Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon seemed marked for stardom when she won the leading role in her very first film at an open casting call at age 14. Born in Louisiana and raised largely in Tennessee, Witherspoon gained her first experiences as an on-camera professional when she was chosen to model in a TV commercial for a local florist at age seven. The young performer would continue modeling until she attended an audition for the feature film "The Man in the Moon" (1991). With zero film experience, Witherspoon expected to win a bit part in the production, but instead, she won the lead role of a young woman coming of age during the 1950s. The acclaimed drama won Witherspoon accolades for her acting abilities, and she was soon appearing in TV movies like "Wildflowers" (Lifetime, 1991) and feature films like "Jack the Bear" (1993). In 1996, Witherspoon impressed critics yet again, this time playing the street-tough would-be victim of a serial killer in the intense movie "Freeway" (1996). The part helped demonstrate Witherspoon's range, though even more high profile roles in movies like "Pleasantville" (1998) and "Cruel Intentions" (1999) tended to reinforce Witherspoon's "good girl" image even as they continued to raise her profile. Witherspoon's no-nonsense persona was perhaps most cemented by her critically acclaimed turn in the quirky black comedy "Election" (1999) in which she played over-achieving high school student Tracy Flick. Witherspoon married fellow actor Ryan Phillippe that same year. Even larger scale success came just a few years later when she starred as Elle Woods in the wildly popular comedy "Legally Blonde" (2001), playing a seemingly vapid young woman who proves her tenacity and intelligence when she is admitted to Harvard Law. She went on to star in similarly light movies, like the romantic comedy "Sweet Home Alabama" (2002) and the "Legally Blonde" sequel "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" (2003) before taking on a major challenge, playing June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line" (2005). Performing all her own singing for the film, Witherspoon wowed audiences and critics, taking home numerous awards. She went on to appear in films like the fantasy-inspired "Penelope" (2006) and the comedy "Four Christmases" (2008), even as she and Phillippe divorced in 2007. Though films like "Water for Elephants" (2011) and the action comedy "This Means War" (2012) were less commercially successful than Witherspoon's previous films, she did remarry talent agent Jim Toth in 2011, and began laying the groundwork for her next major project. That came to fruition in 2014 when Witherspoon produced the acclaimed mystery "Gone Girl" (2014) in addition to producing and starred in "Wild" (2014), an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir about overcoming grief and addiction during a 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. The lauded film demonstrated Witherspoon's nuance as an actor, and she followed it with a variety of distinct choices, from a police officer in the comedy "Hot Pursuit" (2015) to a magical being in "A Wrinkle in Time" (2018). In 2017, Witherspoon joined the likes of Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern on the acclaimed series "Big Little Lies" (HBO, 2017-). She would stick with the series even as she teamed up with Jennifer Aniston for the series "The Morning Show" (Apple, 2019-) and with Kerry Washington on "Little Fires Everywhere" (Hulu, 2020-).