Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon

Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon

Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon - Who is Laura Jeanne Witherspoon? The world knows her as Reese Witherspoon. She is an American actress and film producer, who has established herself as one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses in recent years. This established her as a rising star and led to roles in three major 1998 movies: Overnight Delivery, Pleasantville, and Twilight. The following year, Witherspoon appeared in the critically acclaimed Election, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. 2001 marked her career's turning point with the breakout role as Elle Woods in the box office hit Legally Blonde, and in 2002 she starred in Sweet Home Alabama, which became her biggest commercial film success to date.

2003 saw her return as lead actress and executive producer of Legally Blonde 2. In 2005, Witherspoon received worldwide attention and praise for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, which earned her an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress.
Witherspoon married actor and Cruel Intentions co-star Ryan Phillippe in 1999; they have two children, Ava and Deacon. The couple separated at the end of 2006 and divorced in October 2007. Witherspoon owns a production company named Type A Films. She is actively involved in children's and women's advocacy organizations. She serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), and was named Global Ambassador of Avon Products in 2007, serving as honorary chair of the charitable Avon Foundation.

Witherspoon was born March 22, 1976, at the former Southern Baptist Hospital (now the Ochsner Baptist Medical Center) in New Orleans, Louisiana, where her parents were living while her father was a student at Tulane University medical school.[1][2] Her father, John Witherspoon, is a Georgia-born otolaryngologist who previously served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army reserves.[3][4] Her mother, Betty (née Reese), is from Harriman, Tennessee, has a Ph.D. in pediatric nursing and works as a professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University.[4][5] Witherspoon has claimed to be a descendant of Scottish-born John Witherspoon, the sixth president of Princeton University and a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence.[6][7][8] This genealogical claim, however, has never been verified.[9][10] Because Witherspoon's father worked for the U.S. military in Wiesbaden, Germany, she lived there for four years as a small child.[5][11] After returning to the U.S., she settled and spent her childhood in Nashville, Tennessee,[5][11] where she was raised as an Episcopalian.[12]

Witherspoon was selected as a model for a florist's television advertisements at age seven, which motivated her to take acting lessons.[13][14] At age eleven she took first place in the Ten-State Talent Fair.[15][13] Witherspoon received good grades in school;[13] she loved reading and considered herself "a big dork who read loads of books."[2] On mentioning her love for books, she said, "I get crazy in a bookstore. It makes my heart beat hard because I want to buy everything."[12] Witherspoon attended middle school at Harding Academy and graduated from the prestigious all-girls' Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee, during which time she was a cheerleader.[15][16] She attended Stanford University as an English literature major.[17] After completing one year of studies, she left Stanford to pursue an acting career.[16]
Witherspoon is proud of the "definitive Southern upbringing" she received, which, as she said, gave her "a sense of family and tradition" and taught her about "being conscientious about people's feelings, being polite, being responsible and never taking for granted what you have in your life."[16][18] Witherspoon is described as a "multi-achiever" and was given the nickname "Little Type A" by her parents.[19][20] On discussing her early achievements, she told Interview magazine, "I just don't see any of it as that remarkable. Maybe that's the attitude I choose to have to keep me sane and keep my feet on the ground. I grew up in an environment where women accomplished a lot. And if they weren't able to, it was because they were limited by society."[4]

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