Maggie Gyllenhaal
Birth Date:
November 16, 1977
Birth Place:
Lower East Side, New York, New York, USA
5' 9
Famous for:
Her role as Lee Holloway in 'Secretary' (2002)
London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
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Masochistic Secretary


After portraying the masochistic Lee Holloway in Secretary (2002), Maggie Gyllenhaal became headlines when she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She also posed for Playboy while promoting the film. Afterwards, she played roles in many small and wide screen productions. Her recent films are Happy Ending (2005), The Great New Wonderful (2005), Trust the Man (2005), Some Kind of Heaven (2005) and Monster House (2006). She will also play in the upcoming comedy Stranger Than Fiction (2006).

One of E! Online's Sizzlin' 16 girls in 2002, Maggie has been dating actor Peter Sarsgaard since early 2003. Maggie is also known to enjoy parties. She shared, "You're invited to tons of parties and you'll wear these shoes and that dress and it can be enticing, but I think it also sucks you dry. If you do it a little, sure, it's fun, but too much and you start to lose your footing."

Eastern Religion Fan

Childhood and Family:

Daughter of Stephen Gyllenhaal (Emmy-nominated director) and Naomi Foner (Golden Globe-winning writer and producer), Maggie Gyllenhaal was born on November 16, 1977, in New York. Along with her younger brother Jake (actor), she grew up in a family of entertainment professionals.

Though Maggie was born in New York, she and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was young. She attended the prestigious Los Angeles prep school Harvard-Westlake in 1990. Maggie then returned to New York City to attend Columbia University where her uncle is an acclaimed historian. In 1999, she earned her B.A. in English literature and Eastern religion. During her study at the university, Maggie found her interest in acting. She received many stage experiences and complemented her education by studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Stranger Than Fiction


Growing up in a family of entertainment professional, Maggie found her interest in acting early on. While studying at the Harvard-Westlake Prep School (1990-1995), Maggie and her brother Jack took part in theatre and stage performances at school. Her formal feature-acting debut took place in her father's films Waterland (1992, played Maggie Ruth) and A Dangerous Woman (1993, portrayed Patsy Bell).

In 1995, after moving back to New York, Maggie performed in the TV movies Shattered Mind (1996, played Clothes Clerk) and The Patron Saint of Liars (1998, portrayed Lorraine Thomas). She also acted in her father's low-budget film Homegrown (1998, as Christina).

After her appearances on the wide screen, Maggie went back to performing on TV. She played the role of Mary in Resurrection (1999, TV movie) and she appeared in Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story (1999, TV series). In the same year, Maggie also got her English degree and continued to develop her acting skills on the stages of New York and London theaters in such productions as The Tempest and The Butterfly Project.

Coming back to the silver screen in 2000, Maggie had supporting roles in The Pornographer: A Love Story, The Photographer, and played character Raven in Cecil B. DeMented. In the following year, Maggie played the sister (Elizabeth Darko) of her real-life brother's character (Jake Gyllenhaal played Donnie Darko), in Richard Kelly's cult phenomenon Donnie Darko (2001). Maggie also received a small role in Drew Barrymore's film Riding in Cars with Boys (2001, played the character of Amelia Forrester).

Maggie experienced her breakthrough moment with the release of Secretary (2002). She starred as a mentally brittle woman, Lee Holloway, who embarks on an S&M relationship with her boss. Her brilliant performance in the film received public acclaim and several award nominations, including a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy and Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress from the National Board of Review Award. She also posed for Playboy while promoting the film.

Maggie earned a supporting role in 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002) playing the character of Sam. She also appeared in eccentric director Spike Jonze's sophomore effort, Adaptation (2002, played Caroline Cunningham) and in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002, portrayed Debbie).

In 2003, Maggie was seen in such wide screen productions as Casa de los babys (portrayed Jenniver) and Mona Lisa Smile (played Giselle Levy). In Mona Lisa Smile Maggie costarred with super-star Julia Roberts. Commenting about her role in Mona Lisa Smile, she said, "I've realized that the only way to make movies that you're proud of, that don't fall into the sentimental bullshit that so many movies fall into, is to fight. You have to fight. So many people are willing to sleepwalk through things and fall into the not human, not interesting choice."

In 2004, Maggie costarred with actress Glenn Close in a provocative drama about civil liberties after 9/11 in HBO's Strip Search. In a statement issued by her publicist, Maggie said: "(September 11 was) an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world. Because it is always useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict. Not to have the courage to ask these questions of ourselves is to betray the victims of 9/11."

Also in 2004, Maggie played the role of Valerie in Gregory Jacobs' Criminal.

In 2005, moviegoers can see Maggie in the dramatic comedy Happy Endings (played Jude), The Great New Wonderful (portrayed Emme), Some Kind of Heaven (as Sherry Swanson), and Monster House (character Zee). She will also be seen in Marc Forster's upcoming Stranger Than Fiction (2006, written by Zach Helm). Maggie will share the stage with actors Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson.


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