- Jun 20, 1967
- Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Once relegated to decorative parts for years and long acknowledged as the wife of Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman spent the latter half of the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium earning much-deserved critical respect. Standing a willowy 5'11" and sporting one of Hollywood's most distinctive heads of frizzy red hair, the Australian actress first… More Bio:
Once relegated to decorative parts for years and long acknowledged as the wife of Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman spent the latter half of the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium earning much-deserved critical respect. Standing a willowy 5'11" and sporting one of Hollywood's most distinctive heads of frizzy red hair, the Australian actress first entered the American mindset with her role opposite Cruise in Days of Thunder (1990), but it wasn't until she starred as a homicidal weather girl in Gus Van Sant's 1995 To Die For that she achieved recognition as a thespian of considerable range and talent.
Though many assume that the heavily-accented Kidman hails from down under, she was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 20, 1967, to Australian parents. Her family, who lived on the island because of a research project that employed Kidman's biochemist father, then moved to Washington, D.C. for the next three years. After her father's project reached completion, Nicole and her family returned to Australia.
Raised in the upper-middle-class Sydney suburb of Longueville for the remainder of the 1970s and well into the eighties, Kidman grew up infused with a love of the arts, particularly dance and theatre. Kidman took refuge in the theater, and landed her first professional role at the age of 14, when she starred in Bush Christmas (1983), a TV movie about a group of kids who band together with an Aborigine to find their stolen horse. Brian Trenchard-Smith's BMX Bandits (1983) -- an adventure film/teen movie -- followed , with Kidman as the lead character, Judy; it opened to solid reviews. Kidman then worked for the gifted John Duigan (The Winter of Our Dreams, Romero) twice, first as one of the two adolescent leads of the Duigan-directed "Room to Move" episode of the Australian TV series Winners (1985) and, more prestigiously, as the star of Duigan's acclaimed miniseries Vietnam (1987)
In 1988, Kidman got another major break when she was tapped to star in Phillip Noyce's Dead Calm (1989). A psychological thriller about a couple (Kidman and Sam Neill) who are terrorized by a young man they rescue from a sinking ship (Billy Zane), the film helped to establish the then-21-year-old Kidman as an actress of considerable mettle. That same year, her starring performance in the made-for-TV Bangkok Hilton further bolstered her reputation.
By now a rising star in Australia, Kidman began to earn recognition across the Pacific. In 1989, Tom Cruise picked her for a starring role in her first American feature, Tony Scott's Days of Thunder (1990). The film, a testosterone-saturated drama about a racecar driver (Cruise), cast Kidman as the neurologist who falls in love with him. A sizable hit, it had the added advantage of introducing Kidman to Cruise, whom she married in December of 1990.
Following a role as Dustin Hoffman's moll in Robert Benton's Billy Bathgate (1991), and a supporting turn as a snotty boarding school senior in the masterful Flirting (1991), which teamed her with Duigan a third time, Kidman collaborated with Cruise on their second film together, Far and Away (1992). Despite their joint star quality, gorgeous cinematography, and adequate direction by Ron Howard, critics panned the lackluster film.
Kidman's subsequent projects, My Life and Malice ( both 1993), were similarly disappointing, despite scattered favorable reviews. Batman Forever (1995), in which she played the hero's love interest, Dr. Chase Meridian, fared somewhat better, but did little in the way of establishing Kidman as a serious actress even as it raked in mile-high returns at the summer box office.
Kidman finally broke out of her window-dressing typecasting when Gus Van Sant enlisted her to portray the ruthless protagonist of To Die For (1995). Directed from a Buck Henry script, this uber-dark comedy casts Kidman as Suzanne Stone, a television broadcaster r
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