June 15, 1963
Los Angeles, CA
Helen Hunt and her older sister, Colleen, were raised by their photographer mother, Jane, and famed director and acting coach, Gordon Hunt [who has helmed several Mad About You episodes]. When she was three the family moved to New York and Helen was enrolled in a Montessori school and spent many evenings with her family at the theater. Back in L.A. and already studying ballet, it was then that nine-year- old Helen decided to take an acting class. She was hooked. Within months a talent agent spotted her and Helen soon made her acting debut in the TV movie Pioneer Woman. Following her debut, Helen began to pop up all over the airwaves in such shows as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bionic Woman and The Swiss Family Robinson series. Before she knew what was happening, she had become the teen queen of the 70's movie-of-the-week genre.
Some time after graduating from Providence High School in Burbank, Helen headed off to New York in hopes of breaking into theater. Although she found herself on the stage in such plays as Been Taken with Mary Stuart Masterson and in Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town, it was the B-movie genre that provided Helen with most of the work with such flicks as Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and the quirky sci-fi Trancers [which spawned two sequels].
Voted as "One of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People" in 1998, Helen's ascent towards super stardom began with a small role in the comedy/drama Peggy Sue Got Married as Kathleen Turner's daughter. The lead role in the monkey caper, Project X, with Matthew Broderick, soon followed [they went on to date for two years].
In 1992 Helen turned her focus toward comedy, and after meeting with Paul Reiser, who was a co-creator on a new sitcom, Helen got the lead role on Mad About You, a modern day spin on the classic Dick Van Dyke Show. Her natural charm, All-American beauty, and comedic timing convinced Paul he had found a gold mine. It was a part that would go on to earn Helen numerous awards, as well as a growing fanbase.
In 1996 Twister swept and spun its way across America, broadening Helen's fanbase even more. Not only had she proven herself to be a hot commodity on the small screen, but the silver screen loved her as well. As Good As It Gets followed, but only after Holly Hunter dropped out of the project. Lucky for Helen, for her take on beleaguered waitress and single mom Carol, went on to earn her a best actress Oscar©. A string of hits and leading lady roles opposite some of Hollywood's biggest names were added to her list of growing credits, such as Dr. T & The Women, Pay It Forward, Cast Away and What Women Want. Without a doubt, Helen had attained the "Super Star" label.
In 1999, Helen married fellow thespian, Hank Azaria, divorcing a year later. For now she is single, living in New York with her dog, and hanging out with some of her best friends, Anthony Edwards and Helen Slater. She is also an advocate for
The Healing Hands Project, which she, her mother and sister formed to provide reconstructive surgery to people who have been facially disfigured.
Photo © J. L. Smith for Bravo - Bio by ThespianNet.com ©
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