24 May 19
You know her name (Pictures: REX Features)
You’d have to go a long way to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Renee Zellweger
Having starred in the blockbusters the likes of Bridget Jones’ Diary, Cold Mountain, and Chicago, Renee Zellweger has been a household name for over two decades.
Now, as we ready ourselves to binge Zellweger’s new show – and first foray into acting on the small screen for 18 years – What If, here’s a look back at multi-award-winner’s illustrious acting career so far.
Renee Zellweger’s film and television career
American actress Renee Zellweger was born on April 25, 1969 in Katy, Texas.
Zellweger began acting professionally in 1992, having realised her interest in acting after she took an elective drama class at the University of Texas at Austin where she studied.
After she graduated, she took bit parts in low-budget and/or indie films, appeared in the miniseries Murder in the Heartland in 1993, and by 1994, she scored her first main part in a movie – Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, opposite a then-relatively-unknown Matthew McConaughey.
However her big break didn’t come until 1996, when she starred opposite Tom Cruise in the massively successful romantic dramedy Jerry Maguire.
Renee worked steadily in the years that followed, appearing in the likes of One True Thing in 1998, Me, Myself and Irene in 2000 opposite Jim Carey and Nurse Betty, also in 2000, which was the role that earned her her first of three Golden Globes.
The in 2001, she went from strength to strength when she got the part of Bridget Jones in the now-classic rom-com Bridget Jones’ Diary.
The film was massively successful, having spawned two sequels (so far), and earned Zellweger not only another Golden Globe nomination, but also her first Oscar and Bafta nominations.
Then in 2002, the seemingly unstoppable Zellweger starred as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C.Reilly and Queen Latifah, and won herself her second Golden Globe for her trouble.
Zellweger followed the success of the Best-Picture-Oscar-winning-Chicago with an appearance in Cold Mountain as Ruby Thewes, for which she ultimately won her Academy Award.
Then in 2005, she both starred alongside Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Her sixth Golden Globe nomination came after Zellweger starred as the titular character in 2006 the biopic Miss Potter, and in 2007, she acted in the internet-infamous Bee Movie.
What followed this time of astronomical success for Zellweger was a period of mixed-to-negative reviews for appearing in the likes of Leatherheads (2008) New in Town (2009) and the critically-panned Case 29 (2010), the actress took a six-year break from work.
Her comeback came with a vengeance in 2016 when Zellweger starred as Bridget Jones for the third time in the hugely successful Bridget Jones’s Baby.
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Since then, she’s again worked steadily – acting in Same King of Different as Me in 2017 and Here and Now, alongside Sarah Jessica Parker, in 2018.
Now, Zellweger is about to appear in Netflix’s new melodrama What If, which represents her television acting since her one-off turn on the animated comedy King of the Hill in 2001.
She’s also set to appear as the one and only Judy Garland in the upcoming biopic Judy – which is due to be release in October of this year.
What If debuts on Netflix today, Friday 24 May.
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