- Kirsten Caroline Dunst
April 30, 1982 (age 38)
- Actor, Singer, Model
- Klaus Dunst, Inez Rupprecht
Kirsten Caroline Dunst (born April 30, 1982) is an American actress, singer and model. She made her film debut in Woody Allen's short film Oedipus Wrecks for the anthology film New York Stories (1989). At the age of twelve, Dunst gained widespread recognition as vampire Claudia in Interview with the Vampire (1994), a role for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. She appeared in Little Women the same year and in Jumanji the following year. After a recurring role in the NBC medical drama ER (1996–97) as Charlie Chemingo and co-starring in films such as Wag the Dog (1997), Small Soldiers (1998) and The Virgin Suicides (1999), Dunst transitioned into romantic comedies and comedy-dramas, starring in Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Bring It On (2000), Get Over It and Crazy/Beautiful (both released in 2001).
Dunst achieved international fame for her portrayal of Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002–07). Since then, her films have included the romantic comedy Wimbledon (2004), the science fiction romantic comedy-drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Cameron Crowe's romantic tragicomedy Elizabethtown (2005). She played the title role in Sofia Coppola's biographical film Marie Antoinette (2006) and starred in the comedy film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008). She won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Saturn Award for Best Actress for her performance in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011).
In 2001, Dunst made her singing debut in the film Get Over It, in which she performed two songs. She also sang the jazz song "After You've Gone" for the end credits of the film The Cat's Meow (2001).
She starred in season two of the FX series Fargo in 2015, playing the role of Peggy Blomquist, a slightly delusional and neurotic hairdresser. Her performance garnered widespread critical acclaim, leading to her winning the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and being nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film.
Dunst was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to Inez and Klaus Dunst. She has a younger brother, Christian. Her father worked as a medical services executive, and her mother worked for Lufthansa as a flight attendant and was an artist and one-time gallery owner. Dunst's father is German, originally from Hamburg, and Dunst's mother, who was born in New Jersey, is of German and Swedish descent.
Until the age of eleven, Dunst lived in Brick Township, New Jersey, where she attended Ranney School. In 1993, her parents separated, and she subsequently moved with her mother and brother to Los Angeles, California, where she attended Laurel Hall School in North Hollywood. In 1995, her mother filed for divorce. The following year Dunst began attending Notre Dame High School, a private Roman Catholic high school in Los Angeles.
After graduating from Notre Dame High School in 2000, Dunst continued the acting career that she had begun. As a teenager, she found it difficult to deal with her rising fame, and for a period she blamed her mother for pushing her into acting as a child. However, she later expressed that her mother "always had the best intentions". When asked if she had any regrets about the way she spent her childhood, Dunst said: "Well, it's not a natural way to grow up, but it's the way I grew up and I wouldn't change it. I have my stuff to work out ... I don't think anybody can sit around and say, 'My life is more screwed up than yours.' Everybody has their issues."
1988–1993: Early work
Dunst began her career when she was three years old as a child fashion model in television commercials. She was signed with Ford Models and Elite Model Management. At the age of six, she made her feature film debut in a minor role in Woody Allen's short film Oedipus Wrecks that was released as one-third of the anthology film New York Stories (1989). Soon after, she co-starred with Tom Hanks in the comedy-drama The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), based on Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name, where she played the daughter of Hanks' character. In 1993, Dunst guest-starred on the science fiction drama Star Trek: The Next Generation in the season seven episode titled "Dark Page" as Hedril.
1994–2001: Critical success
The breakthrough role in Dunst's career came in 1994 in the romantic horror film Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, based on Anne Rice's novel, in which she played Claudia, the child vampire who is a surrogate daughter to Cruise and Pitt's characters. The film received ambivalent reviews, but many film critics complimented Dunst's performance. Roger Ebert commented that Dunst's creation of the child vampire Claudia was one of the "creepier" aspects of the film, and mentioned her ability to convey the impression of great age inside apparent youth. Todd McCarthy in Variety noted that Dunst was "just right" for the family. The film featured a scene in which Dunst shared her first on-screen kiss with Pitt, who was nineteen years older than her. In an interview with Interview magazine, she revealed, while questioned about her kissing scene with Pitt, that kissing him had made her feel uncomfortable: "I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties. I mean, I was 10." Her performance earned her the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, the Saturn Award for Best Young Actress, and her first Golden Globe Award nomination.
Later in 1994, Dunst co-starred in the drama film Little Women opposite Winona Ryder and Claire Danes. The film received favorable reviews. Critic Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the film was the greatest adaptation of the novel and remarked on Dunst's performance, "The perfect contrast to take-charge Jo comes from Kirsten Dunst's scene-stealing Amy, whose vanity and twinkling mischief make so much more sense coming from an 11-year-old vixen than they did from grown-up Joan Bennett in 1933. Ms. Dunst, also scarily effective as the baby bloodsucker of Interview With the Vampire, is a little vamp with a big future."
2002–2009: Spider-Man and mainstream success
In 2002, Dunst co-starred opposite Tobey Maguire in the superhero film Spider-Man, the most financially successful film of her career to date. She played Mary Jane Watson, the best friend and love interest of Peter Parker (Maguire). The film was directed by Sam Raimi. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly remarked on Dunst's ability to "lend even the smallest line a tickle of flirtatious music." In the Los Angeles Times review, critic Kenneth Turan noted that Dunst and Maguire made a real connection on screen, concluding that their relationship "involved audiences to an extent rarely seen in films." Spider-Man was a commercial and critical success. The movie grossed $114 million during its opening weekend in North America and went on to earn $822 million worldwide.
Dunst was treated for depression in early 2008 at the Cirque Lodge treatment center in Utah. She explained that she had been feeling low in the six months before her admission. In late March 2008, she checked out of the treatment center and began filming All Good Things. In May 2008, she went public with this information in order to highlight the struggle faced by so many other successful women and to dispel rumors that had been very painful for her friends and family.
She gained German citizenship in 2011 and now holds dual citizenship of Germany and the United States.