Entertainment & Arts

Profile: Mia Farrow

Mia Farrow
Image caption Farrow is now a well-known charity campaigner

Actress and campaigner Mia Farrow has given testimony in the war crimes trial of former-Liberian president Charles Taylor in The Hague.

Although she can count Rosemary's Baby, See No Evil and Hannah and Her Sisters among her many film credits, it is Farrow's private life and charity work which has attracted more attention in recent years.

Golden Globe award

Farrow was born in Los Angeles in 1945 and grew up in Beverly Hills with her six siblings.

Her parents were film director John Farrow and Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan, so it was hardly a surprise when she began a career in showbusiness.

Farrow was screen-tested for the role of Liesl Von Trapp in The Sound of Music but failed to win the part. But it was not long before she landed her first leading role in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, a part which thrust her into the spotlight.

The horror film was a critical success and a hit at the box office. Farrow won a Golden Globe award for her role, while her co-star, Ruth Gordon, won the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

Image caption Previn and Farrow remained on good terms after they split

By this time, Farrow had married and divorced singer Frank Sinatra, who she wed in 1966 when she was 21 and he was 50.

Sinatra's mother had said of Farrow: "This one don't talk, she don't eat. What does she do?"

Farrow's other late 60s films include John and Mary, opposite Dustin Hoffman.

By 1970, she was married again, this time to conductor Andre Previn.

Family scandal

Farrow and Previn had three biological children and went on to adopt two babies from Vietnam and and an eight-year-old, Soon-Yi, from Korea around 1978. The couple divorced in 1979.

The following year, Farrow began dating director Woody Allen - the couple never married but went on to adopt two children. Farrow gave birth to the couple's only biological child in 1987.

Farrow starred in many of Allen's films during the time they were together, including Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters.

But the relationship was soon to disintegrate following a scandal which erupted in 1992 when Farrow discovered Allen was having an affair with Soon-Yi.

Image caption Rosemary's Baby is still considered a horror classic

The infidelity was discovered when she found nude photos of Soon-Yi that Allen had taken in his apartment.

A bitter custody battle ensued - Farrow won custody of the children but has been estranged from Soon-Yi since her adopted daughter's marriage to Allen in 1997.

Hunger strike

Having taken a break from her acting career during much of the 90s to concentrate on her ever-growing family, she later adopted six more children.

Farrow has also taken on a high-profile role as an advocate of children's rights.

She is a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, campaigning to fight polio - she contracted the disease when she was nine and one of her adopted children become paralysed after becoming infected.

Farrow has also become an advocate for refugees in Darfur, Sudan.

She went on hunger strike for 12 days over the Sudanese government's decision to expel foreign aid agencies and even offered to "trade her freedom" for the freedom of a rebel leader, who was being treated in a UN hospital but was afraid to leave.

In 2006, Farrow made a movie comeback, starring in three films released that year - a remake of The Omen, romantic comedy Fast Track and Luc Besson film, Arthur and the Minimoys.

Now in the Hague to testify in the Charles Taylor case, Farrow finds herself well and truly back in the spotlight.

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