Holly Hunter: American Actress
Holly Hunter stunned audiences on HBO’s Here and Now series when her character launched an astonishing feat by throwing thousands of peanut shells at a trash can!
Hunter began her film and TV career long before it became fashionable, earning an Emmy award for her performance in Roe vs. Wade and receiving critical acclaim in Broadcast News, The Firm, Thirteen, and The Piano.
Holly Hunter’s Biography
Holly Hunter was born on 20th March 1958 in Conyers, Georgia, and graduated with a BA in drama from Carnegie Mellon University. She first earned widespread renown for her performance on the Piano in 1993 – winning an Academy Award – which went on to receive multiple nods and nominations including for The Firm and Broadcast News; also Saving Grace TV series where she appeared as Billie Jean King’s mother as well as When Billie Beat Bobby television film in 2001 and Lending her voice to Elastigirl from animated The Incredibles films The Incredibles 2 sequel films!
Hunter first appeared on-screen in 1981’s horror flick The Burning, before earning a supporting role in 1984’s Swing Shift and then in Raising Arizona by the Coen brothers as well as James L. Brooks’ broadcasting drama Broadcast News with leading roles.
Holly Hunter’s Education
Holly Hunter initially began performing in Pittsburgh’s City Theatre (then known as City Players). Once she arrived in New York she roomed with actress Frances McDormand before eventually going solo.
Hunter first appeared on film screens in 1984 with Blood Simple; her second major role would come two years later in Raising Arizona, written by former roommates Ethan and Joel Coen (the Coen brothers). Raising Arizona successfully disproved any stereotypes associated with career woman archetypes while earning Hunter an Academy Award nomination.
In 1993, she captured audiences and critics alike with her remarkable portrayal of Ada, a nineteenth-century pianist sold into marriage in Jane Campion’s film The Piano. So convincing was her performance that she received Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Cannes awards for Best Actress.
Holly Hunter’s Filmography
Hunter began her acting career onstage, performing in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions as well as two television movies.
Made her film debut in Blood Simple (1982)
Raising Arizona was critically acclaimed when she made her film debut as one of the stars of Coen brothers comedy Raising Arizona in 1987 and she earned an Academy Award nomination for Broadcast News that same year. Additionally, she featured prominently in a made-for-television drama about the Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade as well as Steven Spielberg’s romantic drama Always.
Holly Hunter first made an impactful statement with roles in Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays and Jon Amiel’s thriller Copycat in 1995. Subsequently, she appeared as a recently divorced New Yorker in Richard LaGravenese’s Living Out Loud; after which, she also worked on diverse genres like David Cronenberg’s Crash and A Life Less Ordinary on HBO; as well as joining forces with Jane Campion to star in Top of the Lake crime series in 2013.
Starred in Raising Arizona (1987)
Holly Hunter first achieved fame after appearing in several television movies before her breakout performance as television news producer Jane Craig earned an Academy Award nomination from the Coen brothers’ crime-comedy Raising Arizona (1987).
Nicolas Cage starred as an ex-cop turned bank robber in this critically acclaimed flick that received widespread critical acclaim and audience appreciation. Simon Pegg wrote of it being “a Dadaist head trip of an action film with kidnapped babies and exploding bunnies,” while Spike Lee included it on his list of essential films.
Followed this with roles in Henley’s Miss Firecracker, Steven Spielberg’s romantic drama Always, and Roe vs Wade made-for-TV docudrama as well as Saving Grace TV series and lending her voice for The Incredibles (2004) animated movie. Additionally, she played Billie Jean King in Harlan County War as well as portraying her true-story film Thirteen.
Starred in Broadcast News (1993)
Holly Hunter made her movie debut in 1981’s slasher flick The Burning and went on to appear in several TV movies before debuting as an adult actress in Swing Shift in 1984. By 1985 she had collaborated with writing-directing-producing brothers Coen on Blood Simple before going on to star in Raising Arizona and Academy Award-nominated Broadcast News which cemented Hunter as an iconic star.
