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Hayden Panettiere is the young American actress who became famous for her role as the cheerleader on the television show Heroes.
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Born in New York in 1989, Hayden Panettiere is the young American actress who became famous for her role as the cheerleader on the television show Heroes. Her career began before she was a year old, with parts in television commercials. In addition to her popularity as an actress, Panettiere is an animal rights activist, particularly focusing on dolphins.
"I've always wanted to be a Meryl Streep or a Natalie Portman. I want to do all kinds of different movies, to be a chameleon. I don't want to limit myself."
"I have the occasional glass of champagne when I'm celebrating something, but, generally, I don't drink. I'm a pizza-and-a-movie girl."
Hayden Leslie Panettiere was born on August 21, 1989, in Palisades, New York. Her father, Skip Panettiere, was a lieutenant in the local fire department, and her mother, Lesley Panettiere, was a soap opera actress. Before her first birthday, Panettiere had already begun modeling and acting. She started her career by modeling baby clothes at 8 months old, and appeared in her first TV commercial, for Playskool toy trains, just three months later. Panettiere went on to appear in dozens of commercials as an infant and toddler, including spots for McDonalds, Hershey's and Nix Lice Shampoo.
In 1994, at the tender age of 4, Panettiere graduated from commercials to soap operas, landing a recurring role on ABC's One Life to Live. After three years on One Life to Live, Panettiere joined the cast of another soap opera, CBS's Guiding Light, playing the part of Lizzie Spaulding until 2000. While appearing regularly in soap operas, Panettiere also embarked on a budding film career. She did voice acting for a pair of Disney films, A Bug's Life (1998) and Dinosaur (2000), and played small roles in the live-action films The Object of my Affection (1998) and Message in a Bottle (1999).
In 2000, Hayden Panettiere gained a higher profile when she landed a role opposite Denzel Washington in the sentimental favorite Remember the Titans. The 11-year-old Panettiere received rave reviews for her portrayal of Sheryl Yoach, a coach's daughter with an extraordinary passion for football, winning the Young Artist's Award for Best Supporting Young Actress for her performance. After Remember the Titans, Panettiere carved out a niche as Hollywood's go-to onscreen daughter. She played Tim Allen's daughter in the 2001 comedy Joe Somebody and appeared regularly as Calista Flockhart's daugter on the Fox series Ally McBeal (2002).
Despite her extraordinarily busy young acting career, Panettiere attempted to live a somewhat normal childhood. She attended South Orangetown Middle School, a public school in Blauvelt, New York. But Panettiere says that she faced considerable abuse as a Hollywood starlet trying to fit in with the rest of the kids at her public school. "I had a rough time—a really rough time—in school," she recalls. "It's almost as if you can't be human because they think that by you being in a bad mood or getting upset about anything that you are just trying to be a diva ... you can never just have a bad day like everyone else."
After completing eighth grade in 2003, Panettiere traveled to South Africa to film the movie Racing Stripes. When the filming was complete, Panettiere decided not to return to school in New York and instead completed her freshman year of high school with a tutor while traveling around South Africa.
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