Helen Hunt

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Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt 2011.jpg
Hunt in 2011
BornHelen Elizabeth Hunt
(1963-06-15) June 15, 1963 (age 50)
Culver City, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, director, screenwriter
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Hank Azaria (1999–2000)
Partner(s)Matthew Carnahan (2001–present)
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Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt 2011.jpg
Hunt in 2011
BornHelen Elizabeth Hunt
(1963-06-15) June 15, 1963 (age 50)
Culver City, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, director, screenwriter
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Hank Azaria (1999–2000)
Partner(s)Matthew Carnahan (2001–present)

Helen Elizabeth Hunt (born June 15, 1963) is an American actress, film director, and screenwriter. She starred in the sitcom, Mad About You, for seven years before being cast in the 1997 romantic comedy film, As Good as It Gets for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Some of her other notable films include Twister, Cast Away, What Women Want, Pay It Forward, Soul Surfer and The Sessions. She made her directorial debut in 2007 with Then She Found Me. She has won four Emmy awards, four Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and an Oscar.

Early life[edit]

Hunt was born in Culver City, California. Her mother, Jane Elizabeth (née Novis), worked as a photographer, and her father, Gordon E. Hunt, is a film and voice director and acting coach.[1] Her uncle, Peter H. Hunt, is also a director. Her Iowa-born maternal grandmother, Dorothy (Anderson) Fries, was a voice coach.[2] Hunt's paternal grandmother was from a German Jewish family, while Hunt's other grandparents were of English descent (her maternal grandfather was born in England).[3][4][5] When she was three, Hunt's family moved to New York City, where her father directed theatre (Hunt attended plays as a child several times a week).[6] Hunt studied ballet, and briefly attended UCLA.[6][7][8]


Hunt began working as a child actress in the 1970s.[6] Her early roles included an appearance as Murray Slaughter's daughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, alongside Lindsay Wagner in an episode of The Bionic Woman, an appearance in an episode of Ark II called Omega, and a regular role in the television series The Swiss Family Robinson.[6] She appeared as a marijuana-smoking classmate on an episode of The Facts of Life. Hunt also played a young woman who, while on PCP, jumps out of a second-story window, in a 1982 TV movie called Desperate Lives (a scene which she mocked during a Saturday Night Live monologue in 1994).[9] That same year, Hunt was cast on the ABC sitcom It Takes Two, which lasted a single season. In the mid-1980s, she had a recurring role on St. Elsewhere as Clancy Williams, the girlfriend of Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison. She played Jennie in the television movie Bill: On His Own, co-starring Mickey Rooney. She also starred in the 1985 film Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Shannen Doherty.

Hunt at the 70th Academy Awards, March 23, 1998

In the 1990s, after playing the lead female role in the short-lived My Life and Times, Hunt starred in the series Mad About You, winning Emmy Awards for her performances in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.[6] Hunt directed several episodes of Mad About You, including the series finale. Her big-screen directorial debut came with the film Then She Found Me, in which she also starred, with Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick.[1] In 1998, Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Carol Connelly in the movie As Good as It Gets; the character is a waitress and single mother who finds herself falling in love with Melvin Udall, an obsessive-compulsive romance novelist played by Jack Nicholson.[6] After winning the Academy Award, she took time off from movie work to play Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, at Lincoln Center in New York.[10] In 2000, Hunt starred in four films: Dr. T & the Women, with Richard Gere; Pay It Forward, with Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment; What Women Want, with Mel Gibson; and Cast Away, with Tom Hanks.[6] In 2003, she returned to Broadway in Yasmina Reza's Life x 3.[10] In 2006, Hunt appeared in the ensemble cast film Bobby alongside Demi Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone and William H. Macy. In 2012, she starred alongside John Hawkes and William H. Macy in The Sessions as sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene. The movie and her performance were very well reviewed and earned her several award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She owns a production company with Connie Tavel, Hunt/Tavel Productions under Sony Pictures Entertainment.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Hunt started dating actor Hank Azaria in 1994 and they married in 1999, only to get divorced 17 months later (July 17, 1999 – December 18, 2000).[1] She has been in a relationship with producer/writer/director Matthew Carnahan since 2001. They have a daughter, Makena Lei Gordon Carnahan, born on May 13, 2004.[1][11]


Hunt has been recognized extensively in her career. In 1998 she won a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award and an Emmy Award in the same year. Hunt was nominated for an Emmy Award for lead actress in a comedy seven years in a row, from 1993 through 1999, winning in the last four years.[12]



