Meg Ryan Explained

Meg Ryan
Birth Date:1961 11, mf=yes
Birth Place:Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Birth Name:Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
Spouse:Dennis Quaid
(m. 1991–2001; 1 child)
Children:2 (1 daughter and 1 son)
Occupation:Actress
Years Active:1981–present

Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra (born November 19, 1961),[1] professionally known as Meg Ryan, is an American actress and producer. Raised in Bethel, Connecticut, Ryan began her acting career in 1981 in minor roles, before joining the cast of the CBS soap opera As the World Turns in 1982. Subsequently, she began to appear in supporting roles in big screen films during the mid-1980s, achieving recognition in several independent films such as Promised Land (1987), before her performance in the Rob Reiner-directed romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989) brought her widespread attention and her first Golden Globe nomination.

In the 1990s, Ryan starred in a string of popular romantic dramas and comedy films, including Sleepless in Seattle (1993), French Kiss (1995), Addicted to Love (1997), City of Angels (1998), and You've Got Mail (1998), grossing a total of over $870 million worldwide. At that time, TIME critic Richard Corliss called her "the current soul of romantic comedy." In addition to these romantic comedy roles, she garnered critical acclaim for her work in When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), in which she played an alcoholic, and in Courage Under Fire (1996), portraying a captain in the Gulf War.

Early life

Ryan (née Hyra) was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, the daughter of Susan Jordan (née Duggan) – a former actress and English teacher – and Harry Hyra, a math teacher. Both Susan and Harry were raised in Fairfield, Connecticut. Harry was an all state basketball player.[2] Ryan's mother had appeared in one television commercial and later worked briefly as an assistant casting director in New York City. She supported and encouraged her young daughter's study of acting. Ryan has two sisters, Dana and Annie, and a brother, musician Andrew Hyra, of the band Billy Pilgrim. Her parents divorced in 1976, when she was 15 years old.[3]

Ryan was raised a Roman Catholic and graduated from St. Pius X Elementary School, in Fairfield, where her mother taught sixth grade. There, Ryan was confirmed into the Catholic Church, choosing the name "Anne" as her confirmation name. Ryan graduated from Bethel High School in 1979. She went on to study journalism at the University of Connecticut and then at New York University, while acting in television commercials to earn extra money. Her success as an actress led her to drop out of college a semester before graduating.[4] [5]

Career

Early career

After a role in Rich and Famous, Ryan played Betsy Stewart in the daytime drama As the World Turns, from 1982 to 1984; she was featured in a popular romantic story arc. Several television film and smaller film roles followed, including Amityville 3-D and Promised Land; for her role in the latter she received her first Independent Spirit Award nomination. In 1986, she played Carole Bradshaw, the wife of Naval Flight Officer Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (played by Anthony Edwards) in Top Gun. Ryan starred in the film Innerspace alongside her future husband Dennis Quaid, then in the remake of D.O.A., and The Presidio.

Commercial breakthrough

Her first full-blown hit in a leading role was the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989), which paired her with comedic leading man Billy Crystal. Her portrayal of Sally Albright, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, is memorable for her depiction of a theatrically faked orgasm in Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan.

Ryan then starred in The Doors and in Prelude to a Kiss. Both films were moderately successful. 1993 saw the release of the hugely successful romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, which paired Ryan with leading man Tom Hanks for the second of three times. (The first was in Joe Versus the Volcano, which earned a cult following but was a commercial disappointment).

1994–1999

Beginning with 1994, Ryan made several attempts to break away from the romantic comedy ingenue stereotype. In Luis Mandoki's When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), a romantic social drama film, also starring Andy Garcia, she played an alcoholic high school guidance counselor. Well-received by critics, who noted it "a first-class production, accentuated by fine performances and an unflinching script," Ryan was applauded for the performance of her "roller-coaster role." While the film became a notable success during its domestic run, grossing US50 million in the United States alone, the actress received her first Screen Actors Guild Award nomination the following year. The same year, Ryan starred alongside Tim Robbins in Fred Schepisi's highly fictionalized comedy I.Q. (1994). The film centres on a mechanic and a Princeton doctoral candidate who fall in love, thanks to the candidate's uncle, Albert Einstein, played by Walter Matthau.

