- Amy Lou Adams
August 20, 1974 (age 46)
- Actor, Singer, Dancer
- Darren Le Gallo
- Kathryn Adams, Richard Adams
Amy Lou Adams (born August 20, 1974) is an American actress and singer. Adams began her career on stage performing in dinner theatre and later made her feature film debut in Drop Dead Gorgeous. After moving to Los Angeles and appearing in a series of television guest appearances and roles in B movies, Adams appeared as Brenda Strong in Steven Spielberg's Frank Abagnale biopic Catch Me If You Can. Her breakthrough role came in the 2005 independent film Junebug, for which she received critical acclaim and her first of five Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In 2007, Adams starred in the Disney animated classic reboot film Enchanted, a critical and commercial success, and received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her lead performance. She received her second Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and first BAFTA Award nomination for her supporting role in the 2008 film Doubt.
Adams received two more Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award nominations for her supporting roles in the 2010 sports drama The Fighter and the 2012 psychological drama The Master. She achieved further success in 2013 for portraying Lois Lane in the Superman movie Man of Steel, a supporting role in the Spike Jonze-directed comedy-drama Her, and a con artist in David O. Russell's crime film American Hustle; the last of these won her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy along with a fourth BAFTA nomination, and a fifth Oscar nomination, her first in the Best Actress category.
Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy, the fourth of seven children of American parents Richard Kent and Kathryn (née Hicken) Adams. She has four brothers and two sisters. Her father was a U.S. serviceman stationed at Caserma Ederle at the time of her birth, and took the entire family from base to base, before settling in Castle Rock, Colorado, when Adams was eight years old. Thereafter, her father sang professionally in restaurants and her mother was a semi-professional bodybuilder. Adams was raised Mormon, but her family left the church after her parents' divorce in 1985. Adams said her religious upbringing "... instilled in me a value system I still hold true. The basic 'Do unto others...', that was what was hammered into me. And love."
Throughout her years at Douglas County High School, Adams sang in the school choir and trained as an apprentice at a local dance company with ambitions of becoming a ballerina. Her parents had hoped that she would continue her athletic training, which she gave up to pursue dance, as it would have given her a chance to obtain a college scholarship. Adams later reflected on her decision not to go to college: "I wasn't one of those people who enjoyed being in school. I regret not getting an education, though." After graduating from high school, she moved to Atlanta with her mother. Deciding that she was not gifted enough to be a professional ballerina, she entered musical theater, which she found was "much better suited to [her] personality". She said that ballet was "too disciplined and too restrained and I was always told off in the chorus lines" and her body at the time was "just wrecked from dancing all these years."
When she turned 18, Adams supported herself by working as a greeter at a Gap store while performing in community theater. For a few weeks after graduating high school, she took her first full-time job as a hostess at Hooters, a fact that became her "entire press career" for a while. Adams left the job three weeks later after having saved enough money to buy her first car. She admitted: "... there was definitely an innocence to my interpretation of what Hooters was about. Though I did learn, quickly, that short shorts and beer don't mix!"
Adams began working professionally as a dancer at Boulder's Dinner Theatre and Country Dinner Playhouse. There, she was spotted by a Minneapolis dinner theater director, Michael Brindisi, in 1995. Adams relocated to Chanhassen, Minnesota, and worked at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres for the next three years. While she was off work nursing a pulled muscle, she auditioned for the satirical 1999 comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, which was being filmed in Minnesota, and was cast in her first film role. Persuaded by her Drop Dead Gorgeous co-star Kirstie Alley, Adams moved to Los Angeles, California, in January 1999.
Describing her first year there as her "dark year" and "bleak", she recalled that she would "pine for that time" at Chanhassen because she "really loved that security and schedule", and said, "The people I worked with there were also a great family to me." Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, she was cast in Fox Network's television series spin-off of Cruel Intentions, Manchester Prep, in the role of Kathryn Merteuil. The series did not live up to the network's expectations and following numerous script revisions and two production shutdowns, it was canceled. The filmed episodes were then re-edited to be released as the direct-to-video film, Cruel Intentions 2.
