Toni Collette

Actress

1972-11-01 (47 years old) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Toni Collette had only a couple of roles under her belt when she gained her breakout role (not to mention 40 pounds) as a quirky introvert in the hit 1994 comedy Muriel's Wedding. Unfortunately, she was so convincing as a frump that it took years for her to convince the industry that she could play attractive, too. A string of solid supporting performances followed---she was Gwyneth Paltrow's homely friend in Emma and the wallflower in a quartet of temps in the indie Clockwatchers---until she proved she could be fabulous in an Angela Bowie-type turn as an ugly duckling turned sequin-covered swan in the glam-rock drama Velvet Goldmine. Her powerful performance as a single mom grappling with her son's supernatural abilities in 1999's Sixth Sense earned her an Oscar nod, and a slew of domestic roles followed: a suicidal mom in About a Boy, an unhappy housewife with sapphic desires in The Hours and Cameron Diaz's dumpy sister in In Her Shoes, a throwback to her roles of old that required her to gain, then lose, a striking amount of weight. But 2006 was a banner year for the versatile player: Not only did Collette earn a pair of Golden Globe nominations for her work as an addled mom in the indie Little Miss Sunshine and a harried aid worker in the TV-movie Tsunami: The Aftermath, she also released Beautiful Awkward Picture, her debut album with her band Toni Collette & the Finish. In 2009, she accepted the role of a suburban housewife with multiple-personality disorder in the Showtime series United States of Tara, a role that landed her both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe. She has homes in Australia and Ireland, which she shares with husband Dave Galafassi and daughter Sage Florence.

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