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The Biography of Kate Winslet
Actress Kate Winslet has achieved in five quick years what many actresses would love to accomplish in an entire acting career. Her films include Heavenly Creatures, A Kid in King Arthur's Court, Sense and Sensibility, Jude, Hamlet, Titanic, Hideous Kinky, Holy Smoke, and Quills. But with her very first film role in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures Kate attracted international recognition and critical acclaim for her high energy acting.
Kate's startling performance in her first screen appearance did not come by accident. Born on October 5, 1975, in Reading, England, the striking English blue-eyed, blonde grew up in a family rich in theatrical talent and background. Kate says that at five years old she knew she wanted to be an actress. "Being cast as the Virgin Mary was my first acting buzz. . . I took it very, very seriously. I remember really, really being Mary. Really, really feeling it." With grandparents who had a 60-seat repertory theater in their back "garden", a father and two sisters who act, and an uncle, Robert Bridges, who played Mr. Bumble in the West End production of Oliver, Kate Winslet might have been considered a natural for an acting future.
Kate's grandmother paid her tuition to attend Redroofs Theater School where she entered at age 11. By the time she was 13, Kate had her first paying acting job when she made a commercial for Sugar Puffs cereal. In it, Kate first exhibited a love for dancing in her acting roles when she danced with the Sugar Monster. That is one trademark of Kate's that continues through several of her acting roles.
Kate also played on stage in Adrian Mole, Peter Pan, A Game of Soldier, and What the Butler Saw. In 1991, Kate secured her first role in a British television show. She played in Shrinks, Casualty, Dark Season, Get Back, and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes. It was while she was acting on Dark Season that she met screenwriter/actor Stephen Tredre. Besides the men of her own family, Kate said, "he was the most important thing in my life after my family." At age 15, she and Stephen began a serious romantic relationship that lasted five years.
From the time Kate made her Sugar Puffs commercial she prided herself on being economically independent from her family. But don't misinterpret Kate's moving out of her parents' home at an early age as a sign of rebellion. Kate Winslet is very close to her parents and siblings, but says for some time she has felt much more mature than her age. Needing money, she secured a job working in a north London deli where she tried her hand at slicing meats and cheese for sandwiches.
One day while working at the deli, Kate received a phone call. The message? Kate had been selected out of a group of 175 aspiring actresses for a co-starring role as Juliet Hulme, one of a pair of obsessive, matricidal schoolgirls in the 1950s in director Peter Jackson's movie, Heavenly Creatures along with Melanie Lynskey. When Kate found out she had the role, "I just couldn't believe it. I was so happy, I cried. . . .I was in the middle of making a sandwich when they phoned and said I'd got the job. I burst into tears and had to leave work because I couldn't control myself. It was absolutely brilliant."
Kate Winslet's fans and admirers have increased steadily throughout her film career, but many of her most devoted fans have been following her since the screening of Heavenly Creatures in 1994. Kate's performance was honored in Movieline magazine in March 1998 as one of the most outstanding performances by an actor under age 30. Words such as "intensity" and "passion" have become commonplace in describing Kate's acting performances. Interestingly, the word "Winsletian" has also come to be a shorthand for the same thing among Kate's friends and admirers.
It took 18 months for Peter Jackson to complete editing of Heavenly Creatures. During that time, Kate again needed money so, having returned to England from New Zealand, she went back to her job in the London deli. That would be the last time Kate Winslet would have to work at a job like that.
A Kid in King Arthur's Court
Sometime later when Kate was in the United States for the promotion of Heavenly Creatures, an agent from the William Morris Agency came to her hotel room late one evening and signed a contract to represent her for future acting roles. Kate didn't have long to wait. Her second film role was in A Kid in King Arthur's Court, a Disney movie takeoff on Mark Twain's classic story by a similar name. Kate played King Arthur's oldest daughter, Princess Sarah. Despite the low-key quality of this movie, Kate produced some great scenes, particularly in her verbal repartee with the conniving Lord Belasco, and the surprising Black Knight vignette. Even though reviews of the movie were not that great, several critics commented on Kate's performance and the waste of her acting potential in the movie. One even compared Kate to the Triple Crown-winning thoroughbred Secretariat giving pony rides.
