Date of Birth: June 15, 1963
Helen Hunt knows from relationships. As Jamie Buchman on the TV series Mad About You, she embodies the all American modern woman, fumbling towards ecstasy with co-star Paul Reiser. In As Good As It Gets, the challenge of loving Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), a nasty obsessive-compulsive bigot, is a far bigger stretch and made her a deserving Oscar winner. With her portrayal of Carol Connelly, a single-mom waitress with a sick son, Hunt grounded the movie and gave it heart. Tackling the role with gusto, she was totally believable as a warm, caring woman who has suffered enough hard knocks to even see potential in Melvin.
Born in Culver City, California, Hunt's family moved to Manhattan when she was still an infant. Not that the infancy lasted long. With the help of her father, director/acting coach Gordon Hunt, by 13 she was already a veteran of two TV series and had appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Murray Slaughter's daughter. "It was very strange," she says about that time. "Somebody forgot to tell me I was a kid."
Hunt's first major TV role as an adult was on St. Elsewhere and to date she's made
more than 20 movies for television. She broke into feature films in the
'70s but still did mostly made-for-TV movies until her feature film career
got rolling in the '80s. "I'm cursed, or blessed, to be able to do more
than one thing at a time," she says. "To keep the plates spinning."
Although a big screen player when Mad About You, her seventh TV series ended, the 1997 season finale drew more than 25-million viewers to witness the birth of Jamie and Paul's baby.
She married actor Hank Azaria in July of 1999, but the marriage ended in divorce in 2000. She began a relationship with producer Matthew Carnahan in 2001, and the two had a daughter, Makena Lei, in 2004. In 2006 she won a Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama special for the TV mini-series Empire Falls.
Hunt, who made her feature film directorial debut with Then She Found Me (2007), received a ShoWest Award as Breakthrough Director of the Year at the 2008 ShoWest Convention. For her role as a sex surrogate in The Sessions (2012), Hunt received a second Academy Award nomination.
Jock (2011) (voice)
Every Day (2010)
Then She Found Me(2007)
A Good Woman(2004)
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion(2001)
One Night at McCool’s (2001)
What Women Want(2000)
Pay It Forward(2000)
Dr. T and the Women (2000)
As Good as it Gets(1997)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Sexual Healing (1993)
Bob Roberts (1992)
Only You (1992)
Mr. Saturday Night (1992)
The Waterdance (1992)
Trancers II (1991)
Next of Kin (1989)
Miles from Home (1988)
Stealing Home (1988)
The Frog Prince (1986)
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
Waiting to Act (1985)