Like the characters she plays in her movies, Hilary Swank has survived every challenge life has thrown her way. Through all of her struggles -- parents' separation, poverty, homelessness, public divorce -- she has remained steadfast with her dream of becoming a successful actress. With already two Oscars under her name and the admiration of her peers, Swank is truly an inspiration in the entertainment industry.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 30, 1974, Hilary was raised in Bellingham, Washington. When she was nine years old, she made her acting debut in the local theater production of The Jungle Book
where she played Mowgli. She continued to appear in the local theater. Before she turned sixteen, Hilary, along with her supportive mother, moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career.
She landed her first minor role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(1992) followed by a lead role in The Next Karate Kid
(1994). In 1997, she was cast in the popular TV series Beverly Hills, 90210
but was later fired.
In 1999, Swank got the role that would earn her international fame and critical acclaim in the indie drama Boys Don't Cry
. In the film, she played a small-town woman whose decision to live her life differently ended in tragedy, a portrayal for which she won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
After less-noteworthy projects in the early 2000's, Hilary blew audiences away with her brilliant performance in Clint Eastwood
's Million Dollar Baby
. Her portrayal of a champion boxer in the movie won her a second Oscar and another Golden Globe and solidified her status as one of the best actresses in Hollywood.