Holly Hunter Biography

Theater Actress, Film Actor/Film Actress, Actress, Television Actress, Film Actress (1958–)
Oscar winner Holly Hunter is an American actress best known for her acclaimed roles in 'Broadcast News,' 'The Firm,' 'The Piano' and 'The Incredibles,' among an array of other projects.


Holly Hunter is an American actress born on March 20, 1958, in Conyers, Georgia. She studied drama in college then moved to New York to pursue acting. Hunter debuted on Broadway in Crimes of the Heart. Her big break came in the Coen brothers' hit film Raising Arizona. For her roles in Broadcast NewsThe Firm and Thirteen, Hunter received Academy Award nominations, winning her first Oscar for Jane Campion's The Piano (1993). She continues to act in various projects, including animated fare like The Incredibles and TV outings like When Billie Beat Bobby and Top of the Lake

Background and Early Life

Actress Holly Hunter was born on March 20, 1958, in Conyers, Georgia. The youngest of seven children born to a sporting goods representative, Hunter starred in her first play in fifth grade as Helen Keller. After receiving a degree in drama from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University in 1980, the young Southerner moved to New York to pursue a career in acting.

Acting Success

After getting stuck in an elevator with playwright Beth Henley, the two collaborated in what would eventually become Hunter's Broadway debut in Crimes of the Heart in 1982. The fledgling actress soon moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue film work and was eventually cast in a supporting role in 1984's Swing Shift. That same year, she had her first collaboration with the Coen brothers in Blood Simple, which eventually led to a starring role in the Coens' hit comedy Raising Arizona.

In 1987, Hunter's performance as a lonely, uptight news correspondent in Broadcast News earned the actress her first Academy Award nomination. Better roles soon followed, including leads in Miss Firecracker, Steven Spielberg's Always and the made-for-TV docudrama Roe vs. Wade.

Oscar for 'The Piano'

In 1993, Hunter received another Oscar nod for her supporting performance in The Firm. But it was her portrayal of a mute Scottish woman who immigrates to New Zealand in Jane Campion's The Piano that ultimately won her the award. Unfortunately, the win was followed by a series of uneven films throughout the 1990s, including Home for the Holidays (1995), Crash (1996) and A Life Less Ordinary (1997). However, Hunter earned positive reviews in 1998 for her portrayal of a divorced New Yorker in Living Out Loud, also starring Danny DeVito and Queen Latifah. She received similar success with her performance in the Coen brothers' 2000 hit, O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Since then, Hunter has starred in such films as Little Black Book (2004), the animated blockbuster The Incredibles (2004), The Big White (2005) and Jackie (2012). In 2013, it was announced that the actress would appear as Emma Parker, the mother of infamous murderer/thief Bonnie Parker, in the TV movie Bonnie & Clyde, which aired on the Lifetime, A+E and History networks in December 2013. After having co-starred with Al Pacino in the 2014 drama Manglehorn, Hunter returned to the big screen as Senator Finch in 2016's superhero epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Personal Life

Hunter is in a relationship with actor Gordon MacDonald. The couple has twin boys together.

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