- March 20, 1958 (age 63)
- Actor, Television Producer, Film Producer
- Janusz Kamiński
- Opal Marguerite Catledge, Charles Edwin Hunter
Holly Hunter (born March 20, 1958) is an American actress and producer. For her performance as Ada McGrath in The Piano (1993), Hunter received the Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, and Cannes Best Actress Award, among others. She has also been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Broadcast News (1987), as well as the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in The Firm (1993) and Thirteen (2003). Hunter has also won two Emmy Awards from seven nominations.
Early life and career
Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia, the daughter of Opal Marguerite (née Catledge), a housewife, and Charles Edwin Hunter, a farmer and sporting-goods manufacturer's representative. Hunter earned a degree in drama from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and for a while performed in the theatre scene there, playing ingenue roles at City Theatre, then named the City Players. She eventually moved to New York City and roomed with fellow actress Frances McDormand. Hunter, in 2008, described living in The Bronx "at the end of the D [subway] train, just off 205th Street, on Bainbridge Avenue and Hull Avenue. It was very Irish, and then you could go just a few blocks away and hit major Italian." A chance encounter with playwright Beth Henley, when the two were trapped alone in an elevator, led to Hunter's being cast in Henley's plays Crimes of the Heart (succeeding Mary Beth Hurt on Broadway), and Off-Broadway's The Miss Firecracker Contest. "It was like the beginning of 1982. It was on 49th Street between Broadway and Eighth [Avenue] [...] on the south side of the street," Hunter recalled in an interview. "[We were trapped] 10 minutes; not long. We actually had a nice conversation. It was just the two of us."
Stage and film
Hunter made her film debut in the 1981 horror movie The Burning. After moving to Los Angeles in 1982, Hunter appeared in TV movies before being cast in a supporting role in 1984's Swing Shift. That year, she had her first collaboration with the writing-directing-producing team of brothers Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, in Blood Simple, making an uncredited appearance as a voice on an answering-machine recording. More film and television work followed until 1987, when thanks to a starring role in the Coens' Raising Arizona and her Academy Award-nominated turn in Broadcast News, Hunter became a critically acclaimed star. She went on to the screen adaptation of Henley's Miss Firecracker; Steven Spielberg's Always, a romantic drama with Richard Dreyfuss; and the made-for-TV 1989 docudrama about the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.
Following her second collaboration with Dreyfuss, in Once Around, Hunter garnered critical attention for her work in two 1993 films, resulting in her being nominated for two Academy Awards the same year: Hunter's performance in The Firm won her a nomination as Best Supporting Actress, while her portrayal of a Scottish woman entangled in an adulterous affair with Harvey Keitel in Jane Campion's The Piano won her the Best Actress award.
Hunter went on to star in the comedy-drama Home for the Holidays and the thriller Copycat, both in 1995. She also appeared in David Cronenberg's Crash and as a sardonic angel in A Life Less Ordinary. The following year, she played a recently divorced New Yorker in Richard LaGravenese's Living Out Loud; starring alongside Danny DeVito, Queen Latifah, and Martin Donovan. Hunter rounded out the 1990s with a minor role in the independent drama Jesus' Son and as a housekeeper torn between a grieving widower and his son in Kiefer Sutherland's drama Woman Wanted.
Hunter is capable of hearing in her right ear but not her left ear, due to a childhood bout of the mumps, which sometimes leads to complications at work. Some scenes have to be altered from the script for her to use her right ear.
Holly Hunter was married to Janusz Kamiński, cinematographer of Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. from 1995 until 2001.
Hunter has been in a relationship with British actor Gordon MacDonald since 2001. The couple met in San Jose Repertory Theatre's production of playwright Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats, in which she played a woman abandoned by her lover of 14 years, played by MacDonald. In January 2006, Hunter's publicist announced that Hunter had given birth to the couple's twin boys Claude and Press.
In a 2009 interview, Hunter said to TV Guide that she does not discuss her children with the media.