Skip to main content
Meg Ryan
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Meg Ryan

Biography
(1961–)
  • Publish date:
Actress Meg Ryan became "America's Sweetheart" with starring roles in 'When Harry Met Sally,' 'Sleepless in Seattle' and 'You've Got Mail.'

Who Is Meg Ryan?

Ryan's first acting success came with a role on the soap opera As The World Turns from 1982 to 1984. Her big film break was in the 1986 hit Top Gun. Ryan became America's Sweetheart when she starred in a string of hit romantic comedies in the 1990s, including When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and You've Got Mail (1998).

Early Life

Ryan was born Margaret Hyra on November 19, 1961, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Her mother, Susan Jordan, was a former actress and teacher, and her father Harry Hyra was also a teacher. Ryan attended New York University, but dropped out after one semester to pursue an acting career. She took the stage name Meg Ryan, using her maternal grandmother's maiden name.

Movies and TV Shows

landed her first substantial role playing Betsy Stewart Montgomery Andropoulos on the soap opera As the World Turns from 1982 to 1984. In the mid-1980s, her film career began to heat up with a part in the wildly successful 1986 military action drama Top Gun with Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards. She then went on to co-star with Dennis Quaid in Innerspace (1987) and D.O.A. (1988). Ryan later married Quaid in 1991.

It was her portrayal of cute, funny Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally (1989) that took her career to a new level. The box office hit led to a string of other successful romantic comedies, such as Sleepless in Seattle (1993), French Kiss (1995), and You've Got Mail (1998).

Scroll to Continue

READ NEXT

Representative Deb Haaland, a Democrat from New Mexico, speaks during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The hearing is titled "U.S. Park Police Attack on Peaceful Protesters at Lafayette Square Park." Photographer: Bonnie Cash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deb Haaland

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 09: John Major attends the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on November 9, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. People across the UK gather to pay tribute to service personnel who have died in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts, with this year taking on added significance as it is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

John Major

Most of her more dramatic efforts, such as Proof of Life (2000), In the Cut (2003), and Against the Ropes (2004), have failed to register with film audiences. In 2001, Ryan ended her ten-year marriage to Dennis Quaid. The couple has one child together--a son named Jack. While some reports indicated that her relationship led to the split, Ryan has said that the marriage was in trouble before then. She told talk show host Oprah Winfrey on her television show in 2006 that "I should have left sooner."

After taking a break from the spotlight, Ryan re-emerged in 2006 with the announcement of her adoption of a little girl from China. At first she named her daughter Charlotte, but soon changed it to Daisy to better fit the child's personality. During her time away from Hollywood, Ryan has been working with CARE, a charitable organization dedicated to ending poverty by helping women work together.

Ryan returned to the big screen in 2007 with In the Land of Women, a dramatic comedy. She followed this in 2008 with The Deal and along side fellow actresses Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith in The Women. Ryan played a high-powered attorney opposite Timothy Hutton in 2009's Serious Moonlight which only received mixed reviews and had a limited release. 

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!

Tags: