Winona Ryder was born Winona Laura Horowitz and named after the town in which she was born, Winona, Minnesota. She grew up in a ranch commune in Northern California which had no electricity. She is the goddaughter of Timothy Leary. Her parents were friends of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and once edited a book called "Shaman Woman Mainline Lady", an anthology of writings on the drug experience in literature, which included one piece by Louisa May Alcott. Winona Ryder was later to star as Jo March in this author's Little Women (1994).
Ryder moved with her parents to Petaluma, California when she was ten and enrolled in acting classes at the American Conservatory Theater. At age 13, she had a video audition to the film Desert Bloom (1986), but did not get the part. However, director David Seltzer spotted her and cast her in Lucas (1986). When telephoned to ask how she would like to have her name appear on the credits, she suggested Ryder as her father's Mitch Ryder album was playing the background. Ryder was selected for the part of Mary Corleone in The Godfather: Part III (1990), but had to drop out of the role after catching the flu from the strain of doing the films Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990) and Mermaids (1990) back to back. She said she did not want to let everyone down by doing a substandard performance. She later made The Age of Innocence (1993), which was directed by Martin Scorsese, whom she believes to be "the best director in the world".
Frequently plays a character who writes. In most of her films, she has played a journalist, a reporter, a writer or just a teenager who writes in a journal or diary.
Dark hair and pale skin
Large brown eyes
Very slender figure
Her real hair color is blonde but when she made her first major film, Lucas (1986), her hair color was dyed black. She was told to keep it that color and with the exception of Edward Scissorhands (1990), it has stayed that color since.
Her December 22, 1999, guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992) was her second-ever appearance on a talk show. She did it to promote Girl, Interrupted (1999), the first film on which she served as executive producer. She clearly had jitters but settled in comfortably. She made her first appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (1986) with Mermaids (1990) co-star Cher.
Injured knee while filming Girl, Interrupted (1999). [22 March 1999]
Ranked #42 in Empire (UK) magazine's the Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time list. [October 1997]
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. 
Born at 11:00am, CDT.
She briefly checked herself into a hospital when she was 20, because she was suffering from depression, anxiety attacks, and exhaustion, resulting from constantly working on films.
Graduated from Petaluma High School with a 4.0 GPA.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7018 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California in October 2000. She was voted Best Dressed Celebrity of the Week by Entertainment Weekly for the event. Her great friend Anthony Hopkins attended the ceremony.
Helped Italian designer Giorgio Armani promote his Manhattan chain of stores. 
Had to turn down the role of Nina in The Object of My Affection (1998) due to scheduling conflicts. 
Chosen as one of the Top Players Under 35 list by People magazine. 
Began work on Girl, Interrupted (1999), which took four more years to make it to the screen. 
Although there was no electricity on the commune where they lived, when Winona was seven, her mother began to run an old movie theater in a nearby barn and would screen movies all day. She allowed Winona to miss school to watch movies with her.
She dedicated the film Little Women (1994) to Polly Klaas, a young girl from her hometown of Petaluma, California, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered. She offered a $200,000 reward for anyone with information on the subject, and remains a strong supporter of the Polly Klaas Foundation.
Beat poet Allen Ginsberg was a close friend of her parents.
Upset with MGM for refusing to pre-screen Autumn in New York (2000), saying she was very proud of the film and that the studio was giving it a bad name before it was even released. 
Refused to do promotion for Lost Souls (2000). 
Signed on to "The Girl You Want". After a few weeks of preproduction, she received a new version of the script, which she hated, and tried to get out of her contract. Touchstone Pictures threatened to sue her if she did, and so she completed the film. The film's title was changed to Boys (1996) and sat on the shelf for more than a year. After it finally got its release, it was released in less than 100 theaters in North America and grossed less than five hundred thousand dollars. 
Her favorite book is J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye". She says she owns every paperback edition and translations.
In late 1999, she started her own music company, Roustabout Studios.
Appeared on the season finale of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) as herself. [19 May 2001]
The film Lost Souls (2000), though it was released in late 2000, was actually shot in 1998, and New Line Cinema kept in on the shelf for two years.
Had one date with Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller, who wrote the song "Rollerskate Skinny" about her.
Her agent begged her not to do Heathers (1988), saying her career would be over.
Enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco at age 12.
The first house she bought was in the Hollywood Hills. She soon moved, saying she never fitted in.
First auditioned for the role of Blanca in The House of the Spirits (1993) when she was sixteen, but the part went to Pernilla August. The film took years to get made, and when it finally did, August had to drop out at the last minute due to pregnancy, and Winona replaced her.
