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Emilie De Ravin

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Whitney Cummings

Bill Paxton

Kate Hudson

Topher Grace

Conan O'Brien

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Jennifer Aniston

Colin Firth

Tom Kenny

Ginnifer Goodwin Biography

Home > Actresses > G > Goodwin, Ginnifer > Biography

Birth Name: Ginnifer Goodwin
Born: 05/22/1978
Birth Place: Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Goodwin was born May 22, 1978, and raised in Memphis, TN. Her father had been a musician and studio owner in one of the industry's landmark cities. It was no surprise that Goodwin grew up with her eye on the stage; albeit, her interest was in acting. A self-described "Shakespeare nerd," Goodwin fell in love with "Romeo and Juliet" in the fifth grade and remained dedicated to acting all through school and on into Boston University, where she performed constantly in student films and in college and regional stage productions. Goodwin was given the Excellence in Acting: Professional Promise Award by the Bette Davis Foundation and graduated in 2001 with a BFA degree in acting. Heading to England, Goodwin furthered her studies at Stratford-Upon-Avon's Shakespeare Institute before earning an Acting Shakespeare Certificate from London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While in London, she appeared onstage as Joan of Arc, Ophelia in "Hamlet" and Jessica in "The Merchant of Venice."

Returning to Boston, Goodwin starred in such productions as "Dead End" and "As You Like It" at the Huntington Theatre. New York City was the next logical destination for the seasoned young stage actress, whose screen career promptly took off with a guest role on "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and a recurring character on NBC's quirky hour-long comedy "Ed," where she played a cynical high school student. Now a steadily working actress, Goodwin began to explore feature films with a starring role in Comedy Central's first original movie, "Porn 'n Chicken" (2002), where she banked on her brainy image to portray a Yale student dedicated to beer, fried chicken and porn. In a significantly classier outing, Goodwin more than held her own alongside Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Marcia Gay Harden in "Mona Lisa Smile" (2003), portraying a Wellesley College student whose love life is sabotaged by a mean-spirited friend.

Having been pegged as a natural for "quirky best friend" supporting roles, Goodwin was cast in the romantic comedy "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!" (2004), playing the daring gal pal of a sweet supermarket checkout girl (Kate Bosworth). The charmer did not fare as well at the box office as might have been expected, but Goodwin was no worse for wear due to her scene-stealing character. Goodwin graduated from young adult fare the following year with an appearance in director James Mangold's biopic "Walk the Line" (2005), where she delivered a particularly strong performance as the long-suffering first wife of country music singer Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), who succumbed to booze and pills and eventually left his wife and small children for fellow performer, June Carter (Reese Witherspoon).

Goodwin returned to the small screen, first lending her voice to the popular offbeat animated series "Robot Chicken" (Cartoon Network, 2005), then landing a cast role on "Big Love," HBO's series about one man's battle with modern-day polygamy. In the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated drama, Goodwin played the youngest of three wives married to a hardware store owner (Bill Paxton), whose agreeable nature makes her the favorite of her husband but causes friction with her two "sisters" (Jeanne Tripplehorn and Chloe Sevigny). Goodwin had a starring role in the dark indie comedy "Love Comes to the Executioner" (2006) as well as played the wife of an attorney (Chris Klein) called to serve in the military in the futuristic flop "Day Zero" (2006). The working relationship also sparked a real-life romance between the two, who dated for two years.

In between shooting seasons of "Big Love," Goodwin maintained a presence on the big screen. Her co-starring role as a Bohemian artist in the family dramedy "Birds of America" (2008) was little-seen outside of its Sundance premiere, but she hit mainstream theaters in "He's Just Not That Into You" (2009). In the collection of dating vignettes based on the humorous self-help tome by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, Goodwin joined an all-star cast including Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Aniston to play one of a number of lovelorn ladies who need help interpreting signals from the opposite sex. The same year, she took a leading role in the screen adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel "A Single Man" (2009), playing a suburban mom in disagreement with her conservative husband (Colin Firth) over their sexually ambiguous neighbor (Nicholas Hoult). She went on to play a single New York attorney carrying on with her best friend's fiancé (Colin Egglesfield) in the critically mauled romantic comedy "Something Borrowed" (2011). Back on the small screen, Goodwin starred as Mary Margaret Blanchard - a.k.a. Snow White - on the popular fantasy drama "Once Upon a Time" (ABC, 2011- ), which also starred Jennifer Morrison as a bounty hunter in a fictional New England town that happens to be the gateway to the fabled Enchanted Forest.