Hilary attended but dropped out of South Pasadena High School in South Pasadena, California. She also studied at Santa Monica College.
Hilary was an athletic young girl and competed in the Junior Olympics. She was ranked fifth in the state of Washington in all-around gymnastics.
Hilary won the role of Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry over 300 other girls over a course of a three-year selection process. She earned a meager $3,000.00 for the movie.
As preparation for her role as a boxer in Million Dollar Baby, Hilary had to undergo three months of intensive physical training and had to take in about 210 grams of protein per day. She had a steady diet of protein shakes, egg whites, and flax oil and almost died of blood poisoning.
Hilary grew up in a trailer park in Bellingham, Washington. When they first moved to Los Angeles, Hilary and her mother lived in a car for two weeks before a friend offered for them to sleep in the house they are selling. They slept in air mattresses at night and had to leave in the morning.
When she was about six years old, Hilary's dream was to become an astronaut when she grew up. She wanted to become an actress at age nine.
Hilary's parents are Stephen, salesman, and Judy, a secretary. He was the sister-in-law of actor Rob Lowe.
Aside from playing the role of a teacher in the 2006 film Freedom Writers, Hilary was also the executive producer for the movie.
Hilary's theatrical credits include Hansel and Gretel (1987), Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Cinderella (1988), and The Miracle Worker (2003).
In 2003, Hilary appeared in the the Playboy Home Video documentary entitled Sex at 24 Frames Per Second: The Ultimate Journey Through Sex in Cinema. It was directed by Kevin Burns and also featured Roger Ebert and Ang Lee among others.
In June 2008, Hilary and business partner/producer Molly Smith formed a film production company called 2S Films. In 2004, Hilary founded the New York-based Accomplice Films with ex-husband Chad Lowe.
Hilary cut nine inches of her hair on The Oprah Winfrey Show and donated her locks to a cancer charity in October 2007. In February 2008, she was honored with Entertainment Industry Foundation's 2008 Courage Award for her valued contribution to the EIF's Women's Cancer Research Fund.
Hilary is five feet and seven inches tall.
In March 2007, Hilary was taken to hospital requiring stitches to her head after a mishap while filming P.S., I Love You. Co-star Gerard Butler was performing a strip tease in front of her when one of his suspender clips flew off and struck her in the head.
Hilary was turned away from the Golden Globe Awards. The guards didn't recognize her and refused her entry. Hilary and her boyfriend/agent John Campisi, transferred to another limo that was permitted to drive up to the red carpet. Witnesses said Hilary was furious and made a rude hand gesture at the security guard when she did gain entry.
On January 9th, 2007, Hilary was presented with the 2325th star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
In 2006, Hilary became the spokeswoman for the women's fragrance launched by Guerlain called Insolence. She appeared in semi-nude ads for the product line.
Hilary is the first ever to win a Best Actress Oscar for portraying a female boxer.
Hilary:One thing I've learned, you never know where life is taking you, but it's taking you.
Hilary: We have all had a time in our life when we needed somebody to believe in us, or we finally had someone who believed in us that changed our lives. If you don't have it at home or in your family life, hopefully you can find that in a teacher.
Hilary: (Maggie Fitzgerald is the character she played in "Million Dollar Baby") I think beauty is all relative. It's subjective. To say that Maggie Fitzgerald wasn't pretty -- to some people, she might've been. People say the hair, makeup and pretty clothes make a pretty girl. I just don't see it that way.
Hilary: (on her divorce from husband, Chad Lowe) That's life. Millions of men and women fall in love, get married and then get divorced. If what happened to me helps someone realize they're in a great relationship and to hold the person closer, then do it. If it makes someone realize they're in an unhealthy relationship that is making them both unhappy, then it's not the end of the world.
Hilary: (upon accepting her second Oscar [for "Million Dollar Baby"]) I don't know what I did in this life to deserve all this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.
Hilary: I'm not a very complicated person. I don't feel like I need a lot of things to make me happy. I feel like – part of that is my upbringing, not needing a lot of things around you. It's the truth. It really is.
Hilary: I think everyone has a gift. You just have to be able to find it and follow your calling. People are afraid to do that. Some people are afraid of greatness, of success. And other people are afraid if they try and fail and that was their one big dream, then what do they have left?
Hilary: I believe in a higher power. I wasn't baptized or raised with an organized religion, but it's definitely interesting. Part of my job as an actor that is so great, is that I get to read and learn about all different walks and types of life and different ways of thinking and it certainly makes me more open minded.
Hilary: I find in this e-mail and texting age that getting a hand-written letter is even more special. I think writing letters is a lost art, but nowadays it's something that means even more, because it's so easy to communicate in so many different ways.
Hilary: Every role you do, you're pigeonholed by your last role. For a really creative business, sometimes it doesn't feel so creative.
Hilary: I am a lay-it-on-the-table kind of girl. No nonsense. I'd rather have honest relationships, because life is too short to beat around the bush. Honesty shows that you really care about someone. I live by that.
Hilary: That's the beauty of life. You're constantly trying to figure it out and go with it. And sometimes you're thrown into a tailspin and sometimes you're not. It's how you choose to deal with the tailspin and how you choose to deal when it goes well.
Hilary: I'm really lucky in that I have gotten to be a part of such wonderful films where the roles and the films speak to me in a really profound way.
Hilary: I think that any time you start concerning yourself with what people think you're going to fail, because you're never going to please everybody. If you try to make everybody happy you might as well quit.
Hilary: I really believe in mind over matter. I am an optimist, to the point where there are people in my life who say I am naive.
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