Liv Rundgren Tyler (born Liv Rundgren; July 1, 1977) is an American actress, producer, singer and former model.[2] She is best known for her portrayal of Arwen Undómiel in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–03).

Liv Tyler
Live Tyler.jpg
Tyler in September 2016
Born
Liv Rundgren

(1977-07-01) July 1, 1977 (age 42)
ResidenceGreenwich Village, New York, U.S.
London, England
Occupation
  • Actress
  • producer
  • model
Years active1994–present
Spouse(s)
Royston Langdon
(m. 2003; div. 2008)
Partner(s)David Gardner
(2014–present)
Children3
Parent(s)Bebe Buell
Steven Tyler (biological)
Todd Rundgren (adoptive/legal)
RelativesMia Tyler (paternal half-sister)
Chelsea Tallarico (paternal half-sister)
Taj Tallarico (paternal half-brother)
Jon Foster (brother-in-law)

Tyler began a career in modeling at age 14. She later decided to focus on acting, and made her film debut in Silent Fall (1994). She went on to achieve critical recognition with roles in Heavy, Empire Records (both 1995), That Thing You Do!, and Stealing Beauty (both 1996). She then appeared in films such as Inventing the Abbotts (1997), Armageddon (1998), Cookie's Fortune, Onegin (both 1999), Dr. T & the Women (2000), and One Night at McCool's (2001).

Following the success of Lord of the Rings, Tyler has appeared in a variety of roles, including the films Jersey Girl (2004), Lonesome Jim (2005), Reign Over Me (2007), The Strangers, The Incredible Hulk (both 2008), Super (2010), Space Station 76 (2014), and Wildling (2018). Outside of film, she played the part of Meg Abbott on HBO's The Leftovers (2014–2017), and has since starred in the BBC series Gunpowder (2017), and the ITV/Hulu series Harlots (2018).

Tyler has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States since 2003, and as a spokesperson for Givenchy's line of perfume and cosmetics.

She is the daughter of Steven Tyler and Bebe Buell, although she has a very close relationship with her adoptive father Todd Rundgren.

Liv is also singer, having sung with Howard Shore. She appeared as guest vocalist on The Lemonheads 2009 album Varshons, on the Leonard Cohen song "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye". She also appeared on Evan Dando's 2017 bonus disc of his 2003 album Baby I'm Bored on the track "Shots is Fired" and released her debut single "Need You Tonight" in 2011.

Early lifeEdit

Tyler was born Liv Rundgren[3] on July 1, 1977 at Mount Sinai Hospital in East Harlem, New York.[4] She is the only daughter of Bebe Buell, a model, singer, and former Playboy Playmate (Miss November 1974), and Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith.[5] Her mother named her after Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, after seeing Ullmann on the cover of the March 5, 1977 issue of TV Guide.[4][6] Her ancestry includes Italian (from her great-grandfather), German, Polish, and English.[7][8] On the show Who Do You Think You Are?, Tyler discovered that her paternal great-great-great-great-grandfather was part African American.[9][10] Tyler has three half-siblings: Mia Tyler (born 1978),[11] Chelsea Anna Tallarico (born 1989), and Taj Monroe Tallarico (born 1991).[12] Her maternal grandmother, Dorothea Johnson, founded the Protocol School of Washington.[13]

From 1972 to 1979, Buell lived with rock musician Todd Rundgren. In 1976 Buell became unexpectedly pregnant from a brief relationship with Steven Tyler. She gave birth on July 1, 1977, naming the daughter Liv Rundgren and claiming that Todd Rundgren was the biological father. By then Rundgren and Buell had ended their romantic relationship, but Rundgren nevertheless signed the birth certificate and acted as a father figure to Liv, including paying for her education.[14]

At age 10 or 11, Liv met Steven Tyler and suspected he was her father.[6][15] When she asked her mother, the secret was revealed.[15] The truth about Tyler's paternity did not become public until 1991, when she changed her surname from Rundgren to Tyler,[5] but kept Rundgren as a middle name.[16] Buell's stated reason for claiming that Rundgren was Liv's father was that Steven Tyler was too heavily addicted to drugs at the time of Liv's birth.[5] Since learning the truth about her paternity, Liv and Steven have developed a close relationship. They also have worked together professionally, once when she appeared in Aerosmith's music video for "Crazy" in 1993, and again when Aerosmith performed many of the songs in the film Armageddon (1998), in which Tyler starred.

