The Academy Award-nominated Swedish actress Lena Olin rose to prominence through her role of Sabina in the acclaimed American drama movie “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and is also famous for appearing in the films “Chocolat” and “Enemies: A Love Story.”
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
Olin was born Lena Maria Jonna under the Aries zodiac sign on 22 March 1955, in Stockholm, Sweden, and is 67 years old as of 2022. She is the last-born child of the late Swedish actress Britta Alice Holmberg, who passed away aged 83 in 2004, and film director, singer-songwriter, and actor, Stig Olin who passed away aged 88 in 2008. Olin was brought up alongside her two siblings – one of her brothers is now a singer but sadly, her elder brother succumbed to cancer in 1960 when he was 10 years old. She was brought up in a family that had a deep history in showbiz, so it was natural for her to develop a taste for acting at an early age.
Olin was very sociable, popular, and bright in high school. She became interested in modeling as a teenager while at high school, and was crowned Miss Scandinavia in Helsinki, Finland, at the age of 19. Upon her matriculation in 1973, Lena attempted enrolling at the National Academy of Dramatic Art, situated in Sweden, and finally succeeded in 1976, and graduated with a degree in acting and mime in 1979. She later enrolled at the Royal Dramatic Theater to sharpen her acting skills.
Olin is an animal lover and has kept two dogs named Cezanne and Bradley, and likes posting their pictures on her Instagram account.
Her acting career has seen her travel to many destinations in the world, and her favorite is Reykjavik in Iceland.
She is also a big fan of photography, and is fond of posting nature pictures on her social media accounts.
The Swedish entertainer also likes passing her spare time watching shows and films – her favorites are “Good Will Hunting,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” and “Scent of a Woman”, and her best-loved entertainers are Matt Damon, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino.
She is also a philanthropist, and partners with her husband in donating to various charities.
Career Beginnings and Film Appearances
Before she launched her acting career, Lena, worked as a substitute teacher and a nurse. She made her film debut in 1976 in the Ingmar Bergman-written drama movie “Face to Face.” Bergman was pleased with Olin’s performance in the film, and cast her in several projects that he wrote later, including in his production of Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear”, and she had a chance to tour the world with the cast. Lena was later cast in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Master and Margarita,” and “The Alchemist”, and she visited many popular cities such as Paris, New York, and Moscow while performing.
In 1979, Lena appeared in the biographical comedy film “The Adventures of Picasso”, then in the comedy “Som in Behagar” in 1982, and later in 1984’s “After the Rehearsal.” 1988 saw Lena appearing in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” – directed by Philip Kaufman – a commercial and critical success, nominated for 23 awards and ended up winning seven, including an Independent Spirit and a BAFTA award. It’s based on a book of the same title written by Milan Kundera, and follows the story of a Czech physician who falls in love with a woman.
She continued acting throughout the early ‘90s, and in 1993 was cast as Mona Demarkov in the Peter Medak-directed crime drama “Romeo is Bleeding” appearing alongside Wallace Wood and Gary Oldman. Before the end of the ’90s, she appeared in several more successful projects, such as “The Night at the Moment,” in 1994, and the action adventure “Mystery Men” in 1999.
In 2000, Lena appeared as Josephine Muscat in the film “Chocolat” and later as Maharet in the 2003 film “Queen of the Damned.” In 2008, she played Rose Mather in the acclaimed romantic film “The Reader,” which is based on Bernhard Schlink’s book entitled “Der Vorlesser”, starring Bruno Ganz, Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet.
Lena has since appeared in many other projects, and some of her latest roles are in the films “The Artist’s Wife” in 2019, “Adams” in the year that followed, and the comedy “Se Upp for Jonssonligan.
Lena made her TV debut in the 1980s historical mini-series “Fran Boston till Pop” before she appeared in the drama “Funny and Alexander” three years later. She thereafter focused on film appearances, and didn’t play her next major TV role until 2001, as Tessie in the action mini-series “Hamilton”, together with Mark Hamill and Peter Stormare. Between 2002 and 2006, she portrayed Irina Derevko in the drama “Alias”, which bagged 37 awards including a Primetime Emmy. In 2010, she appeared in an episode of the crime series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, and 2015 saw her starring as Borjesson in “Welcome to Sweden.” She later shared the screen with Logan Lerman and Al Pacino in the crime series “Hunters”, which premiered in 2020.
Lena has appeared in several talk shows, such as “Made in Hollywood,” “Hollywood First Look Features,” and “Home & Family.” She is also a talented singer, who in the early ‘70s recorded the song “Manniskors gladje,” written by her father Stig, with the help of the Swedish country tune “Sommarbrevet (Jag skrev ett brev)”.
Awards and Nominations
The Stockholm-native has been nominated for 18 awards – including an Oscar in 1990 for her supporting role in “A Love Story”. She won four of these awards, some of which are: an Ingmar Bergman in 1980, a New York Film Critics Circle for her appearance in the TV series “Enemies: A Love Story” in 1989, and a Gold Derby TV Award for her appearance in “Alias” in 2005.
Premiere of Lasse Hallstrom's The Hundred Foot Journey.
Olin was romantically involved with the established Swedish actor Orjan Ramberg, who has appeared in more than 50 projects since he began acting. The duo met at Royal Dramatic Theater, and welcomed a son together named Auguste Rahmberg in September 1984, but then parted ways after three years of togetherness. She began dating the American actor Robert Redford in 1989 but they separated a year later; Redford is an Oscar Award-winning actor, producer and director.
In 1992, she walked the aisle with the Swedish film director Lasse Hallstrom at Hedvig Eleonora Church situated in Stockholm, and three years later, they bore a daughter they named Tora. Lena is now seemingly living happily together with her husband and children in Bedford, New York State.
Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance
Lena has long light brown hair and a pair of dark brown eyes. She is 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall, weighs around 134lbs (61kgs), and wears shoe size 4 (US). Her waist and hips are 25 and 35 inches respectively.
Lena has over 60 TV and film credits under her name, and has carved a niche for herself in the entertainment industry. She is reputedly worth approximately $5 million as of 2022.