Claire Danes: Snapshot

Claire Danes
Date of Birth
April 12, 1979
Birth Place
New York, N.Y.
It took 19 episodes as the angsty, insecure Angela Chase on ABC's beloved teen drama My So-Called Life to launch Claire Danes' career as one of her generation's most acclaimed actresses.

At 10, the native New Yorker studied method acting at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. At 17, she played Juliet to Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo in Baz Luhrmann's take on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. And at the height of her career, the in-demand actress put filmmaking on hold to attend Yale University.

After two years, Danes left the Ivy League to return to acting, with starring roles in Steve Martin's Shopgirl, the Broadway revival of Pygmalion, and her Emmy and Golden Globe-winning performance in HBO's Temple Grandin. Off-screen, Danes found happiness with Evening costar Hugh Dancy, whom she married in 2009.

In 2011, Danes returned to television as a hyper-vigilant C.I.A. agent on Showtime's critically acclaimed series Homeland, for which she won a best actress Golden Globe. A year later, Danes and Dancy welcome their first child.

Claire Danes: Five Fun Facts

  1. As a kid, Claire Danes knew she wanted to be a performer when she saw Madonna on TV. "I understood that performing could be one's vocation and I thought, yeah!" Danes told the New York Times in 2006.
  2. Claire Danes turned down a soap opera role because "I didn't want my acting style to be tainted," she told In Style in 1999. "You know, I had some integrity when I was 12."
  3. At a 1995 press conference, director Steven Spielberg said Claire Danes "is one of the most exciting actresses to debut in the last 10 years. I don't understand why she's just captured my heart. She really just has an amazing honesty in her presence."
  4. On the urging of Yale-educated Jodie Foster, Claire Danes took a break from film in 1998 to also attend Yale University. "I told her that it was important to me to have something else to do besides being in Top Gun," Foster told the Los Angeles Times.
  5. Claire Danes had to sing in front of hundreds of extras for 2007's Evening. "I was absolutely ready to call Kelly Clarkson to see if she wouldn't mind doing me a favor," she told PEOPLE.

Claire Danes: Biography


Claire Danes

August 25

Claire's 'So-Called' Break

A 15-year-old Danes stars in the critically acclaimed, short-lived ABC series, My So-Called Life. She portrays Angela Chase, an inquisitive everygirl dealing with the common struggles of high school and adolescence. The Washington Post's Tom Shales describes Danes as "deep and mercurial and strikingly complex." Although the series hits a chord with viewers and earns Danes a Golden Globe for Best Actress, it lasts for only 19 episodes before ABC pulls the plug.

Claire Danes

December 21

Danes Hits the Big Screen

Danes makes her feature debut as Beth March in Little Women, costarring Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale and Winona Ryder (left). "We got to be really close," Danes tells USA Today of Ryder. "She's sort of a mentor to me." The pair appear together again in 1995's How to Make an American Quilt.


Claire Danes

November 01

Becoming Juliet

Baz Luhrmann directs Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio in the title roles of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet . DiCaprio (right) tells Entertainment Weekly of his leading lady, "She was the only girl when we did the audition who came straight in my face to do the lines. She said them looking at me right in the eye. And some of the other girls did, like, the affected flower thing...and it was not nearly as truthful as Claire's performance."

Read More on Claire Danes' Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Nigel Perry

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Everett Collection; MIRAMAX

Edited by Julia Wang

Claire Danes

Celebrity Central / Top 25 Celebs