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Texas-born actress Renee Zellweger first gained wide-spread attention for her role in the film Jerry Maguire and later Bridget Jones's Diary.
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Texas-born actress Renee Zellweger first gained wide-spread attention for her role in the film Jerry Maguire and later Bridget Jones's Diary, for which she received two Academy Award (best actress) nominations. She has also won three Golden Globe Awards and, in 2007, joined the ranks as one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses. Her other films include Cold Mountain and Chicago.
Born on April 25, 1969, in Katy, Texas, Renee Zellweger was raised in a small town outside Houston, and took up acting in college. She appeared in bit parts in mainstream movies like Dazed and Confused (1993) and Reality Bites (1994) before earning praise for her leading roles in the independent films Love and a .45 (1994) and The Whole Wide World (1996), co-starring Vincent D'Onofrio.
Director Cameron Crowe surprised many when he cast the relatively unknown actress as Dorothy Boyd, the single mother who is swept off her feet by Tom Cruise's soul-searching sports agent in Jerry Maguire (1996).
The film's critical and commercial success made Zellweger one of Hollywood's hottest new commodities. Instead of cashing in with another big-budget film, however, she took a risk and made several independent films, including Deceiver (1997), opposite Tim Roth, and A Price Above Rubies (1998), in which she played a rebellious wife in a Hasidic Jewish family.
Zellweger later turned in a critically acclaimed performance opposite Meryl Streep in One True Thing (1998), an adaptation of Anna Quindlen's novel about a daughter coping with her mother's slow death from cancer.
In 1999, Zellweger starred with Chris O'Donnell in The Bachelor, and made headlines on account of her budding romance with comic star Jim Carrey. In the comedy Me, Myself and Irene (2000), written and directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Carrey played a character with two personalities, both of whom are in love with Zellweger's Irene. That same year, Zellweger won a Golden Globe Award for the black comedy Nurse Betty, co-starring Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock and Greg Kinnear.
Renee Zellweger went on to garner even more success in 2001, when she starred as the neurotic British title character in the film adaptation of Helen Fielding's best-selling novel, Bridget Jones's Diary. The film, which also starred Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, garnered Zellweger two Academy Award nominations for best actress. Bridget Jones's sequel, The Edge of Reason, was released in 2004.
In 2003, Zellweger earned her second Goden Globe for her performance in Chicago, the film adaptation of the 1970s musical. The film also starred Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones. That same year, Zellweger starred opposite Ewan McGregor in the retro-romantic comedy Down With Love. The following year, she continued her winning streak by capturing the Academy Award for best supporting actress, for her performance as Ruby in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain.
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