Many of her films of the 1990s were hits not only in North America, but also abroad. In 1994, Ryan won Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year. That same year, People Magazine dubbed her one of "the 50 most beautiful people in the world." In 1995, critic Richard Corliss called her "the current soul of romantic comedy." That same year, she appeared opposite Kevin Kline in Lawrence Kasdan's French Kiss, a romantic comedy that catered to her America's Sweetheart persona. The film grossed slightly over $100 million. Also in 1995, Ryan was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.[6]

In 1997, Ryan voiced the lead role in the animated film Anastasia, which garnered good reviews and enjoyed box office success. In 1998, Ryan starred in two films. City of Angels drew positive reviews and became a financial success, topping nearly $200 million worldwide. You've Got Mail once again paired Ryan with Hanks, earning her a third Golden Globe nomination and making over $250 million worldwide. She also appeared in 1998's Hurlyburly with Sean Penn.

2000–2006

Ryan's first film in the 2000s was Hanging Up, a Diane Keaton-directed family dramedy about a trio of sisters who bond over their ambivalence toward the approaching death of their distant, curmudgeonly father. Also starring Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, and Walter Matthau, the film adaptation of Delia Ephron's 1995 novel received poor reviews by critics, and grossed slightly over US$51 million, falling US$9 million short of recouping its budget of $60 million.

The same year, Ryan was cast in the action thriller Proof of Life opposite Russell Crowe, directed by Taylor Hackford. In the film, she portrayed the distraught wife of a kidnapped engineer, played by David Morse, while relying on a resourceful troubleshooter who makes a profession of dealing with international bandits. While the film became a lukewarm critical and commercial success, grossing US$63 million worldwide, it garnered much reportage in the tabloid press in association with Ryan and Crowe's affair.[7] Stephen Holden, film critic for The New York Times, did not think the film worked well and opined that the actors did not connect.

A year later, she once again returned to her romantic comedy roots with Kate & Leopold (2001), alongside Hugh Jackman. A film about a duke who travels through time from New York in 1876 to the present and falls in love with a successful market researcher in the modern New York, the James Mangold-directed project received a mixed-to-positive response, with Lael Loewenstein of Variety summing it as "a mostly charming and diverting tale." At a total gross of US$70 million, it would eventually remain Ryan's highest-grossing film of the decade.

In 2003, Ryan broke away from her usual roles, starring alongside Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Jane Campion's erotic thriller film In the Cut. Originally, co-producer Nicole Kidman was cast in the lead, but the actress eventually dropped out of the project after five years of development, leaving the role to Ryan instead, who appeared nude in a lengthy and rather graphic love scene for the first time in her career. Although her image-conflicting depiction earned Ryan and the film much media attention, the film failed with critics and grossed only US$23 million in theaters.

In October 2003, while in the UK to promote In the Cut, Ryan made a controversial appearance on Parkinson, which resulted in negative publicity. The press accused both Ryan and Michael Parkinson of being rude to one another. Ryan gave a few one-word answers, and after she acknowledged that she wasn't comfortable with the interview, Parkinson asked her what she would do if she were in his position now. She replied that she would "just wrap it up". Parkinson later revealed to the press that he felt her behaviour to his earlier guests, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, whom she turned her back on, was "unforgivable".[8] Ryan also commented that Parkinson was a "nut" and said that she was "offended" by him as he was like a "disapproving father" in his tone.[9] However, in a 2006 survey of British TV viewers, her behaviour on the show was voted the third "most shocking" TV chat show moment ever.[10]

Ryan followed this strategy with a leading role in Charles S. Dutton's directorial debut Against the Ropes (2004). A fictionalized sport drama about American boxing manager Jackie Kallen, who was the first woman to become a success in the sport, and her rocky relationship with protege Luther Shaw. The film grossed less than US$6 million in the U.S. and was panned by critics, in part because of its resemblance to other boxing films, such as the Rocky series.

