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Maggie Gyllenhaal

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Title: Maggie Gyllenhaal  
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Subject: Secretary (2002 film), Won't Back Down (film), Crazy Heart, Frank (film), Happy Endings (film)
Collection: 1977 Births, 20Th-Century American Actresses, 21St-Century American Actresses, Actresses from Los Angeles, California, Actresses from New York City, Alumni of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, American Anti–iraq War Activists, American Child Actresses, American Film Actresses, American People of English Descent, American People of Latvian-Jewish Descent, American People of Lithuanian-Jewish Descent, American People of Polish-Jewish Descent, American People of Russian-Jewish Descent, American People of Swedish Descent, American Stage Actresses, American Television Actresses, Best Miniseries or Television Movie Actress Golden Globe Winners, Columbia University Alumni, Gyllenhaal Family, Jewish American Actresses, Living People, New York Democrats, People from Manhattan
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Maggie Gyllenhaal

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Gyllenhaal at the 2010 Academy Awards
Born Margalit Ruth Gyllenhaal
(1977-11-16) November 16, 1977
New York City, New York, United States
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1992–present
Spouse(s) Peter Sarsgaard (m. 2009)
Children 2
Parent(s) Stephen Gyllenhaal
Naomi Achs
Relatives Jake Gyllenhaal (brother)

Margalit Ruth "Maggie" Gyllenhaal[1][2][3] (;[4][5] born November 16, 1977)[6] is an American actress. She started her career as a child actress in films directed by her father, Stephen Gyllenhaal. Her younger brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

In 2002, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance as Lee Holloway in Secretary. In 2006 she was nominated for her second Golden Globe Award for her performance in Sherrybaby. Her other films include Donnie Darko (2001), Adaptation (2002), Happy Endings (2005), World Trade Center (2006), and The Dark Knight (2008). For her performance as Jean Craddock in the musical-drama Crazy Heart (2009), she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2014 she made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Real Thing, and also starred in the television mini-series The Honourable Woman. For her performance as Nessa Stein in the latter she has won a Golden Globe Award and received a nomination for an Emmy Award.[7][8]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early work 2.1
    • 2002–2005 2.2
    • 2006–2009 2.3
    • 2010–present 2.4
  • Personal life 3
  • Activism 4
    • Politics 4.1
    • Charity work 4.2
  • Filmography 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Gyllenhaal was born in Julia Roberts.[41] The movie grossed US$33 million worldwide.[42] That same year, she had a smaller role in the comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights.[43]

In 2003, she co-starred with Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile in the role of Giselle.[44] In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, she revealed the reason for accepting the role was "to play somebody who feels confident in herself as a sexy, beautiful woman".[45] The film generated mostly critical reviews,[46] with Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times describing it as "smug and reductive".[47] Her next roles were in smaller independent films: Casa de los Babys (2003), a story about six American women impatiently waiting out their lengthy residency requirements in an unidentified South American country before picking up their adoptive babies,[48] and Criminal (2004), a remake of the Argentinian film Nine Queens, with John C. Reilly and Diego Luna.[49] Gyllenhaal plays an honest hotel manager forced to help her crooked brother (Reilly) by seducing one of his victims.[49] Gyllenhaal was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2004.[50] She starred in the HBO film Strip Search (2004), where she portrayed an American student in China suspected of terrorism.[51]

In 2004, Gyllenhaal returned to theater in a Los Angeles production of Tony Kushner's Homebody/ Kabul as Priscilla, the Homebody's daughter, who spends most of the play searching for her elusive mother in Kabul, Afghanistan. Kushner gave her the role in Homebody/ Kabul on the strength of her performance in Closer.[52] Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote: "Ms. Gyllenhaal provides the essential bridge between the parts of the play's title."[53] John Heilpern of The New York Observer noted that Gyllenhaal's performance was "compelling".[54] Viewed as a sex symbol, she was ranked in the "Hot 100 List" by Maxim magazine in 2004 and 2005.[55][56]