Sense and Sensibility
In 1995, English actress/screenwriter Emma Thompson and producer Lindsay Doran worked together to make a film version of Jane Austen's novel, Sense and Sensibility. Kate was originally to be considered for a minor role such as Lucy Steele, but Kate recalls, "I wanted to be Marianne, so she was the only character I would even talk to Lindsay about." Thompson and Doran both said that Kate's selection to act as Marianne Dashwood was "cast at first sight." Taiwanese film director Ang Lee apparently realized he faced a real challenge making this movie. For Kate he prescribed tai-chi and a reading list of Jane Austen-era materials to help her acting. Even with that sort of director's close work, Kate brought her own unique vivacity and intensity to her performance.
The end result was noteworthy for Kate Winslet. At the age of 19, she was nominated for her first Oscar, an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. When Kate learned of her selection to be considered she was riding in the car with a girlfriend. Getting a mobile phone call from her William Morris agent, Kate threw herself to the floor in excitement. Although she didn't win the Oscar, both Kate and Emma Thompson won awards for their roles from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Perhaps even more significant for Kate personally was the long-term friendship which she developed with Emma Thompson. While Director Ang Lee encouraged them to relate to each other as sisters in order to enhance their acting, both Kate and Emma grew to become fast friends at a time when they were both going through challenging periods in both their professional and private lives.
Kate's next role after Sense and Sensibility was as Sue Bridehead in Jude, based on Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure. Movie critic Leonard Maltin called her role in the movie "brilliant." The opinion of many was that Kate's performance was clear evidence that her Oscar-nominated turn in Sense and Sensibility the previous year was "just a warm-up."
British actor and director Kenneth Branagh had seen Kate audition for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and he determined that he wanted her for the role of Ophelia in his film based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Kate was initially reluctant to perform in a Shakespearian role but Branagh prevailed on her to do it and won the argument. Kate had done some Shakespeare at the Redroofs school and Branagh recognized her tremendous potential. A source on the set of Hamlet later said, "Kate is one of the hardest working actors you'll ever meet. She spends a long time working herself up to a scene, and she's very prepared. She's sincere, eager to please, openly delighted when she does a scene well. She'll have an extraordinary future."
There is no question that one of the watershed experiences of Kate's acting career has been her role as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic. Both Kate and Emma Thompson were moved to copious tears as they read the Titanic script on a flight back to England. Kate said of the script, "It's terribly moving. I was in floods of tears even when I read the treatment and accepted the role there and then."
Paula Parisi in her book, Titanic and the Making of James Cameron, says that Casting Director Mali Finn pressed Director James Cameron to consider Kate for the role of Rose. Kate's pursuit of the role was vintage Winslet. Encountering resistance in being cast for a role is to Kate like the proverbial red flag to a bull. She was determined to be Rose and she would leave no stone unturned to get it. Kate can't say James Cameron didn't warn her that the making of Titanic would be an arduous project. She warmed to the challenge, and having starred in Titanic, Kate Winslet's life will never be the same.
The relationship between Leo DiCaprio and Kate was not at all what she went into the job expecting. Kate was afraid that she would be smitten by Leo and fall madly in love with him and that he would find her too English, too Shakespearean. That, of course, was not the way it turned out at all. James Cameron was impressed with the way they were so supportive of each other during the seven months of shooting. The fact that there was no romantic attraction between Kate and Leo certainly was not apparent to the viewers of Titanic. In fact, Kate's comments on the romantic lovemaking scene in the back seat of the Renault are especially poignant. "Doing that scene," she says, "it so wasn't us. And yet we were so locked into what all that had to be about. The Rose in me was really sort of loving the Jack in him, actually. And even though I didn't feel that way about Leo, it was quite nice to sort of feel that way in the scene. It was quite lovely. And then, y'know, the cameras stopped rolling, and he gets up and walks off, and the scene's done. And I remember lying there thinking, "What a shame that's over." Because it was quite nice. It was."
