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Vera Farmiga Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 6 August 1973Passaic County, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameVera Ann Farmiga
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for best performance in her supporting role, opposite George Clooney, in Up in the Air (2009).

She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, second of seven children, on August 6, 1973, in Clifton (Passaic County), New Jersey, USA, to Ukrainian parents. She did not speak English until the age of six, and was raised in the strict Ukrainian Catholic home of her mother, Lyuba (Spas), a schoolteacher, and her father, Michael (Mykola) Farmiga, a computer systems analyst. Her younger sister is actress Taissa Farmiga. She attended a Ukrainian Catholic school, then went to public School. Young Vera Farmiga was a shy, nearsighted girl wearing spectacles while practicing her piano, and was switching to contact lenses for dancing. She was touring with a Ukrainian folk-dancing company in her teens.

In 1991, she graduated from Hunterdon Central regional high school. She initially dreamed of becoming an optometrist, but changed her mind, and studied acting at Syracuse University's School of Performing Arts. In 1996, she began her professional acting career, making her Broadway debut, as an understudy, in the play "Taking Sides". Her stage credits included performances in "The Tempest", "The Glass Menagerie", "Hamlet" and in a well-reviewed off-Broadway production, "Second-Hand Smoke" (1997). At the same time, she made her television debut as a female lead, "Catlin", opposite then-unknown Heath Ledger, in Fox's adventure series, Roar (1997).

In 1998, Farmiga made her big screen debut in the drama, Return to Paradise (1998), then played daughters of Christopher Walken in The Opportunists (2000) and Richard Gere in Autumn in New York (2000). She starred as a working-class mother struggling to keep her life and marriage together while hiding her drug addiction in Down to the Bone (2004), for which she won Best Actress Awards from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Farmiga's acting talent shone in a range of characters, from her memorable role as the senator's daughter, opposite Jon Voight, in The Manchurian Candidate (2004), to a mental patient in an insane asylum in Neverwas (2005). She co-stars as the wife of a mobster, opposite Paul Walker, in Running Scared (2006), as a humorous prostitute in Breaking and Entering (2006), and as a doctor in The Departed (2006). In 2010, Vera Farmiga received an Academy Award nomination for best performance in a supporting role, opposite George Clooney, in Up in the Air (2009), which received six Oscar nominations. In 2011, she made her directorial debut with Higher Ground (2011), where she also appears in the leading role as "Corinne", a thoughtful woman who struggles with belief, love, and trust - in human relationships as well as in God, and dares to question the religious dogma. Although the film had a limited release, Farmiga's direction and performance received attention at several festivals.

Vera Farmiga was formerly married to actor Sebastian Roché, whom she met during her work on the series Roar (1997), and the two eloped to the Bahamas after the series ended in 1997. Their marriage ended in divorce in 2005. In 2008, she married musician Renn Hawkey and the couple has two children, son Finn, born in 2009, and daughter Gytta Lubov Hawkey, born in 2010. Vera Farmiga lives with her husband and their children in Hudson Valley, New York. She also spends time and works in Los Angeles, California. Her other activities, outside her acting profession, include reading, playing her piano, and spending time with her pet angora goats, an obsession she has had since she was a child.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (2)

Renn Hawkey (September 2008 - present) (2 children)
Sebastian Roché (1997 - 2005) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Expressive, piercing blue eyes

Trivia (20)

Grew up in a Ukranian-speaking enclave in New Jersey.
On Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993) (July 19, 2007), Vera stated that she has had Lasik eye surgery.
Graduated from Syracuse University.
Did not learn English until she was six.
Daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, the second of seven children.
Last name pronounced far-MEE-guh.
Attended Syracuse University with actors Taye Diggs, Larissa Thurston, and producer Terry Dinan.
Graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School Class of 1991.
Was member of the dramatic jury at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 35, son Fynn Hawkey on January 15, 2009. Child's father is her 2nd husband, Renn Hawkey.
Returned to work 2 months after giving birth to her son Fynn in order to begin filming Up in the Air (2009).
Auditioned for the role of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006), but Eva Green was cast instead.
A body double was used during her nude scene in Up in the Air (2009) as she had just recently given birth to her son Fynn.
Was originally cast as Wallis Simpson in W.E. (2011), but was forced to drop out due to her second pregnancy. Andrea Riseborough was then cast instead.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 37, daughter Gytta Lubov Hawkey on November 4, 2010. Child's father is her 2nd husband, Renn Hawkey.
Was 5 months pregnant with her daughter Gytta when she completed filming on Higher Ground (2011).
Returned to work 3 months after giving birth to her daughter Gytta in order to begin filming Goats (2012).
Older sister of Taissa Farmiga.
Good friends with George Clooney.
Delivered her children Fynn and Gytta via Caesarean section.

