Born on January 11th, 1972, Amanda Peet grew up in New York and made a decidedly unconventional debut into showbiz: At three-years-old, a thoroughly uninvited Peet jumped onto a stage during the middle of a play. Despite the auspicious beginning, Peet treated acting as more of a hobby than anything else, and only began to consider it a potential career after her drama professor at Columbia University encouraged her to audition for renowned acting teacher Uta Hagen. Peet studied with Hagen for four years, during which time she participated in the off-Broadway revival Awake and Sing. Though she would eventually be voted one of the year's 50 most beautiful people in a 2000 issue of People magazine -- not to mention participate with the likes of Susan Sarandon, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jack Nicholson -- Peet worked as a waitress during the first few years of her acting career.
The sloe-eyed brunette made her onscreen debut in Craig Singer's Animal Room (1996). That same year, she could also be seen in an episode of Law & Order, and went on to play a role in Grind (1996), a crime drama starring Billy Crudup. Before long, Peet landed a small role in the Michelle Pfeiffer-George Clooney romantic comedy One Fine Day. Since then, the actress has continued to build both her film and television credits: in 1997, she appeared in the AIDS drama Touch Me, and the following year she had sizable roles in South Boston crime drama Southie with Donnie Wahlberg and Rose McGowan, which won the American Independent award at the 1998 Seattle Film Festival. On television, she could be seen guest starring on a number of shows including Seinfeld and Ellen Foster. In 1999, she got her own television show, Jack & Jill, on the WB network. That same year, she could be seen playing Sean Patrick Flanery's fiancée in Simply Irresistible and then acting as his bedmate in Body Shots, another in the long line of explorations into pre-millennial twentysomething dating angst.