James Cameron said Rose was a role Kate Winslet was born to play. "I worked with her face, her image, her voice, 17 hours a day, and I don't want to diminish her potential by calling it a performance of a lifetime, but it's one of the most amazing performances I've ever been a party to." Cameron also said that Kate is a director's delight because in "each take she gives more than the previous one. It's addictive," he said.
Following the "wrap" on Titanic, Kate Winslet was tired, exhausted, and bruised. One post-Titanic interviewer commented on the black and blue marks he saw on Kate. When the filming was over, Kate gladly returned to England to rest and recover her strength and health with her family and in familiar surroundings although she would have to make several trips back to Hollywood for voiceover work before Titanic was ready for public release. "I chipped a small bone in my elbow and at one point I had deep bruises all over my arms. I looked like a battered wife," Kate later said. Two weeks after Titanic wrapped she still felt deeply exhausted.
Hideous Kinky and Plunge
Her next project was Hideous Kinky, based on a novel by Esther Freud. Interestingly, Kate's agent was not very interested in her working in the film project. But Kate, as usual, prevailed, and landed the role of a young hippie mother who travels in north Africa with her two young daughters. Hideous Kinky premiered during the London Film Festival in mid-November 1998. It was released in England and the United States as well in 1999.
Some months after the fact it also became known that Kate had played a cameo role in a low-budget movie, Plunge, being made by one of her friends. Kate played the character of a female streetsweeper named Clare.
Kate's many fans were ecstatic in early March 1998 when they learned that she had been successful in being cast for a role in Holy Smoke under the direction of Oscar-winning director Jane Campion. This performance was much anticipated and considered by many potentially the "role of Kate Winslet's career."
The man who was Kate's first serious romantic relationship, Stephen Tredre, lost his multi-year battle with cancer in early December 1997. (Kate's romantic relationship with Stephen Tredre broke up about the time he was diagnosed with cancer.) Leo, James Cameron, and Kate were all supposed to be in Los Angeles for the Hollywood premiere of Titanic but Kate was unable to be there. Kate said that not attending the Titanic premiere was a difficult decision to make, but she felt she had to be at the final farewell for this dear friend who had meant so much to her young life. Kate sang a song at Stephen's funeral although it is not known which one she chose.
Kate was also absent when the British premiere for Titanic took place. Like many on the set of Hideous Kinky, Kate had contracted amoebic dysentery while in Morocco and had to be hospitalized in London. Her men from Titanic didn't forget her, however, and came to her hospital bedside with a bunch of roses for their "Rose."
On the morning of February 10th, when the pre-dawn announcement of the Academy Award nominees for 1997 was announced, Kate Winslet made history when she was one of the five women selected for consideration to receive the Best Actress Award (Kate became the youngest person ever to be nominated for two Oscars). One of the things about Kate Winslet's personality that endears her to her fans is her unassuming attitude about her own achievements and importance as an actress. In response to her second Oscar nomination, Kate said, "Getting nominated for an Oscar is a great honor, but as always I don't think I'll win. I do hope James Cameron gets it for Best Director, he deserves it!"
In the suspense-filled weeks before Oscar night on March 23rd, Kate appeared on all the major talk shows in the United States (as well as several in Britain) and was featured in cover stories in Movieline and Rolling Stone magazines.
What was Kate Winslet's personal reaction to this epic blockbuster she'd played such a leading role in? Like many of her Titanic fans, Kate was astonished by the special effects James Cameron's direction had created and said she cried buckets when she saw the movie herself for the first time. Kate has actually seen Titanic at least twice in a regular audience and says she still cannot believe she was part of such an amazing film. Kate's thousands of fans cannot imagine anyone else playing the role.