2007–present

Following a three years hiatus, Ryan returned to film with Jon Kasdan's 2007 independent project In the Land of Women, a film she described as "kind of like The Graduate, but with cancer." Starring alongside Kristen Stewart and Olympia Dukakis, she played Sarah Hardwicke, a mother and wife facing breast cancer, who connects with her neighbour's much younger grandson, played by Adam Brody. Released to mixed reviews by critics, the film grossed US$17.5 million worldwide, exceeding its budget of US$10 million. Ryan received a positive response for her performance, with Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times noting it "the best work [she] has done in forever."

Ryan's first film release of 2008 was The Deal, a satirical comedy film based on Peter Lefcourt's 1991 novel of the same title about Hollywood. Directed by Steven Schachter and co-starring William H. Macy, the film was shot in Cape Town and other South African locations and celebrated its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Garnering generally mixed to negative reviews, it failed to draw interest among film studios, resulting in a straight-to-DVD release in January 2009. In his review for Variety, Peter Debruge said, "The characters seem to be doing all the laughing, while the general public has nothing to cling to but the horndog flirtation between mismatched leads William H. Macy and Meg Ryan—hardly ideal ingredients for mainstream success." Already shot in fall of 2006, Ryan's other film project, George Gallo's film My Mom's New Boyfriend, also went direct-to-DVD in 2008. Co-starring Colin Hanks, Selma Blair, and Antonio Banderas, the action comedy received overwhelmingly negative reviews, with David Nusair of Reel Film noting it "an unmitigated disaster virtually from its opening frames."

Ryan's last project of 2008 was The Women, a remake of the same-titled 1939 production. The all-female cast comprises Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith. Written, produced and directed by Diane English, the film centers on a group of four female Manhattan socialites whose primary interest is idle gossip, with Ryan portraying a wealthy woman whose husband is cheating on her with a shop girl, played by Eva Mendes. Ryan was the first actress to join the long-delayed project, which struggled to find a bankroller since the early 1990s, resulting in an independent production budgeted at US$18 million. Upon its release, The Women received a disastrous response from critics, with Richard Schickel of TIME calling it "one of the worst movies I've ever seen." The film was a financial success, however, becoming Ryan's most successful film since 2001's Kate & Leopold with a worldwide gross of US$50 million.

In 2009, Ryan starred alongside Kristen Bell and Justin Long in the independent comedy film Serious Moonlight. In this film, directed by actress Cheryl Hines and based on a screenplay by late writer Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered a year prior to filming, Ryan portrayed a high-powered female attorney who learns that her husband, played by Timothy Hutton, is about to leave their troubled marriage, and decides to hold him captive by duct-taping him to a toilet. Picked up by Magnolia Pictures, the production received a limited release throughout North America only, and grossed less than US$150,000 worldwide. Critical reaction to the project was generally mixed-to-negative, although Ryan was praised for her "terrific" performance.[11] Also in 2009, Ryan guest-starred on the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In October 2010 she was cast in the ensemble drama Lives of The Saints alongside Kat Dennings, Kevin Zegers and John Lithgow. The drama, similar in style to Crash, interweaves the lives of a group of Los Angeles residents who are all struggling with past mistakes.[12] In April 2011, it was revealed that Meg Ryan would make her feature film directing debut with a film titled Into the Beautiful.[13] [14] In May 2011 she was cast in Long Time Gone, a film adaptation of the April Stevens novel Angel Angel,[15] [16] with filming projected to begin this fall.[17]

Personal life

Ryan married actor Dennis Quaid on Valentine's Day 1991, after starring in two films with him (D.O.A. and Innerspace). She agreed to marry him only after he kicked his cocaine addiction. Quaid and Ryan have one child together, Jack Quaid, born on April 24, 1992. In 2000, she became involved with Russell Crowe on the set of Proof of Life. She and Quaid separated and later their divorce became final on July 16, 2001. In September 2008, Ryan revealed Quaid had been unfaithful to her for a long time while they were married.

In January 2006, Ryan adopted a 14-month-old girl from China named Daisy True.

As of at least January 2011, she is in a relationship with American rock singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, who announced on December 30, 2010 that he and his wife, Elaine, were divorcing after 18 years of marriage.

Political involvement

Ryan has supported the U.S. Democratic Party, especially its environmental protection programs and initiatives. In 2003, she supported Wesley Clark's campaign for U.S. president. She supported John Kerry during the 2004 presidential elections.

