American actress Winona Ryder was born as Winona Laura Horowitz on October 29th, 1971, in Winona, Minnesota. When she was seven years old, the family relocated to California, where they lived with other families in a commune, and when she was ten they settled in Petaluma, California. In 1983, Winona started to take acting lessons at the American Conservatory Theater in nearby San Francisco.
Winona’s first film appearance was high school drama Lucas (1986,) where she took on the stage name “Ryder.” She was praised for her performance in her second movie, Square Dance, in 1987. The following year, she was cast in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, which was a critical and commercial success. Ryder’s next roles were also well received by the press: she starred in 1969 (1988) and Heathers (1989.) Her breakthrough role saw her team up once more with director Tim Burton in the 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, which became a box office hit and was very well reviewed by the critics, catapulting young Winona to stardom.
Throughout the 1990s, Winona had roles in some of the most popular movies of the decade. She further rose to fame when she starred in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and earned Academy Award nominations for her work in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993) and a new film adaptation of Little Women (1994.) Other notable films of this time were The House of the Spirits (1993), Reality Bites (1994), Boys (1996), The Crucible (1996), Alien Resurrection (1997), Celebrity (1998), and Girl, Interrupted (1999.) Winona also narrated the audio version of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, which earned her a Grammy Award nomination
Starting in the 2000s, Winona’s career started to slow down. She had two films come out in 2000, Autumn in New York and Lost Souls, followed by Mr. Deeds and S1m0ne in 2002, before taking a hiatus from movie making. Winona started to make her return in 2006, when she was cast in The Darwin Awards and A Scanner Darkly. Ryder’s next high-profile project was as a supporting character in 2009’s Star Trek reboot film. That same year, she also appeared in comedy-drama The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Winona’s only big screen release of 2010 was psychological horror film Black Swan. She also starred in the television movie When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story, which earned her a SAG Award nomination. In 2012, Winona lent her voice to the animated 3D film Frankenweenie, collaborating once more with Tim Burton, and co-starred in The Iceman and The Letter.
In 2016, Ryder joined the ensemble cast of Netflix’s sci-fi and horror series Stranger Things, which became one of the streaming services biggest hits upon release. The series is currently on its fourth season, and Ryder will reprise her role for the fifth and final one sometime in 2024. As part of the cast, she won the SAG Award for best ensemble, and Ryder in particular was praised for her performance on the show. Following Stranger Things’ success, Winona co-starred in 2018’s romantic comedy Destination Wedding, in HBO’s limited series The Plot Against America (2020,) and the TV special Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine (2020.)