Karen Gillan

Scottish actress and filmmaker

Karen Sheila Gillan (born 28 November 1987) is a Scottish actress, director, screenwriter and model. She is best known for playing the part of Amy Pond in the British science fiction series, Doctor Who.

Karen Gilan
Karen Gillan in 2019
Karen Sheila Gillan

(1987-11-28) 28 November 1987 (age 36)
Occupation(s)Celebrity, Director, Screenwriter, Model
Years active2006 – present
Nick Kocher (m. 2022)

Early life


Karen Gillan was born on 28 November 1987 in Inverness, Scotland. She learned to play the piano when she was seven.[1] She started acting when she was very young. She joined several local youth theatre groups. She also acted at her school, Charleston Academy.[1] When she was sixteen, Karen Gillan went to Edinburgh's Telford College to study acting. Later, she studied at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in London.[2] Karen Gillan moved to London when she was 18 to study at drama school.[3]

Her cousin, Caitlin Blackwood, played the part of the young Amy Pond in at least three episodes of Doctor Who.[4][5][6]


Karen Gillan in Dr.Who



Before Karen Gillan started acting on television, she worked in a London pub. She had had left Italia Conti for a television programme, but was hired by a modelling agency.[7] Karen Gillan worked as a model in London Fashion Week, in 2007. She worked for designer Allegra Hicks' show.



Karen Gillan began acting on television doing small parts, on several drama series. Her first larger role was as a part of the ensemble cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show. She worked for the series for two years. On the programme, she played many different characters. She also played celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She was on Channel 4's 'Stacked'. She played the part of Ginny.[8] Karen Gillan also was on TV in a main part in a horror programme The Well. It was broadcast as a series of short movies, on BBC Two. It was later shown on the internet.

Karen Gillan was cast as Amy Pond on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. Her first episode as Amy Pond was shown on 3 April 2010. Gillan had been in Doctor Who once before in the 2008 episode "The Fires of Pompeii" as a different character.[7]

Karen Gillan also acts in theatre. She first role was as Shirley in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence[9] at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011.[9]

At the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, Karen Gillan said she will be on Doctor Who for its seventh series.[10] On 15 December 2011, it was said that Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) would only be on the early part of seventh series, in 2012.[11]

After leaving Doctor Who, Karen Gillan has appeared in 2013 horror film Oculus and 2014 Marvel superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy. Both of films received positive reviews from critics, while Guardians of the Galaxy became a critical and commercial success, grossing over $774 million worldwide. Also in 2014, she was cast as the main character in ABC's sitcom Selfie.

In May 2015, it was announced that Karen Gillan was cast in the Adam McKay-directed drama film The Big Short alongside Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Melissa Leo.[12] She directed her first short film, Coward, which won several awards and screened at the 2015 Edinburgh Film Festival.[13][14] Later that year, in September, Karen Gillan was cast as one of the main characters, Annie, in the movie The Circle alongside Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega. The film is directed and written by James Ponsoldt and is based on the novel written by Dave Eggers.


Feature films
Year Title Role Notes
2008 New Town Killers Girl at bus station
2010 Outcast Ally
2013 Not Another Happy Ending Jane Lockhart
2013 Oculus Kaylie Russell
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Nebula
2015 The Big Short Evie
2016 The Circle Annie Filming[15]
2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Ruby Roundhouse
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Rebus Teri Cotter Episode: "A Question of Blood"
2008 Stacked Ginny Turner TV movie
2008 Doctor Who Soothsayer Episode: "The Fires of Pompeii"
2008 Harley Street Holly Episode 1
2008 – 2009 The Kevin Bishop Show Various characters Main role (12 episodes)
2008 Coming Up Anna Episode: "Thinspiration"
2009 The Well Coll 4 episodes
2010 – 2013 Doctor Who Amy Pond Series 5, 6, 7 (33 episodes)
"The Time of the Doctor" (cameo)
2010 – 2011 Doctor Who Confidential Herself 26 episodes
2012 We'll Take Manhattan Jean Shrimpton TV movie
2012 In Love with Coward Laura 3 episodes
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Daisy Main role (9 episodes, season 3)
2014 A Touch of Cloth Kerry Newblood 2 episodes
2014 Selfie Eliza Dooley Main role (13 episodes)
2015 Seven Days in Hell Lily Allsworth TV movie
Year Title Format
2011 Inadmissible Evidence Play
Video games
Year Title
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: City of the Daleks
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Blood of the Cybermen
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: TARDIS
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Shadows of the Vashta Nerada
2011 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: The Gunpowder Plot
2010 Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth
2010 Doctor Who: Return to Earth
2010 Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time