Filmography

Film
YearFilmRoleNotes
1981Rich and FamousDebby Blake
1983Amityville 3-DLisa
1986Top GunCarol Bradshaw
1986Armed and DangerousMaggie CavanaughEmployed at Guard Dog Security, she was the firearms instructor on the range.
1987Promised LandBeverly "Bev" SykesNominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1987InnerspaceLydia Maxwell
1988D.O.A.Sydney FullerA freshman student opposite Dennis Quaid
1988Donna Caldwell
1989When Harry Met Sally...Sally AlbrightAmerican Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1990Joe Versus the VolcanoDeDe/Angelica Graynamore/Patricia Graynamore
1991Pamela Courson
1992Prelude to a KissRita Boyle
1993Sleepless in SeattleAnnie ReedAmerican Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo(with Tom Hanks)
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
1993Flesh and BoneKay Davies
1994When a Man Loves a WomanAlice GreenNominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role – Motion Picture
1994I.Q.Catherine Boyd
1995French KissKateNominated—American Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
1995RestorationKatharine
1996Courage Under FireCPT Karen Emma Walden
1997Addicted to LoveMaggie
1997AnastasiaAnastasia (voice)Nominated—Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer
1998City of AngelsDr. Maggie RiceNominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Drama/Romance
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo(with Nicolas Cage)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1998HurlyburlyBonnie
1998You've Got MailKathleen KellyBlockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy/Romance
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2000Hanging UpEve Mozell Marks
2000Proof of LifeAlice BowmanNominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Suspense
2001Kate & LeopoldKate McKay
2003In the CutFrannie
2004Against the RopesJackie Kallen
2007In the Land of WomenSarah Hardwicke
2008Deidre Heam
2008My Mom's New BoyfriendMartha Durand
2008Mary HainesNominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
2009Serious MoonlightLouise "Lou"
2011New Year's EveTaxi Driver
2012Lives of the SaintsPre-production
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1982As the World TurnsBetsy Stewart Montgomery Andropoulos
1982ABC Afterschool SpecialDeniseEpisode "Amy and the Angel"
1982One of the BoysJaneSeries cancelled after 13 episodes
1984-85Charles in ChargeMeagan Parker2 episodes
1985WildsideCally Oaks6 episodes
1990-91Captain Planet and the PlaneteersDr. Blight (voice)Cast member
2007Dr. Swanson (voice)1 episode Yokel Chords
2009Curb Your EnthusiasmHerselfSeason 7
Documentary
YearTitleRoleNotes
1994HerselfDocumentary with film personalities.
2002Searching for Debra WingerHerselfRosanna Arquette film

Notes and References

  1. http://www.superiorpics.com/meg_ryan/ "Meg Ryan"
  2. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20105982,00.html "Educating Meg"
  3. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800017434/bio "Meg Ryan"
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blpq-Iwu25s Ryan interview with Parkinson
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2003/10_october/24/parky_251003.shtml "Meg Ryan talks to Parkinson"
  6. http://wif.org/past-recipients
  7. http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/Meg_Ryan/196739#fullBio Hollywood.com
  8. http://business.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=598&id=521652006 Scotsman.com: Parky was a 'nut', says Meg Ryan
  9. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=381987&in_page_id=1773 Daily Mail: Parky is a nut, says Meg Ryan
  10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4637648.stm BBC News: Jones slap tops TV chat show poll
  11. http://www.totalfilm.com/news/meg-ryan-joins-lives-of-the-saints Meg Ryan joins Lives Of The Saints
  12. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118035043 "Meg Ryan to make directorial debut"
  13. http://www.punchdrunkcritics.com/2011/04/meg-ryan-making-directorial-debut-with.html "Meg Ryan making directorial debut with Into the Beautiful
  14. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118037604?refCatId=13 Meg Ryan circles 'Long Time Gone'
  15. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/movies/news/article_1641746.php/Meg-Ryan-knows-what-a-Long-Time-Gone-is Meg Ryan knows what a 'Long Time Gone' is
  16. http://www.movieweb.com/news/long-time-gone-adds-graham-rogers Long Time Gone Adds Graham Rogers