Dropped out of The Godfather: Part III (1990). She said in an interview later that year that she arrived in Rome to film and simply could not get out of bed. A doctor was called and ordered her to return home and sleep.
Dated Johnny Depp for many years. He had a tattoo of her name and after they broke up, he had it reduced to "Wino forever."
Suffered severe stomach pains and doubled over in pain. She was sent to her hotel room in London, England, and later was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a severe gastroenterological disorder. She left the United Kingdom on August 24th. The sickness caused her to drop out of the (unreleased) film Lily and the Secret Planting (2002) and her part eventually went to Kate Winslet instead. Winona was said to have been very passionate about her role in the film and was heartbroken to leave. The incident brought to mind the similar 1990 stomach flu that caused her to drop out of The Godfather: Part III (1990) two days before filming began, causing a lot of controversy. [16 August 2001]
Was arrested in Beverly Hills for allegedly stealing clothing items and carrying illegal pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. Her lawyer denied the accusations, and Winona was released later that evening on $20,000 bail. Despite her alleged crime, Beverly Hills police described her as "very friendly, polite, and cooperative" and "a nice lady." [December 12, 2001]
Appeared on the cover of the June 2002 cover of W magazine wearing a "Free Winona" T-shirt. "Free Winona" T-shirts became popular over the Internet following her December 22, 2001 arrest, with many fans sporting them and purses in support.
November 6, 2002. She was found guilty of vandalism and grand theft in connection with the shoplifting charges dating from back on December 12, 2001. Sentencing is scheduled for December 6, 2002. She was acquitted of a third charge, burglary.
6 December 2002 - Sentenced to 480 hours of community service, three years' probation, $3700 in fines, and $6355 in restitution for her arrest on shoplifting charges.
Dropped out of Eulogy (2004).
A fan of the film Grey Gardens (1975).
Suffers from insomnia. She allegedly has had a habit of talking on the phone with actor Al Pacino, who also suffers from insomnia.
Suffers from aquaphobia due to trauma she suffered at age 12 when she nearly drowned. This caused problems when she had to act in some of the underwater scenes in Alien: Resurrection (1997). The scenes had to be reshot numerous times because of this.
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998
Her friendship with best friend Gwyneth Paltrow ended in the late 1990s because their lives grew apart.
Persuaded Universal Pictures to turn the February 1994 Los Angeles premiere of Reality Bites (1994) into a benefit for the Polly Klaas Foundation. She also had enough clout to see that Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" - Polly's favorite book - was made into Little Women (1994), with Winona in the title role and the film dedicated to Polly Hannah Klaas.
She serves on the Board of American Indian College Funds.
March 17, 2000, San Francisco International Film Festival awarded the prestigious Peter J. Owens Award to her for brilliance, independence and integrity.
Had several films that were announced but later canceled in the mid-2000s: Robert Altman's "The Widow Claire", Norman Jewison's "Embers", Jonas Åkerlund's "Oskur Fishman", and Élie Chouraqui's "Beyond Friendship".
Her participation in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004) was reported by Italian newspapers months before the official announcements were made; Ryder claims she met author Laura Albert in 1993 at an opera.
She was harassed her first week of junior high school when a group of bullies mistook her for an effeminate, scrawny boy.
VH1's "100 Greatest Teen Stars" (2006) (mini) ranked her seventh.
She was given an honorary Master of Fine Arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater.
In 1995, she made yet another significant artistic departure, recording a spoken word reading of the famous diary of Anne Frank, for which she received a Grammy nomination. Winona became one of the few non-musicians to have been nominated for both an Oscar and a Grammy for different projects.
Her father's family was originally named 'Tomchin', however she stated that they were wrongly assigned the name of the family that they were travelling with when they arrived at Ellis Island, in 1906.
Avid reader of 1960s literature (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac), but also F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, Aldous Huxley, Oscar Wilde, and many more. All-time favorite book is "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger.
She owns some of Hollywood's stars' most priceless possessions (Louis Armstrong's bongo drums among others). She also has a collection of vintage Hollywood costumes, including Russ Tamblyn's jacket from West Side Story (1961), Leslie Caron's dress from An American in Paris (1951), Claudette Colbert's gown from It Happened One Night (1934), Olivia de Havilland's blouse from Gone with the Wind (1939), and Sandra Dee's bikini from the "Tammy movies".
Most of her early childhood was spent in Petaluma,Sonoma county. The family spent some time in Columbia with Chilean revolutionaries in the mid-1970s. They moved to a 300 acre commune in Elk, Mendocino County with seven other families in the late 1970s.
