Helen Hunt is an American actress, director, and producer. She has been part of the cast of Mad About You since 1994, and her performance in the sitcom garnered Hunt two Primetime Emmy Awards.
Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Actress, among other awards and nominations to become one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actresses. Her films have grossed $3.5 billion worldwide, netting over $1 billion in North America alone.
About Helen Hunt
From 1996 to 2000, Hunt starred in the sitcom Mad About You, alongside Paul Reiser. After the show’s run ended she took a four-year break from acting, appearing in the films Pay It Forward (2000) and Life as a House (2001). She was married to actor Hank Azaria from 1999 to 2000.
In 2005, Hunt made her return to television with the HBO series Tell Me You Love Me and starred in a range of films over the next several years.
Life of Hunt
Helen Hunt was born in Dallas, Texas on June 15, 1963. She grew up in Richardson and attended The Village School from kindergarten through the fifth grade. Hunt’s mother worked at Xerox, and her father was a lawyer for the Defense Department.
Helen began acting when she was seven years old. Her first public appearance was as an extra during the ninth season of The Waltons (1968).
In 1977 Hunt’s father enrolled her at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, where she was a straight-A student and was elected president of the student body. She also acted in school plays, such as How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and The Crucible; the latter of which she performed at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla.
Hunt was 16 years old when she fell in love with her future husband Hank Azaria, a classmate at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School; Hunt was twelve when she fell in love with him. The couple dated for ten months until Hunt broke up with him because he became too emotional and ceased to have time for her. Hunt had a part in the film Speak (1994). Hunt met actor Christopher Meloni while filming The Big One (2001), and they married later that year.
Hunt began her acting career in 1991. She made her film debut alongside Matthew Modine in The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (1991), a title inspired by Alferd Packer, an accused cannibal who was a Dallas resident and was executed by the state of Texas. In 1993 Hunt appeared as Dr. Kathryn Murphy in the crime drama Poetic Justice, opposite Janet Jackson; and as Beth Gardner in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective with Jim Carrey and Sean Young.
The 1970s–1980s as a child artist
Hunt began her film career with several television appearances in the late 1970s. She starred as an angel named Jenny in a 1978 episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. (TV series), and as a girl named Lulu in the 1979 ABC TV movie The Boys from Brazil (TV). Hunt had a recurring role as the character Jenny on the television series One Day at a Time, which aired on CBS from 1981 to 1982. In 1985 Hunt appeared in the NBC miniseries Longstreet. The following year she starred as a cancer patient in the television film The Best of Families.
Hunt has a long history of acclaimed performances in the comedy genre. She made guest appearances on television shows such as St. Elsewhere and The Facts of Life, and she starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom Working Girl (1988). In 1989 Hunt was cast in Paul Reiser’s NBC sitcom series Mad About You, for which she won two Emmy Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.
Hunt was cast in a 1986 episode of the CBS anthology series, Amazing Stories (TV). She also guest-starred in an episode of the Fox sitcom, The Tracey Ullman Show. In 1989 she appeared as a police officer in the television series, My Two Dads (TV). Hunt had a supporting role in the 1991 film Regarding Henry, which starred Harrison Ford. She was skipped over for the lead for that film and instead took her first lead role as Dr. Kate Murphy in the 1993 romantic comedy film Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson, who was also Hunt’s co-star in the film A Kiss Before Dying (1991).
Hunt made a breakthrough role as a young woman with epilepsy in the 1994 hit romantic comedy, As Good As It Gets (1997), opposite Jack Nicholson. For her performance, she received the Academy Award for Best Actress, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, and the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress.
In the 1990s–2000s as a teen
In 1996, Hunt teamed with Paul Reiser and Helen Bonham Carter in the comedy Mad About You, which ended up running for seven seasons. Hunt’s performance in the series was critically acclaimed by various media sources. In 1998, she appeared as a security guard named Wang in the comedy Bruce Almighty.
In 2000, Hunt starred as Harriet Manners in Life as a House, which was a remake of the 1933 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. She also appeared as Dr. Helen Hudson in Six Days, Seven Nights (2001). That same year she appeared in the comedy Pay It Forward. Hunt returned to the big screen in 2000 with Right at Your Door, which reunited her with Mad About You co-star Paul Reiser.
In 2002 she starred as Dr. Catherine Bloom on the NBC series Chicago Hope and as Dr. Kate Milford in the ABC pilot, The Guardian. She also returned to television on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit playing a detective named Helen Gamble from 2003 to 2005.
In 2010 Hunt began starring opposite Alan Arkin in the HBO series Tell Me You Love Me for which she won Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Her film roles include Lesley Ann Warren in The Flamingo Kid (1984), Lucille Ball in Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter (2001), and Kathryn Murphy, a character based on Dr. Kay Scarpetta in Angela’s Ashes (1999) and its sequel. She also played the role of a supporting character that appeared in three of the four Back to the Future films, specifically Marty McFly’s mother Lorraine Baines-McFly. Her first film appearance was as an extra during the ninth season of The Waltons (1968). In 2000 she contributed her voice to play a character named Fritzi Ritz in an episode of The Simpsons called “The Last Temptation of Krust”.
Awards and honor
Hunt was honor by the San Diego Film Festival in 2010, where she received the Spotlight Award for her acting achievements. She has been nominate for four Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, and four Emmy Awards. In 2007 Hunt was award a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, locate at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. She was award a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto in 2012.
In 1995 Hunt was awarded an Excellence in Broadcasting Award by Women in Film and Video. That same year she was the recipient of the Association of ovarian Cancer Professionals’ first-ever Ovarian Cancer Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999 she was name to the National Women’s Hall of Fame by Women in Film. She also received a Women in Film “Power at Work” Award in 1999. And an honorary degree from California State University, Northridge.