Helen Hunt

Despite decades of potential career minefields, actress Helen Hunt emerged as an Oscar and Emmy winner en route to becoming one of the most popular actresses of the 1990s. Early in her career, Hunt made the risky transition from precocious TV kid and mainstay in melodramatic movies-of-the-week to land a seven-year run on one of the era's most awarded sitcoms, "Mad About You" (NBC, 1992-99). During that time, she diversified her talents by directing several episodes, a skill she would use elsewhere later in her career. Meanwhile, Hunt went from sitcom star to feature film leading lady with performances in the blockbuster "Twister" (1996) and the award-winning romantic comedy "As Good as It Gets" (1997), which earned her the Best Actress Academy Award. From there, she was the star of the moment with leading roles in "Pay it Forward" (2000), "What Women Want" (2000) and "Cast Away" (2000), only to step back from the limelight following her divorce from famous husband, Hank Azaria. Hunt later reemerged with "Empire Falls" (HBO, 2005), wrote and directed the features "Then She Found Me" (2008) and "Ride" (2014), and earned new buzz for her fearless performance in indie drama "The Sessions" (2012) while developing a new career as an in-demand television director. Always grounded and intelligent, Hunt brought strength, sensitivity and relatable complexity to her characters, all of which earned her a loyal fan base among modern independent women.