Date of Birth: March 28, 1981
"I haven't really had it that easy. I started in the trenches."
The oldest of three children, Julia Stiles had a wonderful childhood, growing up in New York with supportive parents. But unlike many childhood actresses, Stiles had no outside help getting her into the film industry. Her only acting training was in the form of a YMCA class. She got her big break at age 11 when she wrote a letter to a theater director asking if she could audition for him. "He was impressed with the letter," Stiles says. "So he offered me a three-line part."
From stage, she spring-boarded into television with small parts in episodes of Ghostwriter, Chicago Hope and Promised Land. In 1996, she was cast in her debut film I Love You, I Love You Not with Claire Danes and Jeanne Moreau.
Work in films such as The Devil's Own (with Harrison Ford) and Wide Awake (with Dennis Leary and Rosie O'Donnell) helped to earn her respect in Hollywood.
After completing the T.V. movie Before Women Had Wings (1997), Stiles decided to get a part in Michael Steinberg's new film, Wicked (1998). Although Steinberg wasn't casting in New York, the ambitious Stiles, who evidently has a way with words, again did her writing-to-the-director thing and won an audition and a role. This time, the role was a pivotal one, the material more daring. She played a troubled teenager who becomes a domineering seductress following her mother's untimely death.
Stiles finished off the millennium with a Shakespearian bow. In 1999, she starred in 10 Things I Hate about You, (a take-off of the play Taming of the Shrew) for which she won her first MTV award as Breakthrough Female Performance. For the year 2000, she lined up roles in both Hamlet and O (Othello).
Stiles is also a screenwriter who had her first screenplay, The Anarchist's Daughter, developed at the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. There, she discussed her work with the likes of Chris McQuarrie and got some constructive criticism. "People say you can't have anything to write about at my age. I do have life experience. When people underestimate my experience, I get mad." While she enjoys writing, however, she maintains, "Acting is the glory of my life."
In 2001, she had another big hit with Save the Last Dance, playing a girl who wants to be a professional ballerina, for which she won a second MTV award. Roles in The Bourne Identity (2002) starring Matt Damon, Mona Lisa Smile (2003) with Julia Roberts and The Prince & Me (2004) followed.
Stiles graduated from Columbia University in 2005 with a degree in English and since then has appeared in big screen films such as The Omen (2006), The Cry of the Owl (2010) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
Stars in Shorts (2012)
Between Us (2012)
Silver Linings Playbook(2012)
It's a Disaster (2012)
The Cry of the Owl(2009)
Gospel Hill (2008)
The Bourne Ultimatum(2007)
A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)
The Bourne Supremacy(2004)
The Prince & Me(2004)
Mona Lisa Smile(2003)
A Guy Thing(2003)
The Bourne Identity(2002)
The Business of Strangers(2001)
Save the Last Dance(2001)
State and Main(2000)
Down to You(2000)
10 Things I Hate About You(1999)
Wide Awake (1998)