Winona Ryder biographyWinona Laura Ryder is an unorthodox American actress, rose to popularity in the late 80-s. Throughout her career, she worked with such established directors as Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands), Martin Scorsese (The Age of Innocence), Jim Jarmusch (Night on Earth) and Francis Ford Coppola (Bram Stoker’s Dracula). She also starred in multiple independent and art-house films including Heathers, Great Balls of Fire! and A Scanner Darkly, along with psychological drama Girl, Interrupted. American sci-fi horror series Stranger Things is Ryder’s latest and one of the most hyped projects. Net worth: $18 million.
Early life and familyWinona Rider was born as Winona Laura Horowitz on October 29, 1971, in Olmstead County, Minnesota. She got such an unusual name in honor of a city Winona, right nearby her place of birth. Her parents, Michael D. Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer (nee Istas) were descendants from Russian and Romanian Jews. Her fathers’ family originally was named Tomchin but took the surname Horowitz after they moved to States. Winona has a younger brother Urie, named after the first Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, and two half-siblings from her mother’s first marriage: sister Sunyata Palmer and brother Jubal Palmer.
Winona’s parents earned their living through writing and publishing and were pretty open and adventurous in nature. Her father was an avid collector of antique books and had an impressive exposition of psychedelic literature. Timothy Leary, a world-famous philosopher, psychologist, and psychedelic researcher, was Winona’s godfather. Amongst Horowitz’s family friends were many hipsters and beatnik poets, including Allen Ginsberg. Her middle name, Laura, future actress was given in honor of Laura Huxley, a wife of their close friend and famous writer Aldous Huxley. Winona’s mother was a Buddhist and her father was an atheist, however, there were no religious conflicts in their family since parents wanted children to have an open mind and develop their own belief systems.
Acting CareerThirteen years old Winona took part in her first casting for a role in Desert Bloom film. Although she failed to receive a role, she was noticed by writer and director David Seltzer, who cast a young actress in Lucas's (1986) movie. After her film debut, she decided to change her surname to Ryder in honor of rock singer Mitch Ryder, one of her father’s favorites.
In 1989 Winona Horowitz graduated from high school in Petaluma with excellent grades. At that time, she was considered a real superstar in her town.
Later that year Winona appeared in the independent film Heathers, representing the role of Veronica Sawyer, a teenage girl who, paired with her friend Jason (Christian Slater), plotting to murder her schoolmates and disguising it as a suicide rampage. Ryder’s agent begged actress to put this role aside, saying that this film would ruin her career. However, the movie received a positive reaction and even received a cult following, with Ryder becoming an idol for American teenagers. Sometime later she appeared in Mojo Nixon music video for their Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child song.
The incredible and unique acting style of Winona Ryder allowed her to infuse every role she played and every character she portrayed with charm, expression, and almost mystical liveliness. Her performance as Josephina in 1994 family drama film Little Women, based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name, was just another proof of her outstanding talent and brought her another Academy Awards nomination.
Hyped and revered series "Stranger Things", premiered on Netflix in 2016, starring young actors Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown is the most important and influential of her latest works. Ryder portrays Joyce Byers, mother of suddenly disappeared boy. While the police are struggling to find a missing child, Joyce realizes that her son is making attempts to contact her from the other world. Viewers unanimously agreed on the opinion that thanks to her portrayal of a woman, destroyed by grief and balancing on the edge of insanity, she re-established herself as a world-class actress and series frontrunner.