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Winona Ryder

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Also Known As: Winona Laura Horowitz Died:
Born: October 29, 1971 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Winona, Minnesota, USA Profession: actor, producer, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An icon of 1990s film, actress Winona Ryder first earned a loyal following for giving unusual depth and inner life to teen characters in films like "Heathers" (1989) and "Edward Scissorhands" (1990). Her enormous, expressive brown eyes and a radiance that reminded early champion Tim Burton of the "timeless old movie stars" went on to become a favorite element in period dramas like "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992), "The Age of Innocence" (1994) and "The Crucible" (1996), as well as the perfect angst-ridden teen in films like "Reality Bites." On a personal level, the Nineties' "It" girl's love life enthralled fans and the press alike, as each move made with famous boyfriends, including Johnny Depp and Matt Damon, was chronicled religiously. Following Ryder's executive producer debut with "Girl, Interrupted" (1999), her career stammered with several theatrical flops and a high-profile shoplifting incident that painted a portrait of an actress who had not only lost her career footing but her sense of right and wrong. She separated from Hollywood for several years, but the public was forgiving, with Ryder returning with a string of independent films in 2007 and scoring a major coup when cast in the role of...

An icon of 1990s film, actress Winona Ryder first earned a loyal following for giving unusual depth and inner life to teen characters in films like "Heathers" (1989) and "Edward Scissorhands" (1990). Her enormous, expressive brown eyes and a radiance that reminded early champion Tim Burton of the "timeless old movie stars" went on to become a favorite element in period dramas like "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992), "The Age of Innocence" (1994) and "The Crucible" (1996), as well as the perfect angst-ridden teen in films like "Reality Bites." On a personal level, the Nineties' "It" girl's love life enthralled fans and the press alike, as each move made with famous boyfriends, including Johnny Depp and Matt Damon, was chronicled religiously. Following Ryder's executive producer debut with "Girl, Interrupted" (1999), her career stammered with several theatrical flops and a high-profile shoplifting incident that painted a portrait of an actress who had not only lost her career footing but her sense of right and wrong. She separated from Hollywood for several years, but the public was forgiving, with Ryder returning with a string of independent films in 2007 and scoring a major coup when cast in the role of Spock's mother in J.J. Abrams reimagined film franchise, "Star Trek" (2009), followed by a turn as an over-the-hill ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" (2010). While the transition may not have been as smooth as she could have hoped, Ryder had successfully made the difficult segue from film ingénue to seasoned actress, so rarely achieved in an unforgiving industry.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Homefront (2013)
3.
 Frankenweenie (2012)
4.
 Stare, The (2012)
5.
 Iceman, The (2012)
6.
 Dilemma, The (2011)
7.
 Black Swan (2010)
9.
 Catch My Disease (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Attended San Francisco's prestigious American Conservatory Theatre
:
Joined Amnesty International at the age of 12
1985:
At age 13, discovered by talent scout Deborah Lucchesi who observed her performing a monologue from her favorite author J.D. Salinger's "Franny & Zooey" at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre
1986:
Film acting debut, "Lucas"; film shot during her eighth-grade summer vacation
1987:
Co-starred with veterans Jason Robards and Jane Alexander in "Square Dance"
1988:
Won attention for her supporting role as the Edward Gorey-esque Lydia in Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice"
1988:
Took the forgettable "1969" just to get out of her home town of Petaluma
:
Collaborated on a screenplay with "Beetlejuice" co-writer Michael McDowell; script sold but never produced
1989:
Starred in the cult hit "Heathers"; first film with friend Denise Di Novi as producer
1989:
Played Jerry Lee Lewis' 13-year-old bride (and second cousin) Myra in "Great Balls of Fire!"
1990:
Co-starred with then-fiancé Johnny Depp in Burton's "Edward Scissorhands"; produced by Di Novi
1990:
Portrayed the meek, religious daughter of a promiscuous mom (Cher) in the coming-of-age drama "Mermaids"
1990:
Replaced by Coppola's daughter Sofia in the role of Mary Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part III" after she dropped out due to a respiratory illness
1992:
Starred in Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula"; brought Coppola Jim Hart's script, interesting him in the project
1993:
Earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence"
1994:
Made singing debut in Ben Stiller's "Reality Bites"; her involvement as star enabled the project to attract financing
1994:
Made TV acting debut with voice role on "The Simpsons" (Fox)
1994:
Earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jo March in the remake of "Little Women"; produced by Di Novi
1995:
Starred in Jocelyn Moorhouse's "How to Make an American Quilt" opposite Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft
1996:
Starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Crucible," playing his spurned lover who set the witch trials in motion
1997:
Landed first action hero role in "Alien Resurrection"
1998:
Acted in Woody Allen's "Celebrity" as an actress/waitress who gets involved with Kenneth Branagh
1999:
Executive produced and co-starred with Angelina Jolie in "Girl, Interrupted"
2000:
Played a dying woman romanced by a playboy (Richard Gere) in "Autumn in New York"
2000:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (October)
2001:
Arrested and charged with shoplifiting over $5,500 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, CA
2002:
Acted opposite Adam Sandler in "Mr. Deeds," a loose remake of "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936)
2002:
Spoofed arrest with appearance on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) and on the cover of <i>W</i> Magazine
2006:
Starred in Richard Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly," adapted from the novel by Philip K. Dick
2008:
Re-teamed with "Heathers" screenwriter Daniel Waters for the surreal black comedy "Sex and Death 101"
2009:
Cast as a newscaster in "The Informers," an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' short stories
2009:
Portrayed Spock's mother Amanda Grayson in J. J. Abrams's "Star Trek"
2009:
Co-starred with Alan Arkin and Robin Wright Penn in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," written and directed by Rebecca Miller
2010:
Portrayed the co-founder of Al-Anon in CBS biopic "When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story"
2010:
Portrayed an aging prima ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries ("When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story")
2011:
Co-starred with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James in "The Dilemma"
2012:
Reunited with director Tim Burton to voice Elsa Van Helsing in animated film "Frankenweenie"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

