Claire Danes
Claire Danes

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Birth Name: Claire Catherine Danes

Date of Birth: April 12, 1979

Place of Birth: New York, New York, USA

Occupation: Actress

Height: 5' 5½"

Best Known For: My So-Called Life, Romeo and Juliet

Claire Danes Biography

Claire Catherine Danes was born in New York City on April 12th, 1979, into what she would later describe as a "very creative household." Her father, Chris, a computer consultant and architectural photographer, and her mother, Carla, a day care provider, painter, and textile designer (who now works as Claire's manager), first met at the Rhode Island School of Design. Both Claire's parents encouraged her participation in the arts at an early age. Claire also has a brother, Asa, six years her elder, who is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio and works for a non-profit organization.

Danes attended the exclusive private high school Le Lycee Francais De Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, and later attended Yale University for two years as a Psychology major starting in 1998. She dropped out of Yale to focus on her film career.

At age six, Claire began classes in modern dance, and at nine, she enrolled in the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Claire's acting career began in "off-off-Broadway" productions such as Happiness, Punk Ballet and Kids on Stage, for which she choreographed her own dance number. In 1992, she landed a guest spot on the hit NBC series Law & Order, playing a teen model who murders her photographer-lover.

Soon after the Law & Order appearance, Danes was offered a part in Steven Spielberg's 1993 masterpiece, Schindler's List. However, Claire turned the role down because the production, set to shoot on location in Poland, could not arrange a tutor for her. Spurning such an opportunity might have been disastrous for a lesser talent, but Claire's next project ended up catapulting her to fame. She was cast in perhaps her most famous roll as Angela Chase in the 1994 television drama series My So-Called Life. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series and received an Emmy nomination for the part.

The praise and attention that came from My So-Called Life jump-started Claire's film career. In 1994, she appeared alongside Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder in Little Women. The next year came How to Make an American Quilt -- also with Ryder -- and Home for the Holidays, directed by Jodie Foster, who became Claire's mentor.

After a few more small roles, Danes landed the part of Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann's hyper-kinetic Romeo and Juliet (1996). She lent her voice to the title role in the animated Princess Mononoke (1997), and starred in 1997's U Turn and The Rainmaker, 1998's Les Misérables and 1999's Brokedown Palace and The Mod Squad.

In 1999, while filming for Brokedown Palace, Claire was banned from the Philippines after she publicly criticized the capital, Manila, as "ghastly" and "smells like cockroaches." She later apologized for her comments for which she blamed as being "taken out of context." However, she remains banned from the country to this day.

After an appearance in Igby Goes Down (2002), Claire played Julia Vaughan in the multiple award-winner, The Hours (2002), followed by It's All About Love (2003). She next appeared alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the highly anticipated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. A last minute choice for the role of Kate Brewster, Claire found it "overwhelming and disorienting" at first, but warmed to the idea of starring in a movie that was a departure from her previous work.

In 2004, Claire showed her talents in Stage Beauty, and she earned critical acclaim in 2005 when she starred in Steve Martin's Shopgirl alongside Martin and Jason Schwartzman. In The Family Stone she starred opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton. In 2007, Danes will appear in the fantasy epic Stardust opposite Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, and Sienna Miller, and in The Flock, opposite Richard Gere.

Claire dated Australian singer Ben Lee for nearly six years, but their relationship ended in 2003. She then dated her Stage Beauty and Princess Mononoke co-star Billy Crudup, beginning in 2004. The pairing brought bad publicity to both, because Crudup left his girlfriend of 7 years, Mary-Louise Parker, for Danes, while Parker was 7 months pregnant. The relationship lasted until late 2006. In June 2007, Danes announced that she was dating Hugh Dancy, who co-starred with her in Evening.
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