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attends the EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 at The Royal Opera House on February 16, 2014 in London, England.
attends the EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 at The Royal Opera House on February 16, 2014 in London, England.
Oh Emma, when you smile, we smile. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Emma Thompson, whose 56th birthday is today (April 15), is one of those actresses who makes you think, “I bet she’d make a great friend. I’d really like to hang out with her.” But, why do we think that? Yes, her roles are amazing—like her Academy Award-winning performance in Howard’s End; or the eccentric, witchy teacher such as Professor Trelawny in the Harry Potter films, and more recently as P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins, featured in Saving Mr. Banks—but it’s Thompson herself who we are enamored by, not necessarily the characters she plays.

Here are 10 examples of Thompson just being Thompson and why we can’t get enough:

1. She’s an award-winning actor and writer. Thompson was nominated for both Best Actress and Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes in 1996 for her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and she took home the award for the latter at both ceremonies. Here’s her Golden Globes acceptance speech that she wrote in the style of Jane Austen:

2. She’s really funny. Really, really funny. Actually, she has roots in sketch comedy working with a couple of funny men, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, at the University of Cambridge’s sketch comedy troupe Footlights. Here’s a skit from a televised version of The Cellar Tapes:

3. Thompson originally aimed to work as a social worker and help disabled children and the elderly. While her career took a turn, she’s held onto her altrusitic views. Watch Thompson along with Octavia Spencer, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, and Amy Adams talking about tropes female characters are put into and the changing dynamics in Hollywood for actresses:

4. She’s been wildly successful, but family comes first with Thompson telling The Guardian, “Family is the center of everything for me.” She expands on what that means to her, saying, “But family is about connection, not necessarily about blood ties. It’s about extended family and extending family.” She and her adopted son, whom she met when he was 16, share their story via the United Nations YouTube page:

5. Thompson is so connected to her family—which includes actress mum Phyllida Law and actor husband Greg Wise—we felt that highlighting her commitment to her family calls for two spots on our list. We’d like to share a clip of her sharing life lessons she’s taught her daughter Gaia with David Letterman on The Late Show:

6. She knows how to make an entrance and give a great interview. It’s in her interviews where we feel like we really get to know her as a woman. When she speaks, her intelligence and wit are matched by this sense of ease about her. Watch her bust a move as she comes out to greet Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show:

7. With all that moviemaking, dancing, and child-rearing, a girl’s feet can get tired. Thompson is so comfortable in her own skin that she felt okay kicking off her shoes to present at the 2014 Golden Globes:

8. In addition to her being a fun presenter at awards shows, Thompson tells a zinger of a story making fellow guest Hugh Grant blush on The Graham Norton Show:

9. Sitting between huge stars like Hugh Grant and Luke Evans may be a typical night for Thompson, but that doesn’t mean she won’t stop and take a snap with a fan:

10. And, finally, who doesn’t love a woman turning up with donuts:

Happy birthday Emma, enjoy your day!! 

See More: 
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WATCH: Emma Thompson Stars in ‘Effie Gray’ Trailer
Can Emma Thompson Save ‘Bridget Jones 3’?

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By Kristina Trujillo