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Antonia "Toni" Collette (born 1 November 1972) is an Australian actress and musician, known for her acting work on stage, television and film as well as a secondary career as the lead singer of the band Toni Collette & the Finish. She is also known for her role as Tara Gregson on Showtime's United States of Tara, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Collette's acting career began in the early 1990s with comedic roles in films such as Spotswood (1992) and Muriel's Wedding (1994), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Following her performances in Emma (1996) and The Boys (1998), Colette achieved international recognition as a result of her Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Lynn Sear in The Sixth Sense (1999). She has since established herself as one of the best-known and highest-paid Australian actresses in Hollywoodmarker, who has had her biggest commercial successes with thriller such as Shaft (2000) and Changing Lanes (2001) and independent comedy films like About a Boy (2002) for which she received a BAFTA nomination, In Her Shoes (2005) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

Early life

Collette was born in Blacktownmarker, a working class suburb in western Sydneymarker, the daughter of Judy, a customer-service representative, and Bob Collette, a truck driver. She has two younger brothers, Ben and Christopher. From an early age, Collette showed a talent for acting. She faked appendicitis when she was eleven years old and was so convincing that doctors removed her appendix, although tests showed nothing wrong with it. She attended Blacktown Girls High School until the age of 16, and then later attended both the Australian Theatre for Young People and NIDA.

Career

Collette has won five Australian Film Institute awards, including the Australian Best Actress in a Lead Role for Muriel's Wedding in 1994, a role for which she gained 18kg (40lb) in seven weeks. In 1996, she was part of the ensemble cast of the comedy, Così. She received an Academy Award nomination for her role as the mother of a troubled boy in the U.S. film The Sixth Sense, which also starred Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment.

She has also received broad acclaim on Broadwaymarker, starring as Queenie in Michael John LaChiusa's musical work, The Wild Party. For this role, Collette received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.

Collette at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival
Collette had to turn down the title role in Bridget Jones's Diary because she was committed to perform on Broadway at the time, the role eventually went to Renee Zellweger. She then auditioned for the role of ambitious murderess Roxie Hart in the hit film Chicago. She almost got the part but, because she wasn't a well-known enough actress, she lost that role to Renée Zellweger as well.

In 2006, she played Sheryl in Little Miss Sunshine, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy. After filming three films consecutively in the fall of 2006, Collette said in a recent interview that she wants to take a year off from acting and spend time with her friends and family. She has also stated that she wants to take roles in Australian films rather than mainstream US films. In October 2006, she began touring Australia to promote her first vocal album Beautiful Awkward Pictures, released on Hoola Hoop Records under the name Toni Collette & the Finish, a band for which her husband drums. Collette recently appeared on the Australian television show Cool Aid and performed the song "Look Up" off of her album. Collette and the Finish were a headlining act at the Sydney show of Live Earth. She sang T-Rex's "Children Of The Revolution" with The Finish.

Collette accepted the leading role in the Showtime series, United States of Tara. The show was created by Steven Spielberg and developed by the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Juno, Diablo Cody. She plays a wife and mother of two with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Tara and her family cope with her four alters (alternate personalities) who began showing up more frequently after Tara stopped taking her medications (to increase her quality of life). Collette plays opposite John Corbett who portrays her husband Max. Filming began on 14 April 2008. The series was originally planned for a 12 episode season, but has recently been picked up for an additional 12 episode season (for 2010). She won the Emmy for best leading actress in a comedy on 20 September 2009 for her performance in this show.

Personal life

Collette has previously dated Jonathan Rhys Meyers. She has been married to Dave Galafassi since 11 January 2003 and owns homes in both Australia and the Republic of Irelandmarker. Collette is a supporter of animal rights and PETA. She urged former Prime Minister John Howard to end the Australian sheep farming practice of mulesing, which is considered by many animal rights activists to be cruel. She later revised her position after doing her own research of the Australian wool industry.She gave birth to her first daughter Sage Florence in Sydney on 9 January 2008.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1990 A Country Practice (TV series) Tracy
1992 Spotswood Wendy Robinson Nominated — Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1993 The Thief and the Cobbler Mad Holy Old Witch (voice)
1994 This Marching Girl Thing (short film) Cindy
Muriel's Wedding Muriel Heslop Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Female
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

1996 Così Julie
The Pallbearer Cynthia
Emma Harriet
Lilian's Story Young Lilian Singer Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1997 Clockwatchers Iris Chapman
The James Gang Julia Armstrong
Diana & Me Diana Spencer
1998 The Boys Michelle Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Supporting Actor - Female
Velvet Goldmine Mandy Slade
1999 8½ Women Griselda/Sister Concordia
The Sixth Sense Lynn Sear Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress - Suspense
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture


2000 Shaft Diane Palmieri Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress - Action
Hotel Splendide Kath
The Magic Pudding Meg Bluegum (voice)
2001 Dinner with Friends (TV film) Beth
2002 Changing Lanes Michelle
About a Boy Fiona Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Dirty Deeds Sharon Nominated — Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Female
The Hours Kitty Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture


2003 Japanese Story Sandy Edwards Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Female
Inside Film Award for Best Actres
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama



2004 The Last Shot Emily French
Connie and Carla Carla
2005 In Her Shoes Rose Feller Nominated — Australian Film Institute International Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Sheryl Hoover Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Australian Film Institute International Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy





The Night Listener Donna D. Logand
Like Minds Sally
The Dead Girl Arden
Tsunami: The Aftermath (TV series) Kathy Graham
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Miniseries or a Movie

2007 Evening Nina Mars
Towelhead Melina Hines
2008 The Black Balloon Maggie Mollison Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger Mary
2009 Mary and Max Mary Daisy Dinkle (voice)
United States of Tara (TV series) Tara Gregson Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series


Discography

  • Beautiful Awkward Pictures (2006) - Toni Collette & The Finish


References

  1. Toni Collette Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  2. Sanjiv Bhattacharya meets Hollywood's leading lady Toni Collette | Interviews | guardian.co.uk Film
  3. Golden moments with Toni - Music - Entertainment - theage.com.au
  4. Showtime announces "The United States of Tara" | AfterEllen.com
  5. Toni Collette Biography
  6. Save the Sheep! > Australian Actor Toni Collette Urges Prime Minister John Howard to End Cruelty to Sheep
  7. Actress backs down on call for mulesing ban - 18/07/2005
  8. Toni Collette Has a Girl - Babies, Toni Collette : People.com

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