Reese Witherspoon Biography
Birth name - Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
Date of birth - March 22, 1976
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Height - 5' 2" (1.57 m)
Reese Witherspoon photo gallery
Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the second child born to Dr. John and Betty Witherspoon. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in the ear, nose and throat. Her mother was a Registered Nurse who later became a Ph.D in pediatric nursing. Reese spent the first four years of her life in Wiesbaden, Germany where her father served as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army reserves. Shortly after, John moved the family back to the States, settling in Nashville, Tennessee.
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's 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).
Off the screen, she has been married to Ryan Phillippe since 1999. They met at her 21st birthday party and subsequently worked together in Cruel Intentions (1999). They have two children: a daughter, Ava Elizabeth (born 9 September 1999) and a son, Deacon (born 23 October 2003).
Spouse = Ryan Phillippe (5 June 1999 - present) 2 children
More Interesting Information for Reese Witherspoon
Majored in English Literature at Stanford University; on leave from her studies as of 1998.
Shortly after she started acting she had an audition for a role in Cape Fear (1991). She was supposed to meet with Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese for the audition, but at the time didn't really know who they were. On the plane she was talking to the man next to her about her audition, and the man started to rave to her about De Niro and Scorsese. This made her so nervous that she completely blew the audition and the role eventually went to Juliette Lewis.
daughter Ava Elizabeth Phillippe born [9 September 1999]
Refused the lead roles in two horror movies, _Scream (1996)_ and Urban Legend (1998).
Was considered for the role of Juliet in Romeo + Juliet (1996).
One of her ancestors, John Witherspoon, signed the Declaration of Independence. In the movie 1776 (1972), the role of Dr. John Witherspoon was played by James Noble.
Her mother, Betty, has a Ph.D. in pediatric nursing and her dad, John, is a surgeon.
Named one of People Magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of 2001"
Named one of E!'s "top 20 entertainers of 2001".
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
Went to Harpeth Hall School, a private school for girls in Nashville, Tennessee
She runs a production company called "Type A Films" with Debra Siegal
Appears in Entertainment Weekly's Most Powerful List sitting at #22
At the young age of 11 she won the "Ten State Talent Award"
She was a cheerleader in high school and a debutante.
Reese is her mother's maiden name.
Has moved her current Production Company "Type A Films" to Universal Pictures. Has signed a 2 year first-look production pact with Universal. They have already picked up a romantic comedy pitch Sports Widow (2006) for Reese to star in and produce.
She appeared in a television commercial when she was 7 for a local Nashville Florist.
Has been named one of Rolling Stone's "People of the Year" along with Eminem and Kelly Osbourne.
She lived in Wiesbaden, Germany, as a young child.
Her Gap ad appeared on a 6-story-high building on Sunset Blvd
Named one of E! 2002 Entertainers of the year.
Her daughter, Ava, is named after Ryan's grandmother.
Steve Dontanville from the William Morris Agency - is still her agent. They got together after The Man in the Moon (1991).
She can trace her family all the way back to Scotland, UK.
Her wedding ring is an early 1990s Neil Lane, Asscher-cut-diamond, and there are only a few like it in the world.
Has an older brother, John D. Witherspoon
Ranked #1 on E!'s Hollywood's Hottest Blondes (2003)
Son Deacon Phillippe was born [October 23rd, 2003]
As extra credit for a high school class, she worked as an office production assistant for the film Devil in a Blue Dress (1995). Director Carl Franklin paid homage to her by featuring Legally Blonde (2001) in the film Out of Time (2003/I).
She collects antique linens and is crazy about old embroidery.
Ryan proposed to her in December of 1998 while the couple was vacationing at The Planter's Inn in Charleston, South Carolina.
Used to model in the Sunday paper, modeling kids' track suits and such. She said that it was creative for her when she was a kid. She was paid $50 a day.
Started children's acting classes at a community college at the age of 7. By the age of 9 she was taking adult acting classes.
Her son is named after former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Deacon Phillippe, a distant relative of her husband Ryan Phillippe.
Gymnast for 7 years
Named 'Favorite Female Film Star' by People Magazine (2004)
Is a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority.
Neither she nor her husband, actor Ryan Phillippe, use their real first names - Reese's first name is Laura, Ryan's first name is Matthew.
Was the first person to host "Saturday Night Live" (1975) after the September 11th terror attacks.
Auditioned for a role in Mallrats (1995)
Was approached by a few companies to record music after she provided her own singing voice for Walk the Line (2005).
Has appeared in four movies bearing the names of songs: Jack the Bear (1993), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Just Like Heaven (2005) and Walk the Line (2005).
Is precisely two weeks older than Candace Cameron Bure.
