The Australian actress Toni Collette had her ways climbing and carving before she finally reached and claimed fame. Officially claimed fame as Muriel Heslop in the 1992 "Muriel's Wedding", Toni played the role as a desperate young lady, Muriel, who is enduring life with a cruel and dominating local politician father in Porpoise Spit. Muriel finds herself cast aside by her friends, so she steals some money and takes off on an exotic holiday, looking for love and marriage.
Born Antonia Collette on November 1, 1972, in Blacktown, New South Wales, her father, Bob, was a truck driver, while mother Judy was a customer service representative in a courier service. The girl had her teen ages in the suburb area where she acknowledged herself as "westie". The young Toni spent her days with her two brothers and would climb trees, ride her bike, play basketball, basically lived an energetic Australian life. Toni passed her days as a tomboy rather than as a girly girl, taking part in nurturing the family's cats, dogs, birds and rabbits.
Toni lived a life like other ordinary teenagers before she finally decided to leave school at the age of 16 and attended both the Australian Theatre for Young People and NIDA, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, on a three-year course. However, the headstrong, instincts follower Toni, in the end, left the formal education to give the real shot in her feature film debut, "Spotswood". Her very first real encounter in this movie seems a precise decision since she played opposite movie legend Anthony Hopkins.
For the Australian actress who prefers to be called as "actor not a movie star", a totality has seemed to pour within herself. As Muriel, Toni, helped by a dietician, gained extra 40 pounds merely in seven weeks and indeed successfully played the role that the Australian Film Institute crowned her the Best Actress in 1994. In fact, the cast also had her nominated in the 1996 Golden Globe Awards for the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy/ Musical. Although, the price she had to pay was rather aghast. Toni had to lose even far more than the extra 40 pounds to appear in more glamorous roles and her instable weight seriously distorted her self-image, leading her to suffer from panic attacks and bulimia throughout her early twenties.
There has been some inside stories as well, revealing that her role as Muriel in "Muriel's Wedding" was actually very much related to her real life back then. The character of Muriel is told to be a terrible torn and turmoil inside, yet, cheerful from the outside. Those qualities needed a special actress so that Muriel can be truly characterized. Toni, who was brought up not from a rich family, knows how it felt like to live somewhat under the margin. She supported herself by delivering pizzas, and grew as a fast learner, indeed. She found herself possessing the specialty, and so she was.
After coping the desperate Muriel, Toni got involved in "Lilian's Story". This time, she played the young version of Lillian Singer, a woman who strives for her new life and self-identity after locked up for forty years by her own father. The Best Actress in a Supporting Role of the Australian Film Institute became the award she received in 1996. More awards are still lining up for her.
During her career journey, Toni has also both collaborated with numerous Hollywood's superstars and played various roles. From a desperate Muriel to the locked up Lilian, Toni turned into a brassy blonde Michelle in the 1998 "The Boys". Attaching herself intensively into the character, Toni successfully personalized the argumentative, passionate girlfriend of the leading male character in the movie. The remarkable quality she had shown in the movie escorted her to win another Australian Films Institute Award as the Best Supporting Actress for the same year, 1998.
Another challenging role for Toni in 1999 was started in Peter Greenaway's movie "8 ½ Women". Toni appeared with her head shaved, more or less like what actresses Sigourney Weaver and Demi Moore were popular for in the early 90s. Her shaving head suggested a brave and totality of her. The character she stood up in the movie was Griselda, a wannabe nun saved from prison who ended up as a concubine. Unfortunately, the film was considered as little more than a cold erotic fantasy, despite the presence of Toni and Amanda Plummer.
Moving up even further, Toni had her acting skills polished by partnering with Bruce Willis in the 1999 "The Sixth Sense". She amazingly personalized the motherly traits of Lynn Sear, who has to cope with her sensitive son, Cole, guided by Willis as the therapist. The role in fact had led her way to the ultimate award in screenplay, the Academy Award. She was nominated in the 2000 Academy Awards as the Best Actress in a Supporting Role. There has been an inside story telling that she could have won the Oscar if only she did not refuse to do some armpit shaving. So far, until 2006, there hasn't been any other Oscar nomination for her. Yet, Toni keeps on performing in the silver screen, and improving.
The evidence of her existence in the screenplay is the big hit movie she involved in, the 2002 "About A Boy". Toni played as the suicidal hippy Fiona Brewer, the mother of a troubled juvenile lad, Marcus. The boy was with whom Hugh Grant's character, a womanizer in his late thirties, who has never had a job and committed to nothing, got attached to in the movie. The collaboration with Toni has made Grant put out the best in him so far. Toni herself, as it has been typically her, unveiled the serious emotional depth to both her character and to Grant's. Her intensive acting quality, again, brought her to be listed as the nominee of the 2004 BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress category with the movie itself was nominated for the Golden Globe under the category of the Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy while also was listed in the Oscar's nomination list for the Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
In the same year, Toni was also involved in the gob-smacking hit movie "The Hours", cast in as Kitty Barlowe, one of the supporting roles. Toni had her acting ability polished even more since she was co-starring the Oscar-caliber actresses, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman. This screenplay also brought her to be nominated for the Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture category by the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The following year, 2003, has appeared to be another award nomination for Collette. Her involvement as Sandy Edwards, the main role in the movie entitled "Japanese Story", has brought her to receive the acknowledgement from the Australian Film Institute once again, this time, under the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role. Toni acted as a geologist working together with a Japanese businessman with the background of the Australian desserts landscape.
That's not all as the beauty has also collaborated with various superstars, from "Friends" TV stars, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow to Golden Globe nominee Sam Neill. Toni also got the chance to work together with Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin and Calista Flockhart in the 2004 movie "The Last Shot". Soon afterwards she became Cameron Diaz's sister, Rose Feller, and involved in typical siblings rivalry in the movie entitled "In Her Shoes". Subsequent to those, Toni is still attached to handfuls of movie projects, among others were "The Dead Girl" (2006), "Evening" (2007), "Nothing Is Private" (2007), "Hey! Hey! It's Esther Blueburger" (2008), and "The Black Balloon" (2008) which she also executive produces.
Surprisingly, Toni has also had musical performance and once received a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, which was given as a credit to her performance in Michael John LaChiusa's musical work, "The Wild Party" on Broadway. On the stage, she performed the demanding role, Queenie. Apparently, Toni Collette has indeed multi talents and also multi interest.
Unlike her various roles in various screen plays, Toni's love life might have been included under the heading of "less scandalous" and sensational. She once involved in a romantic relationship with one of her screen mates, Rhys Meyers. Toni described him later on as hedonistic, drunken and possibly rather "dangerous". They were seeing each other for about a year, and she spent much time at his crib in Cork, Ireland. Not far until then, Toni bought her own house in the Wicklow Mountains after she got mesmerized with the beauty of the Emerald Isle.
Her quest for love ended up with her five-year younger lover, Dave Galafassi. They exchanged vows as husband and wife at her house in Sydney on January 11, 2003. The wedding was held in a Buddhist ceremony presided by monks. Toni met Galafassi at a launch party for an EP by Sydney rock band Gelbison in which Galafassi is the drummer of the band. The wedding took place after they had been dating for about a year. In fact, Toni found that marriages and family life are important to her, as she claims, "My family, my relationships with my friends, my home and my music are the most important things in my life. I like being married, but it was never something I felt I had to do, I really did not expect to meet my husband and it was probably the best surprise of my life. It is everything, it's fun, comforting, it makes me feel so safe and centered."