American Conservatory Theatre: San Francisco , California -
Petaluma High School: Petaluma , California - 1989

Notes

In December 2001, Ryder was arrested for allegedly shoplifting items of clothing valued at over $4500 as well as possessing pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. Her lawyer denied all the allegations, claiming the actress had receipts for the store items and a prescription for the painkillers found on her. Ryder was freed after posting $20,000 bail. In January, she was charged with four felony counts including theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance. At her February arraignment, the actress entered a plea of not guilty.

Winona Ryder disclosed to Harper's Bazaar (August 2000) that she is a natural blonde and has been dyeing her hair since age 12.

Ms. Ryder did not have to research her role [in "Girl, Interrupted"]. Her brief stay in a psychiatric ward when she was 20 is still a vivid memory. "I was overworked and overtired, too tired to sleep," she recalls. "I was in a really bad state." The insomnia and anxiety attacks she had been suffering on and off for years had become paralyzing. At the tail end of a long, difficult parting with her first serious boyfriend (she had left home to move in with Mr. Depp when she was 17), she "hit bottom," she says, and checked herself into a hospital. She signed herself out a week later, feeling she had not been helped.

But she was never self-destructive, she says. Her parents, who permitted her to work only during summer vacations while she was in high school, told her that they, too, had suffered from depression at her age. "I didn't do drugs; I didn't get loaded," Ms. Ryder says. "But the depression. The worst part of it was not being able to describe it, the overwhelming horror of the anxiety attacks, even to my own family, to the people closest to me." She had all the classic symptoms: "My breathing would get labored; everything would start speeding up, and I'd get very scared. The closest I ever came to describing it was that feeling when you almost get in a car wreck and you swerve, and for a second there are needles in your head and needles in your body. It's that moment, but stretched out."---From The New York Times, November 14, 1999.

"When it comes to business, she is not that delicate creature," says the screenwriter Jay Cocks, who wrote the adaptation of "The Age of Innocence." He recalls a dinner during which a famous director tried in vain to persuade her to take the lead in a remake, something she objects to on principle. "He kept telling her to take the money, but he couldn't convince her," Mr. Cocks says, noting that Ms. Ryder has also turned down countless offers to reprise Audrey Hepburn roles (including, reportedly, the famously unsuccessful 1995 remake of "Sabrina," which starred Julia Ormond.) "She has fantastic confidence in her own judgment, which she should have, because she has very good taste."---From The New York Times, November 14, 1999.

In an interview with "60 Minutes", former secretary of Health Education and Welfare Joseph Califano cited Ryder as a bad influence on young women because she has played characters who smoke cigarettes. Ryder told USA TODAY (April 11, 1997): "As much as people want to call us role models, we're actors first. It's up to individuals to decide whether to smoke. I don't apologize for smoking onscreen. It should be our choice, and I don't think we influence people to smoke."

"I grew up in San Francisco, then in this commune for four years. I grew up around drag queens and gay men and hard-core feminists and all sorts of people, and I never differentiated. Also, there was a lot of free love. Everyone was naked, so it was never really a big deal... [But] I think I wanted things to be more strict. I wanted rules and a curfew, and I wanted to have my dinner with my family every night. I wanted to be like all the kids at school. I wanted to live in a town, in a little house."---Ryder on her upbringing, to Hillary Johnson of Buzz, December-January 1996-1997.

