Winona Ryder

Actor, Producer, Screenwriter
An icon of 1990s film, actress Winona Ryder first earned a loyal following for giving unusual depth and inner life to teen characters in films like "Heathers" (1989) and "Edward Scissorhands" (1990). Her enormous ... Read more »
Born: 10/29/1971 in Winona, Minnesota, USA


Actor (71)

Author: The JT LeRoy Story 2016 (Movie)


Experimenter 2015 (Movie)

Alexandra "Sasha" Milgram (Actor)

Late Night with Seth Meyers 2015 (Tv Show)


Show Me a Hero 2014 - 2015 (TV Show)


Catch My Disease 2014 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Children of the Revolution 2014 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Drunk History 2013 (Tv Show)


Homefront 2013 (Movie)

Sheryl Marie Mott (Actor)

The Iceman 2013 (Movie)

Deborah Pellicotti (Actor)

The Letter 2013 (Movie)

Martine (Actor)

Frankenweenie 2012 (Movie)

Elsa Van Helsing (Voice)

Stay Cool 2011 (Movie)

Scarlet Smith (Actor)

The Dilemma 2011 (Movie)

Geneva (Actor)

Black Swan 2010 (Movie)

Beth MacIntyre/the Dying Swan (Actor)

Star Trek 2009 (Movie)

Amanda Grayson (Actor)

The Informers 2009 (Movie)

Cheryl Moore (Actor)

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee 2009 (Movie)

Sandra Dulles (Actor)

Sex and Death 101 2008 (Movie)

Death Nell/Gillian De Raisx (#101) (Actor)

The 2007 Film Independent's Spirit Awards 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)


The Last Word 2007 (Movie)


The Ten 2007 (Movie)

Kelly LaFonda (Actor)

A Scanner Darkly 2006 (Movie)

Donna Hawthorne (Actor)

Welcome 2006 (Movie)


Darwin Awards 2005 (Movie)

Siri Tyler (Actor)

Moving Image Salutes Richard Gere 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)


The Day My God Died 2003 (Movie)


Mr. Deeds 2002 (Movie)

Babe Bennett (Actor)

S1M0NE 2002 (Movie)

Nicola Anders (Actor)

Friends 2001 (Tv Show)


Independence Day 2001 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


Strangers With Candy 1998 - 2001 (TV Show)


The 73rd Annual Academy Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


Zoolander 2001 (Movie)

(cameo appearance) (Actor)

Autumn in New York 2000 (Movie)

Charlotte Fielding (Actor)

Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist 1994 - 2000 (TV Show)


Lost Souls 2000 (Movie)

Maya Larkin (Actor)

The 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


The 72nd Annual Academy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


Girl, Interrupted 1999 (Movie)

Susanna (Actor)

The Entertainment Business 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)


Celebrity 1998 (Movie)

Nola (Actor)

The Larry Sanders Show 1992 - 1998 (TV Show)


Alien Resurrection 1997 (Movie)

Call (Actor)

The ShoWest Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Boys 1996 (Movie)

Patty Vare (Actor)

Looking for Richard 1996 (Movie)

Lady Anne (Actor)

The Crucible 1996 (Movie)

Abigail Williams (Actor)

How to Make An American Quilt 1995 (Movie)

Finn (Actor)

Inside the Academy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


Little Women 1994 (Movie)

Jo March (Actor)

Reality Bites 1994 (Movie)

Lelaina Pierce (Actor)

Rolling Stone '93: The Year in Review 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)


The House of the Spirits 1994 (Movie)

Blanca (Actor)

The Simpsons 1994 (Tv Show)


The Age of Innocence 1993 (Movie)

May Welland (Actor)

Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992 (Movie)

Mina Murray (Actor)

Night on Earth 1992 (Movie)

Corky (Actor)

The 1990 MTV Video Music Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


Edward Scissorhands 1990 (Movie)

Kim Boggs (Actor)

Mermaids 1990 (Movie)

Charlotte Flax (Actor)

The 1989 MTV Video Music Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)


Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael 1990 (Movie)

Dinky Bossetti (Actor)

Great Balls of Fire 1989 (Movie)

Myra Gale Lewis (Actor)

Heathers 1989 (Movie)

Veronica Sawyer (Actor)

1969 1988 (Movie)

Beth (Actor)

Beetlejuice 1988 (Movie)

Lydia (Actor)

Square Dance 1987 (Movie)

Gemma (Actor)

Lucas 1986 (Movie)

Rina (Actor)
Music (3)

The Take 2016 (Movie)

("Reverend Black Grape") (Song)

Frankenweenie 2012 (Movie)

"Elsa's Song" (Song Performer)

Reality Bites 1994 (Movie)

("Conjunction Junction" "I'm Just a Bill") (Song Performer)
Producer (1)

Girl, Interrupted 1999 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)


An icon of 1990s film, actress Winona Ryder first earned a loyal following for giving unusual depth and inner life to teen characters in films like "Heathers" (1989) and "Edward Scissorhands" (1990). Her enormous, expressive brown eyes and a radiance that reminded early champion Tim Burton of the "timeless old movie stars" went on to become a favorite element in period dramas like "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992), "The Age of Innocence" (1994) and "The Crucible" (1996), as well as the perfect angst-ridden teen in films like "Reality Bites." On a personal level, the Nineties' "It" girl's love life enthralled fans and the press alike, as each move made with famous boyfriends, including Johnny Depp and Matt Damon, was chronicled religiously. Following Ryder's executive producer debut with "Girl, Interrupted" (1999), her career stammered with several theatrical flops and a high-profile shoplifting incident that painted a portrait of an actress who had not only lost her career footing but her sense of right and wrong. She separated from Hollywood for several years, but the public was forgiving, with Ryder returning with a string of independent films in 2007 and scoring a major coup when cast in the role of Spock's mother in J.J. Abrams reimagined film franchise, "Star Trek" (2009), followed by a turn as an over-the-hill ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" (2010). While the transition may not have been as smooth as she could have hoped, Ryder had successfully made the difficult segue from film ingénue to seasoned actress, so rarely achieved in an unforgiving industry.


Beck Song Performer

Rumored to have briefly dated No longer together

Matt Damon Actor

Introduced by Gwyneth Paltrow at a New Year's Eve party Dec. 31, 1997 Began relationship 1998 Split April 2000

Johnny Depp Actor

Began dating 1990 Co-starred in "Edward Scissorhands" (1990) Engaged as of February 1990; Depp had "Winona Forever" tattooed on his arm Separated 1993; Ryder later said of their breakup: "I was just really young. I don't know what his excuse is, but that's mine"; Depp later altered tattoo to "Wino Forever"

Jimmy Fallon Actor

Rumored to have dated 2001

Page Hamilton Music

Dated 2003 No longer together

Michael Horowitz

Born c. 1939; originally from Brooklyn and graduate of NYU; owned Flashback Books, a store specializing in the writings of the counterculture; book archivist for Timothy Leary Married Winona's mother 1982

Cindy Horowitz

Born c. 1941 Previously married with two children; wed Winona's father 1982

Yuri Horowitz

Born c. 1976; named after first Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

Timothy Leary Actor

Born Oct. 22, 1920; coined phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out" in 1960s Died May 31, 1996

Conor Oberst Song

Reportedly dated 2003 No longer together

Jubal Palmer

Born c. 1969; from Cindy Palmer's first marriage; name came to their mother in a dream

Sunyata Palmer

Born c. 1967; from Cindy Palmer's first marriage; name came from The Tibetan Book of the Dead

David Pirner Song

Dated from 1993-96 Appeared together in "Reality Bites" (1994)

Henry-Alex Rubin Director

Dated 2006 No longer together

Blake Sennett Song

Met while he directed her in "Water Pills" (2009)

Christian Slater Actor

Briefly dated 1988 Co-starred in "Heathers" (1988) No longer together

Pete Yorn Song

Reportedly dated 2001 No longer together


Petaluma High School

Petaluma , California 1989
Graduated with a 4.0 average, though much of her schooling was home study to accomodate her booming career

American Conservatory Theatre

San Francisco , California
Began studying there at the age of 12



Was cast as the lead on Netflix's 80s-themed series "Stranger Things"


Played Sasha Menkin Milgram in the biographical drama "Experimenter"


Nabbed a supporting role on the HBO mini-series "Show Me a Hero"


Starred in two episodes of the Comedy Central series "Drunk History"


Landed a supporting role in the crime drama "Homefront"


Reunited with director Tim Burton to voice Elsa Van Helsing in animated film "Frankenweenie"


Nominated for the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries ("When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story")


Co-starred with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James in "The Dilemma"


Portrayed the co-founder of Al-Anon in CBS biopic "When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story"


Portrayed an aging prima ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan"


Portrayed Spock's mother Amanda Grayson in J. J. Abrams's "Star Trek"


Co-starred with Alan Arkin and Robin Wright Penn in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," written and directed by Rebecca Miller


Cast as a newscaster in "The Informers," an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' short stories


Re-teamed with "Heathers" screenwriter Daniel Waters for the surreal black comedy "Sex and Death 101"


Starred in Richard Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly," adapted from the novel by Philip K. Dick


Spoofed arrest with appearance on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) and on the cover of W Magazine


Acted opposite Adam Sandler in "Mr. Deeds," a loose remake of "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936)


Arrested and charged with shoplifiting over $5,500 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, CA


Played a dying woman romanced by a playboy (Richard Gere) in "Autumn in New York"


Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (October)


Executive produced and co-starred with Angelina Jolie in "Girl, Interrupted"


Acted in Woody Allen's "Celebrity" as an actress/waitress who gets involved with Kenneth Branagh


Landed first action hero role in "Alien Resurrection"


Starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Crucible," playing his spurned lover who set the witch trials in motion


Starred in Jocelyn Moorhouse's "How to Make an American Quilt" opposite Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft


Earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jo March in the remake of "Little Women"; produced by Di Novi


Made singing debut in Ben Stiller's "Reality Bites"; her involvement as star enabled the project to attract financing


Made TV acting debut with voice role on "The Simpsons" (Fox)


Earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence"


Starred in Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula"; brought Coppola Jim Hart's script, interesting him in the project


Portrayed the meek, religious daughter of a promiscuous mom (Cher) in the coming-of-age drama "Mermaids"


Co-starred with then-fiancé Johnny Depp in Burton's "Edward Scissorhands"; produced by Di Novi


Replaced by Coppola's daughter Sofia in the role of Mary Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part III" after she dropped out due to a respiratory illness


Starred in the cult hit "Heathers"; first film with friend Denise Di Novi as producer


Played Jerry Lee Lewis' 13-year-old bride (and second cousin) Myra in "Great Balls of Fire!"


Took the forgettable "1969" just to get out of her home town of Petaluma


Won attention for her supporting role as the Edward Gorey-esque Lydia in Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice"


Co-starred with veterans Jason Robards and Jane Alexander in "Square Dance"


Film acting debut, "Lucas"; film shot during her eighth-grade summer vacation


At age 13, discovered by talent scout Deborah Lucchesi who observed her performing a monologue from her favorite author J.D. Salinger's "Franny & Zooey" at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre

Attended San Francisco's prestigious American Conservatory Theatre

Collaborated on a screenplay with "Beetlejuice" co-writer Michael McDowell; script sold but never produced

Joined Amnesty International at the age of 12

Bonus Trivia


Soon after Ryder's birth, her parents moved to San Francisco, CA, sharing a house with her mother's ex-husband and his new wife. The family later traveled to Colombia. Ryder's first memories were of the beach in Colombia, where her parents were staying with Chilean-revolutionary friends.


She returned to San Francisco when she was two and a half (c. 1974). Her family later settled in a a commune in Mendocino (Northern California) when she was seven and lived there for four years before settling in Petaluma, CA. Her initial exposure to Petaluma's public schools did not go well. Students mistook her for an effeminate boy because of her short hair and beat her up on her third day.


Ryder on finally meeting Myra, the child bride of Jerry Lee Lewis, whom she portrayed in "Great Balls of Fire!" during a screening of the film: "I was so nervous. We were showing her some stuff where he was picking her up from school and says, 'I'm gonna marry you.' I looked over and she was crying and I was so scared because I didn't know what she was crying about. I didn't know if she was crying because I was a bad actress or that it was so real. And then she turned to me and hugged me and said, 'You're a gift from God.' It was probably the most amazing feeling that I've ever had in connection with acting." – quoted in The Los Angeles Times magazine, May 28, 1989


In 1990, Ryder checked into a psychiatric ward to confront severe anxiety attacks (some claimed she was having a nervous breakdown) but left after one week. She later drew from this experience for "Girl, Interrupted" (1999).


Ryder spearheaded a reward effort in the case of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old Petaluma neighbor kidnapped from her home and later found murdered in 1993. The actress dedicated "Little Women" (1994) to her memory.


"I did feel like it was a little bit of a struggle because when you achieve a lot of success when you’re that age, in your late teens and early 20s, it was then harder to play roles when I was a little bit older that I was the right age for. People just thought of me as this person from Reality Bites, or whatever. My thirties were a little bit tough, for various reasons. But I do remember work-wise, people thought of me as the ingénue. But I was too old for that." - from Time, June 27, 2016


In an interview with "60 Minutes," former secretary of Health Education and Welfare Joseph Califano cited Ryder as a bad influence on young women because she has played characters who smoke cigarettes. Ryder told USA Today (April 11, 1997): "As much as people want to call us role models, we're actors first. It's up to individuals to decide whether to smoke. I don't apologize for smoking onscreen. It should be our choice, and I don't think we influence people to smoke."


Ryder disclosed to Harper's Bazaar (August 2000) that she was a natural blonde and had been dyeing her hair since age 12.


In December 2001, Ryder was arrested for allegedly shoplifting items of clothing valued at over $4500 as well as possessing pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. Ryder was freed after posting $20,000 bail. In January 2002, she was charged with four felony counts including theft, burglary, vandalism, and possession of a controlled substance. At her February arraignment, the actress entered a plea of not guilty. On Nov. 6, 2002, Ryder was convicted of theft and vandalism, but she was acquitted of burglary charges.


"I think that as actresses—and I've definitely gone through this in a really bizarre way, because I worked so much and was really lucky with the roles that I got when I was younger—I remember hearing the older actors saying, 'It gets tough,' and thinking, 'Really? I can't imagine.' I was so spoiled in a way. I worked very hard, but there was just a wealth of great roles. But then it slowed down." - from Interview Magazine, February 24, 2016