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Michelle Williams first came to stardom as a star of teen drama Dawson's Creek. She rose to critical acclaim with films such as Blue Valentine and Brokeback Mountain.
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Actress Michelle Williams got her start as a teen TV idol on the show Dawson's Creek. The performer emancipated herself from her family at the age of 16 in order to advance her career in Hollywood. The move paid off, and roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine and My Week with Marilyn made Williams a critically acclaimed performer.
Michelle Williams was born on September 9, 1980 in Kalispell, Montana, to Carla and Larry Williams. The family, which included Williams' younger sister, Paige, moved to San Diego when Williams was 9. Many of Williams' Southern California classmates were pursuing small acting jobs, such as commercials, and Williams decided that she, too, wanted to act. She attended many schools over the years, including a Christian school, but eventually decided that earning her GED at home would be the most practical move for her acting career. With a GED, she would be able to be legally emancipated from her parents, which would make her eligible to work longer hours on set than a minor could. At age 15, Williams was emancipated. She emphasizes that the move had nothing to do with any trouble with her family: it was simply to give Williams a better shot at a career, and it soon paid off.
Michelle Williams landed her first major role at 16, as troubled teenager Jen Lindley on the hit teen show Dawson's Creek, where she remained from 1998 until 2003. The show made stars out of its teen leads, but the experience was a mixed one for Williams, who feared being typecast as a "pop tart" and was already considering what she wanted to do next. "I said to a friend [that] being on Dawson's Creek was kind of like being a mobster," she explained. "You set up a shop selling pizza, but in the back you're laundering money. You're doing one thing in plain sight and secretly plotting something else. I was plotting my tastes, my interests, my beliefs and hopes for what I could be."
While on hiatus from filming Dawson's Creek, Williams lived in New York City and worked toward her bigger goals. She took parts in a variety of movies, ranging from comedy (Dick, with Kirsten Dunst) to horror (Halloween H20: 20 Years Later). She found her calling, though, in independent films such as Me Without You, Prozac Nation and The Station Agent. "I remember when I was 18 and I was offered this play called Killer Joe, and I was also offered a movie about cheerleaders who carry guns," Williams explains. "And Killer Joe was, I don't know, maybe a 200-seat house, making scale. And the cheerleader movie was the kind of money that you can live off of for a long time to come. And I remember seeing the paths diverge. And I remember how easy the choice was. And so to me that feels like the beginning. That feels like where I began to develop my taste. I did the play, obviously." Over the years, Williams has stayed true to her sense of self as an actress, choosing roles carefully.
Michelle Williams' big break in the film world came in 2005, when she appeared in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain as the wife of a closeted gay rancher.
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