and Lady Dedlock in the BBC TV series Bleak House. She currently hosts Masterpiece.
Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, the daughter of Rosemary Anderson, a computer analyst, and Edward Anderson, who owned a film post-production company.Soon after her birth, her family moved to Puerto Rico for 15 months and then to Crouch End and finally Harringay in London, so that her father could attend the London Film School. When Anderson was 11 years old, her family moved again, this time to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She attended Fountain Elementary and then City High-Middle School, a program for gifted students with a strong emphasis on the humanities; she graduated in 1986.
With her English accent and background, Anderson was mocked and felt out of place in the American Midwest and soon adopted a Midwest one. In addition, she had her nose pierced in the early 1980s and dyed her hair various colors. Her high school classmates voted her as "Most Bizarre," "Class Clown" and "Most Likely to be Arrested." Anderson was also caught trying to jam the high school doors by filling their locks with glue on the eve of her graduation.
Anderson found an outlet for her talents when she began acting in high school and community theater productions, even serving as a student intern at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. She had wanted to be a marine biologist, but began acting instead at 17, with a few roles in various community theatre productions. Anderson attended The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago (formerly the Goodman School of Drama), where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990. She also participated in the National Theatre of Great Britain's summer program at Cornell University.