50 facts about actress Winona Ryder

She earned a Golden Globe nomination, in Burton's dark fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands. Learn 50 facts about actress Winona Ryder.

1. Ryder was born Winona Laura Horowitz.

2. Her mother is an author, video producer and editor.

3. Her father is an author, editor, publisher and antiquarian bookseller.

4. Her father also worked as an archivist for psychedelic guru Dr. Timothy Leary (who was Ryder's godfather).

5. Her father's family is Jewish (they emigrated from Romania and Russia), and Ryder has described herself as Jewish.

6. Many of her father's family perished in the Holocaust.

7. Her father's family was originally named "Tomchin" but took the surname "Horowitz" when they immigrated to America.

8. Her given name Winona was inspired by the city of Winona.

9. She was given her middle name, Laura, because of her parents' friendship with Laura Huxley, writer Aldous Huxley's wife.

10. Her stage name derives from Mitch Ryder, a soul and rock singer. Her father was a fan of Mitch Ryder.

11. Ryder's father is an atheist and her mother a Buddhist; they encouraged their children to take the best part of other religions to make their own belief systems.

12. Ryder has one full sibling, a younger brother, Uri.

13. She also has two half-siblings from her mother's prior marriage: an older half-brother, Jubal Palmer, and an older half-sister, Sunyata Palmer.

14. Ryder's family friends included her godfather, Timothy Leary, as well as the Beat Movement poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick.

15. In 1978, when Ryder was seven years old, she and her family relocated to Rainbow, a commune near Elk, Mendocino County, California, where they lived with seven other families on a 300-acre (120 ha) plot of land. As the remote property had no electricity or television sets, Ryder began to devote her time to reading and became an avid fan of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

16. She developed an interest in acting after her mother showed her a few movies on a screen in the family barn.

17. At age 10, Ryder and her family moved on again, this time to Petaluma, California. During her first week at Kenilworth Junior High, she was bullied by a group of her peers who mistook her for an effeminate, scrawny boy. As a result, she ended up being homeschooled that year.

18. In 1983, when Ryder was 12, she enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater in nearby San Francisco, where she took her first acting lessons.

19. Ryder graduated from Petaluma High School with a 4.0 GPA in 1989.

20. She suffers from aquaphobia because of a traumatic near-drowning at age 12.

21. Her aquaphobia caused problems with the underwater scenes in Alien: Resurrection, some of which had to be reshot numerous times.

22. She is one of the most profitable and iconic 1990s actresses.

23. Ryder made her film debut in the 1986 film Lucas.

24. As Lydia Deetz, a goth teenager in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, she won critical acclaim and widespread recognition.

25. After various appearances in film and on television, Ryder continued her acting career with the cult film Heathers, a controversial satire of teenage suicide and high school life that has since become a landmark teen film.

26. She later appeared in the coming of age drama Mermaids, earning a Golden Globe nomination, in Burton's dark fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands, and in Francis Ford Coppola's gothic romance Bram Stoker's Dracula.

27. Having played diverse roles in many well-received films in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ryder won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and an Academy Award nomination in the same category for her role in The Age of Innocence in 1993 as well as another Academy Award nomination, as Best Actress, for the literary adaptation Little Women the following year.

28. In 2000, Ryder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, honouring her legacy in the film industry.

29. Ryder's personal life has attracted significant media attention.

30. She has been open about her personal struggles with anxiety and depression.

31. In 2002, she appeared in the box office hit Mr. Deeds alongside Adam Sandler.

32. In 2006, Ryder returned to the screen after a brief hiatus, later appearing in high-profile films such as Star Trek.

33. In 2010, she was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards: as the lead actress in When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story and as part of the cast of Black Swan.

34. Ryder had a hiatus after her shoplifting incident in 2001.

35. Ryder landed the role of Veronica Sawyer in the 1988 independent film Heathers. The film, a satirical take on teenage life, revolves around Veronica, who is ultimately forced to choose between the will of society and her own heart after her boyfriend, played by Christian Slater, begins killing off popular high school students. Ryder's agent initially begged her to turn the role down, saying the film would "ruin her career."

36. Ryder appeared in a leading role in the Ron Howard-directed film, The Dilemma, previously called Cheaters and What You Don't Know. The film, which also starred Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, began filming in Chicago in May 2010 and was released in January 2011.

37. In 2011, she was cast as Deborah Kuklinski, the wife of contract killer Richard Kuklinski, in the thriller The Iceman.

38. In 2012, Tim Burton cast her as the love interest in The Killers music video, "Here with Me".

39. She was reunited with Tim Burton for a role in the animated 3D feature film Frankenweenie, released in October 2012, and appeared alongside James Franco in the action thriller Homefront.

40. In 2013, Ryder starred in a segment of the Comedy Central television series Drunk History called "Boston". She played religious protestor Mary Dyer, opposite stern Puritan magistrate John Endicott, played by Michael Cera.

41. The book Conversations with Woody Allen reports that in 2003, film director Woody Allen wanted to cast Robert Downey, Jr. and Ryder in his film Melinda and Melinda, but was unable to do so because "I couldn't get insurance on them ... We couldn't get bonded. The completion bonding companies would not bond the picture unless we could insure them. [...] We were heartbroken because I had worked with Winona before [on Celebrity] and thought she was perfect for this and wanted to work with her again."

42. Ryder was engaged to actor Johnny Depp for three years beginning in July 1990. She met Depp at the Great Balls of Fire! premiere in June 1989; two months later they began dating.

43. Depp had a tattoo placed on his arm reading "Winona Forever", which he had altered to "Wino Forever" after their separation in mid-1993.

44. Following her split from Depp, she dated Soul Asylum front man Dave Pirner for three years, from 1993 to 1996.

45. She later had a two-year relationship with actor Matt Damon between 1998 and 2000.

46. In 2006, following her hiatus, Ryder appeared in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, a film based on Philip K. Dick's well-received science fiction novel of the same name. Ryder starred alongside Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey, Jr. and Woody Harrelson. Live action scenes were transformed with rotoscope software and the film was entirely animated.

47. In 1993, Ryder offered a reward in the hope that it would lead to the return of kidnapped child Polly Klaas. Klaas lived in Petaluma, the same town where Ryder grew up. Ryder offered a $200,000 reward for the 12-year-old kidnap victim's safe return. After the girl's death, Ryder starred as Jo in the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and dedicated her performance to Klaas' memory. Little Women was one of Klaas' favorite novels.

48. In 1999 she established music company named Roustabout Studios.

49. In 1997 was included in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World lilst.

50. Her favorite bands are Replacements, Wilco, and Cocteau Twins.

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Winona Ryder

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