Gyllenhaal's next film role was in the 2005 comedy-drama Happy Endings, in which she played an adventuress singer who seduces a young gay musician (Jason Ritter) as well as his rich father (Tom Arnold). She recorded songs for the movie's soundtrack,[44][57] calling the role the "roughest, scariest acting ever" and adding she is more natural when singing on screen than when acting.[57] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly declared Gyllenhaal's performance "as wonderfully, naturally slouchy-sexy as her character is artificial".[58]


Gyllenhaal at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, January 11, 2009

Following Happy Endings, she starred in the 2006 films Trust the Man, Stranger than Fiction, Monster House, World Trade Center, and Sherrybaby. In Trust the Man, featuring Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, and Billy Crudup, she played Elaine, who has been dating Tobey, Crudup's character, for seven years and has begun to feel that it is time for her to settle down and start a family.[59][60] The film was critically and financially unsuccessful.[61][62] Ethan Alter of Premiere felt that the performances by Gyllenhaal and Duchovny were "much more at ease" and concluded with "that's probably because they're [sic] played these characters many times before".[63] In Stranger than Fiction, Gyllenhaal played a love interest of Harold Crick, played by Will Ferrell.[64] Her performance in the film received favorable reviews; Mike Straka of Fox News wrote: "Gyllenhaal has never been sexier in any film before and her interplay with Ferrell will propel her to more A-list films, leaving her indie-darling days behind, no doubt."[65] She voiced Elizabeth "Zee" in the computer animated horror film Monster House.[66] Gyllenhaal played Allison Jimeno, the wife of Port Authority officer Will Jimeno, in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, based on the September 11 attacks in New York City.[67] She regarded this as "one of the films she most enjoyed making".[24] The film received favorable reviews and proved to be an international success, earning US$162 million worldwide.[68][69]

In Sherrybaby, Gyllenhaal played a young drug-addicted thief trying to put her life in order after prison so she can reconcile with her daughter. During promotion of the film, she noted of her portrayal of the character: "I think she's in such dire straights [sic] that all she has are these kind of naive, fierce hope. And while I was playing the part I was looking for pleasure and hope in everything, even in these really bleak things. And so it was really mostly after I finished the movie that I felt pain."[70] Her performance in the film was well received: David Germain of the Associated Press wrote, "Gyllenhaal humanizes her so deeply and richly ... that Sherry elicits sympathy even in her darkest and weakest moments",[71] and Dennis Harvey of Variety called her performance "naturalistic".[72] For her work, Gyllenhaal earned her second Golden Globe Best Actress nomination[73] and won the Best Actress category award at the 2006 Stockholm International Film Festival.[74]

A brown haired woman looking away from the camera. Her hair is tied back, and she is wearing gold earrings and a shoulderless, sleeveless black dress with a yellow, red, and blue patten
Gyllenhaal at the premiere of The Dark Knight in New York City, July 14, 2008

She appeared in The Dark Knight (2008), the sequel to Batman Begins (2005), in which she replaced Katie Holmes as Assistant District Attorney, Rachel Dawes.[75][76] Gyllenhaal acknowledged her character was a damsel in distress to an extent, but said director Christopher Nolan sought ways to empower her character, so "Rachel's really clear about what's important to her and unwilling to compromise her morals, which made a nice change" from the many conflicted characters she had previously portrayed.[77] The Dark Knight was a financial and critical success, setting a new opening weekend box office record for North America. With revenue of US$1 billion worldwide,[78] it became the fourth-highest grossing film of all time,[79] and remains Gyllenhaal's most commercially successful picture to date. In a Salon review of the film, Stephanie Zacharek called Gyllenhaal's character "a tough cookie in a Stanwyck-style bias-cut gown" and stated that "the movie feels smarter and more supple when she's on-screen".[80] IGN film critic Todd Gilchrist wrote, "Gyllenhaal adds real depth and energy to Rachel Dawes".[81]

Gyllenhaal played Yelena in the

External links

  • Berkshire, Geoff. "'Dark Knight' Q&A: Maggie Gyllenhaal." Chicago Metromix. July 13, 2008. Accessed December 15, 2008.
  • Blanks, Tim. "Maggie Gyllenhaal." Interview Magazine. November 17, 2008. Accessed January 13, 2009.
  • Brinton, Jessica. "Maggie Gyllenhaal's rising star." The Times. July 20, 2008. Accessed October 9, 2008.
  • DiLiberto, Rebecca. "Finding her place in a new world order." The Boston Globe. July 22, 2008. Accessed December 14, 2008.
  • Fischer, Paul. "Maggie Gyllenhaal Dark Knight Interview." Femail. Accessed October 9, 2008.
  • Freydkin, Donna. "'Dark Knight' puts spotlight on publicity-shunning Gyllenhaal." USA Today. July 13, 2008. Accessed September 27, 2008.
  • Freydkin, Donna. "Gyllenhaal does something for herself: Star in 'Crazy Heart'." USA Today. January 3, 2010. Accessed January 4, 2010.* Head, Steve. "IGN: Happy Endings for Ms. Gyllenhaal." IGN Movies. January 3, 2005. Accessed November 4, 2008.
  • Heyman, Marshall. "The Pictures: Sad-Eyed Siblings." New York Magazine. July 22, 2002. Accessed January 14, 2009.
  • Lawrence, Will. "Lady of the Knight." Sunday Herald. September 27, 2008. Accessed September 27, 2008.
  • Kelly, Nick. "A light that never goes out." Irish Independent. July 25, 2008. Accessed April 3, 2009.
  • Lytal, Cristy. "Maggie Gyllenhaal in ‘The Dark Knight’." Los Angeles Times. July 17, 2008. Accessed February 2, 2009.
  • Rees, Serena. "Maggie Gyllenhaal: Romantic chemistry." The Daily Telegraph. May 9, 2007. Accessed September 27, 2008.
  • Riggs, Jonathan. "Maggie Begins." Instinct Magazine. August 1, 2005. Accessed December 14, 2008.
  • Rosen, Alison. "The Hot Seat–Maggie Gyllenhaal." Time Out New York. Issue 570: August 31 – September 6, 2006. Accessed December 14, 2008.
  • Schwartz, Missy. "Maggie, Maybe...." Entertainment Weekly. July 28, 2006. Accessed May 28, 2009.
  • Snook, Raven. "Features–Maggie Gyllenhaal interview." Time Out New York Kids. Issue 38: December 1–30, 2008.
  • Stewart, Sara. "Maggie Gyllenhaal." New York Post. July 6, 2008. Accessed September 27, 2008.
  • Wolf, Jeanne. "Maggie Gyllenhaal Is No Stay At Home Mom." Parade. July 11, 2008. Accessed January 13, 2009.

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Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2009 Uncle Vanya Yelena Andreevna Classic Stage Company [142]
2011 Three Sisters Masha Kulygina Classic Stage Company [143]
2014 The Real Thing Annie American Airlines Theatre [144]
Year Title Role Notes
1996 Shattered Mind Clothes clerk TV movie
1998 The Patron Saint of Liars Lorraine Thomas TV movie
1999 Resurrection Mary TV movie
1999 Shake, Rattle, and Roll: An American Love Story Noreen Bixler TV Movie
2004 Strip Search Linda Sykes TV movie
2012 Discovery's "Curiosity" Host Documentary
2012 The Corrections Denise TV Movie
2014 The Honourable Woman Nessa Stein TV miniseries
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Limited Miniseries[141]
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Waterland Maggie Ruth
1993 A Dangerous Woman Patsy
1998 Homegrown Christina
2000 The Photographer Mira
2000 Cecil B. Demented Raven
2001 Donnie Darko Elizabeth Darko Co-starring real-life brother Jake Gyllenhaal
2001 Riding in Cars with Boys Amelia Forrester
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Debbie Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer
2002 Adaptation Caroline Cunningham Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer
2002 40 Days and 40 Nights Sam
2002 Secretary Lee Holloway
2003 Mona Lisa Smile Giselle Levy
2003 Casa de los Babys Jennifer
2004 Criminal Valerie
2005 The Great New Wonderful Emme
2005 Happy Endings Jude Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2006 Stranger than Fiction Ana Pascal Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
2006 Trust the Man Elaine
2006 Sherrybaby Sherry Swanson
2006 Paris, je t'aime Liz Segment "Quartier des Enfants Rouges" only
2006 Monster House Elizabeth "Zee" Nominated—Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
2006 World Trade Center Allison Jimeno
2007 High Falls April Short Film
2008 The Dark Knight Rachel Dawes
2009 Away We Go Ellen "LN"
2009 Crazy Heart Jean Craddock
2010 Nanny McPhee Returns Isabel Green
2011 Hysteria Charlotte Dalrymple
2012 Won't Back Down Jamie
2013 White House Down Carol Finnerty
2014 Frank Clara Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
2014 River of Fundament Hathfertiti


