Gwyneth Paltrow is the quintessential California girl.  Sort of.  Born in 1972 to director Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner, Gwyneth spent her first 10 years in Santa Monica before being transplanted out east and schooled in New York City.  Though she gave college a shot with a stint at UC-Santa Barbara, she quit after 2 years to pursue acting.   She made her debut on the stage in 1990 and on film in the 1991 film Shout with John Travolta.

Gwyneth Paltrow in 2009

Paltrow worked steadily in film through the early 90’s, with roles in Hook, Malice and Flesh and Bone.   In 1995 she was cast opposite Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in the David Fincher thriller Se7en, a role that would prove professionally and personally pivotal.  The film was received well by critics and audiences and Paltrow began a long and extremely well publicized relationship with co-star Pitt.  Suddenly she was on every tabloid and became a household name.

It wasn’t until 1998, however, that Paltrow hit the real big time when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance opposite Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love.  An instant mega-star, she went on to star in less successful but fairly acclaimed films such as The Talented Mr. Ripley, Proof, and The Royal Tennenbaums.  She even donned a fat suit for her role in Shallow Hal opposite Jack Black.

After taking a little time off from high profile roles to marry Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and bear two children, Paltrow burst back onto the mainstream screen as Pepper Potts in the Iron Man franchise.  As lithe and cool as ever, her character is a fan favorite.  She is set to appear in the upcoming Iron Man 3.

Paltrow has been active in charitable giving for many years, as an artist ambassador for Save the Children and on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation to reduce poverty in New York City.  She has been the spokesface for Estee Lauder’s Pleasure perfume since 2005.  Paltrow has her own lifestyle newsletter which has been roundly impaled as being vapid and out of touch with reality.  She has in her life been on a strictly macrobiotic diet and lives a pretty new-agey lifestyle.

Paltrow lives in London with martin and their two children, Apple and Moses.

Photo by Andrew Halpern

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