Known as much for her intelligence as for her talent, Canadian actress Sarah Polley has been wowing television and film audiences since she was barely out of diapers. Born January 8, 1979, in the Toronto area, Polley got her first screen role at the age of six, in Disney's One Magic Christmas. From 1987 to 1988, Polley made her name in the title role of the Canadian television series Ramona. Her work on the show led to more screen work, first in the Matt Dillon flop The Big Town (1987) and then in Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989).
In 1990, Polley got a lead role on the acclaimed TV series The Road to Avonlea, a part that she played for five seasons. In 1994, she had a small but significant role in Atom Egoyan's Exotica and again collaborated with the director in 1997, for his critically lauded The Sweet Hereafter. The film was nominated for a host of awards, including a Best Director Oscar for Egoyan, and won a Special Grand Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Polley drew her share of praise for her performance as the paralyzed survivor of a catastrophic bus accident and soon Hollywood was courting the waifishly unconventional actress, whom one critic remarked looked like Uma Thurman's wiser younger sister. However, for her next picture, Polley opted for a small Canadian production, The Last Night (1998), directed by Don McKellar.