Jennifer Lynn Connelly (born December 12, 1970) is an Academy
Award-winning film American actress. Although she has been working
in the film industry since she was a teenager, and was catapulted
to fame on the basis of her appearances in films like Labyrinth
and Career Opportunities, she did not receive critical acclaim for
her work until the 2000 drama Requiem for a Dream, and the 2001
biography A Beautiful Mind, for which she won an Oscar for Best
Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York to Gerard
and Eileen Connolly; Connelly's father, a clothing manufacturer
is a Catholic of Irish and Norwegian descent, while her mother,
an antiques dealer, comes from a family of Jewish immigrants from
Russia and Poland. Connelly was raised in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
near the Brooklyn Bridge, attending St. Ann's School, except for
four years the family spent living in Woodstock, New York. One of
her father's friends through the garment trade was an advertising
executive, who suggested that she audition at a modelling agency.
At the age of 10, her career started in newspaper and magazine ads,
then moved to television commercials.
Her first film role was as "young Deborah Gelly," a small
part in Sergio Leone's 1984 gangster epic, Once Upon a Time in America.
She next starred in cult Italian horror director Dario Argento's
Phenomena (1985) and in the coming-of-age movie Seven Minutes in
Early film career
Connelly became a star on her next picture, the fantasy Labyrinth
(1986). Connelly played Sarah, a teenager who wishes her baby brother
into the world of goblins ruled by goblin king Jareth (David Bowie).
Through a series of adventures reminiscent of Alice In Wonderland,
The Muppets and Monty Python, Sarah does indeed manage to rescue
her brother. A product of the talents of Jim Henson, George Lucas,
ex-Monty Python member Terry Jones and designer Brian Froud, the
film underperformed at the box office, but enjoys a cult following
Connelly seemed stuck as to how to follow up on this success. She
made a Japanese pop record and starred in several obscure films,
such as Etoile (1988) and Some Girls (1988). The Dennis Hopper-
directed The Hot Spot (1990) was underwhelming, both critical and
commercially. Another film, Career Opportunities, was more successful
and is considered a teen cult classic. It and Hot Spot threatened
to typecast her in the "sexpot" stereotype with both films
emphasizing her voluptuous figure, particularly Hot Spot which contained
her first topless scene.
She began studying English at Yale, but transferred two years later
to Stanford. She did not graduate from either institution.
The big-budget Disney film The Rocketeer (1991) similarly failed
to ignite Connelly's career.
The moody 1996 indie film Far Harbor played her against type and
hinted at a much broader range than she had previously shown. Connelly
began to appear in smaller but well regarded films, such as 1997's
Inventing the Abbotts and 2000's Waking the Dead. She played a collegiate
lesbian in John Singleton's 1995 ensemble drama, Higher Learning.
The 1998 science fiction film Dark City, which is well-regarded
by critics, afforded her the chance to work with such actors as
Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Ian Richardson and Kiefer Sutherland.
Connelly revisited her ingenue image again, though in a more understated
way, for the 2000 Jackson Pollock biopic Pollock, in which she played
the title character's mistress.
Having long been known more for her curvy figure than her considerable
talents, Connelly had drastically slimmed down by the dawn of the
21st century, opening up a new career for her. Arguably, Connelly's
big breakthrough finally came in the 2000 film Requiem for a Dream.
The haunting, experimental film starred Connelly and Jared Leto as
heroin addicts on the edge of a breakdown. The film, which was a success
with critics (if not at the box office), firmly established her as
a serious actress. It also marked the first time she showed lower
frontal nudity in a motion picture.
Connelly's star was on the rise, and she next starred in Ron Howard's
film A Beautiful Mind (2001). Connelly essayed the role of Alicia
Nash, the long-suffering wife of the brilliant, schizophrenic mathematician
John Nash, (played by Russell Crowe.) The film, based on real life
events, was a critical and commercial success and earned Connelly
an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Connelly starred in two films in 2003: The Hulk and House of Sand
and Fog. The Hulk was something of a box office disappointment,
but afforded Connelly the chance to work with noted director Ang
Lee. House of Sand and Fog, based on the novel by Andre Dubus III,
was reminiscent of much of her independent film work of the late
Connelly's most recent movie is the 2005 horror film Dark Water,
which was based on a Japanese film.
Connelly is married to the English actor Paul Bettany, whom she
met while working on A Beautiful Mind; the couple's son, Stellan
(named after actor Stellan Skarsgård), was born August 5,
2003. She also has a son, Kai (born July 1997), from a relationship
with photographer David Dugan.
The Blood Diamond (2007)
The Berkeley Connection (2006)
Little Children (2006)
Dark Water (2005)
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The $treet (2000, TV series)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Waking the Dead (2000)
Dark City (1998)
Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
Mulholland Falls (1996)
Higher Learning (1995)
The Rocketeer (1991)
Career Opportunities (1991)
The Hot Spot (1990)
Some Girls (1988)
Seven Minutes in Heaven (1985)
Phenomena aka Creepers (1985)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
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