Since 1994, audiences have watched as Claire Danes has matured from awkward teen to one of the most popular actresses of her generation. Whether portraying the angst-ridden Angela Chase on My So-Called Life or trailer park trash in Oliver Stone's U-Turn, Danes has consistently displayed an uncommon maturity and insight in her performances that belies her relative inexperience. Her ability has won over countless critics and fans and has allowed her the opportunity to work with luminaries ranging from Jeanne Moreau to Jodie Foster and Francis Ford Coppola.
Claire Catherine Danes was born April 12, 1979 in New York City and began acting shortly thereafter. With the support of her artistically-inclined parents (a painter mother and photographer father), Danes enrolled in an acting class at the Lee Strasberg Studio when she was nine years old. After attending the Professional Performing Arts School for the sixth and seventh grade, she went to Los Angeles in the hopes of being cast in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (Danes had previously appeared in an episode of Law and Order and in Dreams of Love, an obscure film produced by Milos Forman). While she was waiting for Spielberg's decision, serendipity struck in the form of the makers of a new TV show called My So-Called Life, who wanted Danes to star in their production. Danes agreed to do the show after turning down the role that Spielberg had decided to give her. Always someone interested in learning, Danes rejected Spielberg's offer because she wouldn't be able to receive schooling in Poland, where the movie was to be filmed.