Tyler maintains a close relationship with Rundgren. "I'm so grateful to him, I have so much love for him. You know, when he holds me it feels like Daddy. And he's very protective and strong."[17]

Tyler attended the Congressional Schools of Virginia, Breakwater School, and Waynflete School in Portland, Maine,[18][19][20] before returning to New York City with her mother at age 12.[3][6] She went to York Preparatory in New York City for junior high and high school after her mother researched the school to accommodate Tyler's ADHD.[21] She also attended the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, California.[22] She graduated from York in 1995 and left to continue her acting career.[3][6] When asked about her youth, Tyler said: "For me, I didn't get much of a childhood in my teen years because I've been working since I was 14. But that also kept me out of trouble. When everybody was doing acid and partying like crazy, I was at work on a movie in Tuscany ... having my own fun, of course, but it was a different kind of thing. I have no regrets. I love the way my life has gone."[23]

CareerEdit

Early workEdit

Tyler received her first modeling job at 14 with the assistance of Paulina Porizkova, who took pictures of her that ended up in Interview magazine.[3][6] She later starred in television commercials.[3][6] She became bored with her modeling career less than a year after it started, however, and decided to go into acting, although[6] she never took acting lessons.[5] Tyler first became known to television audiences when she starred alongside Alicia Silverstone in the music video for Aerosmith's 1993 song "Crazy".[3]

1994–1997: film debut and Stealing BeautyEdit

Tyler made her feature film debut in Silent Fall in 1994, where she played the elder sister of a boy with autism.[24] In 1995, she starred in the comedy-drama Empire Records.[25] Tyler has described Empire Records as "one of the best experiences" she has ever had.[26] Soon after, she landed a supporting role in James Mangold's 1996 drama Heavy as Callie, a naive young waitress. The film received favorable reviews;[27] critic Janet Maslin noted: "Ms. Tyler ... gives a charmingly ingenuous performance, betraying no self-consciousness about her lush good looks."[28]

Tyler's breakthrough role was in the arthouse film Stealing Beauty (1996), in which she played Lucy Harmon, an innocent, romantic teenager who travels to Tuscany, Italy, intent on losing her virginity. The film received generally mixed reviews,[29] but Tyler's performance was regarded favorably by the critics. Variety wrote: "Tyler is the perfect accomplice. At times sweetly awkward, at others composed and serene, the actress appears to respond effortlessly and intuitively to the camera, creating a rich sense of what Lucy is about that often is not explicit in the dialogue."[30] Empire noted, "Liv Tyler (here radiantly resembling a ganglier young Ava Gardner) with a rare opportunity to enamour, a break she capitalizes on with composure."[31] The film was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, who chose Tyler for the role after meeting with a number of young girls in Los Angeles, including Tyler's music video co-star Alicia Silverstone. Bertolucci said "there was something missing in all of them".[32] He later said that what he saw in Tyler was a gravitas he described as "a New York aura".[32] During promotion of the film, Tyler said she wanted to separate herself from the character during production: "I tried my damnedest not to think of my own situation. But at one point, after a take, I just started to cry and cry. I remembered when I found out about my dad and how we just stared at each other from head to toe taking in every nook and cranny."[32]

She later appeared in That Thing You Do! (1996), a movie about a fictional one-hit wonder rock band called The Wonders, following their whirlwind rise to the top of the pop charts and, just as quickly, their plunge back to obscurity.[33] The film was written and directed by Tom Hanks.[34] It grossed over $25 million worldwide,[35] and received favorable reviews.[36] In 1997, she appeared in Inventing the Abbotts as the daughter of Will Patton and Barbara Williams' characters.[37] The movie is based on a short story by Sue Miller.[38] Entertainment Weekly declared Tyler's performance as "lovely and pliant".[39] That same year, Tyler was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People.[40]

1998–2000: mainstream exposureEdit

 
Tyler (center) with cast and crew at the premiere of Armageddon, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, 1998

Tyler next appeared in Armageddon (1998), where she played the daughter of Bruce Willis' character and love interest of Ben Affleck's character. The film generated mixed reviews,[41] but it was a box office success, earning $553 million worldwide.[35] The movie included the songs "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "What Kind of Love Are You On" by Aerosmith.[42] In a 2001 interview with The Guardian, she said that she initially turned down the role in Armageddon: "I really didn't want to do it at first and I turned it down a couple of times, but the biggest reason I changed my mind was because I was scared of it. I wanted to try it for that very reason. I mean, I'm not really in this to do amazing things in my career – I just want it to be special when I make a movie."[19]

She was then cast in the drama Onegin (1999), a film based on the 19th century Russian novel of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, in which she portrayed Tatyana Larina and co-starred with Ralph Fiennes.[43] Tyler was required to master an English accent, though Stephen Holden of The New York Times felt that her approximation of an English accent was "inert".[44] The film was critically and financially unsuccessful.[35][45] That same year, she appeared in the historical comedy film Plunkett & Macleane.[46][47]

