Winona Ryder

     
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Real Name: Winona Laura Horowitz
Birthday: October 29th 

Biography And Filmography:

Winona Ryder first gained attention with roles of troubled young teens in movies like “Heathers” (1989) and “Edward Scissorhands” (1990) but went on to become a star in movies like Bram Stoker’s "Dracula” (1992), “The Age of Innocence” (1994) and “The Crucible” (1996), as well as the perfect anxiety-ridden girl in "Reality Bites.” 

Winona Ryder was born in Minnesota on October 29, 1971. The daughter of writers Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer Horowitz, she grew up around some of the brightest writers around, with Timothy Leary for a godfather. The family moved to San Francisco after she was born, and settled on a commune in the Mendocino County when she was only ten. Nudity, free love, drugs, sex and drag queens were an everyday part of her life, and when the family moved to a more predictable area in the San Francisco, she struggled to fit in.


An audition tape was given to director David Seltzer, who hired and cast Winona as the best friend of the lead character in "Lucas” (1986) starring Corey Haim, about a socially hopeless fourteen year old who experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends fall for each other.

Winona followed with a role as a young teenager torn between her grandfather and her mother in "Square Dance" (1987) with Rob Lowe. Next was a role in Tim Burton’s "Beetlejuice" (1988). Ryder played the depressed, gothic young teen daughter totally alienated from her busy parents; stealing scenes from stars Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis with her deadpan personality. Ryder next took a leading role in the comedy "Heathers” (1989) with Christian Slater, as a girl who tries to be part of the "in crowd" of her school, and meets a rebel who teaches her a more devious way to play social politics

Ryder next appeared in "Great Balls of Fire!" (1989), portraying the 14-year-old bride of legendary piano player Jerry Lee Lewis (Dennis Quaid). Winona then teamed again with Burton and Johnny Depp in for "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), the story about a young man who has scissors for hands and falls in love with a beautiful girl. The actress next appeared as Cher's oldest daughter in "Mermaids" (1990), with her character looking for an escape from the lifestyle of her mother. 

The working environment of “Edward Scissorhands” put Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder in the headlines of every magazine when the two fell in love. The couple were engaged to be married in 1990, with Depp getting the tattoo “Winona Forever” scribed on his arm. 

Ryder then played a tomboy cab driver in “Night on Earth” (1991), before winning one of her biggest roles in Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (1992) with Keanu Reeves and Gary Oldman. Her talents were picture perfect for the movie, and she gave the film's emotional grounding without being crowded out by the special effects.

Martin Scorsese then hired and cast Winona Ryder in "The Age of Innocence" (1993), portraying the bashful May Welland, whose future husband has fallen in love with her cousin played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She then worked on "Little Women" (1994), appearing with an all-star cast that included  Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale. As leader of the pack of the spirited "Little Women," she gave a great performance in one of the best movie versions of the book, winning her an Oscar nomination. She than co-starred with Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Antonio Banderas in the romantic drama "The House of the Spirits" (1993). 

Ben Stiller's "Reality Bites" (1994) had her playing a determined college graduate trying to find a balance between corporate America and becoming a habitual loafer, choices offered by Ben Stiller and Ethan Hawke. In her personal life, the end of one relationship and her new romantic interest with "Soul Asylum" guitar player Dave Pirner, once again was in all the magazines and rags. But Ryder didn't blink and eye and continued to crank out the movies, playing a graduate student who learns about life and love in "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995), and then tried Shakespeare by playing Lady Anne in Al Pacino's "Looking for Richard" (1996). She then worked in "The Crucible" (1996), where a 17th-century Salem woman accuses an ex-lover's wife of witchery. 

Winona was then hired and cast in the starring role in the mystery "Boys" (1996) as Patty Vare, who falls off a horse and is found unconscious with amnesia by a man who takes her to his dorm and quickly discovers she is hiding from something. She next worked with Sigourney Weaver trying to kill the monsters in "Alien Resurrection" (1997), and followed with a role in Woody Allen's "Celebrity" (1998), where the fortunes of a husband and wife differ drastically after they divorce. 

