Toni Collette was born in Sydney, Australia, on November 1, 1972. As a child, she played the lead role in a musical celebrating the Australian bicentennial. Colette's feature film career includes memorable roles in Muriel's Wedding, The Sixth Sense and Little Miss Sunshine. She also starred in the television series United States of Tara for which she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Colette is married to Dave Galafassi and the couple has two children.
Early Life and Career
Actress Toni Collette was born Antonia Collette in Sydney, Australia, on November 1, 1972. Collette grew up as the eldest of three children in the suburbs of Sydney; her father was a truck driver and her mother worked as a customer service representative. Not long after getting her first taste of performing in a high school production of Godspell, Collette was picked from among thousands of other prospective candidates to play the lead role in an Australian bicentennial musical. Encouraged by that early success, she left school at age 16 and began working with the Australian Theatre for Young People.
In the late 1980s, Collette attended Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art, but left after a year and a half when she landed a role in a Sydney stage production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. She made her feature film debut in the little-seen 1992 comedy The Efficiency Expert, starring Anthony Hopkins and featuring Russell Crowe.
Collette was appearing in a play called Summer of the Aliens in June 1993, when she auditioned for the role that would prove to be her breakthrough: the gawky, ABBA-worshiping heroine of P.J. Hogan's black comedy Muriel's Wedding (1994). Collette gained 42 pounds for the role and earned worldwide acclaim, including an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress. A number of big-screen roles followed, most notably a supporting turn as the impressionable Harriet Smith in a 1996 film version of Jane Austen's novel Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Collette also appeared in Cosi (1996), Diana and Me (1997), and Velvet Goldmine (1998). Collette also received two more Australian Film Institute Awards, for Best Supporting Actress in Lilian's Story (1996) and The Boys (1998).
In 1999, Collette co-starred with Bruce Willis in the blockbuster suspense film The Sixth Sense, as the concerned mother of a troubled young boy (played by Haley Joel Osment). For her understated performance, and admirable American accent, Collette earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, matching the accomplishment of her fellow Aussie actress and co-star of Muriel's Wedding and Cosi, Rachel Griffiths (who was nominated in 1998 for Hilary and Jackie). In 2000, Collette made her debut on Broadway, scoring a Tony nomination for her starring turn as a 1920s vaudeville performer in The Wild Party, also starring veteran musical theater actor Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt. She also appeared in Shaft, director John Singleton's remake of the like-named 1971 private eye film, co-starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christian Bale.
Continuing to tackle a variety of comedies and dramas, Collette had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed film The Hours (2002) with Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. She starred with Hugh Grant in About a Boy based on the novel by Nick Hornby that same year. In 2006, Collette shined in the family dramatic comedy Little Miss Sunshine (2006) with Steve Carell, Abigail Breslin and Greg Kinnear.
Working on the small screen, Collette earned wide-spread praise for her work on the television series United States of Tara, portraying a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Because of her disorder, her character had several different distinct personalities, ranging in ages and gender. Created by Cody Diablo, the series received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations and two wins for Collette. She won an Emmy Award in 2009 and a Golden Globe Award in 2010. The show ran for three seasons, ending its run in 2011.
Since then, Collette has made a return to the big screen. She appeared in the comedic horror film Fright Night (2011) with Colin Farrell and played the assistant to the real-life master of suspense in Hitchcock (2012) starring Anthony Hopkins. In the film, Collette played Peggy Robertson, who worked with director Alfred Hitchcock for many years. She soon returned to lighter fare, reuniting Steve Carell for the comedy The Way, Way Back.
In January 2003, Collette wed fellow Australian Dave Galafassi, a musician, in Sydney. The couple has two children, daughter Sage and son Arlo.
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