Date of Birth: April 30, 1982
Place of Birth: Point Pleasant, New Jersey, USA
Height: 5' 7"
Best Known For: Interview with the Vampire and playing Mary Jane in the Spider-Man trilogy
|Kirsten Dunst Biography
Kirsten Caroline Dunst was born on April 30, 1982 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, USA to Klaus Dunst, a German medical-services exec. who's now stationed in New Jersey while the rest of his family lives on the West Coast. Klaus separated from Kirsten's mother Inez Dunst, a former art-gallery owner. She also has a brother named Christian, who was born in 1986. Kirsten started out in showbiz at the age of three, where she began filming television commercials (a grand total of more than 70). She made her feature film debut in a segment of Woody Allen's 1989 film New York Stories (1989). Shortly after in the same year her family moved to Los Angeles, where her film career took off.
In 1994, she made her breakthrough performance in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) alongside Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination, the MTV Award for Best Breakthrough Performance and the Saturn award for Best Young Actress. In 1995, she was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. Over the next few years she made a string of hit movies including Little Women (1994), Jumanji (1995) and Small Soldiers (1998).
Poised to make the transition to adult roles, she alternated TV appearances with her high profile films. During the 1996-97 season, Dunst had the recurring role of a tough-talking runaway who crosses paths with Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney) in the hit NBC drama ER. After providing the speaking voice of the young version of the title character in Fox's animated Anastasia, she earned notice as a teenager hired to play an Albanian refugee in a mock war in the political satire Wag the Dog (both 1997). Dunst was Fifteen and Pregnant in the based-on-fact Lifetime drama before returning to the big screen in the highly touted Small Soldiers and alongside other rising female stars (e.g., Heather Matarazzo, Monica Keena) in the ensemble of Strike/The Hairy Bird (both 1998).
Dunst began to emerge from the back of Hollywood starlets to become a recognizable actress and box office draw, beginning with her adroit comedic turns in the beauty pageant comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) and the off-the-wall teen girls-meet- Richard Nixon riot Dick (1999) in which she and Michelle Williams were perfectly cast as clueless teenager of the Watergate era. As she matured, Dunst also became something of a sex symbol for the younger set with roles in teen romantic comedies. She played the plucky captain of an ambitious cheerleading squad in the surprisingly infectious Bring It On (2000), in which she displayed her ability to carry a film on her perky, girl-next-door charm, and she also scored in the less brilliant teen romance Get Over It (2001). Dunst proved she also had formidable dramatic chops when she appeared as Lux, the eldest and most rebellious of the doomed Lisbon sisters, in Sofia Coppola's acclaimed directorial debut The Virgin Suicides (1999) and was particularly riveting in 2001's crazy/beautiful as the emotionally troubled daughter of a wealthy congressman who threatens to derail the rise of her less-privileged Latin boyfriend (Jay Hernandez).
It would be Dunst's sunny, sexy and endearing portrayal of Mary Jane Watson, the love interest of nerdy Peter Parker, in the big screen adaptation of the comic book superhero Spider-Man (2002) that would thrust her into full-fledged superstardom. Dunst's utter likeability and strong chemistry with leading man Tobey Maguire turned Spider-Man into an action blockbuster with a romantic soul, and the see-sawing nature of the characters' relationship made it the first super-hero date movie. The same year, Dunst had a wonderful turn in director Peter Bogdonavitch's early Hollywood scandal film The Cat's Meow in which, despite being far too young to play early screen star Marion Davies, she turned in a convincing performance centered around the character's surprisingly believable romance with media tycoon William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann). She next appeared with an all-star cast in writer-director Ed Solomon's Levity (2003), playing a self-destructive young woman who becomes dependent on an ex-con (Billy Bob Thornton).
Dunst joined fellow up-and-comers Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal as students of progressive and liberal-minded teacher Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile (2003). Dunst showed her harsher edges as the vicious, over privileged senior Betty Warren who, committed to a life of houswifery to a louse, shows the most opposition to Roberts' ideals, using the student newspaper to attack her stance that Wellesley women of the 1950s should aspire to more from life than a role as a perfect housewife to a CEO. Next for Dunst was a pivotal and well-acted supporting turn in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) as Mary, the young receptionist in the memory-erasing facility where heartbroken Jim Carrey goes to have his ex-girlfriend eliminated from his thoughts. Then it was on to reprise her role as Mary Jane Watson, now a successful, engaged actress but still pining for Peter Parker in the highly anticipated sequel Spider-Man 2 (2004), followed by the U.S. release of France's first 3-D CGI animated film Kaena: The Prophecy (2004), in which she provided the voice of the rebellious teen heroine in the sci-fi fantasy.
Hot off the success of the Spider-Man films, Dunst landed her first full-fledged adult leading role in the lukewarm romantic comedy Wimbledon (2004), winningly playing up-and-coming tennis sensation Lizzie Bradbury, an easily distracted "bad girl of tennis" whose romance with a faded ex-star of the game (Paul Bettany) re-ignites his passion and send him to tennis' most prestigious tournament.
Taking on one of most mature leading roles to date, Dunst was winsome and appealing in her turn as the relentlessly upbeat flight attendant Claire Colburn, who helps a failed golden boy (Orlando Bloom) mourning his father reawaken to the joys of life and romance in writer-director Cameron Crowe's engaging, if uneven, film Elizabethtown (2005).Dunst played the title role in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, which was poorly received at its premier at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, but picked up some positive reviews from American viewers. In 2007, Dunst again played Mary Jane in the third installment of the Spider-Man films, Spider-Man 3. In 2008, Dunst will be seen in the comedy, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, and in 2009, she will be seen portraying Marla Ruzicka, a relief worker who advocated for Iraqi and Afghani victims of the American-led invasions, in Sweet Relief.
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