Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly was an American actress born in Cairo, New York. The daughter of an antiques dealer and a clothing manufacturer, Connelly primarily grew up in Brooklyn Heights and attended private school for the arts St. Ann's. She began modeling for Ford Modeling Agency when she was about 10 years old, appearing on covers of magazines and even recording two pop songs for Japan in 1986. She had to sing the Japanese lyrics phonetically since she couldn't speak the language. Before that, however, she made her acting and television debut in an episode of the British anthology series "Tales of the Unexpected" (ITV, 1979-1988) in 1982. Connelly's breakout role was also her film debut and only her second acting gig. Director Sergio Leone decided to cast her in his epic film "Once Upon a Time in America" (1984) because of her resemblance to the adult version of her character, Deborah Gelly, played by Elizabeth McGovern. The next year, she led a film for the first time, in another Italian auteur's movie: "Phenomena" (1985), directed by Dario Argento. But among her most iconic roles was opposite David Bowie as Sarah Williams in "Labyrinth" (1986), a contemporary flop but modern cult classic. In 1988 and '89, Connelly attended Yale University, studying English. But she transferred to Stanford University to study acting in 1990; she ended up leaving at the end of the year to focus on her acting career. Her first major role after this period was as Jenny Blake in "The Rocketeer" (1991), another costly failure for a studio but, ultimately, a favorite among devoted fans. Connelly dated her co-star Billy Campbell after working on the film until 1996. She then had a relationship with photographer David Dugan, and gave birth to their son Kai in 1997. Connelly starred in Darren Aranofsky's "Requiem for a Dream" (2000), but it was her role in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) that possibly gave Connelly her greatest mainstream success. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 2002 Oscars, and her role as Alicia Nash is still among her most recognizable. Connelly next played Betty Ross, the love interest of hero Bruce Banner, in Ang Lee's commercially successful yet criticized Marvel Comics adaptation "Hulk" (2003). The same year, she married actor Paul Bettany and gave birth to their first child, a son named Stellan. Through the 2000s, some of Connelly's more notable roles were in "Blood Diamond" (2006) and as part of the ensemble cast of "He's Just Not That Into You" (2009). She gave birth to a daughter, Agnes in 2011. She reteamed with Aranofsky and Russell Crowe (her "Beautiful Mind" costar) in "Noah" (2014), and starred in her husband's directorial debut "Shelter" opposite Anthony Mackie. Connelly also acted with Ewan McGregor in his directorial debut "American Pastoral" (2016) before providing her voice as Karen in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017). The latter character is essentially a new version of Bettany's previous AI assistant Jarvis (he now plays Vision), making both husband and wife part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From 2018 through 2020, Connelly landed roles in high-profile sci-fi/franchise/sequel films such as the "Snowpiercer" series (TNT, 2019), "Alita: Battle Angel" (2019), and "Top Gun: Maverick" (2020).