Just before the 1998 Oscar night, everyone wondered if Leo DiCaprio or someone else might escort Kate to the Oscars since it wasn't known at the time that she had any ongoing romances. "No" was Leo's answer. "I'm sure Kate won't have any problem finding a date," he said. Then the world found out that Kate indeed had a new love interest in her life, 24-year old British assistant film director Jim Threapleton, the first serious one since the end of her relationship with Stephen Tredre. Kate had met him on the set of Hideous Kinky in late 1997.
Jim joined Kate's parents in accompanying her to the Academy Awards presentations in Hollywood. Kate commented that more than anything she looked forward to taking her parents to the ceremony and watching them act like kids as she had in 1995. Rumors have abounded about Kate and Jim's relationship since the public revelation that they were in love. Kate: "He's cool and I love him. That's it."
Even though Kate did not win the Best Actress Oscar, her hope that James Cameron would win Best Director was realized. She also enjoyed the thrill of Titanic taking 11 Oscars, tying Ben Hur for the most ever, including Best Picture for 1997.
Kate co-starred in Holy Smoke with Harvey Keitel and Pam Grier. The filming took place on location in Australia and India during the summer and was finished in the fall of 1998. Holy Smoke screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999, and a novelization of the screenplay by the same name was published in June of that year.
Shortly after her return from making Holy Smoke, Kate and her boyfriend, Jim Threapleton, publicly announced that they had been secretly engaged to marry since the summer. Kate proudly displayed a simple white gold engagement ring with inlaid diamonds. Jim Threapleton confirmed at the announcement that they would probably marry in the summer of 1999.
On Sunday, November 22nd, however, Kate Winslet and Jim Threapleton married at the Anglican All Saintsâ€™ Church in her hometown of Reading. The vicar who had christened Kate many years earlier officiated at the ceremony and said that the entire event was a huge success. The actual plans for Kate and Jimâ€™s wedding had been a very well kept secret to avoid the massive papparazzi and media attention that was expected because of Kateâ€™s tremendous popularity. About 150 guests were present, including her Sense and Sensibility co-stars Emma Thompson and Greg Wise. Leo DiCaprio was not there. The wedding ceremony was followed by a reception featuring banger and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) at Kateâ€™s favorite pub in Reading, the Crooked Billet.
Kate and Jim followed the exchange of their nuptial vows with a honeymoon in a secluded spot in Scotland. Speaking to the media at their honeymoon location, Kate said that their immediate priority was life, not work. Both of them confirmed that they have a lot of plans under consideration but for the present they intended to enjoy the holidays and their new marital status. â€œIâ€™m looking at scripts but we have made no solid decisions yet,â€ Kate said. â€œOur priorities lie with each other at the moment; life is more important than work.â€ As for plans for children, Kate said, â€œThe rumours have been rife but we have years ahead of us. So we wonâ€™t be hearing the patter of tiny feet for a while yetâ€.
In late summer of 1999, Kate filmed Quills in England with Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine and Joaquin Phoenix. The film is based on the life of the Marquis de Sade and Kate plays the role of Madeleine Leclerc, de Sade's maid. It is expected to be released November 2000.
Kate's fans and many Hollywood watchers hoped that Kate's work in Holy Smoke would win her another nomination for Best Actress Oscar in 2000. Many felt she had at least a "wild card" possibility of Oscar recognition, but it didn't happen this time.
Kate and her husband Jim had their own special announcement to make in late February. The couple publicly acknowledged that Kate was expecting their first baby and the child will be born in September. Before Kate takes some time off for her pregnancy, she agreed to act in Enigma, a film based on the novel by Robert Harris about the breaking of the German message codes during World War II. An earlier planned project, Therese Raquin, based on the novel by Emile Zola, has been postponed for filming until 2001.