Her godfather is Timothy Leary.
Good friends with Courtney Love.
The rock group, "The Wynona Ryders" named themselves after her.
Was offered the role of Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie in Steel Magnolias (1989). However Julia Roberts, who went on to receive a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.
Was engaged to Blake Soper, having been in a relationship with him since October 2007 (March-August 2008).
Owns a three bedroom house on Union Street in San Francisco that she purchased in 1995 for $1,3000,000 as well as her long time four bedroom mini-manse on N. Doheny Drive in Los Angeles that she purchased in 1998 for $2,600,000.
Sold her Manhattan co-operative apartment located at 1 Lexington Avenue in the relatively halcyon Gramercy Park neighborhood for $2,200,000.
Joined Amnesty International at age 12.
Received the 'Prix Marie Claire Icono Fashion' during the Marie Claire Awards Party in Madrid, Spain. (November 2008).
Ryder was discovered by a casting director at Salmagundi.
In early 2011, she maintained a personal box office record, when she for the first time in her career had two movies placed in top 5 of highest grossing movies over the weekend at the domestic box office - Black Swan (2010) and The Dilemma (2011). Previously, when her two films Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Mermaids (1990) played in theaters over the 1990 holiday season, they were both placed in the box office top 10.
The opening scene of Star Trek (2009) was originally featuring Winona with her newly born Spock, but the scene was cut and replaced with a more action-packed scene.
It was Winona who brought the idea of redoing Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" to Francis Ford Coppola's attention. She had been given a pile of scripts by her agent, one of which was titled "Dracula: The Untold Story". This was the first time Ryder had ever read anything to do with Dracula, let alone see a film about him. Coppola was interested as he saw it as a bridge-building exercise between him and Ryder after she had inexplicably dropped out of The Godfather: Part III (1990).
In 2009, on Paramount Pictures' website with "For Your Consideration" banners for the award, they had featured one for Winona's performance in Star Trek (2009) despite her limited screen time.
For the first time in 17 years, she would have to audition for a role, as the film crew of The Dilemma (2011) wished to see what actress could create the right chemistry with Vince Vaughn. She originally auditioned for "Beth", put they found her perfect for "Geneva".
Has collaborated with Tim Burton, on film, three times now. There was a 21 year long gap between their second and third project.
Ranked #49 on Empire Magazine's 100 sexiest movie stars.
Was Martin Scorsese's first and only choice for the role of May Welland.
When she was living with Johnny Depp in 1991, he once sent 200 packets of her favorite food, Oriental-flavored Ramen noodles, to her hotel room when she was away working on a film.
In 1997, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano Jr. publicly referred to her as a negative role model for having done "more damage to young girls" than any other actress "because she smokes all the time in every movie she makes.".
Her Walk of Fame star resides directly in front of the Johnny Grant building next to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, where Grant says he can "watch over her every day.".
Was ranked 183 on the list of VH1 Greatest Pop Culture Icons.
Is the object of obsession for a young boy, played by British teen actor, Craig David in Tim Burton-directed music video, 'Here With Me' for rock band, The Killers (2012).
When asked why is she always playing teenagers, during a press junket for Mermaids (1990) in 1990: "Like, I'm nineteen. What am I supposed to do, play a judge?!"
I read biographies of the greats, and they were so messed up that I thought I'd better mess myself up. But I couldn't. I'm too small.
For a long time I was almost ashamed of being an actress. I felt like it was a shallow occupation. People would be watching my every move.
On Heathers (1988): "It's a brilliant piece of literature, and I call it literature because it really is. I held it up next to 'Catcher in the Rye' and all the great books that I've read."
I don't feel threatened like Julia Roberts. Pretty Woman (1990) turned her into an overnight celebrity rather than an actress. Now her whole career is about box- office - - if her movies don't break $l00-million. It's not a burden I'd ever want to carry.
On Alien: Resurrection (1997): I couldn't hold my own against Sigourney Weaver and those special effects. I still don't know what I was doing in that movie. I look at it now and realize I really didn't belong. I'm just this little girl running around.
I still practice Buddhism to a certain extent and I believe in karma.
My father is an atheist. My mother is Buddhist. They encouraged my siblings and me to take the best part of other religions to make our own belief system.
I live in San Francisco, I have an apartment in New York, but I'm here all the time. Nobody knows. .. . You can't stay away. I'm a San Franciscan to the bone.
I love westerns. John Ford is one of the 10 best directors.
Focus should be on the art of film, not on the business of film.