Personal Quotes (21)

I can't do Los Angeles. I've always been the anti-Barbie. I don't want to be in a place where almost every woman walks around with puffy lips, little noses and breasts large enough to nourish a small country. As a kid I wanted attention, so I started praying for glasses because everyone had ace vision in my family. Then one day my eyes started going bad and never stopped.
It's terrifying to be the lead. There's a moment of excitement, and then pure terror.
I really don't feel a need to be famous. But I do feel a need to make a difference, to shed light on human emotion through acting.
There are some times when I think acting can be a noble profession.
I'm not in this for the achievement. I'm in it for the illumination. That's how I choose my roles, that's how I attract roles -- it's a very spiritual process for me. And it's the only way I can continue, and stay interested. The acting ... it's really a vocation.
As an actor, you're sort of the court-appointed lawyer of the character. And that's what used to draw me to scripts -- something in a woman that I wanted to defend, something that I recognized or wanted to understand, something that turned my head. Now that I'm a mother, I think it's more the message of a film, or the questions that they pose about life -- that's the magnifying glass through which I look at them now. But at first it was all about the character.
I just can't feel lukewarm about a character. I either despise her, admire her, or don't understand her and want to understand her.
What happened is that I ended up getting benched in soccer in high school so I tried out for the school play and I got the lead role. Then I just stuck with it.
[on her film, Higher Ground (2011)] You've got fundamentalism, and you've got relativism. I wanted to push both ways and try to come at it from a middle ground.
My dad is someone who feels the breath of God on his face. He's tapping into something that I have yet to tap into - and yearn to.
Doubt is the middle position between knowledge and ignorance. It encompasses cynicism but also genuine questioning.
[on any difficulties she encountered in casting Higher Ground (2011)] It should have been a lot harder. I'd say, "It's about a woman enmeshed in this very particular spiritual community who's trying to conceptualize and define God for herself". And you use the word "God" and people quake with fear. That's when I started to realize what a touchy, bizarre, sensitive, combative subject matter it is.
[on Up in the Air (2009)] Jason Reitman sketches these characters and shines a real stark spotlight on them that illuminates all their foibles, all of their deficiencies, quirks, eccentricities and yet you still manage to root for them because their so human and complex. And I saw that in Alex.
My culture is very rich in the art; singing and dance were so much a part of my childhood. I was in a traveling professional dance troupe called Syzokryli, and I was very serious about the piano. So I was always performing.
[on directing] My big formative experience was Debra Granik. That was school for me. It was the first time anyone had given me the responsibility of a protagonist, and to work so closely with her ethics and her tenets about her filmmaking, and her honesty. I was persuaded through the Deborah Granik School.
I keep finding the most compelling characters in independent films. A lot of the roles in the other kinds of films were peripheral princesses or just boring, boring women - female characters that were utterly ordinary and devoid of any personality or spirituality. Is that a reflection of what we've become as women? That's something that we sometimes don't think about. You see all these stupid, materialist, horny, nympho characters that people put up there in movies, and you have to think: Is that what feminine dignity has come to?
[on giving up music and dancing] I don't regret it. I'm a jack-of-that-trade. There's not enough time, genuinely, not enough time in the day. So you choose your weapons. And the piano...I will not have time for the next decade until my children are grown! It's not about me anymore. It's not about myself. It's about them and the very little time I have left for me.
I'm not an attention seeker; I wasn't looking for fame and fortune. I wasn't sure while I was at college. But I found I was really comfortable taking on a different personality. It saved me from myself, in a way.
I've gravitated towards independent cinema because you have to work harder in studio scripts to flesh out characters, particularly female ones. They are not as sharply edged, they tend to be quite watery. They are not renderings of women as I know them.
My parents are very sensible and grounded, they take it with a pinch of salt. You know, I'm one of seven and they want success for all their children. They're proud but they're even more proud now that I've given them grandchildren.
I'm really serious about boxing these days. Boxing is a great way for me to get out of my head and get out of my heart and just like sweat it out, honestly. I'm very serious about it. If I didn't have the insurance, I would honestly start sparring and start competing in boxing, because I'm that serious and love it. It's a huge passion of mine.

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