Kate Winslet's fans around the world are excitedly awaiting release of her latest completed film, Quills, and Enigma some months after that.
the Cho must go on
Comedienne Margaret Cho made it through the Hollywood image machine and ended up more successful than ever. Boy, does she have a story to tell. by Susan Segrest
Standing alone in front of the sold-out crowd at the ornate Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., comedienne and actress Margaret Cho exudes raucous star power. Wearing a clingy hot-pink top, a bubble-gum-colored skirt, and knee-high platform boots, she presents a funky contrast to the 75-year-old gilded theater. But somehow, the grandeur of the venue matches Choâ€™s larger-than-life personality-even if the chandeliers and marble donâ€™t. Itâ€™s a weirdly fitting place to launch the national tour of her show, Iâ€™m The One That I Want.
Tonight sheâ€™s the one that the audience wants as well. Eighteen hundred people are here to catch Choâ€™s rants and raves about her love life, her Korean-American family, and her professional traumas-particularly those related to starring in her own sitcom, All-American Girl, when she was just 24. Sheâ€™s an amazing combination of feminine energy, straight-from-the gut honesty, and bodacious curves.
The guy sitting next to me adores Cho because he thinks sheâ€™s bawdy and wise, like an early Bette Midler. And it is true that the two performers share a penchant for trash talking. The woman behind me says that she connects with Cho over their shared Korean backgrounds. Cho does a hilarious riff on the lack of Asian role models on TV:â€œKung Fuâ€ should have been titled â€œThat Guyâ€™s Not Chinese.â€ And another part of the audience laughs knowingly when she talks about hanging out with gay men: â€œWhen I was a little girl, I always wished that Iâ€™d be constantly surrounded by gorgeous guys. And I am. I guess I should have been more specific.â€
But it's when she talks about her struggle to fit into television's definition of attractive that the entire audience responds. There is a moment in the show when she yells out: â€œLosing ten pounds for me is a full-time job. SO Iâ€™M HANDING IN MY NOTICE AND Iâ€™M WALKING OUT THE DOOR.â€ Well, the crowd goes wild. It becomes perfectly clear that the 30-year-old Cho isnâ€™t just kicking off her tour, sheâ€™s kicking ass as well.
Cho was born and raised in San Francisco. Her early years were pretty tough: Just days after she was born, her father was deported to Korea and her mom joined him there a little while later. She was shuttled between her parents and grandparents until her folks returned to San Francisco when she was eight. Choâ€™s first stand-up gig was at 16 at The Rose & Thistle coffee shop-above the bookstore her parents ran.
â€œI always really knew what I wanted in life, and performing was it,â€ Cho says. â€œI didnâ€™t necessarily think it was going to be comedy, though. But when I started out, there was such a vibrant bohemian comedy scene in San Francisco, and I was fascinated by it. Paula Poundstone, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Robin Williams were part of all that. Also, I felt restricted and repressed where I was living, and comedy created this home for me that I was grateful to have.â€
Cho paid her comedic dues in San Francisco and Los Angeles. To support herself, she took on other jobs. One year she worked during the day at FAO Schwartz as a Raggedy Ann doll, costume and all, and then rode the bus (still in her outfit) to her night gig as a phone-sex operator.
Thatâ€™s the thing about Cho, you can believe that she was a convincing Raggedy Ann and also that she chose to support herself doing phone sex rather than, say, watering. Sheâ€™s this disconcerting but appealing mix of girl-next-door sweetness and no-holds-barred outrageousness. This is a blend that can be hard to get your head around. After watching her one-woman show, I was convinced of two things: Sheâ€™s a real laugh-out-loud funny woman and a ferociously tough cookie. Yet, when a twenty-something fan came backstage to talk with the sarcastic stand-up, Cho couldnâ€™t have been more encouraging and tender. The young woman hugged her over and over.
After meeting her several times, this contrast seemed even sharper. Cho confided to me: â€œI cry every time I read Mode, because each issue is an emotional experience for me. I love the women in it, and I love the letters. I find the message of the magazine to be so beautiful and so nourishing.â€ Once again her comments made me feel a little torn. Of course I agreed with what she was saying about the magazine. But it sounded awfully sappy from someone who basically makes fun of things for a living. Yet, as she talked about her experiences, it became clear that this sensitive and effusive aspect of her personality was genuine. It also made her struggles and successes seem more real.
