Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder

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Full Name: Winona Laura Horowitz

Date of Birth: October 29, 1971

Place of Birth: Winona, Minnesota, USA

Occupation: Actress

Height: 5' 4''

Measurements: 35C-23½-34

Best Known For: Beetlejuice, Heathers, Edward Scissorhands and Girl, Interupted

Winona Ryder Biography

Winona Laura Horowitz was born October 29, 1971, in Winona, Minnesota. The daughter of Michael and Cindy Horowitz, hippy, free-spirited parents to say the least, Winona's surroundings and childhood were far from normal. The Horowitz family relocated to an electricity-free commune in Northern California, where Winona and her siblings (Sunyata, Jubal and Uri) did not have the luxury of television. Young Winona instead watched films at a movie theatre that her mother ran in a barn, and delved into literature. Watching classic films sparked her interest in becoming an actress.

When Winona was eight, her parents decided to move back to city life in Petaluma, California. Thin and tomboyish, Winona was bullied during her first week of school because her fellow students mistook her for an effeminate, scrawny boy. This incident led to Winona being home-schooled and eventually studying at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

While performing on the American Conservatory Theater stage, Winona was spotted by talent scouts who wanted her to audition for a role in Desert Bloom, starring legendary actor Jon Voight. She did not get the part, but her tape made its way to Triad Artists. Thanks to the agency, Winona was cast in the 1986 film Lucas. Though it was not a very successful film, it was a stepping-stone in Winona's career. At her request, she was credited as Winona Ryder, after a Mitch Ryder album her father owned.

Several forgettable films followed, but Winona finally became recognized after her role in the 1988 Tim Burton comedy Beetlejuice. Her role as the ghost-friendly, dark teen marked the beginning of a string of dark roles for Winona. Heathers (1989), in which Winona played an equally dark role in an even darker movie, is often considered by her fans to be her best film.

After her performance in Great Balls of Fire! (1989), Winona teamed up with Tim Burton again in what can be considered one of her most memorable parts as the love interest of the freak in the off-beat Edward Scissorhands (1990). That same year, she starred as Cher's daughter in Mermaids.

Winona signed with Creative Artists Agency and got her hands on the script for the Francis Ford Coppola vehicle Dracula (1992). She approached the legendary director and was cast in the film as the love interest of the bloodsucking count.

Donning corsets once again, Winona next starred in The Age of Innocence (1993), co-starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Her work garnered her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Next, Winona juggled the modern times as a Gen-Xer in Reality Bites (1994) with period films, such as the adaptations of The House of the Spirits (1993) and Little Women (1994), which garnered her a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

After roles in the female-bonding flick How to Make an American Quilt (1995), Boys (1996), the adaptation of The Crucible (1996), a visit in space with Alien: Resurrection (1997), and Woody Allen's star-studded Celebrity (1998), Winona starred and acted as executive producer in 1999's film adaptation of Girl, Interrupted, co-starring Angelina Jolie.

Although Winona has been in the Hollywood scene since the mid-'80s, she only made her first talk show appearance in December 1999 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, to promote Girl, Interrupted. Subsequently, she was seen in the tearjerker romance Autumn in New York (2000), co-starring the much older Richard Gere, and appeared soon after in the thriller Lost Souls (2000).

In December 2001, while taking a break from acting, Winona was shopping at a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue when she was caught with shoplifted merchandise and illegal pharmaceutical drugs. At the ensuing much-publicized trial, Winona was convicted of grand theft and vandalism, but the jury acquitted her on the third felony charge (burglary). In December 2002, she was sentenced to three years' probation, 480 hours of community service, $3,700 in fines, and $6,355 in restitution to Saks -- and the judge ordered the actress to attend psychological and drug counseling. The charges were eventually reviewed, and the felonies reduced to misdemeanors, on June 18, 2004.

After a two-year hiatus, she returned to the big screen in the Adam Sandler comedy Mr. Deeds (2002) and the fantasy S1m0ne (2002). Then, she produced and narrated the child sex slave trade documentary The Day My God Died (2003) before returning to fiction in a small part in Asia Argento's The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004).

In 2006, after an extensive hiatus, Ryder appeared in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, a futuristic movie based on Philip K. Dick's critically acclaimed 1977 novel. Ryder portrayed Donna Hawthorne alongside Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr, and Woody Harrelson. Live action scenes were transformed with rotoscope software and the film was entirely animated. Ryder also appeared in the 2006 comedy The Darwin Awards, starring alongside Joseph Fiennes.

Ryder next appeared in David Wain's comedy The Ten, alongside Jessica Alba, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Famke Janssen, Oliver Platt, and Adam Brody. The film centers around ten stories, each of them inspired by one of the Ten Commandments. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007 and had a theatrical release in August 2007. Ryder will play the female lead opposite Wes Bentley and Ray Romano in Geoffrey Haley's offbeat romantic drama The Last Word. She has also signed up to appear as a newscaster in the upcoming movie version of The Informers, will join Robin Wright and Julianne Moore in Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, which is scheduled to start filming in April 2008 in Connecticut, and will appear in Paramount Pictures' and director JJ Abrams's Star Trek (2008), as Spock's mother Amanda Grayson, a role originally played by Jane Wyatt.

Her long engagements with Johnny Depp (four years), Soul Asylum's David Pirner (three years), and Matt Damon (three years) are quite famous. According to various sources, most of them tabloids and gossip columns, Winona Ryder has also dated actors Daniel Day-Lewis, David Duchovny, Val Kilmer, Chris Noth, Jimmy Fallon, and Christian Slater, as well as musicians Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Ryan Adams, Evan Dando (the Lemonheads), Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Franz Hemingbeck, Dave Grohl (Nirvana, The Foo Fighters), Page Hamilton, Beck Hansen, Jay Kay, Rhett Miller, and Pete Yorn.
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