My godfather Timothy Leary coined the phrase 'question authority', it is one of my favorites. To question our government is the most important thing people can do right now in the US.
[Explaining why she never felt guilty about her shoplifting arrest]: I didn't have this tremendous sense of guilt because I hadn't hurt anyone. Had I physically harmed someone or caused harm to a human being, I think it would have been an entirely different experience.
On The Godfather: Part III (1990): I was devastated because I love the Godfather movies so much. What happened was I'd done Mermaids (1990) and we were shooting for spring in the coldest winter in Boston's history, and I got an upper respiratory infection. The day I wrapped I had to get on a plane to Italy. I actually passed out in the costume-fitting. I was just exhausted, and the next thing I knew I was at home with my parents. The film's insurance people said I needed to be in bed for a few weeks. I was heartbroken, but at the same time I was so sick it was a relief. And Al [Pacino] and Francis [Ford Coppola] and Diane [Keaton] all called me and were really nice, which meant a lot. I felt bad in a way because they were so mean to Sofia [Coppola], who's always been so nice to me.
(On Kate Winslet when Winona was on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993) in 2000) I'm captivated by her. I think that she's the most beautiful, talented, extraordinary actresses ever to grace the screen. I watch her movies over and over. It's kind of like one of those kids how they were with Elvis. I mean, I worship her...I met her once, and I was tongue-tied, and palms were sweating...There's something about her that I'm sort of in love with. I just think she's amazing.
I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm not going to turn into Gloria Swanson and sit in my mansion watching my movies, with a crazy cigarette holder ... but I feel so blessed to have done the things that I've done.
I don't know if it's because of my love of books and the pages and the print-there's just so much romance in them-but I hate all these doublespeak abbreviations like 'OMG' and 'LOL.' I still don't know if that means 'Laugh Out Loud' or 'Lots of Love.'
I was out at a bar with a friend who said, 'Do you realize that in America you're never going to be able to meet a guy who knows nothing about you? Everyone will have preconceived ideas about who you are.' I got so bummed out. I'd never really thought about it that way.
What's awful about being famous and being an actress is when people come up to you and touch you. That's scary, and they just seem to think it's okay to do it, like you're public property.
I think too much. I think ahead. I think behind. I think sideways. I think it all. If it exists, I've fucking thought of it.
[on Tim Burton] He gave me my career. Actually, if you think about it, I don't think I would be an actress if Beetlejuice (1988) hadn't come along, because I really wasn't thriving in those auditions. I'd just done a couple things, but I had black hair and was very pale, and that movie led to other things. So yeah, he gave me a career.
I don't know if it's a cold - it's just that my voice was kind of going. But it's back, so I'm actually okay. In a weird way, I was actually hoping that whatever voice thing I've got could stay so that I could sort of have a Debra Winger thing going on. I've always loved her voice. But it's getting better, so I'm going to sound like me.
Looking back - and this is all in retrospect - I did have a lot of success and a lot of great opportunities earlier in my career. But I did also have this thing that was sort of happening in my late twenties where, whether it was because of how I looked or because I started so young, even though I was the right age for things, people didn't think that I was old enough.
I was starting to have some trouble before that. I think a lot of people think that that is what sort of sent me off in another direction, but I was actually starting to have some trouble a few years before. And then there were also a couple of movies that I was going to do, that were all set up, and then, at the last minute, they fell apart... And with what happened... I was living up in San Francisco and I really needed the time off, which ended up being a couple of years. In a weird way, it was almost like the best thing that could have happened because I'd never asked myself the question before of, 'Is it okay if I'm not going to act? Is there anything else?' because that was all that I really knew.
I have to admit, though, that every time I hear 'comeback, blah, blah, blah,' it's kind of hard for me. I'm not trying to be super-sensitive at all, but there is a little bit of defensiveness because I do feel like I have contributed. Even if I'd just made Beetlejuice and Heathers, I put in work.
I'm in Brooklyn. I'm actually trying to do the bi-coastal thing now for real. I did it before, but not really. My home is San Francisco - that is definitely what I consider my home. But I have a little place for when I'm in L.A., and then there's this apartment in Williamsburg, which is the part of Brooklyn where my dad grew up. He came to visit... It's just so hip now.
I remember one time in particular. I was in the middle of auditioning, and I was mid-sentence when the casting director said, "Listen, kid. You should not be an actress. You are not pretty enough. You should go back to wherever you came from and you should go to school. You don't have it." She was very blunt - I honestly think that she thought she was doing me a favor.
|Alien: Resurrection (1997)||$2,800,000|
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