When she was barely older than that fan she hugged, Cho decided to take her comedy on the road. She rented a car and started playing college campuses, where she became the most booked act on the market. The comedienne performed more than 300 concerts in two years, Arsenio Hall introduced her to late-night audiences, and Bob Hope put her on a prime-time special. Suddenly, Margaret Cho was an incredibly hot ticket.
The networks held a bidding war to create a show for her based on her stand-up act. ABC won, and throughout the development process, Cho was given to believe that she was perfect, perfect, per-fectâ€”that is, until they were about to shoot her pilot. Then word came down that she needed to lose weight.
This was the beginning of a terrible time: â€œI didnâ€™t have the sense of self that I have now. I was so young, so insecure, and so afraid. I didnâ€™t want to blow this opportunity.â€ She was told: â€œThe network has a problem with the fullness of your face.â€ Cho was devastated. It was so demoralizing. â€œHow do you stand up and be the star of a show after that?â€ she says.
So Cho went berserk trying to transform herself into the person that the network seemed to think would be successful. She had never been on a diet before, and suddenly her entire career seemed to hang on whether she could lose weight. She stopped eating and started exercising twice a day. She took diet pills. She took diuretics to flush all of the water out of her body. She took laxatives to help her lose even a few more pounds. She says, â€œ1 was drinking and taking drugs not because I was an alcoholic or drug addict, but because I Was just so hungry I didnâ€™t know what else to do. I was trying to kill my hungerâ€”which is essentially trying to kill â€˜yourself.â€ She lost 30 pounds in less than a month and ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. As soon as she got out, the show went on as planned.
All-American Girl, which aired in the 1994-95 season, was hailed as a landmark TV showâ€”the first with Asian-American starsâ€”but it was plagued by criticism that it was either too ethnic or not ethnic enough. Her own real-life Korean-American experience was watered down beyond recognition, and worse, the producers hired an ethnic consultant who gave bizarre suggestions like â€œtake your shoes off when you enter the house and use chopsticks more often.â€ It was an extremely confusing, frustrating time for Cho.
After her show was canceled, the drug and alcohol use continued, and her eating disorder grew worse. When she talks about this period of her life, Cho doesnâ€™t sound bitter, just very matter-of-fact. Sheâ€™s obviously spent a lot of time reflecting on what happened and why. She talks eloquently about the dangers of needing to find love and acceptance outside yourself. â€œItâ€™s so easy, especially when you are a performer, to put the responsibility of convincing yourself that you are gorgeous and worthy onto other people,â€ Cho says. â€œBut when they fail to convince you, you immediately interpret it as â€˜Iâ€™m hideous. I'm awful.â€™ I fell into self-loathing and I destroyed my health.â€
Cho caused irreparable damage to her body with her drive to be unnaturally thin. â€œIt isnâ€™t beautiful and itâ€™s certainly not right for me,â€ she states. However, she acknowledges that this sort of thing, this kind of body pressure, happens every day and it happens to all women in television. â€œNo one in the industry talks about it because it isnâ€™t what people want to hear. But it is so commonplace and so destructive.â€
It took Cho several years to recover from the physical and emotional fallout and get back to who she really is. â€œIâ€™ve learned to be proud that I have a huge appetite for food and life and love. These are things that I have a right to.â€ in the aftermath, she has created a professional world for herself in which she generates a huge portion of her own work so that she isnâ€™t vulnerable to the emery-board-thin ideals of Hollywood. There is going to be a film version of Iâ€™m the One That I Want, and sheâ€™s writing a book as well.
But regardless of what Cho chooses to do with her time, she seems to have truly survived her head-on collision with Hollywood. â€œ1 really love the way my life is going right nowâ€”touring and doing stand-up. Thereâ€™s a lack of different faces out there, and part of my journey must be illustrating my experience. Iâ€™m in a really good place.â€
This comment made me think back to the first time I met Cho in Washington and heard another line that sent the audience screaming to their feet. She said, â€œIâ€™m not going to die because I failed as someone else. Iâ€™m going to succeed as myself.â€ And she really does seem to be doing just that. No wonder sheâ€™s the one that she wants.
