May 1, 1987
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A graduate of London's Drama Centre School, Emilia Clarke earned considerable stage training with roles in school and local productions of "Hamlet," "Pygmalion" and "Sense." After landing a guest spot on an episode of the soap opera "Doctors" (BBC One, 2000- ), Clarke lensed a role in the killer dinosaur flick "Triassic Attack" (Syfy, 2010). Her breakthrough came, however, as the white-haired princess Daenerys Targaryen in the epically complex medieval fantasy series "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011- ). Clarke's masterful portrayal of an innocent teenage bride who discovers world-conquering resources of strength, courage and cunning within herself won over critics and audiences, and her character and storyline arc stood out among the countless others in the massively multilayered saga. Although international success came quickly after her professional debut, Emilia Clarke revealed a maturity and talent well beyond her youth and experience. Born in the late 1980s in London, England, Emilia Clarke grew up in Berkshire as the daughter of a businesswoman and a theatrical sound engineer. Her acting career began at the age of three after seeing her father working on a production of the musical "Show Boat," and she continued to study at St. Edward's School, Oxford, and the Drama Centre School in London. While a student, she appeared in multiple school productions, including "Hamlet," "The Government Inspector," "A Flea in Her Ear" and "Pygmalion" as well as appearing in "Sense" for the Company of Angels Theatre. In her final year of drama school, Clarke booked her first TV guest spot with an episode of the soap opera "Doctors" (BBC One, 2000- ), and after graduation, landed a role in the killer dinosaurs cheese-fest "Triassic Attack" (Syfy, 2010). A much better project followed, however, when she was tapped for the pivotal role of Daenerys Targaryen in the medieval fantasy series "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011- ). As a white-haired, teenage princess thrust into the complicated and dangerous world of power, sex and conquest upon her marriage to the warlord Drogo (Jason Momoa), Clarke dazzled critics and audiences. Tracing her character's development from innocent pawn to cutthroat tactician, Clarke created one of the dense series' most memorable characters, displaying a talent and presence well beyond her years. On the big screen, Clarke appeared in the indie drama "Spike Island" (2012) and comic crime caper "Dom Hemingway" (2013) opposite Jude Law and Richard E. Grant before landing her first starring role as Sarah Connor in the franchise reboot "Terminator Genisys" (2015). Although that film underperformed both critically and commercially, her starring role opposite Sam Clafin in the romantic drama "Me Before You" (2016) drew strong notices. Clarke next appeared in the 1950s-set psychological thriller "Voice from the Stone" (2016). In November 2016, it was announced that Clarke had been cast in the female lead of the upcoming "Star Wars" prequel focusing on a young Han Solo.