Oxford's Florence Pugh is the name on everyone's lips at the moment following her acclaimed performance in Christopher Nolan's biopic, Oppenheimer.

The blockbuster found itself attached to a film somewhat different in tone, Barbie, which was released on the same day and gave birth to the 'Barbenheimer' phenomenon.

27-year-old Ms Pugh appears in the darker of the two, and gave a risque performance opposite Cillian Murphy who stars as the titular character.

The actress was born in Oxford in 1996 where she lived until she was three before her family relocated to Spain.

Early years:

She suffered from tracheomalacia as a child, which led to frequent hospitalisations. 

She opened up about the condition, and its impact on her childhood, on an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls, where she revealed that doctors had advised the move from her home of Oxford, England, to somewhere with a “hotter climate”.

“We were in Spain because I have a breathing issue, and when I was younger they kind of just advised that a hotter climate would be better,” she said, according to Yahoo.

Oxford Mail: Florence Pugh at the UK premiere of The Wonder – BFI London Film Festival 2022

“I have asthma and I have this thing called tracheomalacia as well. And so from a young age, I’ve just had a different breathing system.”

When Ms Pugh was six, the family returned to Oxford where she was privately educated at Wychwood School and St Edward's School.

While still studying in sixth form, Ms Pugh made her professional acting debut in the 2014 drama The Falling, playing a precocious teenager opposite Maisie Williams.

In 2016, Ms Pugh starred in the independent drama Lady Macbeth, a film based on the novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov and even went on to win the BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film for the role.


Ms Pugh starred in three major films in 2019 including Fighting with My Family, Midsommar and Little Women.

She also went on to play Yelena Belova, a spy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Black Widow, and later the Disney Plus series Hawkeye - she is expected to reprise this role in future MCU productions.

Oxford Mail: Florence Pugh arriving for the UK premiere of The Wonder during the BFI London Film Festival 2022 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

In 2022, the daughter of Oxford restaurateur Clinton Pugh starred in the thriller Don't Worry Darling opposite One Direction singer Harry Styles, directed by Olivia Wilde.

Now in 2023, she is in arguably the biggest - alongside Barbie - film of the year, Oppenheimer, playing the supporting part of Communist Party USA member Jean Tatlock.

Critics such as Empire's Dan Jolin believed that she "elegantly dominates her few scenes".

Recent connections to Oxford:

Ms Pugh's father, Clinton Pugh, has recently been making headlines after hitting out at local low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes which forced his café to close.

The scheme has seen the introduction of three LTNs in Cowley, located in Temple Cowley, Church Cowley, and Florence Park, and three in the Divinity Road, St Clement’s, and St Mary’s areas of East Oxford.

Aiming to limit traffic across towns and city centres, the plans often see drivers prevented from using quiet residential roads as through-routes.

"It has become more difficult to get here, people just don’t come”, Mr Pugh told Sky News.

“The losses have been so high that I have lost a site”, he added, referring to the closure of Café Tarifa.