Childhood & Early Life
Paltrow was born on September 27, 1972, in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of actress Blythe Danner and the late film producer-director Bruce Paltrow. She has a younger brother named Jake Paltrow.
Paltrow's father was Jewish and her mother is a Christian.
She grew up in Santa Monica where she attended ‘Crossroads School’ before enrolling at the ‘Spence School’ in New York City. She briefly studied anthropology at the ‘University of California’ before dropping out to act.
At 15, she spent a year as an exchange student in Talavera de la Reina, a city in the western part of the province of Toledo, Spain, and learned to speak Spanish.
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Paltrow debuted in ‘High,’ a TV film her father directed in 1989. After watching her mother’s performance at the ‘Williamstown Theatre Festival’ in Massachusetts, she made her professional stage debut there the following year.
Between 1991 and 1993, she appeared in the Travolta-starrer ‘Shout,’ the Steven Spielberg film ‘Hook’ as the young Wendy Darling, and films, such as ‘Cruel Doubt’ and ‘Deadly Relations.’
She was noticed in the drama ‘Flesh and Bone’ as the much-younger girlfriend of James Caan. The film also starred Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid. ‘The New York Times’ described Paltrow as a ‘scene-stealer.’
In the 1995 hit thriller ‘Se7en,’ she played Brad Pitt's high school sweetheart and wife, earning a ‘Satellite’ award nomination. In the film, Pitt and Morgan Freeman played homicide detectives involved in a sadistic serial killer case.
She played the title role in ‘Emma’ in 1996, which was based on a novel by Jane Austen. She shared screen space with Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, and Jeremy Northam.
She played the lead in two films in 1998 – ‘Sliding Doors,’ a romantic-comedy and ‘Great Expectations,’ an adaptation of Dickens’ novel. In ‘Great Expectations,’ she was seen alongside actors like Ethan Hawke, Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft, and Chris Cooper.
She acted as Marge Sherwood in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley,’ a 1999 psychological thriller film which also starred Matt Damon, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport James Rebhorn, and Celia Weston.
She made her singing debut in the 2000 film ‘Duets’ in which she performed a cover version of Smokey Robinson's ‘Cruisin'.’ The song was released as a single and reached number one in Australia.
She played Margot Tenenbaum in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ a 2001 comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson. The film also starred Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Owen Wilson.
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‘Shallow Hal,’ a 2001 romantic comedy film, starred her alongside Jack Black and Jason Alexander. It grossed more than $141 million at the box office and earned Paltrow a nomination for the ‘Teen Choice Award.’
She was cast as Catherine Llewellyn in ‘Proof,’ a 2005 film directed by John Madden and starring Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis. It was based on David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
In 2005, she became the face of a perfume brand called ‘Estée Lauder Pleasures.’ She appeared in Chicago to sign bottles of the perfume and promoted the brand in New York with three other models
In 2007, she was signed for the ‘PBS’ television series ‘Spain... on the Road Again.’ The following year, she launched the weekly lifestyle newsletter ‘Goop,’ encouraging readers to 'nourish the inner aspect.’
‘Iron Man,’ a superhero film starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark and Paltrow as his personal assistant Pepper Potts, released in 2008. She went on to reprise her role as Pepper Potts in ‘Iron Man’ sequels. She also reprised her role in other ‘Marvel’ films, such as ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’
She appeared in the 2011 medical thriller ‘Contagion’ which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Apart from Paltrow, the film also starred actors like Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Jennifer Ehle.
She played Phoebe in ‘Thanks for Sharing,’ a comedy-drama film which premiered at the 2012 ‘Toronto International Film Festival’ to moderately favorable reviews. It follows three people trying to recover from sexual addiction.
Since her first book ‘Spain... A Culinary Road Trip’ in 2008, she has written ‘My Father's Daughter: Delicious,’ ‘Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness,’ and Notes from the Kitchen Table’ among other culinary books.
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In 1998, Paltrow starred in ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ portraying Viola de Lesseps, the fictional lover of William Shakespeare. The film earned more than $289 million at the box office and she won many accolades.
Holly Holliday, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, is a recurring fictional character from the ‘Fox’ musical comedy-drama series ‘Glee.’ Her performance attracted positive reviews and earned her an ‘Emmy’ award in 2011.
She had a role in ‘Iron Man 2’ (2010) and ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013). While the former earned US$623.9 million, the latter went on to gross US$1.215 billion. She also had a role in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (2017), ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018), and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019).