- Jennifer Shrader Lawrence
August 15, 1990 (age 31)
- Karen Lawrence, Gary Lawrence
Jennifer Shrader Lawrence (born August 15, 1990) is an American actress. Lawrence began her career in television, playing her first major role as a main cast member on the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show (2007–09). After transitioning into film, she had her breakout role in the independent drama Winter's Bone (2010), which brought her critical acclaim. Lawrence garnered wider recognition by playing the mutant Mystique in X-Men: First Class (2011), a role she reprised in later installments of the X-Men franchise. Her starring role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games film series (2012–15) established her as the highest-grossing action heroine of all time.
Lawrence has earned several accolades from her collaborations with director David O. Russell. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for playing a depressed widow in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012), making her the second-youngest Best Actress Oscar winner. She received the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for portraying a troubled wife in the black comedy American Hustle (2013). She also won three Golden Globe Awards for her roles in the two aforementioned films and for starring as the eponymous inventor in the biopic Joy (2015). Lawrence is one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry and has given her support to several charitable organizations and causes.
Lawrence was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Her parents are Karen (née Koch), who runs a children's camp, and Gary Lawrence, who once owned a concrete construction firm, Lawrence & Associates. She has two older brothers, Ben and Blaine. In school, she was prescribed medication for social anxiety and hyperactivity. She acted in local theater and, by the age of 14, had decided to pursue an acting career, persuading her parents to take her to New York City to find a talent agent. Prior to finding success in Hollywood, Lawrence attended Kammerer Middle School in Kentucky. She graduated from high school two years early with a 3.9 average, aiming at a career in acting. While growing up and in between acting, Lawrence served as an assistant nurse at the children's summer day camp that her mother ran.
In July 2007, Lawrence started her acting career as a teenager in the TBS comedy series The Bill Engvall Show, playing Lauren Pearson, the oldest daughter. The series premiered in September 2007 and was canceled in 2009 after three seasons. Lawrence was nominated for and won a Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Performer in a TV Series in their 2009 award show for her role, and was nominated for Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama).
In 2007, she auditioned for the role of Bella Swan in Twilight, but the role went to Kristen Stewart. In 2008, she appeared in a small role in the film Garden Party as Tiff. Lawrence had the role of Agnes in The Poker House. She was awarded the Los Angeles Film Festival Award for Best Performance in the Narrative Competition in 2008 for her role in the film. This was followed by an appearance in Guillermo Arriaga's film directorial debut The Burning Plain, opposite Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. Her performance in the film earned her the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best emerging actor/actress at the Venice Film Festival in 2008. She appeared in the music video for the song "The Mess I Made", from the band Parachute's 2009 album Losing Sleep.
Lawrence's lead role in Debra Granik's Winter's Bone, which won best picture at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, is often cited as a breakout performance for her. She portrayed Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old in the Ozark Mountains who cares for her mentally ill mother and her younger brother and sister. The performance was highly acclaimed by film critics. David Denby from The New Yorker said "the movie would be unimaginable with anyone less charismatic playing Ree." Peter Travers from Rolling Stone also spoke highly of her and noted that "her performance is more than acting, it's a gathering storm. Lawrence's eyes are a roadmap to what's tearing Ree apart." Receiving accolades for her performance, Lawrence was awarded the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance. She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress on January 25, 2011. Also in 2011, Lawrence co-starred in the independent film Like Crazy, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
She starred as shape-shifting villain, Mystique, alongside James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class, a prequel to the rest of the X-Men film series. Lawrence's Mystique is a younger version of the character played by Rebecca Romijn in earlier X-Men films.
The Hunger Games
In 2012, Lawrence starred as Katniss Everdeen in the film The Hunger Games, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. Despite being a fan of the books, Lawrence took three days to accept the role because she was initially intimidated by the size of the movie and how it might affect her career. She underwent extensive training to get in shape for the role, including stunt training, archery, rock and tree climbing, combat, running, parkour, pilates, and yoga. The film was released on March 23, 2012, and set a record for the third-largest opening weekend, making a record-breaking $152.5 million in three days for a non-sequel film. The success of The Hunger Games, and Lawrence as Katniss, broke the male-centric nature of action films — prior to The Hunger Games, among the "top 200 worldwide box-office hits ever ($350 million and up), not one had been built around a female action star." Forbes stated "No one who has seen The Hunger Games would question star Jennifer Lawrence's ability to play an action star." Though the film generally received positive reviews, Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss Everdeen was the most highly praised, with Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter saying Lawrence embodies Katniss, "just as one might imagine her from the novel" and "anchors" the whole film "with impressive gravity and presence", ultimately calling her "the ideal screen actress." Kenneth Turan from the Los Angeles Times stated that Lawrence is the "best possible performer as Katniss and is the key factor in making 'Hunger Games' an involving popular entertainment with strong narrative drive that holds our attention." Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert also agreed that "Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role."
In the media
Lawrence's performances by 2012 prompted Rolling Stone to call her "the most talented young actress in America." Donald Sutherland compared her to Laurence Olivier and described her as an "exquisite and brilliant actor." Director David O. Russell has praised her effortless acting that make her performances look easy. Lawrence was never involved with theater and did not take acting classes, stating, "I've always studied people and been fascinated by their reactions and feelings. And I think that's the best acting class you can take – watching real people, listening to them and studying them."
Lawrence is perceived as being in a position of influence and power within the film industry. In 2013, she was among the Time 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world published by Time, was named the most powerful woman in the entertainment business by Elle, and was ranked as the second-most powerful actress by Forbes, having earned an estimated $26 million over the previous year. In 2014, Forbes named her the second-highest-paid actress in Hollywood behind Sandra Bullock, and cited her as the most powerful actress, ranking at No. 12 overall in the magazine's Celebrity 100 list. She has also garnered publicity for her physical appearance: AskMen named her the "most desirable woman" of 2013, and FHM listed her as its annual "sexiest woman in the world" in 2014.
In August 2014, Lawrence was one of the victims of the iCloud celebrity-photo leaks. Many nude photos were posted online, including several of Lawrence. Emphasizing that the images were never meant to be public, Lawrence called the leak a "sex crime" and a "sexual violation".
Lawrence is active in charities such as the World Food Programme, Feeding America, and The Thirst Project. She organized an early screening of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire to benefit Saint Mary's Center, a special disabilities organization located in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and raised more than $40,000 for the cause. Lawrence is an official ambassador of the Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Lawrence has created the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, which supports charities such as the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Special Olympics, and Do Something, a non-profit organization with the goal of motivating young people to take action around social changes. She also held a fundraising contest for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles as part of the LA premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.
In a November 2015 interview with Vogue, Lawrence criticized Kim Davis for her opposition to same-sex marriage. Though she was "raised a Republican," Lawrence also said, "I just can't imagine supporting a party that doesn't support women's basic rights." Lawrence also identifies as pro-choice and is a supporter of Planned Parenthood.