Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder Profile Photo

Winona Ryder

Famous As
Actress
Birth Name
Winona Laura Horowitz
Birth Date
Oct 29, 1971
Birth Place
Winona, Minnesota, USA
Winona Ryder Biography

Finely blending her talent and beauty in every performance she made on-screen, Winona Ryder sure has all the qualities needed to likely keep shining still albeit the trouble she has caused in the past. Named after one of the cities in Minnesota where she was born on October 29, 1971, Winona is the daughter of hippie intellectual writers Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer who both founded Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, the world's largest library of drug-related literature. Along with her three siblings, Sunyata, Jubal, and Yuri, the girl spent her early childhood in San Francisco and Colombia before resided in a remote commune near Elk, California at the age of 7. Living without electricity, she subsequently developed a strong interest in reading, but it later extended to acting when her mother got the access to use an electric generator and a 16mm projector to show her some classic films like those of Bette Davis', Greer Garson's, and James Cagney's.

Afterwards followed her parents to settle in a more conventional setting of Petaluma, California at age 10, Winona found herself to be very unprepared for the suburban life and as a result became an outsider at school, even received an assault from a group of bullies who mistook her for an effeminate boy. In response to this incident, Michael and Cindy thus concluded to rather give their daughter a home study while also registered her at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater to soothe her nerves from the traumatic experience. Their wise decision proved to be a right one indeed for it was this theater company that later provided Winona the access to begin her initial step in film industry as one of her performances there, a monologue chosen from J.D. Salinger's "Franny & Zooey", made its way to attract a talent scout, Deborah Lucchesi.

Helped by the agent, the 13-year-old girl then enthusiastically attended a screen test for "Desert Bloom" (1986) only to discover that the role ultimately went to Annabeth Gish. On the other hand, Triad Artists agency was quite impressed with her audition so that it willingly assisted her to search for another part and brought her to director David Seltzer who quickly included her in the cast of his 1986 romantic drama, "Lucas." Instead of keeping her real name, Winona Laura Horowitz, in the picture's credits, she simply went with Winona Ryder, taking it from the surname of her father's favorite music artist, Mitch Ryder. And that was the name people continuously remembered of when they were captured by her enactment as frustrated goth teenager Lydia Deetz in Tim Burton's 1988 box-office hit, "Beetle Juice."

Catapulted to the center of the spotlight, Winona satisfyingly soared to be a teen icon of her generation after she received huge critical praise for her portrayal in cult classic movie of "Heathers" (1989) opposite Christian Slater. Already finished her study at Petaluma High School with a brilliant 4.0 GPA, she further solidified the label through her 1990 pictures of "Edward Scissorhands" and "Mermaids" which directed her to earn Golden Globes nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture by 1991. Next shifted to mature role in "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992), followed by that in "The Age of Innocence" (1993), the brown-eyed beauty finally came to the highlight of her career when the latter film brought her to once again obtain a nomination at Golden Globe Awards along with two others of Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards a year later.

Acquired her second Oscar nomination in 1995, this time for the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role through her stunning performance in "Little Women" (1994), Winona spent the rest of 1990s to explore various roles in "The Crucible" (1996), "Alien: Resurrection" (1997), plus "Celebrity" (1998) before made her foray into film production business with "Girl, Interrupted" (1999) in which she also starred. Although received rave reviews from critics and audience alike, this slender actress was overshadowed by co-star Angelina Jolie who walked past her to in the end nab an Academy Award at its 72nd annual event. Nevertheless, she still could smile widely as Hollywood Chamber of Commerce bestowed her a star on the Walk of Fame by October 6, 2000, the same year her two movies, "Autumn in New York" and "Lost Souls", saw their wide release on theaters.

Sadly, all the glory and accolades Winona had received were stained when security employees at Beverly Hills' Saks Fifth Avenue department store caught her red-handed of attempting to steal about $5000 worth of clothes on December 12, 2001. Not only charged for shoplifting, she also was accused of using pain medication without valid prescriptions yet this case was immediately dropped after her defense attorney presented the official documents for the drugs the police found in her purse. Convicted of grand theft and vandalism, the finely chiseled star ultimately was sentenced to three years probation in December 2002 with 480 hours of community service, $3,700 in fines plus $6,355 in restitution to Saks besides the order to attend psychological and drug counseling.

The high-publicized trial certainly had brought dreadful impact to Winona's career in film industry as she seemed to disappear from the screen after her 2002 features of "Mr. Deeds" and "S1m0ne", the latter even saw her only playing an episodic role. However, things apparently began to run back on the track in 2006 for two of her movie projects came up throughout the year, namely "The Darwin Awards" and "A Scanner Darkly" followed by 2007's "The Ten." 2008, in the meantime, delightfully proved to be a productive period for the beauty with no less than four big screen titles encountering their releases, among others were "The Last Word", "Alpha Numeric", and most notably "Star Trek" in which she played Amanda Grayson, mother of the USS Enterprise executive officer Spock.

Aside from her acting career, Winona's love relationship has also received a lot of wide exposure due to the long list of popular celebrities she had dated, such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Val Kilmer, Jay Kay, and Pete Yorn among others. However, the notable ones were her engagements to Johnny Depp, David Pirner, and Matt Damon which all went quite long for more than two years before gravely met their ends.