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Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder

Birth Name: Winona Laura Horowitz

Birth Date: October 29, 1971

Birth Place: Winona, Minnesota, USA

Height: 5' 4''

Measurements: 35C-23½-34

Quote: "For a long time I was almost ashamed of being an actress. I felt like it was a shallow occupation. People would be watching my every move."

 

Winona Ryder Biography

Winona Ryder has built up a reputation for being the actress to call on for difficult roles. Her ability to see beyond the surface and to create characters that others couldn't was built through a life spent outside of the mainstream. Winona Laura Horowitz was born on October 29th, 1971 in Winona, Minnesota. She was named after the town she was born in by her hippy parents Cindy and Michael.

Her parents were more involved with political activism at the height of the hippy movement than they were with drugs. This is not to say that they were completely divorced from the hallucinogenic side of the life. Her godfather was Dr. Timothy Leary, the L.S.D. guru who was influential in the drug counter-culture. Her father worked intimately with Leary, and for a time he ran a bookstore called "Flashback Books." They were more interested in protesting Agent Orange than in preaching the benefits of mind alteration, however. Winona grew up in this atmosphere, sometimes living on electricity-free compounds. When she was eight, her parents moved back to the city. During her first week at the new school, the tom-boyish waif was jumped by a group of boys who mistook her for a gay boy rather than a girl. This pummeling resulted in something good. After some time spent learning at home, she was enrolled in the prestigious American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. It was while performing onstage at the Conservatory that she was discovered. Winona auditioned for the role of John Voight's daughter in Desert Bloom. She didn't get the part, but she got representation in the form of Triad Artists after they saw her tape.

Triad soon lined her up for her first role in Lucas. Lucas wasn't great but Winona's solid performance provided her a springboard into further films. It was also at this point that Winona Horowitz became Winona Ryder for the first time. When asked how she would like her name to appear in the credits, she chose the name Ryder from Mitch Ryder, who was one of her father's favorite musicians.

She followed Lucas with a string of decent but unmemorable movies. Then came her big break. She appeared in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. Her role as the black-clothed, angst-ridden teenager captured the attention of late-eighties audiences. A year later, she played a similar character in the dark high school comedy, Heathers.

The fact that she could bring these darkly witty characters to life so beautifully guaranteed that when Burton was casting for Edward Scissorhands, she would be the first considered. While her role was less angst-filled than previous outings, she did an admirable role in this one as well. Wearing a blond wig, she played the beauty opposite then-fiance Johnny Depp's beast. This marked her last outing in the role of a teenager.

After a small role in the indy film Night of Earth, her next role would have been her biggest to date, as Michael Corleone's daughter in Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather Part III. Unfortunately, she had to pull out at the last minute due to a respiratory infection brought on by exhaustion. Instead, the role was played by the totally-inadequate-for-the-task, Sophia Coppola.

However, Winona Ryder and Francis Ford Coppola would work together yet. When Ryder found the screenplay for an adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, she approached Coppola and he signed on. The sexually and sensually charged adaptation provided Ryder with her first truly grown-up role. She followed Dracula with Age of Innocence, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Having made two costume dramas, she signed on for a third. Little Women had been one of Ryder's favorite novels and her performance as Jo March resulted in another Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress.

Winona Ryder Filmography

Alpha Numeric (2007) .... Tea Baker
Sex and Death 101 (2007) .... Gillian
The Ten (2007) .... Kelly
A Scanner Darkly (2006) .... Donna Hawthorne
The Darwin Awards (2006) .... Siri
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004) (uncredited) .... Psychologist
... aka Livre de Jérémie, Le (France)
The Day My God Died (2003) (voice) .... Narrator
S1m0ne (2002) .... Nicola Anders
Mr. Deeds (2002) .... Babe Bennett
"Saturday Night Live" .... Host (1 episode, 2002)
... aka SNL (USA: informal title)
... aka SNL 25 (USA: alternative title)
- Episode 27.20 (2002) TV Episode .... Host
"Friends" .... Melissa Warburton (1 episode, 2001)
- The One with Rachel's Big Kiss (2001) TV Episode .... Melissa Warburton
"Strangers with Candy" .... Fran (1 episode, 2000)
- The Last Temptation of Blank (2000) TV Episode .... Fran
Lost Souls (2000) .... Maya Larkin
Autumn in New York (2000) .... Charlotte Fielding
Girl, Interrupted (1999) .... Susanna Kaysen
... aka Durchgeknallt (Germany)
... aka Durchgeknallt - Girl, interrupted (Germany: TV title)
Celebrity (1998) .... Nola
Alien: Resurrection (1997) .... Annalee Call
... aka Alien 4
The Crucible (1996) .... Abigail Williams
"Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" .... Winona (1 episode, 1996)
- Monte Carlo (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Winona
Looking for Richard (1996) .... Lady Anne
Boys (1996) .... Patty Vare
How to Make an American Quilt (1995) .... Finn Dodd
Little Women (1994) .... Jo March
"The Simpsons" .... Alison Taylor (1 episode, 1994)
- Lisa's Rival (1994) TV Episode (voice) .... Alison Taylor
Reality Bites (1994) .... Lelaina Pierce
The House of the Spirits (1993) .... Blanca Trueba
... aka Åndernes hus (Denmark)
... aka A Casa dos Espíritos (Portugal)
... aka Geisterhaus, Das (Germany)
The Age of Innocence (1993) .... May Welland
Dracula (1992) .... Mina Murray/Elisabeta
... aka Bram Stoker's Dracula (USA: complete title)
Night on Earth (1991) .... Corky
... aka Une nuit sur terre (France)
Mermaids (1990) .... Charlotte Flax
Edward Scissorhands (1990) .... Kim
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990) .... Dinky Bossetti
Great Balls of Fire! (1989) .... Myra Gale Brown
Heathers (1989) .... Veronica Sawyer
1969 (1988) .... Beth
Beetle Juice (1988) .... Lydia
Square Dance (1987) .... Gemma Dillard
... aka Home Is Where the Heart Is (USA: TV title)
Lucas (1986) .... Rina

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