1973Pioneer WomanSarah SargeantMovie
1974Amy PrentissJill PrentissSeries; supporting role
1975Death ScreamTeila RodriguezMovie
1975Swiss Family Robinson, TheThe Swiss Family RobinsonHelgaSeries; main role
1975All Together NowSusan LindsayMovie
1976Ark IIDianaEpisode: "Omega"
1976Having BabiesSharon McNamaraMovie
1977The SpellKristina MatchettMovie
1977Fitzpatricks, TheThe FitzpatricksKerry Gerardi9 episodes
1978Bionic Woman, TheThe Bionic WomanPrincess AuraEpisode: "Sanctuary Earth"
1979TransplantJanice HurleyMovie
Knots LandingBetsy
"Hitchhike" (Part 2)
"Step One"
1981CBS Afternoon PlayhousePhoebe"I Think I'm Having a Baby"
1981Child Bride of Short CreekNaomiMovie
1981Best Little Girl in the World, TheThe Best Little Girl in the WorldMovie
1981DarkroomNancy LawrenceEpisode: "The Bogeyman Will Get You"
1981Angel DustedLizzie EatonMovie
1981Miracle of Kathy Miller, TheThe Miracle of Kathy MillerKathy MillerMovie
1982Desperate LivesSandy CameronMovie
1982–83It Takes TwoLisa QuinnMain role
1983Bill: On His OwnJenny WellsMovie
1983Quarterback PrincessTami MaidaMovie
1983Choices of the HeartCathyMovie
1984Sweet RevengeDebbie MarkhamMovie
1985Highway To HeavenLizzy MacGillEpisode: "Thoroughbreds" (Parts 1 & 2)
1984–86St. ElsewhereClancy Williams8 episodes
1989Incident at Dark RiverJesse McCandlessMovie
1991My Life and TimesRebecca Miller6 episodes
1991Murder in New Hampshire:
The Pamela Wojas Smart Story
Pamela SmartMovie
1991Into the BadlandsBlossomMovie
1992–99Mad About YouJamie Stemple Buchman
1993In the Company of DarknessGina PulaskyMovie
1995FriendsJamie BuchmanSeason one, episode: "The One with Two Parts" (Part 1); Mad About You crossover appearance
1998The SimpsonsReneeEpisode: "Dumbbell Indemnity"
1998Twelfth NightViolaMovie
2005Empire FallsJanine RobyGracie Allen Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Special
2012CalifornicationDirector – season five episode: "At the Movies"
2013RevengeDirector – season two episode: "Retribution"


1977RollercoasterTracy Calder
1985Waiting to ActTracy
1985Girls Just Want to Have FunLynne Stone
1986Nativity, TheThe NativityMaryVoice
1986Peggy Sue Got MarriedBeth Bodell
1987Project XTeri
1988Miles from HomeJennifer
1988Stealing HomeHope Wyatt (adult and pregnant)
1988Frog Prince, TheThe Frog PrincePrincess Henrietta
1989Next of KinJessie Gates
1991Trancers IILena Deth
1992Waterdance, TheThe WaterdanceAnna
1992Only YouClare Enfield
1992Mr. Saturday NightAnnie Wells
1992Bob RobertsRose Pondell
1992Trancers IIILena
1993Sexual HealingRene
1995Kiss of DeathBev Kilmartin
1996TwisterDr. Jo Harding (Adult)
1997As Good as It GetsCarol Connelly
2000Dr. T & the WomenBree Davis
2000What Women WantDarcy McGuireBlockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy/Romance
2000Pay It ForwardArlene McKinneyNominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Drama/Romance
2000Cast AwayKelly Frears
2001One Night at McCool'sTruck driverscenes deleted
2001Curse of the Jade Scorpion, TheThe Curse of the Jade ScorpionBetty Ann Fitzgerald
2004Good Woman, AA Good WomanMrs. Erlynne
2006BobbySamantha Stevens
2007Then She Found MeApril Epner
2011Every DayJeannie
2011Soul SurferCheri Hamilton
2011Jock of the BushveldJessvoice
2012The SessionsCheryl Cohen-GreeneWon – Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Depiction Of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Nevada Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Sundance Film Festival - U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Female Icon
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Indiana Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for Actress of the Year
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
2013Decoding Annie ParkerDr. Mary-Claire King
2014RideIn post-production; also director, producer, and writer


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