Friend of Renée Zellweger.
She donated many items to Rocky Stone to be given to less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign.
The year she won her Oscar for Walk the Line (2005) her husband Ryan Phillippe appeared in the movie that won "Best Picture": _Crash (2004)_ .
Her performance as Tracy Flick in Election (1999) is ranked #45 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Dyed her hair brown for her role in Walk the Line (2005)
Named #40 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement. (2005)
Used to be a vegetarian.
Is the second actress to win the best actress Oscar for portraying a female singer in a biography; the first was Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner's Daughter.
Personal quotes from Reese Witherspoon
[on having a baby]: "Obviously, this isn't the time in my life that I would have chosen to do this, but I feel like life gives you these challenges for a reason. I feel so happy and glad to be in the place that I am. I really feel blessed. This is something I need to face and take control of."
[talking about how she choose the films she will be in]: "I have a weird process, but the main thing is like this: I hear her voice in my head. There are a lot of wonderful scripts my agents can't believe I pass on, but I do because I can't hear the voice. It doesn't appeal to me then. I'm really careful. Unless I hear the voice, I can't do it."
[talking about Ryan Phillippe]: "I'm lucky to find a person to share my life, and the best friend I'll ever have."
[Talking about motherhood and her baby]: "I feel good, I'm proud of Election (1999) and very proud of this [her child]. It couldn't be a better time. It's always the right time when it happens. You make it the right time".
[talking about Pleasantville (1998)]: "We were thrilled for just the three nominations we got, but obviously it's a little sad. I went through so many press junkets with people saying they loved it. And Joan Allen was robbed but she can't get nominated every year. She's an inspiration for every young actress. She has that calm and reserve about herself and makes you think she appreciates the normal things of everyday. Then she transforms into this character that's so different."
[talking about the movie business]: "The battles that we face in this business aren't financial, but they are moral. And I certainly think that the longer you can keep your values, and your morality intact, and keep your head on your shoulders about what is important at the end of the day, you can get the most out of this business and really emerge with something wonderful."
"I grew up in Tennessee. We didn't know what Louis Vuitton was. I had to order all my prom outfits out of catalogs".
"People want to try and move you into a place where you can be easily identifiable by every woman in America - to be this very likeable woman in a romatic comedy. And it's really hard for me. I just don't see myself as the girl that everybody likes. I never have been and I don't know how to be that person."
"As far as being in the spotlight and under public scrutiny, a lot of that's about how much you put yourself out there. It's not like we go to every premiere and every celebrity function and every charity auction. We really just try to maintain our privacy and never let our public persona get out of hand."
"I'm not perfect! I'm human. I make mistakes. But I try to be as conscious as I can about things I should be. If I'm going to do something commercial and mainstream and made for the masses, I just believe you can make those kinds of films with quality - and good ideas and good intentions. There's a lot of negativity out there."
"While making Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), I had like 50 outfit changes. It was great! I'm real into the whole "girlie" thing, it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it".
"Attending an all-girls school has its advantages, there are no inhibitions. You can walk to school with your zit cream on and your hair in rollers and nobody cares."
"It's nice to come home to what's real." - E! "Revealed with Jules Asner" (2001).
[On husband Ryan Phillippe] "I don't think I can imagine a better guy than the one I've ended up with".
"There's something timeless and important about making people laugh, about being the right spot in their day." - as quoted in the Dec 7, 2004 issue of Woman's World
I was thinking about why I make movies, and I know why. Life is hard. It's nice to go escape and have a good time at the movies. If I can give people a movie about hope, love and the future, then I've done my job.
I do think things were meant to happen. I'm just this little girl from Tennessee, and here I am today. I think a lot of things are just out of your hands.
[Asked about the ways she is discriminated against] "I get discriminated against in three ways: I get discriminated against because I'm blond, I get discriminated against because I'm an actress and I get discriminated against because I'm from the South."
I did. I called my attorney. My agent. My manager. I said "You know y'all, you're serious about this? I'm really.. I gotta get out of this. Like can't they call 'Leann Rimes' ? I mean she's good." - On trying to get out of the part of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line (2005).
The director came to us and he said "No, I really want you guys to learn to sing. To learn to play instruments and I want you to record an album". and that is what... and I just absolutely was just gob-smacked and I said .. "I don't know. I can't do that." And he said "Well I want you to try." Now that's the thing for me. If someone asks me to try, I will always try. - On doing her own singing in Walk the Line (2005).
"Life isn't just about you: It's about family and friends and giving back." quoted in Woman's World magazine 2-21-06
About dual careers and marriage: "Marriage and family come before everything. You don't want to make a movie at the cost of your relationship."