From 2000 to 2002, Adams appeared in a series of small films like Psycho Beach Party, while guest-starring on television series such as That '70s Show, Charmed, The Office, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The West Wing. She appeared in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can as Brenda Strong, a nurse with whom Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) falls in love. It was, in Spielberg's words, "the part that should have launched her career" but she was unemployed for a year after that. However, Adams said, "It was the first time I knew I could act at that level with those people. To be believed in by Steven Spielberg... it was a huge confidence booster."
In 2004, she starred in The Last Run as well as voicing characters on the animated television series King of the Hill. She was also cast as a regular in the television series, Dr. Vegas, in the role of Alice Doherty but was later fired after a contract dispute.
Critical success and breakthrough acting roles
Prior to leaving Dr. Vegas, she had received the script for the low-budget independent film Junebug and auditioned for the role of Ashley Johnsten, a young, cheerful and talkative pregnant woman. Director Phil Morrison explains his decision to cast Adams: "Lots of people looked at Ashley and thought, 'What's the sorrow she's masking?' To me, the fact that Amy didn't approach it from the angle of 'What's she covering up?' was key." The film was shot in 21 days in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During that time, Adams turned 30 and was worried about her film career: "I thought maybe I should move to New York, maybe I should do something else. It wasn't that I was quitting or making a dramatic statement. It was more like maybe this just wasn't a good fit." On the experience of making Junebug, Adams said, "It was really empowering. At the end of the summer I was unemployed but I was happy and I was proud. I was like, you know what, I'm done with being pushed around." Junebug premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival with Adams winning a Special Jury Prize for her performance.
After the theatrical release of The Wedding Date, in which Adams appeared alongside Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney, Junebug was released in theaters by Sony Pictures Classics. Adams earned critical accolades for her work in Junebug; Carina Chocano of Los Angeles Times noted, "Adams' performance in a role that could have easily devolved into caricature is complex and nuanced." Joe Leydon of Variety commented, "Partly due to her character's generosity of spirit, but mostly due to her own charisma, Adams dominates pic with her appealing portrayal of a nonjudgmental optimist savvy enough to recognize the shortcomings of others, but sweet enough to offer encouragement, not condemnation". She received several awards for Best Supporting Actress including the National Society of Film Critics award and the Independent Spirit Award. She was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited Adams to become a member in 2006.
Adams starred in Disney's 2007 big-budget animated/live-action feature film, Enchanted. The film, which co-stars Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel, Susan Sarandon and James Marsden, revolves around Giselle, who is forced from her hand-drawn animated world to real-life New York City. Adams was amongst 300 or so actresses who auditioned for the role of Giselle, but she stood out to director Kevin Lima because her "commitment to the character, her ability to escape into the character's being without ever judging the character was overwhelming."
Enchanted was a commercial success, grossing more than $340 million worldwide. Her performance was well received by critics. Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times commented that Adams was "fresh and winning," Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe stated that she "demonstrates a real performer's ingenuity for comic timing and physical eloquence." She garnered a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, a Critics' Choice Award nomination for Best Actress, and the Saturn Award for Best Actress. Three of the film's songs were nominated for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards. Adams performed one of the songs, "Happy Working Song", live on stage during the Oscar ceremony. "That's How You Know", originally performed by Adams in the film, was sung by Kristin Chenoweth at the ceremony. In an interview, Adams remarked that the song was "perfect" for Chenoweth since Chenoweth "was a huge inspiration for how [she] approached Giselle."
The success of Enchanted increased Adams' media exposure during the 2007–08 film awards season. As well as appearing on the covers of Interview, Elle and the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, which named her as one of the "10 fresh faces of 2008,"
In 2001, Adams began dating actor and artist Darren Le Gallo, whom she met in an acting class. Adams and Le Gallo became engaged in July 2008. In May 2010, Adams gave birth to their daughter.