Ryder took another leading role with "Girl, Interrupted" (1999), based on Susanna Kaysen's book of her experiences at a mental hospital in the 1960's. The film was packed with big celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Jared Leto. In a twist of Hollywood fate, Angelina Jolie would go on to win an Oscar for her role, while Winona was not even nominated. The following year saw her star in the exorcism thriller "Lost Souls", and "Autumn in New York" where she played a dying woman romanced by a playboy (Richard Gere). 

Her personal life suffered a setback in 2001when she was arrested for shoplifting at the Beverly Hills department store Saks Fifth Avenue after being seen on videotape stealing nearly $5,000 worth of  merchandise, cutting off security sensor tags and hiding the items in a bag. The media portrayed the actress as washed up actress, and a drug addict loser. Her court trial started October of 2002, and in November was convicted of two of the three charges against her. Her felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors, and she was ordered to pay fines and perform community service. 

Winona Ryder came roaring back with Adam Sandler in the comedy "Mr. Deeds" (2002), which was her biggest hit to date.  In 2003, she voiced a documentary about child slavery called “The Day My God Died” (2003), and then starred in Richard Linklater’s “A Scanner Darkly” (2006) alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Keanu Reeves, where an undercover cop in the future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity. She then had a role in “The Ten” (2007) alongside Adam Brody, about ten different stories, each inspired by one of the ten commandments. She then worked with director Daniel Waters in “Sex and Death 101” (2007), playing a killer who struggles with a commitment fearing future husband. 

In 2008, Ryder played a widow of the man who wrote her husband’s suicide note in “The Last Word,” a drama co-starring Ray Romano and Wes Bentley. Winona then took a starring role in the thriller "The Informers" (2008) working with Billy Bob Thornton and Brad Renfro, a drama based on Bret Easton Ellis' book set in 1983 Los Angeles, where movie executives, rock stars, a vampire, and other character interact. Sadly, this would be the last movie for young Brad Renfro, as he died from a drug overdose after the movie wrapped. The actress wrapped her year with the comedy "Water Pills" (2008).


The following year was a busy one, as Hollywood, the press, as well as her fans, seemed to move on from her shoplifting felonies and welcomed her back. Ryder started her year with the science fiction adventure "Star Trek" (2009), a chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members. Next was the dramatic "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" (2009), starring Keanu Reeves, where after her much older husband forces a move to a suburban retirement community Pippa Lee engages in a period of reflection and finds herself heading toward a nervous breakdown. Winona then paired with funny man Chevy Chase in the comedy "Stay Cool" (2009), and wrapped her year in "Alpha Numeric" (2009), the story about a beautiful, young investigative reporter for the New York Times who cracks a worldwide human trafficking ring based in Moscow.

But if there was ever any doubt that Winona Ryder wasn’t a certified Hollywood celebrity – those doubts were put to rest in 2011 with the mystery thriller “Black Swan”. This award winning movie starred Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis who along with Ryder tells the story of a ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like the Black Swan. It the role of the century for Ryder and cemented her spot in Hollywood.

Ryder’s next flick was a complete 360 from “Black Swan” as she ventured back into comedy with “The Dilemma” (2011) starring Vince Vaughn and funny man Kevin James about a man who discovers that his best friend's wife is having an affair.  Ryder then teamed up with James Franco for the thriller “The Stare” (2012) about a writer who begins to mentally unravel and can’t decide if she is at the center of a manipulative plot or simply losing her grip on reality.

Winona then lent her voice to the character of Elsa van Helsing in the animated horror comedy “Frankenweenie” (2012) where a young boy conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life only to face unplanned and sometimes outrageous consequences.  Ryder wrapped her year once again switching back to the crime thriller genre with “The Iceman” - the true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man.

 

 

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