She later appeared in two films directed by Robert Altman, Cookie's Fortune (1999) and Dr. T & the Women (2000).[3][43] In Cookie's Fortune, she was part of an ensemble cast that included Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Chris O'Donnell, and Patricia Neal.[48] Her performance was well received among critics; Salon.com wrote: "This is the first time in which Tyler's acting is a match for her beauty (she's always been a bit forlorn). Altman helps her find some snap, but a relaxed, silly snap, as in the cartoon sound she makes when she takes a midday swig of bourbon. The lazy geniality of the movie is summed up by the way Emma [Tyler's character] saunters off to take a swim with her cowboy hat and pint of Wild Turkey."[49] Entertainment Weekly also wrote that Tyler was "sweetly gruff as the tomboy troublemaker".[50] In Dr. T & the Women, a romantic comedy, Tyler she played Marilyn, a gynecological patient of Richard Gere's character and the lesbian lover of his daughter, played by Kate Hudson.[51]

2001–2007: Lord of the RingsEdit

In 2001, Tyler played the object of infatuation for three men (Matt Dillon, John Goodman, and Paul Reiser) in the comedy One Night at McCool's.[52] She said the role was "definitely the first part where I had to be so physically aware and have people so aware of me physically. Maybe it's not hard for anybody else, but it is a bit for me. I mean I love my body and I feel very comfortable in my skin but this was tough."[53] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: "Tyler, a true beauty, gives the role a valiant try, but her range is too limited to play this amalgam of female perfection."[54]

 
Tyler at the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003

In 2001, she starred in the feature film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by Peter Jackson. She played the Elf maiden Arwen Undómiel.[53][55] The film is based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The filmmakers approached Tyler after seeing her performance in Plunkett & Macleane.[56] She learned to speak the fictitious Elvish language that was created by Tolkien.[57] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Tyler's performance was "lovely and earnest".[58]

A year later, Tyler again starred as Arwen in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the second installment of the series. The film received favorable reviews.[59] She spent months learning sword fighting for the concluding battle scenes in the film,[60] but her scenes were removed after the script was changed.[60] The film was an enormous box office success, earning over $926 million worldwide[61] and out-grossing its predecessor, which earned over $871 million.[35] In 2003, Tyler featured in the third and last installment of the series, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.[62]

Following the success of The Lord of the Rings, she appeared opposite her Armageddon co-star Ben Affleck in writer-director Kevin Smith's romantic comedy Jersey Girl (2004), playing a woman who meets a widowed father, played by Affleck, and re-opens his heart to love.[63] In an interview with MTV News, Tyler confessed that she felt "scared and vulnerable" while filming Jersey Girl, adding "I was so used to those other elements of the character [Arwen]. On The Lord of the Rings, a lot of things were done in post-production, whereas this was really just about me and Ben sitting there, just shooting off dialogue."[64]

In 2003, she became the spokesperson for Givenchy perfume and cosmetics,[65][66] and in 2005 the brand named a rose after her, which was used in one of its fragrances.[67] In 2009, she signed on for two more years as Givenchy spokesperson.[68] On December 8, 2011, Givenchy announced a collaboration between Givenchy perfumes and Sony Music.[69] In the video released on February 7, 2012, Tyler covered the INXS song "Need You Tonight".[70]

In 2005, she appeared in Steve Buscemi's independent drama Lonesome Jim, where she was cast alongside Casey Affleck as a single mother and nurse who reconnects with an old fling who has returned to their small Indiana town after a failed run as a novelist in New York.[64] The film was screened at a special presentation at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.[71] Her next appearance was in a supporting role as an insightful therapist who tries to help a once-successful dentist (Adam Sandler) cope with the loss of his family in the September 11 attacks in Reign Over Me (2007).[72][73]

2008–present: box office hits and The LeftoversEdit

 
Tyler at the premiere of Super, 2010

In 2008, she starred in the home invasion horror film The Strangers with Scott Speedman, a film about a young couple who are terrorized one night by three masked assailants in their remote country house.[74][75] Although the film garnered a mixed reception among critics,[76] it was a major box office success, earning more than $80 million over its $9 million budget.[35] In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she said The Strangers was the most challenging role of her career. "It was as far as I could push myself in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally."[26]

She appeared in The Incredible Hulk (2008), in which she played Dr. Betty Ross, the love interest of the title character, played by Edward Norton.[77] Tyler was a fan of the television show,[78] and was attracted to the love story in the script. She said filming the part was "very physical, which was fun",[79] and compared her performance to "a deer caught in the headlights".[80] The Incredible Hulk was a box office success, earning over $262 million worldwide.[35] The Washington Post, in review of the film, wrote: "Tyler gives Betty an appropriately angelic nimbus of ethereal gentleness as the one Beauty who can tame the Beast ... during their most pivotal encounters."[81]