"I feel like there's a race being run for some unattainable goal - to be the best, the skinniest, the most beautiful. I just admit that's what I'll never be."
"What gets me is how many women - young women - give up their power and sense of self. Thinking they're going to get more out of life if they take off their clothes and objectify themselves, instead of functioning on the principle that they're smart and capable, that you can be an actress and not be on the covers of T&A magazines. I'm flabbergasted by how many legitimate actresses do that. It blows my mind."
(Part of Oscar Speech) I am so blessed to have my family here tonight. My mother and my father are here. And I just want to say thank you so much for everything, for being so proud of me. It didn't matter if I was making my bed or making a movie. They never hesitated to say how proud they were of me. And that means so very much to a child. So thank you, Mom and Dad. I want to say thank you to my wonderful husband and my two children who should be going to bed. And thank you for loving me so much and supporting me. And I want to say that, my grandmother was one of the biggest inspirations in my life. She taught me how to be a real woman to have strength and self respect, and to never give those things away. And those are a lot of qualities I saw in June Carter. People used to ask June how she was doing, and she used to say -- 'I'm just trying to matter.' And I know what she means. You know, I'm just trying to matter, and live a good life and make work that means something to somebody. And you have all made me feel that I might have accomplished that tonight. So thank you so much for this honor."
I think everyone has their own set of problems, and sometimes I feel I'm in the middle of the biggest challenge of my life just trying to maintain normalcy in a kind of crazy lifestyle.
I'm pretty conservative or old-fashion, I should say, it's how I grew up. I think you have to let your children be individuals, but you have to set boundaries. Ryan and I have similar ideas about all of it, you really have to support you partner in the things that are important to them and hold the line together.
Reese Witherspoon Filmography
Actress - filmography
(In Production) (2000s) (1990s)
Bunny Lake Is Missing (2007) .... Annie Lake
Plot Outline: A remake of Otto Preminger's 1965 psychological thriller about
a woman whose four-year-old daughter disappears without a trace.
Sports Widow (2006)
Plot Outline: Married to a man who does nothing but watch football on TV, a
frustrated wife schools herself on the sport in an attempt to one-up her spouse.
Penelope (2006) .... Annie
Plot Outline: Penelope is a modern day offbeat fable about a young woman who,
having spent her life trapped by a family curse sets out to find love and discover
her true self.
Just Like Heaven (2005) .... Elizabeth Masterson
Walk the Line (2005) .... June Carter
Vanity Fair (2004) .... Becky Sharp
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) .... Elle Woods
Sweet Home Alabama (2002) .... Melanie Smooter
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) .... Cecily
... aka Importance d'être constant, L' (France)
- The Bart Wants What It Wants (2002) TV Episode (voice) .... Greta Wolfcastle
"Saturday Night Live"
... aka SNL
... aka SNL 25 (USA: new title)
- Episode #27.1 (2001) TV Episode .... Host
Legally Blonde (2001) .... Elle Woods
The Trumpet of the Swan (2001) (voice) .... Serena
Little Nicky (2000) .... Angel Holly
"King of the Hill"
- High Anxiety: Part 2 (2000) TV Episode (voice) .... Debbie
- Hanky Panky: Part 1 (2000) TV Episode (voice) .... Debbie
- The One where Chandler Can't Cry (2000) TV Episode .... Jill Green
- The One with Rachel's Sister (2000) TV Episode .... Jill Green
American Psycho (2000) .... Evelyn Williams
Best Laid Plans (1999) .... Lissa
Election (1999) .... Tracy Flick
Cruel Intentions (1999) .... Annette Hargrove
Pleasantville (1998) .... Jennifer
Overnight Delivery (1998) .... Ivy Miller
Twilight (1998) .... Mel Ames
Fear (1996) .... Nicole Walker
... aka No Fear
Freeway (1996) .... Vanessa Lutz
S.F.W. (1994) .... Wendy Pfister
... aka So Fucking What? (USA: long title)
"Return to Lonesome Dove" (1993) (mini) TV Series .... Ferris Dunnigan
Jack the Bear (1993) .... Karen Morris
A Far Off Place (1993) .... Nonnie Parker
Desperate Choices: To Save My Child (1992) (TV) .... Cassie Robbins
... aka Solomon's Choice
... aka The Final Choice
Wildflower (1991) (TV) .... Ellie Perkins
The Man in the Moon (1991) .... Danielle 'Dani' Trant
Filmography as: Actress, Producer, Herself, Archive Footage
Producer - filmography
(In Production) (2000s)
Bunny Lake Is Missing (2007) (announced) (producer)
Around the World in 80 Dates (2006) (announced) (producer)
Penelope (2006) (post-production) (producer)
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) (executive producer)