Was director James L. Brooks' first choice to play the female lead in As Good as It Gets (1997), but reportedly demanded too much money upfront and was passed over in favour of Helen Hunt. Hunter had previously collaborated with James L. Brooks on the 1987 film, Broadcast News (1987).
She had one line in her film debut, The Burning (1981), among a few ad libs. Regarding missing canoes she says to Todd -- "What happens if we don't find them?"
In 10th grade she placed 8th nationally in a poultry-judging contest. (Interview, 11/95)
Hunter's uncle was the first commander of the Thunderbirds, the world-famous U.S. Air Force Demonstration Squadron of fighter pilots.
An accomplished pianist, she actually performed all of the piano music for her Oscar performance in The Piano (1993). Film makers selected pieces for her that matched her talent.
Second cousin of Anaheim Angels' outfielder Tim Salmon.
Replaced Debra Winger for the role of Jane Craig in Broadcast News (1987).
Turned down the role of God in Dogma (1999).
Announced her separation from husband, Janusz Kaminski. They have had been apart since Halloween. [December 2001]
Taught by Jorge Guerra.
Along with Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald, Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx and Cate Blanchett, she is one of only eleven actors to receive Academy Award nominations in two acting categories in the same year. She was nominated for Best Actress for The Piano (1993) and Best Supporting Actress for The Firm (1993) at the 66th Academy Awards in 1994, winning the former award.
While living in the North Bronx, she turned down the lead role in Blood Simple. (1984), but introduced the Coen Brothers to her roommate Frances McDormand, who got the role and ended up marrying one of the brothers. Hunter's voice can be heard on an answering machine message in the film.
Lived in the same house as Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Frances McDormand and Sam Raimi in 1985 in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Hired a sign language interpreter to help her create her own sign language for her role in The Piano (1993).
Started playing piano at 9.
Moved to New York in 1980 to pursue a career in acting.
Made her Broadway debut in 1982 in "Crimes of the Heart."
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen saw her in "Crimes of the Heart" and wanted to cast her in the movie, Blood Simple. (1984). Because she was committed in another play, "The Wake of Jamey Foster", they cast her roommate Frances McDormand instead. Frances McDormand ended up marrying Joel Coen.
In 1993, she won the Oscar for Best Actress for The Piano (1993), in which she utilised her real-life piano skills. Eleven years later, Jamie Foxx won Best Actor for Ray (2004), in which he also played the piano. Both of them had been nominated for a supporting performance in those respective years, and both were nominated for a role they played opposite Tom Cruise. Hunter appeared in The Firm (1993) and Jamie Foxx appeared in Collateral (2004).
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999.
Graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in drama (1980).
Spent a summer interning at Cortland Repertory Theatre (Cortland, New York) in 1976.
Her performance as Jane Craig in Broadcast News (1987) is ranked #66 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Wings of Desire (1987)) is one of her favorite films.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 30, 2008.
She won her Oscar-winning role in The Piano (1993) over Anjelica Huston, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert. Sigourney Weaver's agent had turned it down without sending her the script.
She won the role in Broadcast News (1987) just two days before shooting began, over several then-better-known actresses.
Was in consideration for the part of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction (1994) but Uma Thurman, who went on to receive a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.
Was in consideration for the part of Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty (1999) but Annette Bening, who went on to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.
Has been in a relationship with Gordon MacDonald since 2001.
Gave birth to twin sons (her 1st and 2nd children) at age 47, Press MacDonald and Claude McDonald on January 17, 2006. Children's father is her boyfriend, Gordon MacDonald.
Starring in the lead role in Irish play "In the Bog of Cats" in London's West End. [March 2005]
Was the 107th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Piano (1993) at The 66th Annual Academy Awards (1994) on March 21, 1994.
She was awarded the 1988 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Performance for "A Lie of the Mind" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.