Gwyneth Kate Paltrow (born September 27, 1972) is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and two-time Screen Actors Guild Award-winning American actress.
Paltrow was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Blythe Danner, an actress, and the late Bruce Paltrow, a film and television director, writer, and producer. Paltrow's father was of Ashkenazi Russian Jewish descent and her mother was raised a Quaker; Paltrow proudly acknowledges her Jewish roots and follows Judaism. Raised in Santa Monica, she attended Crossroads School before moving and attending Spence School, a private girls' school in New York City. Later she briefly studied art history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before discontinuing her degree and committing herself to acting. Paltrow has a younger brother, Jake Paltrow, and is a cousin of actress Katherine Moennig. She is an "adopted daughter" of Talavera de la Reina (Spain), where she lived as an exchange student and learned Spanish. Paltrow was childhood friends with Saturday Night Live's Maya Rudolph and attended Brown Ledge Summer Camp, an all-girl's camp in Vermont.
Two years later, Paltrow starred in Shakespeare in Love, a fantasy of how William Shakespeare might have written Romeo and Juliet. The film received critical acclaim, earned more than US$100 million in domestic box office receipts, and received numerous awards. Shakespeare in Love won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay, as well as the Academy Award for Best Picture. Paltrow also won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role from the Screen Actors Guild. Later that year, Paltrow won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The year after Paltrow starred in other movie roles such as A Perfect Murder. In 2000 Paltrow starred in The Talented Mr. Ripley which earned over $80 million domestically, and received positive reviews. She then starred in Bounce with Shakespeare in Love costar Ben Affleck, which was moderately successful, both critically and commercially.
Since then, she has had a relatively low-profile, yet steady, film career with a few critically acclaimed film roles, including Proof (2005) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Audiences got their first taste of Paltrow's singing ability with the 2000 release of Duets, in which she co-starred with singer Huey Lewis, who played her karaoke-hustling estranged father, and directed by her father, Bruce Paltrow. Towards the end of the film, their characters resolve their differences and perform a cover version of Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'". The song was well-received and was eventually released as a single, getting heavy airplay from Top 40 and adult contemporary-formatted radio stations.
In an interview with The Guardian, Paltrow admitted that she divided her career into those movies she did for love and those films she did for money: The Royal Tenenbaums, Proof, and Sylvia fell into the former category, while View from the Top and Shallow Hal were in the latter. In interviews for Shallow Hal, she told how did some research for the role by wearing the fat suit she used during filming, and going to a local bar to gauge the public perception of obese people. She said that people refused to make eye contact with her, and she was treated quite rudely on multiple occasions, and the experience saddened her greatly, with regards to how people treat those who are overweight. Her experience was filmed, and is available on the Shallow Hal DVD, in the Special Features section.
Since winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love, Paltrow's film success has been less noteworthy. She said she was unequipped to cope with the pressure, leading her to make several bad movie choices, agreeing with peers who believe the win is a curse
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