Eileen Atkins was born in a Salvation Army Women's Hostel in north London. Her father was a gas meter reader; her mother, a seamstress and barmaid. A drama teacher taught her how to drop her Cockney accent, and she studied Shakespeare and Greek tragedies. Her breakthrough role in "The Killing of Sister George" took her to Broadway.
I Don't Want to Be Born, Raku Fire, Equus, The Dresser, Let Him Have It, Wolf, Jack & Sarah, The Avengers, Women Talking Dirty, Gosford Park, The Hours, Cold Mountain, Vanity Fair, Ask the Dust, Evening, Last Chance Harvey, Wild Target