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Gwyneth Kate Paltrow - Goddesses of the Silver Screen
430    Dibyendu Banerjee    30/11/2023

Gwyneth Kate Paltrow, an American actress, widely known for her portrayals of intelligent and complex characters, was born on 27 September 1972 in Los Angeles to two Primetime Emmys winning actress Blythe Danner and producer-director Bruce Paltrow. As her father was from a Jewish family, while her mother is a Christian of mostly German descent, she was as raised celebrating both Jewish and Christian holidays. The family moved to Massachusetts when Gwyneth was eleven and she attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica and then, graduated from the all-girls Spence School in New York City. Later, she attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in Art History, before appearing onstage alongside her mother in a play titled Picnic at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. However, by that time she realised her passion for acting and soon she quit the college, with the consent of her parents, to pursue her career in acting. At the age of 17, she made her acting debut in High (1989), a TV film directed by her father and made her professional stage debut at the Williamstown Theater Festival in 1990.

gwyneth kate paltrow
In Flesh and Bone (1993)

The early films of Gwyneth Paltrow include Shout (1991), a musical romance starring John Travolta and Hook (1991), a commercially successful adventure film directed by her godfather, Steven Spielberg. After that, she appeared in her first plum feature film Flesh and Bone (1993), in which she played the role of Ginnie, a drifter and con artist, followed by the supporting role of Paula Hunt, a bohemian artist in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994), Martha Patsy Randolph, the eldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, in Jefferson in Paris (1995) and Lucy Trager, a grieving chain-smoker, in Moonlight and Valentino (1995). However, she became widely known and earned a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing the role of Tracy, the wife of a young detective, played by Brad Pitt, in the thriller film Se7en (1995), the seventh highest grossing film of the year.

gwyneth kate paltrow
In Emma (1996), with Jeremy Northam

When Gwyneth was offered her first starring role of Emma Woodhouse, the title character in the period film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma (1996), she had only a month to do her own research for the role, within which she studied horsemanship, dancing, singing, archery and the highly stylized manners and the result was amazing. While the film was released to critical acclaim and commercial success, Gwyneth Paltrow shined brightly as Jane Austen's most endearing character. The film marked a sharp turn in Paltrow's career as she appeared in the leading roles in five high-profile film releases in 1998, which include the role of Estella, the unrequited and haughty childhood love of a New York City painter, in the adaption of the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectation (1998) and the role of Helen, a woman whose life could take two central paths depending on whether or not she catches a train, causing different outcomes, in the British drama Sliding Doors (1998). Both the films were commercially successful and grossed over $55 million worldwide. In the thriller Hush (1998) she portrayed the role of Helen Baring, an unsuspecting woman living with her psychotic mother-in-law and in another thriller, A Perfect Murder (1998), inspired by the famous thriller Dial M for Murder, created by Alfred Hitchcock, she starred opposite Michael Douglas, playing the role of Emily Bradford Taylor, based on the character of Margot Wendice, played by Grace Kelly in the original film.

gwyneth kate paltrow
In Sliding Doors (1998). with John Hannah

However, her most critically acclaimed role in the year was Shakespeare in Love (1998), in which she portrayed the role of Viola de Lesseps, the fictional lover of Shakespeare. The film made $289 million in box office, while Gwyneth Paltrow was profusely acclaimed for her performance in the film and won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading role, along with a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, BAFTA Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and many more.

gwyneth kate paltrow
In Shakespeare in Love (1998)

In the next year, Paltrow appeared in the psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and played the role of Marge Sherwood, the fiancée of a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy, played by Jude Law, whose identity is adopted by a con artist, played by Matt Damon. While the film received positive reviews and grossed $80 million in North America, Paltrow was described as peaky and pallid by The Guardian. In the same year, she unveiled her singing ability in Duets (2000), a film about the little known world of karaoke competitions and the wayward characters who inhabit it, directed by her father and also appeared as Abby Janello in the moderately successful romantic drama Bounce (2000).

gwyneth kate paltrow
In The Talented Mr Ripley 1999

In Shallow Hal (2001), a comedy about a shallow man falling in love with an overweight woman, Gwyneth played the role of Rosemary, for which she had to wear a specially designed 25-pound fat-suit and heavy makeup. While the film opened with $22.5 million and grossed $70.7 million in North America and $141.1 million around the globe, Gwyneth was described by the famous film critic Roger Ebert as truly touching, often very funny, but also surprisingly moving at times. In the same year, she also portrayed the role of Margot Tenenbaum, the adopted daughter in an estranged family of former child prodigies reuniting with their father, in the critically acclaimed film The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), directed by Wes Anderson. During the decade she also starred in the thriller Possession (2002), the romantic comedy View from the Top (2003) and also played the titular role in Sylvia (2003), chronicling the romance between the American poet Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, an English poet. Her performance in Sylvia was profusely acclaimed by the critics and she was reviewed as having a vivid, passionate presence in the film, even when her lively features became slack with depression and her bright blue eyes having glazed over.

gwyneth kate paltrow
In Sylvia (2003), with Daniel Craig

After portraying the role of Polly Perkins, a reporter for the fictional New York Chronicle, in the science fiction film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), Gwyneth starred as Catherine, the depressed daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, played by Anthony Hopkins, in Proof (2005), for which she earned her second Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama. After that, she appeared in several films, which include the romantic comedy Love and Other Disasters (2006), Running with Scissors (2006), Infamous (2006) and The Good Night (2007), directed by her brother Jake Paltrow.

gwyneth kate paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow saw a resurgence in her career in 2008, when she appeared as Pepper Potts, the personal assistant and budding love interest of Tonny Stark in the science fiction film Iron Man (2008), directed by Jon Favreau, which was favourably received by critics and became Paltrow's highest-grossing film till The Avengers (2012), another science fiction film, directed by Joss Whedon. Gwyneth reprised her role in the sequels Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2013), as well as Spider-Man: Homecomimg (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avenger: Endgame (2019)

gwyneth kate paltrow

In her personal life, Paltrow became romantically involved with her Se7en co-actor Brad Pitt, whom she dated from 1994 to 1997. However, they called off the engagement as, according to Paltrow, she was not ready for marriage. After that, she began dating American actor Ben Affleck in October 1997, with whom she later worked on Shakespeare in Love. But eventually, they broke up in October 2000. Three weeks after the death of her father, Gwyneth Paltrow met Chris Martin of British Band Coldplay and they married in December 2003 in a ceremony at a hotel in South California, when she was carrying their child. The couple has two children together, a daughter, born in 2004 and a son, born in 2006. However, In April 2015, Paltrow filed for divorce, which was finalized on 14 July 2016. After that, Paltrow began dating producer Brad Falchuk in 2014 and they were married on 28 September 2018 in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York.

Marilyn Monroe Jean Simmons
Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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