Tyler appeared in two films released in 2011: Super and The Ledge. In April 2011, publishing house Rodale announced that Tyler and her grandmother Dorothea Johnson, an etiquette expert, had written a book called Modern Manners. It was released October 29, 2013.[82]

In 2014, she appeared in Space Station 76, a film directed by Jack Plotnick, also starring Matt Bomer and Patrick Wilson.[83]

In June 2014, Tyler began appearing as a regular in the HBO television series The Leftovers. The series ended after three seasons in 2017.[84]

In 2016, Tyler took on a role opposite Bel Powley in the fantasy/horror drama film Wildling, directed by Fritz Böhm. The film also marks her debut as a producer. It was released in 2018.[85]

In 2017, Tyler quickly landed a role as Anne Vaux in the BBC/HBO miniseries Gunpowder, co-starring Kit Harington.[86] She later joined the second season of the ITV/Hulu period drama series Harlots, starring in a new series regular role as Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam.[87]

Personal lifeEdit

Tyler dated her Inventing the Abbotts co-star Joaquin Phoenix from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, Tyler began dating British musician Royston Langdon of the band Spacehog.[3] They became engaged in February 2001,[88] and married in Barbados on March 25, 2003.[89] In December 2004, she gave birth to a son.[90] On May 8, 2008, the couple confirmed through representatives that they would be separating.[91]

In June 2010, Tyler stated she was "far too sensitive" for casual dates, adding "I fall in love once in a blue moon."[92]

In 2014, Tyler met David Gardner, a British sports and entertainment manager. They have two children together, a son born in February 2015,[93] and a daughter born in July 2016.[94] She later moved to London shortly after her daughter's birth.[86][95]

Tyler is a former vegan.[96]

Tyler learned transcendental meditation in New York City.[97] In December 2012, she participated in a charity gala for the David Lynch Foundation to provide transcendental meditation to disadvantaged sections of society. At the event, she said, "it helps me make better decisions and be a better mother, and just deal with the daily stress of the modern world that we live in. It helps with everything."[97]

Tyler owns an apartment on West 11th Street in Greenwich Village, New York City,[98] and has resided in London since 2018.[99]

ActivismEdit

Tyler is an active supporter of the charitable United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). She was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United States in 2003.[100][101] In November 2004, she hosted the lighting of the UNICEF Snowflake in New York City. She also served as spokesperson for the 2004 Givenchy Mother's Day promotion, in support of UNICEF's Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus campaign.

Since 2004, she has donated to the Women's Cancer Research Fund to support innovative research, education, and outreach directed at the development of more effective approaches to the early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of all women's cancers.[102] In October 2007, Tyler, along with her mother, Bebe Buell, and her grandmother Dorothea Johnson, helped launch the Emergen-C Pink energy drink, in which the event was in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.[103]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Film Role Notes
1994 Silent Fall Sylvie Warden
1995 Heavy Callie
Empire Records Corey Mason
1996 Stealing Beauty Lucy Harmon Nominated – YoungStar Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama Film[104]
That Thing You Do! Faye Dolan
1997 Inventing the Abbotts Pamela Abbott
U Turn Girl in Bus Station Cameo appearance[105]
1998 Armageddon Grace Stamper Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance[104]
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo Shared with Ben Affleck[104]
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Science Fiction[104]
1999 Plunkett & Macleane Lady Rebecca Gibson
Cookie's Fortune Emma Duvall
Onegin Tatyana Larina Russian Guild of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Actress[104]
2000 Dr. T & the Women Marilyn
2001 One Night at McCool's Jewel
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Arwen Undómiel Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast[104]
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast[104]
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble[104]
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast[104]
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast[104]
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast[104]
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast[104]
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble[104]
2004 Jersey Girl Maya
2005 Lonesome Jim Anika
2007 Reign Over Me Dr. Angela Oakhurst
2008 Smother Clare Cooper [106]
The Strangers Kristen McKay Scream Awards for Best Horror Actress[107]
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller[108]
The Incredible Hulk Betty Ross
2010 Super Sarah [109]
2011 The Ledge Shana [110]
2012 Robot & Frank Madison Weld [111]
2014 Jamie Marks Is Dead Linda McCormick [112]
Space Station 76 Jessica Marlowe
2018 Wildling Ellen Cooper Also producer
2019 Ad Astra Eve McBride

TelevisionEdit

Year Series Role Notes
2014–2017 The Leftovers Meg Abbott Main role; 13 episodes
2017 Gunpowder Anne Vaux Main role; 3 episodes
2018 Harlots Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam Main role[113]
2020 9-1-1: Lone Star Michelle Blake Upcoming Series

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2008 The Incredible Hulk Betty Ross Voice[114]

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit