Helen Hunt

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This article is about the American actress. For the Hollywood hair stylist, see Helen Hunt (hair stylist). For the founder and president of The Sister Fund, see Helen LaKelly Hunt.
Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt 2011.jpg
Hunt in 2011
Born Helen Elizabeth Hunt
(1963-06-15) June 15, 1963 (age 53)
Culver City, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, director, screenwriter
Years active 1973–present
Spouse(s) Hank Azaria (m. 1999; div. 2000)
Partner(s) Matthew Carnahan (2001–Present)
Children 1
Parent(s) Gordon Hunt

Helen Elizabeth Hunt (born June 15, 1963) is an American actress, film director, and screenwriter. She starred in the sitcom Mad About You for seven years, and played single mother Carol Connelly in the 1997 romantic comedy film As Good as It Gets, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Some of her other notable films include Twister (1996), Cast Away (2000), What Women Want (2000), Pay It Forward (2000), and The Sessions (2012), the latter garnered her a second Academy Award nomination. She made her directorial debut in 2007 with Then She Found Me (2007). Hunt has also won four Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Early life[edit]

Hunt was born in Culver City, California. Her mother, Jane Elizabeth (née Novis), worked as a photographer, and her father, Gordon Hunt, is a film, voice and stage director and acting coach.[1] Her uncle, Peter H. Hunt, is also a director. Her maternal grandmother, Dorothy (Anderson) Fries, was a voice coach.[2] Hunt's paternal grandmother was from a German Jewish family, while Hunt's other grandparents were of English descent (her maternal grandfather was born in England), with a Methodist religious background.[3][4][5][6] When she was three, Hunt's family moved to New York City, where her father directed theatre and Hunt attended plays as a child several times a week.[7] Hunt studied ballet, and briefly attended UCLA.[7][8][9]

Career[edit]

Hunt began working as a child actress in the 1970s.[7] Her early roles included an appearance as Murray Slaughter's daughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, alongside Lindsay Wagner in an episode of The Bionic Woman, an appearance in an episode of Ark II called Omega, and a regular role in the television series The Swiss Family Robinson.[7] She appeared as a marijuana-smoking classmate on an episode of The Facts of Life. Hunt also played a young woman who, while on PCP, jumps out of a second-story window, in a 1982 TV movie called Desperate Lives (a scene which she mocked during a Saturday Night Live monologue in 1994).[10] That same year, Hunt was cast on the ABC sitcom It Takes Two, which lasted a single season. In the mid-1980s, she had a recurring role on St. Elsewhere as Clancy Williams, the girlfriend of Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison. She played Jennie in the television movie Bill: On His Own, co-starring Mickey Rooney. She also starred in the 1985 film Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Shannen Doherty. In 1986 she played Kathleen Turner's daughter in Peggy Sue Got Married.


In the 1990s, after playing the lead female role in the short-lived My Life and Times, Hunt starred in the series Mad About You, winning Emmy Awards for her performances in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.[7] For the last year of the show she and Paul Reiser became the first actors ever to be paid $1,000,000 per episode.[citation needed] Hunt directed several episodes of Mad About You, including the series finale. Her big-screen directorial debut came with the film Then She Found Me, in which she also starred, with Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick.[1] In 1998, Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the movie As Good as It Gets of a waitress and single mother who finds herself falling in love with an obsessive-compulsive romance novelist played by Jack Nicholson.[7] After winning the Academy Award, she took time off from movie work to play Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, at Lincoln Center in New York.[11] In 2000, Hunt starred in four films: Dr. T & the Women, with Richard Gere; Pay It Forward, with Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment; What Women Want, with Mel Gibson; and Cast Away, with Tom Hanks.[7] In 2003, she returned to Broadway in Yasmina Reza's Life x 3.[11] In 2006, Hunt appeared in the ensemble cast film Bobby alongside Demi Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone and William H. Macy. In 2011, in the movie Soul Surfer, she played the mother of the Hawaiian-born champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, on whose life the movie was based.

Hunt at the international consumer goods trade fair Ambiente 2015 in Frankfurt where she was "USA Day" guest of honor

In 2012, she starred alongside John Hawkes and William H. Macy in The Sessions as sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene. The movie and her performance were very well reviewed and earned her several award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She owns a production company with Connie Tavel, Hunt/Tavel Productions under Sony Pictures Entertainment.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Hunt started dating actor Hank Azaria in 1994 and they married in 1999, only to divorce 17 months later.[1] She has been partnered with producer/writer/director Matthew Carnahan since 2001. They have a daughter, Makena Lei Gordon Carnahan, born on May 13, 2004.[1][12]

Filmography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Hunt has been recognized extensively in her career. In 1998 she won a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award and an Emmy Award. Hunt was nominated for an Emmy Award for lead actress in a comedy seven years in a row, from 1993 through 1999, winning in the last four years.[13]

Year Work Association Category Result
1993–95 Mad About You Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress – Comedy Series Nominated
1993/96/98 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
1994–96 American Comedy Award Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series Won
1994/95/97 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won
1995 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Won
1995–98 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
1996–98 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
1996–99 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress – Comedy Series Won
1997–99 Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
1996 Twister Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Actress – Action/Adventure[citation needed] Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Performance Nominated
1997 As Good as It Gets Academy Awards Best Actress Won
American Comedy Awards Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Won
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Video[citation needed] Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Best Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Won
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Won
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actress Nominated
Empire Awards Best Actress Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Performance Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress Nominated
1999 Mad About You American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Television Performer Won
2000 What Women Want Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Comedy/Romance[citation needed] Won
Cast Away Favorite Supporting Actress – Drama[citation needed] Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss (shared with Tom Hanks) Nominated
2005 Empire Falls Gracie Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Special[citation needed] Won
2006 Bobby Hollywood Film Festival Ensemble of the Year[citation needed] Won
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2007 Then She Found Me Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Leap from Actress to Director[14] Won
Ashland Independent Film Festival Rogue Award[citation needed] Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival Best Narrative Feature[citation needed] Won
2012 The Sessions Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Depiction Of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction[citation needed] Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Female Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Won
Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting Won
Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
BAFTA Award BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actress Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Actress Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Helen Hunt at the TCM Movie Database
  2. ^ "Helen Hunt Takes a Leap of Faith, Lands in 'Pamela Smart'". latimes. 
  3. ^ "Helen Hunt ancestry". 
  4. ^ Robinson, George (2008-02-13). "Then She Found Me’". The New York Jewish Week. Archived from the original on 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  5. ^ Nick Johnstone, "How Helen Hunt did God", The Jewish Chronicle, August 28, 2008.
  6. ^ "Coffee Talk". 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2001
  8. ^ Helen Hunt Biography – Yahoo! Movies
  9. ^ Cohn, Robert A. (2007-11-07). "Paul Reiser kicks off book fest". St. Louis Jewish Light. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  10. ^ "Helen Hunt's Monologue". 
  11. ^ a b Helen Hunt at the Internet Broadway Database
  12. ^ "Helen Hunt: It's a Girl!". E! Online. May 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-05-27. 
  13. ^ Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Emmys.com.
  14. ^ "2008 EDA Awards Winners" awfj.org, accessed May 22, 2016

External links[edit]