Although she initially gained fame for her real-life role as Brad Pitt's girlfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow went on to build a solid reputation as one of the leading actresses of her generation. Repeatedly summoning comparisons to such classic presences as Grace Kelly, the blonde, blue-eyed Paltrow has won acclaim for her parts in a number of films, most notably Shakespeare in Love, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar in 1999.
The daughter of actress Blythe Danner and producer/director Bruce Paltrow, Paltrow was born in Los Angeles on September 28, 1972. When she was 11, her family moved to Massachusetts so that her father could direct summer stock productions -- it was there that the actress began to receive theatrical training under her parents' tutelage. Schooled at Manhattan's exclusive Spence School, Paltrow went on to study anthropology at the University of California before deciding to drop out to pursue her acting career. She got her first screen role in the 1991 movie Shout and in the same year she played the young Wendy in Steven Spielberg's Hook.