One of the most compelling actors of her generation, Toni Collette has enjoyed a career that can only be described as unpredictable. Moon-faced, cat-eyed, and possessing a presence that conveys both dignity and eccentricity, Collette had her breakthrough in P.J. Hogan's hit 1994 comedy Muriel's Wedding. As the film's title character, an overweight, ABBA-loving woman who is obsessed with getting married, the Australian actor earned both critical raves and audience recognition across the globe. She also earned plenty of opportunities to be typecast into similar roles -- particularly as she had gained over 18 kilos to play the part of Muriel -- but managed to skillfully avoid this by appearing in a variety of films that had nothing to do with ABBA, matrimony, or weight issues.
Born in Sydney, Australia, on November 1, 1972, Collette became interested in acting as a child. She made her stage debut at the age of 14 in a school production of Godspell, and went on to attend the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Quitting the prestigious school after less than two years in order to work with a talented stage director, she appeared in a number of plays and in 1991 made her screen debut in Spotswood, acting in the company of Anthony Hopkins and a then unheard-of Russell Crowe.