You’ve Got Mail
“Clearly, romantic comedy is my franchise genre. I don’t mind saying that, it’s true. I love doing them and hopefully always will do them. I don’t feel particularly typecast because I think I do so many different kinds of things. Whether they’re seen or not is another issue.” Meg Ryan
Hollywood actress/producer Meg Ryan not only gained the status of “America’s Sweetheart” for her roles in romantic comedies, but also critical appreciation. She won her first American Comedy Award for her titular role in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989) and took home the second one after playing Annie Reed in the Nora Ephron-helmed Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Ryan soared with the female lead part of Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail (1998), where her bravura acting earned a Blockbuster Entertainment Award. For her all-out performance, the screen actress was handed a Golden Apple for Female Discovery of the Year, a Woman of the Year award from Hasty Pudding Theatricals, a Crystal award from Women in Film Crystal, as well as a ShoWest Actress of the Year. As a film producer, in 1993, she established a production company with colleague Kathryn Galan, named Fandango Films. The company, later renamed Prufrock Pictures, helped Ryan make several productions.
Off camera, the 57th celebrity in the 1999 Premiere (USA) magazine’s “The 100 Most Powerful People in Hollywood” list, Ryan became one of the jury members for the Festival International de Cannes 2003. In March 2006, in an episode of the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” she stated that she worked with CARE in India to empower women in poor countries. On the other hand, in 2003, Ryan was accused by British talk-show host Michael Parkinson as being a rude woman after deliberately giving one-word answers and turning her back on other guests. Snapping back, she said she was offended by the question about her drastic change from the romantic comedy roles to her part in the 2003 In the Cut. The same year, she also surprisingly screamed at a shop assistant in the New York store Barney’s. As for her romantic life, after divorcing actor Dennis Quaid, Ryan was briefly connected to her Proof of Life (2000) costar Russell Crowe and was reportedly seeing Craig Bierko as of early 2002. Ryan is the mother of a son and an adopted daughter.
Childhood and Family:
On November 19, 1961, Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra (later famous as Meg Ryan) was born in Fairfield, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Harry Hyra (teacher) and Susan Hyra (teacher, former actress), as well as the sister of Andrew, Dana and Annie. In 1976, her mother left the family for an acting career and later married Pat Jordan. Young Margaret was usually called “Peggy,” and later “Meg.”
Initially keen on journalism, after graduating from the Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, Meg took a Journalism program at the New York University in New York. She tried acting under the name “Meg Ryan” to earn some money for her college fees.
Meg first met her husband, actor Dennis Quaid (born on April 9, 1954), while filming the 1987 Innerspace. On February 14, 1991, the couple married and a year later Meg gave birth to son Jack Henry Quaid (born on April 24, 1992). However, the marriage ended in divorce on July 16, 2001. In January 2006, Meg adopted a Chinese baby girl named Daisy True.
“I already had to change her name. I thought she was Charlotte and she’s just not... she’s a Daisy.” Meg Ryan on her adopted daughter’s name
When Harry Met Sally...
With her mother’s help, college student Meg Ryan made her kickoff in acting with the role of 18-year old Debby Blake, the daughter of Candice Bergen’s character, in George Cukor’s big screen drama Rich and Famous (1981). The next year, Ryan had her small screen debut as Denise in the TV film Amy and the Angel, and as Jane in the sitcom “One of the Boys.” She then acquired a regular role as Betsy Montgomery in the drama series “As the World Turns” (1982-1984).
Relocating to Los Angeles, Ryan appeared as Megan Harper in an episode of the family sitcom “Charles in Charge” (1985), before receiving the role of Carole Bradshaw in the action drama Top Gun (1986). The newcomer picked up a bigger part and costarred as Lydia Maxwell in the sci-fi action Innerspace (1987), where she shared the screen with future husband Dennis Quaid. Ryan-Quaid’s second collaboration in D.O.A. (1988) led the actress to her first screen breakthrough.
Director Rob Reiner, who was impressed by Ryan’s lovely performance, chose her to play Sally Albright in his romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989). Delivering a witty and lovely portrayal, Ryan netted an American Comedy for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role), as well as received a Golden Globe nomination. The same year, she was also handed a Golden Apple for Female Discovery of the Year.
In her first collaboration with Tom Hanks, Ryan played the multiple roles of DeDe/Angelica Graynamore/Patricia Graynamore in the romantic comedy Joe Versus the Volcano (1990). She also took a part as Pamela Courson in Oliver Stone’s biopic The Doors (1991) and played the pessimistic Rita Boyle in the romantic comedy Prelude to a Kiss (1992).
Ryan gained further recognition when she was cast as newspaper journalist Annie Reed in the Nora Ephron-helmed Sleepless in Seattle (1993), which was also her second time costarring with Tom Hanks. Her amazing performance later won a 1998 American Comedy for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role). For the same role, she earned a Golden Globe and two MTV Movie nominations. She next became a Best Actress nominee at the Screen Actors Guild and MTV Movie for her dramatic turn as alcoholic wife and mother Alice Green in the drama When a Man Loves a Woman (1994). Ryan’s mind-blowing performances granted her a 1994 Woman of the Year award from Hasty Pudding Theatricals as well as a 1995 Crystal award from Women in Film Crystal.
In 1995, the actress took a hand at producing Lawrence Kasdan’s romantic comedy French Kiss, in which she also starred as Kate. Altering to the genre of war drama action, Ryan had the female lead role of Captain Karen Emma Walden in Courage Under Fire (1996). A year later, she lent her voice for the titular character in the animated Anastasia (as Anya/Anastasia Nicholaevna Romanov) and executive produced the made-for-TV drama Northern Lights.
The reputation of “America’s Sweetheart” was cemented when Ryan superbly took the turn of Kathleen Kelly in her third partnership with Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail (1998). In Nora Ephron’s adaptation of the 1940 classic movie The Shop Around the Corner, Ryan’s bravura acting garnered a Blockbuster Entertainment award and brought her a Golden Globe and American Comedy nominations. The victory was ensued with an MTV Movie-nominated role of Dr. Maggie Rice in City of Angels (1998).
The recipient of the 1999 ShoWest Actress of the Year, Ryan costarred with Russell Crowe in the action drama Proof of Life (2000) before continuing her production work. She served as the producer for the horror thriller Lost Souls (2000), The Wedding Planner (2001, as executive producer, starring Jennifer Lopez) and Richard Greenberg’s action movie Desert Saints (2002). The following year, Ryan gave a surprise by starring as professor Fannie, who encounters the darker side of passion, in Jane Campion’s psychological thriller titled In the Cut. She also took part in the biopic drama Against the Ropes (2004), playing North America’s infamous female boxing promoter Jackie Kallen.
After a three-year hiatus, the actress is set to play the supporting role of Sarah Hardwicke in the romantic comedy In the Land of Women (2007), for director Jon Kasdan. The fighting-back-after-the-breakup movie will also feature Olympia Dukakis, Adam Brody and Spanish rising actress Elena Anaya.
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actress - Comedy/Romance, You’ve Got Mail, 1999
- ShoWest: Actress of the Year, 1999
- American Comedy: Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role), Sleepless In Seattle, 1998
- Women in Film Crystal: Crystal Award, 1995
- Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Woman of the Year, 1994
- American Comedy: Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role), When Harry Met Sally, 1990
- Golden Apple: Female Discovery of the Year, 1989