To most moviegoers, Gwyneth Paltrow was "that English actress that used to be engaged to Brad Pitt." On March 21, 1999, that image was altered completely when the little known actress was awarded the Academy Award for her outstanding performance in Shakespeare in Love (1998). Gwyneth Paltrow, who in fact is not English, was born in 1972 in Los Angeles, the daughter of noted film director Bruce Paltrow and Tony award-winning actress Blythe Danner. When Gwyneth was 11, the family moved to Massachusetts where her father began working in summer stock productions in the Berkshires. It was here that she received her early acting training under the tutelage of her parents. In 1991, she quit the University of California and began to actively pursue a career in acting. She made her film debut with a small part in Shout (1991) and for the next 5 years had featured roles in a mixed bag of film fare that included Flesh and Bone (1993); Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994); Se7en (1995); Jefferson in Paris (1995); Moonlight and Valentino (1995); and The Pallbearer (1996). It was her performance in the title role of Emma Woodhouse in Emma (1996) that led to her being offered the role of Viola in Shakespeare in Love (1998). She broke her much publicized engagement to actor Brad Pitt in 1997 citing as the reason the fact that neither she nor Pitt felt that they could pursue their respective careers and at the same time maintain a happy marriage. They remain good friends. A tall, wafer thin, delicate beauty, Gwyneth Paltrow is a consummate professional and a highly skilled actress who appears to possess everything necessary to achieve super stardom.