Samantha Jane Morton is an English actress and director. She is known for her work in independent productions often with dark themes and has received numerous accolades, including a British Academy Television Award, a British Independent Film Award and a Golden Globe Award, as well as nominations for two Academy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and a British Academy Film Award.
She lived with her father until she was eight, when she was made a ward of court because neither of her parents could care for her and her siblings. Her father was an abusive alcoholic, and her mother was involved in a violent relationship with her second husband; as a result, she never lived with her parents again.
The next nine years were spent in and out of foster care and children’s homes. During that time, she attended West Bridgford Comprehensive School and joined the Central Junior Television Workshop when she was 13, soon being offered small-screen roles in Soldier Soldier and Boon.
She filmed the three-part television crime drama Rillington Place, based on the case of serial killer John Christie, who murdered several women in London during 1940s and early 1950s. Morton was cast opposite Tim Roth as Christie’s wife, Ethel. Intrigued by their relationship, Morton felt the depiction of the “psychological aspect of love” in the story “really developed acting chops” but considered as a challenge “to play someone so submissive” as Ethel. The miniseries premiered in BBC One and was favourably received by critics. The Guardian found Morton to be “strong” in her “difficult role”, and The Independent remarked that she “gave a fine, nuanced performance” as “a woman trapped under her husband’s spell”.
Beginning in 2017, Morton has starred in the Hulu period drama series Harlots. She portrays Margaret Wells, the madam of a low-class brothel who seeks to improve her fortunes. The response from critics and audiences has been highly positive.
As of 2019, Morton appears in the role of Alpha in The Walking Dead. Alpha is the villainous leader of the Whisperers, a mysterious group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse who—as a method of self-concealment—wear skins taken from the undead.
As of 2007, Morton was in a relationship with filmmaker Harry Holm (son of actor Ian Holm), whom she met while filming a music video for the band the Vitamins.