Born Kate Noelle Holmes on December 18, 1978 in Toledo, OH, Katie Holmes embodies the wholesomeness and charm of the prototypical All-American girl while exhibiting just enough dark undertones to let her audience know that America's Sweetheart has a few tricks up her sleeve. As angst-ridden tomboy Joey Potter on the WB network's Dawson's Creek, Holmes went from relative unknown to, as indicated by a 1999 Teen People ranking, one of the "21 Hottest Stars Under 21."
Holmes grew up as part of a close-knit family in Toledo and first acted in high-school productions. Participation in a national model and talent convention landed her a trip to Los Angeles when she was 16, and it was there that Holmes auditioned for a role in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. The film, which was released in 1997, won critical acclaim, and Holmes' role as the object of Tobey Maguire's affections caught the attention of Kevin Williamson. Williamson, known for his screenplays for such movies as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was casting roles for his new TV series, Dawson's Creek. Holmes was asked to audition, and did so via videotape. She won the part of Joey Potter, and the series, which premiered in January of 1998, met with a positive reception from both critics and television viewers. Soon the series' young stars were in hot demand, with Holmes in particular receiving attention for her measured and insightful performance as Joey.