“Outside of the business during a dry spell, I scooped ice cream at a country fair, and I ate more than I sold. Making a cone is difficult, and I lost so many scoops into the chocolate swirl.” Michelle Williams
Academy Award-nominated actress Michelle Williams became famous while portraying the troubled transplant Jennifer Lindley in the popular weekly TV series “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003). In 2000, she took home a Lucy Award for her outstanding starring turn as a lesbian college student in the high-profile TV film If These Walls Could Talk 2. On the big screen, Williams gained recognition playing roles in such films as Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Andrew Fleming’s Dick (1999, received a Young Artist nomination), the successful But I’m a Cheerleader (1999), Prozac Nation (2001), Me Without You (2001), The United States of Leland (2003) and The Station Agent (2003, earned a screen Actor Guild nomination). In a more recent movie, she garnered a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Alma, a woman who finds out her husband is having an affair with his male friend, in the breakout hit Brokeback Mountain (2005), with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.
5’ 4” Michelle Williams, whose hobby is reading, was one of Teen People Magazine’s “21 Hottest Stars Under 21” (1999) and one of ELLE girl’s “25 Favorite Hot, Young, Talented New Stars” (2003). She currently resides in her home in Brooklyn, New York, with her actor-fiancé Heath Ledger (born on April 4, 1979) and their daughter, Matilda Rose (born in 2005). She met and subsequently fell in love with the actor on the set of 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. The American beauty was also linked to The Creek’s director Morgan J Freeman (born in 1969), singer/songwriter Andy Herod (dated for two years), Bright Eyes’ member Conor Oberst and actor/writer/director Donal Lardner Ward (born in 1964).
Small Town Girl
Childhood and Family:
In the small town of Kalispell, Montana, Michelle Ingrid Williams was born on September 9, 1980, to parents, Larry, a commodities trader, and Carla, a homemaker. At age 9, she moved with her family to San Diego where she began acting in a community theater. Immediately catching the acting bug, young Michelle soon made the audition circuits, traveling back and forth from San Diego to Los Angeles. She attended Santa Fe Christian High School and later turned to accelerated home schooling. Soon after graduation, 15-year-old Michelle was emancipated from her parents so she could pursue her career as an adult.
Michelle has a sister named Paige and half siblings named Jason, Kelley and Sara (from her dad’s first marriage). She and her fiancé, actor Heath Ledger, have a baby daughter named Matilda Rose Ledger, who was born on October 28, 2005, in Brooklyn, New York.
Kalispell, Montana-born Michelle Williams began acting in a community theater after her family’s relocation to San Diego when she was 9. Dragged by her mother to professional auditions in Los Angeles, young Michelle got her first taste in front of the TV camera as Bridget in a two-episode of the syndicated series “Baywatch” in 1993, and soon made a feature film debut in an adaptation of Lassie (1994). She landed roles in a series of TV projects, including “Step by Step,” “Home Improvement,” “Raising Caines” (1995), My Son Is Innocent (1996), and films such as Species (1995) and Timemaster (1995) before finally earning legal emancipation from her parents at age 15. Moving into a small Burbank apartment, Williams was on her own, pursuing her acting career as an adult. She had a small role as Michelle Pfeiffer’s daughter Pammy in the “King Lear” inspired drama A Thousand Acres (1997) and played the supporting role Maya in the made-for-television movie Killing Mr. Griffin (1997).
“She’s this stable, happy-go-lucky girl still wrestling with demons. She grew up quickly at a real fast pace. I can relate to that.” Michelle Williams on her Dawson’s Creek character
Williams’ breakout role arrived in 1998 when she was tapped to play series’ regular Jennifer Lindley, the worldly-wise teen temptress and on-again, off-again girlfriend of Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) on the teen soap Dawson’s Creek. The Kevin Williamson-created show, which ran for six seasons from 1998-2003, was a hit and made Williams instantly recognized. In a short time, she was overwhelmed with movie offers and a stream of interviews.
With a newfound popularity, the young player’s movie career took a serious turn when she was cast as the teen female lead in the horror film Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), playing Molly Cartwell, the girlfriend of John (Josh Hartnett), son of the original ‘Halloween’ scream queen Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Williams next did her comedy duty as one of two girls (with Kirsten Dunst) who stagger upon President Nixon’s Watergate dealings in Andrew Fleming’s Dick (1999, earned a Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress) and was additionally featured in the cult hit But I’m a Cheerleader(1999), starring Natasha Lyonne. The same year, Williams had her Off-Broadway acting debut in a production of “Killer Joe.”
In addition to continuing her film career, Williams also participated in another TV program during the Dawson’s Creek’s break. In 2000, she undertook a more challenging and adult role as a 1970s lesbian college student who struggles with a romance with a butch suitor (Chloe Sevigny) in the Emmy-nominated HBO presentation If These Walls Could Talk 2. For her brilliant efforts, Williams was handed the 2000 Lucy Award. The actress then costarred as Christian Ricci’s estranged roommate in the highly anticipated film adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s best seller Prozac Nation (2001). The same year, she also costarred with Omar Epps and Jeff Goldblum in director Michael Rymer’s Perfume (2001) and gave a supreme portrayal of Holly, the long-suffering, co-dependent quotient in a pair of British friends in the Venice Film Festival-screened Me Without You (2001), costarring Anna Friel and Kyle MacLachlan.
When Dawson’s Creek offered adieu to its fans (Williams’ character died in the finale) in 2003, Williams’s film career was in full swing. She was perfectly cast as Julie Pollard, the sister of a murdered autistic boy, in the crime-drama The United States of Leland (2003, starring Ryan Gosling and Jena Malone) and delivered an impressing supporting turn as sweet and lonely girl Emily in Thomas McCarthy’s The Station Agent (2003), for which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The following year, she starred as Anna Watson in the comedy A Hole in One (2004) and Lana in the drama film Land of Plenty (2004), as well as found herself acting opposite Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels in the family drama Imaginary Heroes (2004).
After a costarring performance opposite Elizabeth Banks and actor/director Michael Showalter in the comedy-romance The Baxter (2005), Williams delivered a notable, emotional portrayal of Alma, a broken-hearted young wife of closeted gay ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) in Ang Lee’s insightful, haunting Brokeback Mountain (2005, also starring (Jake Gyllenhaal). Williams’ fine acting was praised, and she was garnered an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination.
Williams recently had a feature role in the Julian Goldberger’s The Hawk Is Dying (2006) starring Karl Anthony, Mark Campbell and Katie Dixon, and will play a role in the forthcoming The Hottest State (2007), an adaptation by Ethan Hawke of his own novel by the same name. It follows a young actor (Mark Webber) struggling through the trials of a hatchling career and a rocky relationship with a musician (Catalina Sandino Moreno).
Lucy Award: Women in Film, If These Walls Could Talk 2, 2000