HILARY SWANK Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » hilary swank


Name: Hilary Ann Swank                                                               
Born: 30 July 1974 Lincoln, Nebraska                                                 
Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is a two-time Academy Award-winning           
American actress. Her Hollywood film career began with a small part in Buffy the     
Vampire Slayer (1992) and then a major part in The Next Karate Kid (1994), where     
she played Julie Pierce, the first female protégé of the sensei Mr. Miyagi. She   
has become known for her two Academy Award-winning performances: first as           
Brandon Teena, a transgender man in the movie Boys Don't Cry, and a struggling       
waitress-turned-boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald, in Million Dollar Baby.                   
Swank was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of Judy (née Clough), a           
secretary and dancer, and Stephen Swank, who was an officer in the Air National     
Guard and later a traveling salesman. She has a brother, Dan. Many of her           
family members hail from Ringgold County, Iowa. Swank came from humble               
beginnings, particularly as a child growing up in a trailer park near Lake           
Samish in Bellingham, Washington, where she moved to when she was six.               
Swank has also described her younger self as an "outsider" who felt that she         
belonged "only when [reading] a book or [seeing] a movie, and could get involved     
with a character", and was thus inspired to become an actress.                       
When Swank was nine years old, she made her first appearance on stage starring       
in The Jungle Book. She then became heavily involved in her school and community     
theater programs, including those of the Bellingham Theatre Guild. She went to       
Sehome High School in Bellingham until she was sixteen. Swank also competed         
in the Junior Olympics and the Washington State championships in swimming; she       
ranked 5th in the state in all-around gymnastics (which would come in handy         
when starring in The Next Karate Kid (1994) years later). Swank's parents           
separated when she was thirteen, and her mother, supportive of her daughter's       
desire to act, moved the two of them to Los Angeles, California, where they         
lived out of their car until Swank's mother saved enough money to rent an           
apartment. Swank has described her mother as the inspiration for her acting         
career and her life during this time period and subsequently. In California,         
Swank enrolled in South Pasadena High School (although she later dropped out of     
high school[8]) and started acting professionally. She also helped pay the rent     
with the money she earned appearing in television programs such as Evening Shade     
and Growing Pains.                                                                   
In September 1997, Swank was cast as single mother Carly Reynolds on Beverly         
Hills, 90210. She was initially promised it would be a two-year role, but saw       
her character written out after 16 episodes in January 1998. Swank later said       
that she was devastated at being cut from the show, thinking, "If I'm not good       
enough for 90210, I'm not good enough for anything." As it turned out, the           
firing was the best thing to happen to Swank, as it freed her to audition for       
the role of Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry. Swank dropped her body fat down to     
seven percent in preparation for the role. Many critics hailed hers as the           
best female performance of 1999; her co-star of the film, Chloë Sevigny, had her   
performance singled out for praise also, Swank and Sevigny were often ranked as     
the best two leads of 1999 in film. The performance ultimately won her the           
Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Actress. She subsequently won the Best Actress       
Oscar and Golden Globe again for playing a boxer in 2004's Million Dollar Baby,     
a role for which she underwent training and gained 19 pounds of muscle.             
Swank's Oscar success meant that she had joined the ranks of Vivien Leigh, Helen     
Hayes, Sally Field, and Luise Rainer as the only actresses to have been             
nominated twice and win both times (both times she won over fellow actress and       
nominee Annette Bening). She is also the third-youngest double Best Actress         
Oscar winner (after Luise Rainer and Jodie Foster.) After winning her second         
Best Actress Oscar, she said, "I don't know what I did in this life to deserve       
this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream." Swank had earned         
only $75/day for her work on Boys Don't Cry, culminating in a total of $3,000.       
Her earnings were so low, that (according to an anecdote on 60 Minutes)             
she had not even earned enough to qualify for health insurance but she has           
managed to draw attention of fight-movie goers and boxing fans with her award       
winning role Million-Dollar Baby.                                                   
In early 2006, Swank signed a three-year contract as spokesperson for Guerlain (a   
women's fragrance). In 2007, Swank starred in and executive produced                 
Freedom Writers, a drama about a real-life teacher who inspired a California         
high school class. Many reviews of Swank's performance were positive, with one       
critic noting that she "brings credibility" to the role and another stating         
that her performance reaches a "singular lack of artifice, stripping herself         
back to the bare essentials". Later the same year, Swank starred The Reaping,       
a horror film released on April 5, 2007, in which she plays a debunker of           
religious phenomena. Swank convinced the producers to move the film's setting       
from New England to the Deep South, and the movie was being filmed in Baton         
Rouge, Louisiana, when Hurricane Katrina struck. Swank also appeared in the         
romantic comedy PS, I Love You alongside Gerard Butler, an actor she has much       
praise for. It was released at the end of 2007. She will have a cameo in             
Iron Man, an upcoming film based on fictional Marvel Comics character due for       
release in May 2008.                                                                 
Swank received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, January 8, 2007.     
Her's was the 2,325th star given.