Hollywood Has Very Sad News For Actress Hilary Swank († 48) When She Was Confirmed As..
Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is an American actress and film producer. She first became known in 1992 for her role on the television series Camp Wilder and made her film debut with a minor role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992). She then had her breakthrough for starring as Julie Pierce in The Next Karate Kid (1994), the fourth installment of The Karate Kid franchise, and as Carly Reynolds on the eighth season of Beverly Hills, 90210 (1997–1998).
Swank came to international recognition for her performances as Brandon Teena, a transgender man, in Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (1999), and as Maggie Fitzgerald, an aspiring boxer, in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004). Both performances earned her critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards for Best Actress. She was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005.
Swank later ventured into producing with the films Amelia (2009), Conviction (2010), You’re Not You (2014), and What They Had (2018), in all of which she also starred. Her other notable films include the television film Iron Jawed Angels (2004) and the feature films Freedom Writers (2007), The Homesman (2014), Logan Lucky (2017), The Hunt (2020), and Fatale (2020). In 2022, she began starring in the television drama series Alaska Daily.
Swank made her film debut in the 1992 comedy horror film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing a supporting role, after which she acted in the direct-to-video drama Quiet Days in Hollywood, where she co-starred with Chad Lowe, who became her husband for a time.
Swank in 1998
Her first leading film role was in the fourth installment of the Karate Kid series, The Next Karate Kid (1994) as Julie Pierce. The role used her gymnastics background and paired her with Pat Morita. In 1994, she also starred in the drama, Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story, as the abused stepdaughter who was protected by Donna (Jaclyn Smith). In 1995, she appeared with British actor Bruce Payne in Kounterfeit. In 1996, she starred in a TV movie, family drama Terror in the Family, as a troubled teenager. In September 1997, Swank played single mother Carly Reynolds in Beverly Hills, 90210 and was initially promised it would be a two-year role, but saw her character written out after 16 episodes in January 1998. Swank later stated that she was devastated at being cut from the show, thinking, “If I’m not good enough for 90210, I’m not good enough for anything.”
The firing from Beverly Hills, 90210 freed her to audition for the role of Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry. To prepare for the role, Swank lived as a man for a month and reduced her body fat to 7%. She earned only $75 per day for her work on the film, culminating in a total of $3,000. Her earnings were so low that she had not even earned enough to qualify for health insurance. Upon release, many critics lauded her performance, with Premiere listing it as one of the “100 Greatest Performances of All Time”. James Berardinelli wrote at the time that Swank “gives the performance of her career”. Her work earned her several accolades, including the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress. In an interview with Variety in 2020, Swank said that she felt a trans actor should have played the role, and had she been offered it today, she would have refused it, stating “Twenty-one years later, not only are trans people having their lives and living, thankfully, although we still have a long way to go in their safety and their inclusivity, but we now have a bunch of trans actors who would obviously be a lot more right for the role and have the opportunity to actually audition for the role.”
Swank again won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for playing a female boxer in Clint Eastwood’s 2004 film Million Dollar Baby, a role for which she underwent extensive training in the ring and weight room, aided by professional trainer Grant L. Roberts, gaining 19 pounds of muscle. With her second Oscar, she had joined the ranks of Vivien Leigh, Sally Field, and Luise Rainer as the only actresses to have been nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress twice and won both times. After winning her second Oscar, she said, “I don’t know what I did in this life to deserve this. I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.”