Anne Nicole Smith
Birth Name: Vicky Lynn Hogan
At first Smith was a fairly serious sex symbol, a Playboy Playmate of the Year who appeared in glossy ads for Guess? Jeans. Later, with her surgically-oversized breasts and out-of-control girth, she became a kind of celebrity parody of herself. Finally she became the stuff of talk show one-liners when she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall in 1994. Marshall died the next year, leaving Smith to battle his family for control of his fortune.
Certainly not the best Rolemodle of a Curvy woman.
Christina was noticed at the age of seven performing in a school play. all she remembers was "really having to go pee" but a movie critic in the crowd suggested that her parents find her an agent.
they did, and one year later, ricci was set to co-star in mermaids, cher's hit movie. from there, ricci went to play the dark Wednesday in the Addams Family movies. she was passed up for roles in jurassic park and interview with the vampire.
her performance in casper, thrust her to the mainstream. she then starred in now and then. a few years after these performances, christina scored a role in Ang Lee's the icestorm. her performance was greeted to great critical reviews. then, the summer of '98 saw her break out from child star to talented actress. buffalo '66 and the opposite of sex established her at the forefront of independent actresses.
Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Lands her first broadcasting job as a reporter for radio station WVOL in Nashville.
Enrolls in Tennessee State University to study speech and performing arts. Named Nashville's Miss Fire Prevention. Named Miss Black Tennessee.
Sophomore year at Tennessee State University; switches media and becomes the first African-American anchor at Nashville's WTVF-TV. Moves to Baltimore to co-anchor the six o'clock news. Recruited to co-host Baltimore's WJZ-TV's local talk show, People Are Talking. Relocates to Chicago to host WLS-TV's morning talk show, AM Chicago. Becomes the number one talk show one month later. In less than a year, show expands to one hour and is renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. Film debut as "Sofia" in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple, based on the novel by Alice Walker. Oprah receives nominations for a Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The Oprah Winfrey Show enters syndication to remain the number one talk show for fourteen consecutive seasons, and to receive 34 Emmys â€” seven that are for the host.
Plays the role of "Mrs. Thomas" in Native Son.
Hosts the 14th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Harpo Productions, Inc. renovates a gigantic production facility and builds itself a home.
Produces and stars as "Mattie Michael" in the miniseries,The Women of Brewster Place, which recounts the lives of the female denizens of an inner-city brownstone.
Hosts the 17th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.
Makes cameo appearance on TV's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Executive produces and performs in the TV Series Brewster Place Initiates the National Child Protection Act, testifying in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to establish a national database of convicted child abusers. Hosts The Essence Awards.
Produces and hosts a TV Special, Oprah: Behind the Scenes.
President Clinton signs the national "Oprah Bill" into law, establishing a national database of convicted child abusers. Since then, Oprah has joined the President the the Presidents' Summit, a call to action for volunteerism in our communities.
Hosts One Child, One Dream: The Horatio Alger Awards.
Produces and stars as "LaJoe Rivers" in the TV movie There Are No Children Here.
Pledges to refocus the show on uplifting, meaningful subjects.
For her 40th birthday, Oprah runs the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.; finishes at 4:29:15.
Receives the George Foster Peabody Individual Achivement Award and the International Radio and Television Society's Gold Medal Award.
Begin Oprah's Book Club, an on-air reading club, intended to get the country excited about literature again. All Oprah Book Club selections to date have become instant bestsellers. Signs contract with ABC to provide prime-time programming beginning with the 1996-97 season.
Named Newsweek's most important person in books and media.
Named TV Guide's Television Performer of the Year.
Launches Oprah's Angel Network, a campaign to encourage people to open their hearts and help those in need. Projects include "The World's Largest Piggy Bank," a collection of small change to help send fifty students to college and building homes in every market The Oprah Winfrey Show airs with Habitat for Humanity. Plays "Ellen's Shrink" on the TV series Ellen.