Besides acting, Gyllenhaal has modeled for micro-enterprise.[137] For one of the fundraisers, Gyllenhaal helped design and promote a necklace that sold for US$100; all proceeds from sales went to the charity.[138] In October 2008 she hosted a fashion show event called "Fashionably Natural", which was presented by Gen Art and SoyJoy in Los Angeles.[139][140] The show featured four up-and-coming designers who worked only with all-natural and eco-friendly fabrics and materials.[139][140]

Charity work

In June 2013, Gyllenhaal and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning.[127][128]

[126][125] Gyllenhaal is politically active. At the



Gyllenhaal began a relationship with actor Peter Sarsgaard,[108] a close friend of her brother Jake, in 2002.[44] They announced their engagement in April 2006,[109][110] and married on May 2, 2009, in a small chapel in Brindisi, Italy.[111][112] They have two daughters, Ramona and Gloria Ray.[113][114] The family lives in Brooklyn, New York.[115]

A man and a woman pose together for a photo. The man has short, light-brown hair and a beard, and is wearing a grey suit jacket and grey shirt. The woman has short, shoulder-length brown hair, worn loose, and is wearing large hoop earrings with a sleeveless, strapless black dress.
Peter Sarsgaard and Gyllenhaal at the New York premiere of An Education in October 2009

Personal life

In the 2012 film Won't Back Down, she played a parent involved in a parent trigger takeover of her child's school. She appeared as a Secret Service agent in the action-thriller White House Down (2013).[104] In 2014, she played the title role as an Anglo-Israeli business-woman in the BBC Television series, The Honourable Woman.[105] Also in 2014 she played Hathfertiti in Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler's River of Fundament.[106][107]

In February 2011, Gyllenhaal starred in another Anton Chekhov production as the character Masha in Austin Pendleton's Three Sisters at the Classic Stage Company.[101] The play focuses on the Prozorov sisters (Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hecht, and Juliet Rylance) "unlucky in love, unhappy in the provinces and longing to return to Moscow", as summarized by Bloomberg's Jeremy Gerard.[102] The off-Broadway production began preview performances on January 12, with a limited engagement through March 6.[103]

In 2010, Gyllenhaal appeared in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, the sequel to the 2005 film Nanny McPhee.[95] The role required her to speak with an English accent.[96] The feature received mixed reviews,[97] and earned US$93 million worldwide.[98] Away from acting, she served as host of the PBS television documentary series Independent Lens.[99] Gyllenhaal also appeared in Hysteria, an independent movie focusing on the creation of the vibrator.[100]


Gyllenhaal agreed to appear in the comedy film Away We Go, where she plays a bohemian college professor who is an old friend of John Krasinski's character.[86][87] The film generated broadly mixed reviews,[88] with Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly describing Gyllenhaal's subplot as "over-the-top".[89] However, A. O. Scott of The New York Times praised Gyllenhaal and co-star Allison Janney for their performances, writing that "both [are] quite funny".[90] Scott concluded with, "Ms. Gyllenhaal's line about sex roles in 'the seahorse community' is the screenplay's one clean satirical bull's-eye".[90] Her next role came in the musical-drama Crazy Heart, in which she played journalist Jean Craddock, who falls for musician Bad Blake, played by Jeff Bridges.[91] The movie received favorable reviews,[92] with Gyllenhaal receiving praise from critics. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone reported that Gyllenhaal was "funny, touching and vital as Jean" and that her part was "conventionally conceived, but Gyllenhaal plays it with a tough core of intelligence and feeling."[93] Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[94]