Broadcast News features Hunter as a neurotic TV producer who succumbs to the seductions of an aggressive news anchor, earning her critical acclaim and showing Hunter at her most expressive.
After appearing in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Hunter continued her small-screen work with television movies like Harlan County War and Thirteen. Additionally, she starred in Home for the Holidays as a mother trying to choose between her daughter and husband and also made an appearance in Copycat.
Starred in Always (1989)
Holly Hunter first displayed her acting prowess in 1989’s Always, a drama co-starring Richard Dreyfuss that earned her an Academy Award nomination. Hunter later received praise for her performances in Sydney Pollack’s legal thriller The Firm and Jane Campion’s period drama The Piano.
Holly Hunter made headlines for her breakthrough performance as Arpi Meskimen in Thirteen. This movie created a dialogue around women being treated in the workplace.
Hunter soon went on to star in several movies including Raising Arizona and The Piano. More recently, she has garnered critical acclaim with her role on HBO’s Succession show and for voicing Elastigirl in Brad Bird’s animated hit The Incredibles 2. Hunter’s impressive filmography shows no genre is off limits for her talent.
Starred in Once Around (1991)
Holly Hunter has become known for her distinctive voice, which she uses to voice various characters across a wide range of roles. Most notably, she played Elastigirl in Pixar’s animated movies The Incredibles (2004) and its sequel Incredibles 2 (2018).
Richard Dreyfuss and Hunter play Renata, an Italian American family’s oldest daughter. When Renata falls for Sam – an aggressive older man with whom they cannot stand – her down-to-earth father (Danny Aiello) and passionate sister Laura San Giacomo cannot tolerate his intrusion into their world.
Hunter made her television debut in 2014 in two TV movies: Harlan County War and Copycat, before going on to star in two more feature films: Home for the Holidays and Crash. Furthermore, Hunter has appeared regularly on numerous television series as a regular cast member or guest star and guest starred on many others as a regular.
Starred in Copycat (1995)
Copycat is an intelligent thriller that makes full use of Hunter and Weaver’s presence. Director Jon Amiel wisely avoids falling into the temptation to romanticize violent use, with Hunter as Inspector Monahan more than capable of disarming suspects without resorting to excessive force.
This film may not be perfect – Helen’s agoraphobia seems too convenient, while its ending feels underwhelming – but Holly Hunter fans should give this movie a look. Unfortunately, however, Se7en and Wait Until Dark has captured more discussion than it has so far.
Starred in Harlan County War (1998)
Holly Hunter spent her third year following Broadcast News and Raising Arizona by appearing in three low-budget misfires: comedy-drama Home for the Holidays, thriller Copycat, and Richard LaGravenese’s melodrama Living Out Loud.
However, she remained popular and gave an impressive performance as a woman caught between two men in Harlan County War.
No matter the impressive technical credits or powerful central performance by Ruby Kincaid, this film comes across more like a docudrama than a suspenseful drama. Although the picture builds to a violent climax, it never feels truly compelling or taut. Hunter would go on to play many other compelling roles within a decade’s timeframe including being featured as David Cronenberg’s Crash and playing an angelic figure in A Life Less Ordinary.
Starred in When Billie Beat Bobby (2001)
Holly Hunter has made her mark as an actress who can play powerful female characters on film. Her turn as Tammy Hemphill in The Firm (1993) earned her an Academy Award nomination, and since then, Hunter has appeared in multiple TV movies and series such as Crime Drama The Company, Mr. Mayor’s Sitcom, and Saving Grace by NBC.
Jane Campion’s period drama The Piano (1993), featuring her as Ada the mute pianist, earned her another Academy Award nomination, while her roles in the 1995 psychological thriller Copycat and comedy-drama Home for the Holidays also received critical acclaim.
Hunter stars as Beth in the 2021 film, The Big Sick. As New Yorker who bonds with Kumail (played by Simon Amalric) over their shared trauma surrounding Emily’s coma. This heartwarming family drama showcases familial love and acceptance – truly one of Holly Hunter’s finest performances to date!