Executive produces and performs as "Miss Zora" in the TV movie Before Women Had Wings with Ellen Barkin.
Named one of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century by Time Magazine.
Receives the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Lifetime Achievement Award. Announces she will continue to produce and host The Oprah Winfrey Show until 2002.
Oprah graces the cover of Vogue. Beloved premieres. In Beloved, Oprah plays "Sethe", a woman who escapes from slavery but is haunted by its heritage. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Toni Morrison, the film is directed by Academy AwardÂ®-winner Jonathan Demme. Announces she will join producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner (Cosby, Roseanne) and Geraldine Laybourne (Nickelodeon) to launch Oxygen Media, Inc. â€” a cable channel and interactive network for women.
Becomes "Professor Winfrey" teaching along with Stedman Graham at Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Presented with the National Book Foundation's 50th anniversary gold medal for all that Oprah's Book Club has done for books and authors.
â€” from Oprah Winfrey's 1999 National Book Award acceptance
"We don't want to be too cautious. Be yourself, that's our thing. Tell the truthâ€¦don't get wrapped up in what's politically correct."
- Natalie Maines
Birthday: October 14, 1974 in Lubbock, TX
Fave Movies Grease, Pulp Fiction, West Side Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's 7 Years in Tibet, Dead Poet's Society, To Kill a Mockingbird
Instruments: Acoustic and electric guitar
Background: Started singing age 3, grew up around country and rock music, and particularly around the Maines Brothers Band. Her dad, Lloyd Maines "is the greatest steel player/producer of all time" she says. Prior to joining the Dixie Chicks in 1996, she pursued music in college, including a music scholarship at Berkley.
Influences: James Taylor, Bonnie Raitte, Maria McKee and the Indigo Girls
People Magazine selected her twice as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" of 1994 and 1999. Revlon chose Emme as one of their celebrity spokeswomen. Glamour magazine selected her as "Woman of the Year" and Ladies' Home Journal chose her as one of their "Most Fascinating Woman of the Year" in 1997 and one of their "Most Important Women in America of 1999".
Today millions of viewers enjoy Emme's fashion advice as host of "Fashion Emergency" on E! Entertainment Television. Emme proved that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes when she penned her first book TRUE BEAUTY- Positive Attitudes & Practical Tips from the World's Leading Plus Size Model (Putnam/Perigee).
Emme continues to garner worldwide recognition as an author, television personality, and model via the highly coveted role of spokesperson for REVLON and numerous fashion houses. With a monthly "Ask Emme" column in Mode magazine, Emme's views continue to set a new standard of beauty both here and abroad.
Emme is a vocal advocate for women of all ages to be fit and healthy. Her message is aimed at increasing awareness and raising funds to help treat eating and body image disorders. She is the first model invited to speak about these issues before a Congressional sub-committee in Washington DC. Says Emme; "We live in a society that is based upon the attainment of unrealistic beauty. I want women to know their self-esteem is not contingent upon their dress size." She is an honorary board member of various eating disorders groups including EDAP and AABA and is one of the national ambassadors for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Emme also serves as the honorary chairperson for their cycling series.
Emme lectures at high schools and universities around the country about body image and self-esteem. A graduate of Syracuse University, with a degree in speech communications, Emme speaks on behalf of women who until now have had no voice. During her lectures Emme asks, "Did you know that 62 million American women are a size 12 and over?"
Born in New York City, Emme was raised in Saudi Arabia, returning to the US as a teenager. Syracuse awarded Emme a full athletic scholarship and she became a member of the crew team. Emme was invited to the US Olympic Team trials, as well as several US National Team trials. After graduation, she spent two years in Flagstaff, Arizona where she was reporter and morning news anchor for the NBC affiliate KNAZ-TV. Emme is also a member of the Orange Plus Hall of Fame, where she was inducted for her significant contribution to women's athletics at Syracuse University and to the sport of rowing.