Oct. 29th, 1971
Winona, Minnesota, USA
Winona Ryder's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Winona Ryder was born Winona Horowitz and named after the town in which she was born, Winona Minnesota. She grew up in a ranch commune in Northern California where there was no electricity. She is the Goddaughter of Timothy Leary and her parents were friends of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and once edited a book called "Shaman Woman Mainline Lady" an anthology of writings on the drug experience in literature - this included one piece by Louisa May Alcott. Winona Ryder was later to star as Jo in this author's Little Women (1994). She moved with her parents to Petaluma (near San Francisco) when she was ten and enrolled in acting classes at the American Conservatory Theater. At 13 she had a video audition to the film Desert Bloom (1986), but didn't get the part. Director David Seltzer (I), however, spotted her and cast her in Lucas (1986). When telephoned to ask how she'd like to have her name appear on the credits, she suggested Ryder as her father's Mitch Ryder album was playing the background. Ryder was selected for the part of Mary Corleone in The Godfather: Part III (1990), but had to drop out of the role after catching the flu from the strain of doing the films Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990) and Mermaids (1990) back to back. She said she didn't want to let everyone down by doing a substandard performance. She later made The Age of Innocence (1993) which was directed by Martin Scorsese, who she believes to be "the best director in the world".
- She dedicated the film _Little Women (1994)_ (qv) to Polly Klaas, a young girl from her hometown of Petaluma, California, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered. She offered a $200,000 reward for anyone with information on the subject, and remains a strong supporter of the Polly Klaas Foundation.
- She is also into music and plays the guitar. Her favorite band at one point was 'The Replacements', but she also loves 'Tom Waits' (qv), 'Cocteau Twins' (qv), 'Wilco' (qv) and many others.
- (16 August 2001) Suffered severe stomach pains and doubled over in pain. She was sent to her hotel room in London, England, UK, and later was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a severe gastroenterological disorder. She left the UK on August 24th. The sickness caused her to drop out of the (unreleased) film Lily and the Secret Planting (2002) and her part eventually went to 'Kate Winslet' (qv) instead. Winona was said to have been very passionate about her role in the film and was heartbroken to leave. The incident brought to mind the similar 1990 stomach flu that caused her to drop out of _The Godfather: Part III (1990)_ (qv) two days before filming began, causing a lot of controversy.
- (2000) Upset with MGM for refusing to pre-screen _Autumn in New York (2000)_ (qv), saying she was very proud of the film and that the studio was giving it a bad name before it was even released.
- March 17, 2000, San Francisco International Film Festival awarded the prestigious Peter J. Owens Award to her for brilliance, independence and integrity.
- Was offered the role of Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie in _Steel Magnolias (1989)_ (qv). However 'Julia Roberts (I)' (qv), who went on to receive a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.
- Had several films that were announced but later canceled in the mid-2000s: 'Robert Altman (I)' (qv)'s "The Widow Claire," 'Norman Jewison' (qv)'s "Embers," 'Jonas ┼kerlund' (qv)'s "Oskur Fishman," and 'Elie Chouraqui' (qv)'s "Beyond Friendship.".
- She was given an honorary Master of Fine Arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater.