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Carice van Houten
Carice van Houten by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Van Houten in 2015
Carice Anouk van Houten

(1976-09-05) 5 September 1976 (age 47)
Leiderdorp, Netherlands
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active 1997–present
Partner(s) Sebastian Koch (2005–2009)
Guy Pearce (2015–present)
Children 1
Parent(s) Theodore van Houten
Margje Stasse
Relatives Jelka van Houten (sister)

Carice Anouk van Houten ( born 5 September 1976) is a Dutch actress and singer. Her first leading role in the television film Suzy Q (1999) won her the Golden Calf for Best Acting in a Television Drama; two years later, she won the Golden Calf for Best Actress for Miss Minoes (2001).

She gained widespread recognition for her performance in Black Book (2006), the most commercially successful Dutch film to date, for which she won her second Golden Calf for Best Actress, in addition to nominations from the Chicago Film Critics Association, the European Film Academy, and the Online Film Critics Society. She was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for Valkyrie (2008), and won her fourth and fifth Golden Calf Awards for Best Actress for The Happy Housewife (2010) and Black Butterflies (2011). Her other notable English-language performances include Repo Men (2010), Black Death (2010), and Brimstone (2016).

Van Houten received international recognition for her role as Melisandre on the HBO television series Game of Thrones (2012–2019), for which she received nominations for two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Early life

Van Houten was born in Leiderdorp. She was brought up watching silent films and in an interview she professed to prefer playing scenes without dialogue. She has a younger sister, Jelka van Houten, who is also an actress. Her paternal grandmother was Scottish. Van Houten went to the St. Bonifatiuscollege (high school) in Utrecht, where she played the leading role in Hugo Claus' Tijl Uilenspieghel, directed by Ad Migchielsen. Van Houten studied briefly at the Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts but continued her professional education after one year at the Kleinkunstacademie in Amsterdam.

Acting career

Carice van Houten 2013-2 vágott
Carice van Houten in 2013

Van Houten played her first leading role in Martin Koolhoven's TV film Suzy Q. She won a Golden Calf for her part as Suzy. She also won the Pisuisse Award and the Top Naeff Award for her stage acting and another Golden Calf for her part as the kitten that becomes a woman in Miss Minoes (2001). The first time she could be seen in cinemas in the U.S. was when Martin Koolhoven's AmnesiA (2001) got a small theatrical release.

Van Houten won a Golden Calf for her performance as Rachel Stein in Black Book (2006) at the Netherlands Film Festival. Black Book's director Paul Verhoeven said about her in a television interview: "Never in my life I have worked with an actress this talented", and when asked to compare her with Sharon Stone he said "Carice can really act." The international press was also enthusiastic about her role in Black Book.

In December 2006, van Houten withdrew from a theatre production of Alex van Warmerdam due to personal reasons. According to a theatre spokesman it was because of a work overload.

In 2008, she starred in the non-commercial short movie Zingen in het donker (English: Singing in the dark). She appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair in the issue for March 2008, photographed by Wayne Maser. In 2008, van Houten had a role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of Lies but her scenes did not make the final cut of the movie.

In April 2009, it was announced that van Houten would star in Black Death by British director Christopher Smith and in the Dutch film Komt een vrouw bij de dokter (English title: Stricken), based on the novel of the same name by Ray Kluun. She also starred in the science fiction thriller Repo Men.

In July 2011, van Houten was cast as the priestess Melisandre in the second season of HBO's fantasy TV series Game of Thrones. Her performance has garnered her praise and recognition, earning her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her final performance as the character in the season 8 episode "The Long Night" in 2019. After nominations were announced for the ceremony, van Houten received considerable media attention for having been one of the three nominated actors from the show to have self-submitted and paid entry fees to be on the ballot for Emmy consideration after HBO had not done so for them. She has also received three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2014, 2016, and 2017 for the role.

In 2012, van Houten appeared in Antony and the Johnsons' "Cut the world" video, which was directed by Nabil Elderkin and also starred Willem Dafoe and Marina Abramović.

In 2019, van Houten starred in Halina Reijn's directorial debut Instinct. The film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, receiving the Variety Piazza Grande Award and was selected as the Dutch submission for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. Variety's Guy Lodge described van Houten as being "on electrifying form" and Reijn's direction "provides a fearsome reminder" of the former's breakthrough performance in Black Book.

Personal life

Van Houten is in a relationship with Australian actor Guy Pearce, whom she met on the set of Brimstone. In August 2016, she gave birth to their son, Monte Pearce. She previously dated German actor Sebastian Koch; they met on the set of the 2006 film Black Book.

Van Houten speaks Dutch, English, German, and French.

Van Houten has stated that Hollywood makes her unhappy: "I have seen Hollywood, and although I have nothing against it, it's not my kind of life. My agent is shocked that I want to stay in Europe," adding, "If Hollywood offers me a great part, of course I'll take it, but I just don't want to live there".

Van Houten has been friends with fellow Dutch actress Halina Reijn since 1994. They worked together in the movies Black Book and Valkyrie. In 2013, the two published a book called Anti Glamour, a parody style guide and a celebration of their friendship, as well as a candid look into the unglamourous back-stage side of their lives.

Van Houten is a lifelong fan of Laurel and Hardy. In June 2016, she called into The Ross Owen Show on Black Sky Radio to talk about her love of the comedy duo.


Year Film Role Notes
1997 3 ronden Emily
1998 Ivory Guardians unknown
1999 Suzy Q Suzy
2001 Storm in mijn hoofd Peaseblossom / Titania
AmnesiA Sandra
Miss Minoes Minoes
2002 The Wild Boar Pandora
2003 Father's Affair Monika
2005 Black Swans Marleen
Lepel Miss Broer
Bonkers Lis
2006 A Thousand Kisses Samarinde
Black Book Rachel Stein / Ellis de Vries
2007 Love is All Kiki Jollema
2008 Dorothy Mills Jane van Dopp
Valkyrie Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg
2009 Stricken Carmen
From Time to Time Maria Oldknow
2010 Repo Men Carol
The Happy Housewife Lea
Black Death Langiva
2011 Intruders Susanna
Black Butterflies Ingrid Jonker
Vivaldi Julietta
2012 Jackie Sophie
Family Way Winnie de Roover
2013 The Fifth Estate Birgitta Jónsdóttir
2016 Race Leni Riefenstahl
Brimstone Anna
2019 The Affair Hana
Domino Alex
Instinct Nicoline Also producer
2020 Lost Girls & Love Hotels Ines


Carice van houten by sachyn mital (cropped)
Carice van Houten in 2019
Year Title Role Notes
1997 Het Labyrint Mariek Television series
1999 Suzy Q Suzy Television film
2000 Goede daden bij daglicht: Op weg Carola Television film
2001 De acteurs Ellie Television series
2002 Luifel & Luifel Roos Episode: "De Krottenkoning"
2004 Russen José Machielsen Episode: "De zevende getuige"
Kopspijkers Georgina Verbaan Episode: "Dance-4-Life"
2006 Koppensnellers Episode: "1.16"
2009 Gewoon Hans Herself Television film
2010 In therapie Aya 3 episodes
2011 Human Planet Narrator Dutch dubbing
2012–2019 Game of Thrones Melisandre of Asshai 29 episodes
2015 The Simpsons Annika van Houten (voice) Episode: "Let's Go Fly a Coot"
2016 Robot Chicken Melisandre, Sharon, Mama Bear (voices) Episode: "Triple Hot Dog Sandwich on Wheat"
2019 Temple Anna Willems Television series
2020 Red Light Sylvia Steenhuyzen Television series


  • Black Book (soundtrack) (2007) – vocals on four songs
  • See You on the Ice (2012)
  • "Fear Not" (2015) – featuring Michael Prins
  • Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited (2019) by Mercury Rev - vocals on 'Parchman Farm'
  • Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (2015) by Wu-Tang Clan

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1999 Golden Calf Award Best Acting in a Television Drama
Suzy Q
2002 Golden Calf Award Best Actress
Miss Minoes
International Children's Film Festival Best Actress Won
Carrousel international du film de Rimouski Won
2005 Golden Calf Award Best Actress
Black Swans
2006 Golden Calf Award Best Actress
Black Book
Rembrandt Award Best Actress Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
European Film Award Best Actress Nominated
German Film Award Best Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress Nominated
2008 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Love is All
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress
2010 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Golden Film Award Best Actress Won
Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Supporting Actress
Black Death
2011 Rembrandt Award Best Actress The Happy Housewife Won
Golden Film Award Best Actress Won
Golden Calf Award Best Actress Won
2012 Rembrandt Award Best Actress Black Butterflies Won
Golden Film Award Best Actress Won
Golden Calf Award Best Actress Won
Tribeca Film Festival Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film Won
Golden Film Award Best Actress
Rembrandt Award Best Actress Nominated
2013 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Family Way
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
2015 Nominated
2016 Nominated
2017 Golden Calf Award Best Supporting Actress
2019 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Game of Thrones

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carice van Houten para niños

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