[85] was complimentary, noting that she "ultimately blossoms" as the character.Hartford Courant However, Malcolm Johnson of the [84], plays Yelena with a slow-mo saunter and monotonous pasted-on smile that makes it seem as if she's been in Sherry's stash."Sherrybaby was less than enthusiastic about her performance, writing: "Gyllenhaal, who was so dynamic as a druggie in the film New York Daily News Joe Dziemianowicz of the [83][82], began previews on January 17 and ended its limited run on March 1.Austin Pendleton The production, directed by [83][82] She next played a supporting role in the comedy-drama

Gyllenhaal's break-out role was in the black comedy Secretary (2002), a film about two people who embark on a mutually fulfilling BDSM lifestyle.[31] The New York Times critic Stephen Holden noted: "The role of Lee, which Maggie Gyllenhaal imbues with a restrained comic delicacy and sweetness, should make her a star."[31] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "Maggie Gyllenhaal, as the self-destructive secretary, is enigmatic and, at moments, sympathetic."[32] The film received generally favorable reviews,[33] and Gyllenhaal's performance earned her the Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures,[34] her first Golden Globe nomination,[35] and an Independent Spirit Award nomination.[36] Secretary was Gyllenhaal's first film role which featured full frontal nudity.[37][38] Although impressed with the script, she initially had some qualms about doing the film, which she believed could deliver an anti-feminist message. Yet after carefully discussing the script with the film's director, Steven Shainberg, she agreed to join the project.[39] Although insisting Shainberg did not exploit her, Gyllenhaal has said she felt "scared when filming began" and that "in the wrong hands ... even in just slightly less intelligent hands, this movie could say something really weird."[24] Since then, she is guarded about discussing her role in the film, saying only that "despite myself, sometimes the dynamic that you are exploring in your work spills over into your life."[24]

A brown-haired woman with blue eyes wears a dark blue dress with her hair tied back.
Gyllenhaal attending an event in Barcelona, Spain, in 2008


She made her theatrical debut in the Berkeley Repertory Theatre production of Patrick Marber's Closer,[25][26] for which she received favorable reviews.[27][28] Production started in May 2000 and ended in mid-July of that year.[27] Gyllenhaal has performed in several other plays, including The Tempest,[29] Antony and Cleopatra, The Butterfly Project, and No Exit.[30]

Gyllenhaal's first films—her feature film debut at the age of 15, Waterland (1992); A Dangerous Woman (1993); and Homegrown (1998)—were directed by her father; the last two also featured her brother; they had supporting roles as children.[14] With their mother, she and Jake appeared in two episodes of Molto Mario, an Italian cooking show on the Food Network.[22] After graduating from college, she played supporting roles in films like Cecil B. Demented (2000) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001).[23] Gyllenhaal later achieved recognition in her own right playing her real brother's on-screen sister in the indie cult hit Donnie Darko (2001).[24]

Early work


Gyllenhaal grew up in Los Angeles, and studied at the Harvard–Westlake prep school.[14] In 1995, she graduated from Harvard–Westlake and moved to New York to attend Columbia University, where she studied literature and Eastern religions;[14][19] she graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.[14] After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London,[20] she took a summer job working as a waitress in a Massachusetts restaurant.[21]

" is a Hebrew word meaning "Pearl"; some news stories have spelled it "Margolit". Margalit "[18][2] The first name on Maggie's birth certificate is "Margalit", which she did not discover until 2013, when she officially changed it to "Maggie".[17] Her parents married in 1977, and filed for divorce in October 2008.[16].Hebrew school Gyllenhaal has stated that she "grew up mostly Jewish, culturally", though she did not attend [15][14][13][12][10].Columbia University, a noted historian and history professor at Eric Foner). Her mother's first husband was Poland and Russia Her mother was born in New York City, and is from a Jewish family (from [11]

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