"Nowadays there is a new generation every year... because of TV, because everything changes so fast. My little brother is 19, and he's of a completely different generation than me. I mean, we're totally bonded. But I feel like I don't understand him or his friends. We're really impractical now. Things are dated. We abandon things before we even swallow them. When I go off to do a movie for six months and I'm completely out of it, I've missed a whole generation."---Winona Ryder on being dubbed a "Generation X" icon, as quoted in USA Weekend, October 6-8, 1995.

"I became successful in such a gradual way. I was never in a huge hit that made me an overnight star. So I never got shoved down peoples' throats. I was doing movies, some were successful, some weren't, but the ones that weren't successful weren't a Winona Ryder movie."---Ryder quoted in USA Weekend, October 6, 1995.

"'The Age of Innocence' was the first time I ever felt proud of myself as an actress, and it really made it hard for me because nothing compares," said Winona Ryder.

"I think she's reacting to being part of a labor of love. We had a very good time. Winona has a good sense of humor, and her energy is boundless. It was like having rampant youth on the set. She'd be jumping up and down, but then when you said, 'Action,' she froze in position. All that energy was put behind her eyes, and I found that really fascinating."---Reacting to Ryder's gushing, Martin Scorsese told Rolling Stone, March 10, 1994.

Ryder on finally meeting Myra, the child bride of Jerry Lee Lewis, who she portrayed in "Great Balls of Fire!" during a screening of the film.

"I was so nervous. We were showing her some stuff where he was picking her up from school and says, 'I'm gonna marry you.' I looked over and she was crying and I was so scared because I didn't know what she was crying about. I didn't know if she was crying because I was a bad actress or that it was so real. And then she turned to me and hugged me and said, 'You're a gift from God.' It was probably the most amazing feeling that I've ever had in connection with acting."---Ryder quoted in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, May 28, 1989.

"I see Noni [Winona] as one of the first members of a new generation, 'The Kids of the Summer of Love'... Noni's never gonna end up with a cocaine habit! These kids who've grown up in houses where marijuana was smoked are not going to go berserk the first time a guy in a raincoat offers 'em something in an alley."---Timothy Leary to David Handelman in Rolling Stone, May 18 1989.

"Mr. Deeds" was the first movie that Winona Ryder costarred in, but did not appeared on any of the promotional posters

"During the hearing, Winona briefly took the stand. Until the judge ordered her to give it back."---Craig Kilborn, of CBS Late Late Show TV Guide, June 29, 2002.

On November 6, 2002 Ryder was convicted of grand theft and vandalism. Both are felony counts.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Johnny Depp. Actor. Born on June 9, 1963; engaged to be married as of February 1990; had "Winona Forever" tatooed on his arm (since partially removed); separated in 1993; Ryder later said of their breakup: "I was just really young. I don't know what his excuse is, but that's mine".
companion:
David Pirner. Musician. Lead singer for the Minneapolis-based grunge rock group Soul Asylum; together from 1993 to 1996.
companion:
Matt Damon. Actor. Introduced by Gwyneth Paltrow at a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 1997; separated in April 2000.
companion:
Jimmy Fallon. Actor, comedian. Reportedly dated in spring 2001.
companion:
Peter Yorn. Musician. Reportedly dated in late 2001.
companion:
Beck. Musician. Rumored to be dating, no longer together.
companion:
Page Hamilton. Musician. Dating as of July 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Michael Horowitz. Writer, editor, publisher, bookstore owner. Born c. 1939; owner of "Flashback Books" (store specializing in the writings of the counterculture); book archivist for Timothy Leary; married Ryder's mother in 1982; helped daughter select stage name (reportedly his Mitch Ryder album was playing when "Lucas" director David Seltzer called inquiring about how she wanted to be credited); originally a Brooklyn Jew and graduate of New York University.
mother:
Cindy Palmer Horowitz. Educational video producer, writer, editor. Born c. 1941; previously married with two children; wed Ryder's father in 1982.
godfather:
Timothy Leary. Psychologist, countercultural philosopher, drug guru. Born in 1920; coined phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out" in 1960s; died in 1996.
half-sister:
Sunyata Palmer. From mother's first marriage; born c. 1967; name comes from "The Tibetan Book of the Dead".
half-brother:
Jubal Palmer. From mother's first marriage; born c. 1969; name came to his mother Cindy in a dream.
brother:
Yuri Horowitz. Named after first Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin; born c. 1976.
family:
Conor Oberst. Singer. Rumored to be dating as of April 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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