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Winona Ryder

With two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe award, Winona Ryder (Donna Hawthorne) is one of Hollywood's greatest beauties and most respected actors. As Jo in Gillian Armstrong's highly acclaimed version of the Louisa May Alcott classic, Little Women, Ryder received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The previous year she was Oscar nominated, and won the Golden Globe and National Board of Review Awards for Best Supporting Actress, for her performance in Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence. Ryder also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Richard Benjamin's Mermaids.

In 1999, Ryder starred in and served as Executive Producer on the critically acclaimed Girl, Interrupted, directed by James Mangold and based on the best-selling memoir of the same title. While Girl, Interrupted marked Ryder's first feature as Executive Producer, she previously produced the documentary The Day My God Died, which depicted the human story behind the modern tragedy of child sex trafficking in India.

Noted for constantly challenging herself with each project, Ryder has made a habit of working with some of the most acclaimed directors in film today. In addition to those previously mentioned, Ryder has taken direction from Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien: Resurrection), Woody Allen (Celebrity), Nicholas Hytner (The Crucible), Bille August (The House of the Spirits), Francis Ford Coppola (Bram Stoker's Dracula), Jim Jarmusch (Night on Earth), Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice), Michael Lehman (Heathers), Ben Stiller (Reality Bites), Al Pacino (Looking For Richard), Joan Chen (Autumn in New York), Janusz Kaminski (Lost Souls) and Jocelyn Moorehouse (How To Make an American Quilt).

Named for her birthplace in Winona, Minnesota, Ryder grew up in Petaluma, California and began her career at age 13 when she was spotted by a talent agent at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater. Her subsequent screen test led to her motion picture debut in David Seltzer's Lucas in 1986.

For television, Ryder has lent her voice to both The Simpsons, and Dr. Katz. She also narrated a Grammy-nominated album, Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl. Most recently, Ryder appeared in the season finale episode of Strangers With Candy and on an episode of Friends.

In 1997, Ryder was honored with Showest's Female Star of the Year, the Motion Picture Club's Female Star of the Year, as well as receiving an honorary degree from San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater. She served as a juror for the 51st Annual Cannes International Film Festival under Martin Scorsese and received the Peter J. Owens Award for brilliance, independence and integrity at the 2000 San Francisco Film Festival. Winona was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ryder starred opposite Adam Sandler in Columbia Pictures' romantic comedy Mr. Deeds, and in a cameo in Simone for New Line Cinema, opposite Al Pacino. Ryder most recently completed principal photography on Finn Taylor's The Darwin Awards in which she stars opposite Joseph Fiennes.

Ryder serves on the Board of Trustees to the American Indian College Fund, which is helping Native Americans preserve and protect their culture through education. She also has been very involved with the KlaasKids Foundation since the organization's inception. The KlaasKids Foundation was established in 1994 to give meaning to the death of twelve-year-old kidnap and murder victim Polly Hannah Klaas and to create a legacy in her name that would be protective of children for generations to come.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Winona Ryder Facts

Birth NameWinona Laura Horowitz
BirthdayOctober 29, 1971 (52)
BirthplaceWinona, Minnesota, USA
Height5' 4" (1m63)  How tall is Winona Ryder compared to you?
Awards1994 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (for The Age of Innocence)

Selected Filmography

Mr. Deeds (2002) as Babe Bennett - Pam Dawson
Autumn in New York (2000) as Charlotte Fielding
Girl, Interrupted (2000) as Susanna Kaysen
Alien: Resurrection (1997) as Annalee Call
The Crucible (1996) as Abigail Williams
How to Make an American Quilt (1995) as Finn Dodd
Reality Bites (1994) user recommendation as Lelaina Pierce
The Age of Innocence (1993) as May Welland
The House of the Spirits (1993) as Blanca
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) as Mina Murray
Edward Scissorhands (1990) as Kim
Mermaids (1990) as Charlotte Flax
Heathers (1989) as Veronica Sawyer (breakthrough)
Beetlejuice (1988) as Lydia
Lucas (1986) as Rina
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