Hilary Swank Biography and Photos

Hilary Swank Biography and Photos
Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is an American actress. Swank rose to fame in the 1990s in a number of TV series appearances and as one of the female supporting players in the cult film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as her first leading role in The Next Karate Kid (1994).

She's a two-time Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winner for her leading roles in Boys Don't Cry (1999) and in Million Dollar Baby (2005).

Early life
Swank was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of Judy Kay (née Clough), a secretary and former dancer, and Stephen Michael Swank, who was an officer in the Air National Guard and later a traveling salesman. She has a brother, Daniel. Swank's surname is of German origin. Her maternal grandmother was of Spanish and Shoshone (Native American) ancestry, and many of Swank's family members hail from Ringgold County, Iowa. Swank came from humble beginnings, particularly as a child growing up in a trailer park near Lake Samish in Bellingham, Washington, to which she moved at age six, after having lived in Spokane, Washington. Swank has described her younger self as an "outsider" who felt that she belonged "only when [reading] a book or [seeing] a movie, and could get involved with a character", and was thus inspired to become an actress.

When Swank was nine years old, she made her first appearance on stage, starring in The Jungle Book. She became involved in school and community theater programs, including those of the Bellingham Theatre Guild and The Seattle Children's Theater. She attended Happy Valley Elementary, Fairhaven Middle, then Sehome High School in Bellingham until she was sixteen. Swank also competed in the Junior Olympics and the Washington state championships in swimming; she ranked fifth in the state in all-around gymnastics.Swank's parents separated when she was thirteen, and her mother, supportive of her daughter's desire to act, moved to Los Angeles, where they lived out of their car until Swank's mother saved enough money to rent an apartment. Swank has described her mother as the inspiration for her acting career and her life. In California, Swank enrolled in South Pasadena High School (although she later dropped out of school) and started acting professionally.

Career
1994–1999
Swank's first leading film role was in The Next Karate Kid (1994), which utilized her gymnastics background and paired her with Pat Morita. It was the fourth movie in the Karate Kid series. In 1995 she appeared with British actor Bruce Payne in Kounterfeit. In September 1997 Swank was cast as single mother Carly Reynolds on Beverly Hills, 90210. She was initially promised it would be a two-year role, but saw her character written out after 16 episodes in January 1998. Swank later stated that she was devastated at being cut from the show, thinking, "If I'm not good enough for 90210, I'm not good enough for anything."

The firing freed her to audition for the role of Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry. Swank reduced her body fat to seven percent in preparation for the role. Many critics hailed hers as the best female performance of 1999, and Swank's work ultimately won her the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Actress. Swank had earned only $75 per day for her work on Boys Don't Cry, culminating in a total of $3,000. Her earnings were so low that she had not even earned enough to qualify for health insurance.

1999–present
Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank
Swank subsequently again won the Best Actress Oscar, and another Golden Globe, for playing a boxer in Clint Eastwood's 2004 film Million Dollar Baby, a role for which she underwent training in the ring and gained 19 pounds of muscle. Swank's success meant that she had joined the ranks of Vivien Leigh, Helen Hayes, Sally Field, and Luise Rainer as the only actresses to have been nominated for Academy Awards twice and win both times After winning her second Oscar, she said, "I don't know what I did in this life to deserve this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream."
In early 2006 Swank signed a three-year contract as spokesperson for Guerlain (a women's fragrance).She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 8, 2007. Hers was the 2,325th star presented.

In 2007 Swank starred in an executive produced Freedom Writers, a drama about a real-life teacher, Erin Gruwell, who inspired a California high school class. Many reviews of Swank's performance were positive, with one critic noting that she "brings credibility" to the role, and another stating that her performance reaches a "singular lack of artifice, stripping herself back to the bare essentials". Swank next starred in The Reaping, a horror film released on April 5, 2007, in which she played a debunker of religious phenomena. Swank convinced the producers to move the film's setting from New England to the Deep South, and the movie was being filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina struck. The same year, she also appeared in the romantic comedy P.S. I Love You alongside Gerard Butler.

Swank portrayed Amelia Earhart in the biopic Amelia, a film she also co-executive produced. Filming occurred in the summer of 2008 in a number of international locations. Swank is also attached to star in the Hollywood remake of Intimate Strangers. In addition, it was incorrectly reported that Swank would play a lead role in, and produce, a film adaptation of the John Marks novel Fangland.

Personal life
Swank has said that she is "an actor, not a celebrity", and has described herself as a "homebody." Swank considers herself a spiritual person, though not a member of an organized religion. She has said that she is "athletically inclined" and that she "loves sports." She has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and takes Ritalin to treat it.

Swank developed potential health problems through certain preparations for her roles, including elevated mercury levels in her body, and also weight gain and loss for Boys Don't Cry and The Black Dahlia. She has stated that she would "do what  needs to make the role believable and to make it work" and that her "battle scars are a reminder that you're alive and human and that you bleed." In 2007 Swank noted that she "feels like in the last couple of years, I’ve really come into my own and a lot of that has come from figuring out who I really am and what I want in life."

Swank married actor Chad Lowe on September 28, 1997. The two met in 1992 on the set of Quiet Days in Hollywood, a direct-to-video film. Swank forgot to thank Lowe during her acceptance speech after winning her first Oscar in 2000, so she spent nearly every public appearance afterward making up for it. Upon winning her second Oscar in 2005, Lowe was the first person she thanked; they subsequently separated in January 2006. Swank continued to express hope that they could reconcile, but they announced in May 2006 that they were divorcing. In December 2006 Swank confirmed that she was dating her agent, John Campisi.

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