Holly Hunter

     
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Real Name: Holly Hunter
Birthday: 03/20/1958

 

Biography And Filmography:

Holly Hunter was an Academy Award-winning actress and producer who shot to success in the late 1980's with a series of roles in impressive films and movies. Hunter is best known as the voiceless pianist who has a sexy and torrid affair with Harvey Keitel’s rough New Zealander in “The Piano” - for which she won the Oscar in 1993 - but her roles in such films as “Raising Arizona” with Nicolas Cage (1987), “Broadcast News” with Jack Nicholson (1987), “thirteen” with youngsters Evan Rachel Wood and Vanessa Hudgens (2003), and “The Incredibles” with Samuel L. Jackson  (2004) also earned her respect.

Born in Conyers, Georgia on March 20, 1958, Holly Hunter was one of seven children raised on farm by her parents. After she first appeared onstage as Helen Keller in a fifth-grade production of “The Miracle Worker,” her family encouraged her to seek performing as a career. In 1976, Holly attended Carnegie Mellon to chase a degree in drama, and after graduating in 1980, she relocated to New York to put her schooling to the test. A meeting with writer Beth Henley led to her becoming Henley’s go-to-girl in many much-admired productions, including “Crimes of the Heart” and “The Miss Firecracker Contest.”


Holly Hunter was hired and cast for her first on-screen role in an intensely violent slash and kill film produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein called “The Burning.” She spent some time in a series of television movies until her star-making role in the Coen Brothers’ “Raising Arizona” with Nicolas Cage came in 1987. As a kind hearted police officer whose incapacity to have a child forces her and her prisoner husband to kidnap a baby from an affluent salesmen, she showed an unusual talent for physical comedy. 

Holly was then hired and cast in “Broadcast News” (1987), director James L. Brooks’ tribute to the comedies of the 1930's and 1940's. She added sensuality to her role as an overachieving news reporter, and critics responded by nominating her for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award. Hunter portrayed more seasoned women with love problems in her next few projects, which included “Always” (1989), Steven Spielberg’s variation of “A Guy Named Joe” (1943); and 1993’s “Once Around.” She also worked on “Miss Firecracker”, and took a serious part in “Roe vs. Wade,” a 1990 television movie that won her an Emmy nomination for her performance as the woman whose inability to have an abortion due to state law created the landmark legal case.

1993 proved to be a good year for Holly Hunter with her role in “The Piano.” Aside from the challenges of playing a mute, she also played all of her own music in the film. Weak and rebellious, her character Ada McGrath won her an Academy Award and numerous other awards, cementing the belief that she was among the best actresses working at the time.

Unfortunately, the movies that followed “The Piano” did not quite measure up to her talents. Television brought her the best character, an overachieving mother whose passion to see her daughter succeed leads to a murder plot in the comedy drama, “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom” (1993), where she won an Emmy. But other than an Oscar nominated role as Gary Busey’s secretary in Sydney Pollack’s “The Firm” with Tom Cruise (1993), her next several projects were dull. 

"Copycat” with Sigourney Weaver (1995) and “Home for the Holidays” with Claire Danes (1996) were average thrillers and comedies, and “A Life Less Ordinary” with Cameron Diaz (1997) and “Living Out Loud” (1998) were packed with star talent but still failed at the box office.

The single good project was David Cronenberg’s divisive “Crash” (1996), where Holly played an urban dweller that develops a fanatical sexual relationship built around the violence of car accidents. During this period, she also married cinematographer Janusz Kaminski but the couple divorced in 2001.

After “Crash,” Hunter tried her hand at more independent work. Her films of the late 1990s included “Jesus’ Son” (1999), about a drug addict’s stream of consciousness adventures; Rodrigo Garcia’s cherished character piece “Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her” (2000), with a star-studded cast including Glenn Close, Cameron Diaz and Calista Flockhart, eventually aired on the Showtime network and earned Holly Hunter an Emmy nomination; and Mike Figgis’ “Timecode” (2000), which had multiple storylines happening at the same time on screen. She also returned to the Coen Brothers’ style for a small but crucial role as George Clooney’s darling in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000), which mushroomed into a runaway cult smash hit.

Hunter then returned to television with a starring roles in “Harlan County War” (2000), about the United Coal Miners’ union strike in the early 1970s, and “When Billie Beat Bobby” (2001), both gained her Emmy nominations. 


Holly also worked behind the scenes with this project and served as co-executive producer, and also in 2003 for Catherine Hardwicke’s drama “thirteen.” As a former alcoholic and mother trying to understand her uncontrollable daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), she received another Academy Award nomination.

The following year, Holly Hunter found new fans as the voice of Helen Parr in Brad Bird’s wildly successful animated film, “The Incredibles” (2004), about a family of superheroes who must wave off the smugness of suburban life to once again save the world. Her next project was “Nine Lives” (2005) and then a comedy with Robin Williams called “The Big White” (2005).  In 2007, she made her first attempt at a network television series with “Saving Grace” (2007 ), where she played a suspicious police detective who meets an angel with the power to redeem her past and present.

In 2009, Hunter starred in "Frost Flowers" (2009), about a man with the ability to contact supernatural beings who falls in love with a beautiful spirit, but faces a tragic dilemma when the couple have a child.

 

 

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