Born: March 22, 1976
Birth Name: Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon
Date of Birth: March 22, 1976
This Nashville, Tennessee born actress made a splash in her big screen debut, 1991's The Man in the Moon. Only 14 at the time, Witherspoon played the role of Dani Trant in the coming-of-age drama, which won rave reviews from critics. Witherspoon followed up this tremendous start with a Disney feature, A Far off Place and Jack the Bear, two family oriented movies which served to broaden her appeal to a wider audience.
Witherspoon soon made choices that moved her image away from the Disney scene, appearing in a string of Gen-X targeted movies, which were replete with angst and sexual overtones. First came a small role in S.F.W., a dark, satirical look at celebrity in which she played a prom queen held hostage along with a raving nobody. Then came Fear, a showcase of the dark side of teen love with Mark Wahlberg.
In 1998, Witherspoon appeared with screen legend Paul Newman in Twilight, followed by Pleasantville, opposite Tobey Maguire. A return to teen fare followed in 1999 with Cruel Intentions. Starring alongside other teen favorites of the moment Joshua Jackson, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe, the film was a modern day adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons. She also appeared opposite Matthew Broderick in the satire Election, an MTV production about Tracy Flick, a manipulative young woman determined to become school president. Witherspoon earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
She received her second Golden Globe nomination for her hit film Legally Blonde(2001). The success of the film propelled Witherspoon into becoming one of Hollywood's top female stars, and her next film, Sweet Home Alabama (2000) was number one at the box office for several weeks, earning over US $125 million at the domestic box office. For the sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), Witherspoon earned $15 million, a big jump from the $1 million she earned for the first Legally Blonde film.
Her career climbed new heights when she went from being not only an incredibly bankable actress to being an Academy Award winner, receiving the 2006 statuette for her performance as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line (2005). For the same role, she also received a 2006 Golden Globe and won awards from the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, The San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Satellite Awards.
Reese, a vegetarian, married actor Ryan Phillippe in 1999 and they have a daughter, Ava Elizabeth and a son, Deacon. Unfortunately, their marriage fell apart in October 2006 when it became clear to Reese that Ryan had cheated on her. Reese was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002, and in 2003, she was voted Most Popular Actress by Entertainment Weekly readers.
Reese married Hollywood agent Jim Toth on March 26, 2011.