List of awards and award nominations
Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2010 TV Quick Awards Best Actress Doctor Who Nominated [16]
2010 Cosmopolitan "Woman of the Year" Awards Best Actress Won [17]
2011 SFX Awards Best Actress Won [18]
2011 TV Choice Awards Best Actress Won [19]
2011 Scream Awards Best Sci-Fi Actress Nominated [20]
2012 National Television Awards Best Drama Performance: Female Won [21]
2012 Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Actress Herself Nominated [22]
2012 Scottish Fashion Awards Scotland's Fashion Icon Herself Won [23]
2013 National Television Awards Best Drama Performance - Female Doctor Who Nominated [24]
2014 Fright Meter Awards Best Actress Oculus Nominated [25]
2015 Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus Won [26]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Karen Gillan biography". IMDb. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  2. Macleod, Calum (26 March 2010). "Who's that girl?". Inverness Courier. Scottish Provincial Press. Archived from the original on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  3. Smith, Mark (22 March 2010). "Karen Gillan on being the new doctor who companion". The Herald. Newsquest. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  4. Karen Gillan bags relative role Archived 6 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine. 31 March 2010. STV.com
  5. Gillan never watched Dr Who until landing leading role.The Scotsman. 22 July 2010, Stuart MacDonald
  6. Morgan, Susan (24 April 2011). "sport - Reader Holidays Cities Direct Interview: Karen Gillan, Doctor Who actor". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 5 September 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Karen Gillan on her role as doctor who's new sexy sidekick, 20 June 2010
  8. "Karen Gillan biography". IMDb. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Doctor Who star Karen Gillan to make theatre debut". BBC News. BBC. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  10. "'Doctor Who' star Karen Gillan set for Season 7: 'I am going to come back!'". Zap2it. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  11. Sperling, Daniel (15 December 2011). "'Doctor Who': Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill to leave next series". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  12. "Karen Gillan Joins Brad Pitt's 'The Big Short'". The Hollywood News. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  13. "IFS 2015 Awards". The IFS. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  14. "Scottish Filmmaking Strikes a Note at EIFF 2015". Edinburgh Film Festival. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  15. McNary, Dave (1 September 2015). "Karen Gillan Joins Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega in 'The Circle'". Variety. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  16. "TV Quick Award". IMDb. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  17. cosmopolitan.co.uk (3 November 2010). "Cosmo's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  18. Golder, Dave (5 February 2011). "SFX Awards Winners Announced (2011)". GamesRadar. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  19. "TV Choice Awards 2011 – The winners – TV News". Digital Spy. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  20. Budow, Aileen (7 September 2011). "Spike TV Announces 'SCREAM Awards 2011' Nominees". Spike TV. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  21. "National Television Awards winners list – In Full". Digital Spy. 25 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  22. "The 2012 KCA Nominees". Nickelodeon. 19 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  23. "Doctor Who's Day Roundup: Karen Gillan Named Scottish Fashion Icon of the Year". BBC America. 12 June 2012. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  24. "National TV Awards 2013: The winners' list – in full". Digital Spy. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  25. "Fright Meter Awards". frightmeterawards.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  26. Barraclough, Leo (30 March 2015). "'Interstellar' wins Film, Director at Empire Awards". Variety (magazine). Penske Business Media. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  27. "Best Female Newcomer". Empire. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.

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