Mar. 22nd, 1976
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Reese Witherspoon's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
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Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon (born March 22, 1976), professionally known as Reese Witherspoon, is an American actress and producer.
Witherspoon was born at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, while her father was a student at Tulane University medical school. Her father, John Draper Witherspoon, Sr., is a Georgia-born otolaryngologist who previously served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve. Her mother, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" (née Reese), is from Harriman, Tennessee, has a Ph.D. in pediatric nursing, and works as a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University. Witherspoon has claimed descent from Scottish-born John Witherspoon, who signed the United States Declaration of Independence; this claim has not been verified by the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence genealogists. Because Witherspoon's father worked for the U.S. military in Wiesbaden, Germany, she lived there for four years as a child. After returning to the U.S., she spent her childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. She was raised as an Episcopalian.
Reese was introduced to the entertainment industry at a very early age. At age 7, she began modeling. This led to appearances on several local television commercials. At age 11, she placed first in a Ten-State Talent Fair.
In 1990, she landed her first major acting role in 'Robert Mulligan' The Man in the Moon (1991). Her role as a 14-year old tomboy earned her rave reviews. Roles in bigger films such as Jack the Bear (1993) and A Far Off Place (1993) followed shortly after.
Following high school graduation in 1994 from Harpeth Hall, a Nashville all girls school, Reese decided to put her acting career on hold and attend Stanford University where she would major in English literature. However, her collegiate plans were shortly dashed when she accepted roles to star in two major motion pictures: Fear (1996) alongside 'Mark Wahlberg' and Freeway (1996) with 'Kiefer Sutherland'. Although neither film was a huge box-office success, they did help to establish Reese as a rising starlet in Hollywood and open the door for bigger and better film roles. Those bigger roles came in movies such as Pleasantville (1998), Election (1999) and Cruel Intentions (1999).
Her breakthrough role came as Elle Woods in the 2001 comedy Legally Blonde (2001). The movie was huge box-office smash and established Reese as one of the top female draws in Hollywood. The next year, she scored a follow-up hit with Sweet Home Alabama (2002) which went on to gross over $100 million dollars at the box office. In 2006, she took home the best actress Oscar for her role as 'June Carter Cash' in the 'Johnny Cash' biopic Walk the Line (2005).
Witherspoon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 1, 2010, at 6262 Hollywood Blvd.
Witherspoon owns a production company, Pacific Standard, and she is actively involved in children's and women's advocacy organizations. She serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and was named Global Ambassador of Avon Products in 2007, serving as honorary chair of the charitable Avon Foundation.
Off the screen, she was married to 'Ryan Phillippe' from 1999 to 2007. They met at her 21st birthday party and subsequently worked together in Cruel Intentions (1999). They have two children: a daughter, Ava Elizabeth Phillippe (b. September 9, 1999) and a son, Deacon Reese Phillippe (b. October 23, 2003).
Throughout 2007, there was persistent speculation in the mass media about a romantic relationship between Witherspoon and her Rendition co-star 'Jake Gyllenhaal'. After the finalization of Witherspoon's divorce (October 2007), Gyllenhaal and Witherspoon became more open with their relationship, particularly due to the release of paparazzi pictures that showed the couple vacationing together in Rome. The couple reportedly split in December 2009.
In early February 2010, it was reported that Witherspoon had begun dating Jim Toth. At the time, Toth was a talent agent working for the Creative Artists Agency, which represents Witherspoon; in September 2010, he was promoted to also become one of the agency's two heads of motion picture talent. Witherspoon and Toth announced their engagement in December 2010, and married (March 26, 2011) in Ojai, California at Libbey Ranch, Witherspoon's country estate. They have a son, Tennessee James Toth (b. September 27, 2012).
- The dress she wore at the Golden Globes in 2006 was also worn by 'Kirsten Dunst' (qv) at the Golden Globes in 2003
- Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
- She was a cheerleader in high school and a debutante.
- Her son is named after former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Deacon Phillippe, a distant relative of her ex-husband 'Ryan Phillippe' (qv).
- Majored in English Literature at Stanford University; on leave from her studies as of 1998.
- She can trace her family all the way back to Scotland, UK. John Witherspoon, her Gifford-born "favourite ancestor", who attended Haddington Grammar School, obtained a Master of Arts from Edinburgh University in 1739, and was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence.
- Her mother, Betty, has a Ph.D. in pediatric nursing and her dad, John, is a surgeon.
- The last place her great great grandfather John Witherspoon lived was Paisley in Scotland UK, before he moved to the States where he was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence.