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Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan
File:Meg Ryan 2 Met Opera 2010 Shankbone.jpg
Meg Ryan at Metropolitan Opera's 2010-11 Season Opening Night - "Das Rheingold" , 2010
Born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
(1961-11-19) November 19, 1961 (age 54)
Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Dennis Quaid (1991–2001)
Children Jack Henry Quaid
Daisy True Ryan

Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra (born November 19, 1961),[1] known professionally as Meg Ryan, is an American actress and film producer. She is well known for playing the lead female role in When Harry Met Sally... and other romantic-comedy films of the 1990s, including Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and Kate & Leopold.

Early life

Ryan was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, the daughter of Susan Jordan (née Duggan), a former actress and English teacher, and Harry Hyra, a math teacher. Ryan's parents were both raised in Fairfield.[2][3][4] She has Polish, Irish, and German ancestry. "Hyra" is a Polish surname, and "Ryan" is her maternal grandmother's maiden name. She was raised a Roman Catholic[5] and attended St. Pius X Elementary School in Fairfield, where her mother taught sixth grade. Susan Hyra had appeared in a television commercial and had later briefly worked as an assistant casting director in New York City. She supported and encouraged her young daughter's acting studies. Ryan has two sisters, Dana and Annie, and a brother, the musician Andrew Hyra, a member of the band Billy Pilgrim. Her parents divorced in 1976, when she was 15 years old.[6]

Ryan graduated from Bethel High School in 1979.[7] She went on to study journalism as an undergraduate, first at the University of Connecticut and then at New York University. During college, she acted in television commercials to earn extra money. She dropped out of college a semester before she would have graduated and has said this decision was due to her success as an actress.[8][9] When she registered herself with the Screen Actors Guild, she used the surname "Ryan", her grandmother's maiden name.[4]


Early work

After her film debut in George Cukor's Rich and Famous, Ryan played Betsy Stewart in the daytime drama As the World Turns, from 1982 to 1984, and her character was featured in a popular romantic story arc. Around that same time, she appeared in a Burger King commercial. Several television film and smaller film roles followed, including Amityville 3-D and Promised Land; for her role in the latter she received her first Independent Spirit Award nomination. In 1986, she played Carole Bradshaw, the wife of Naval Flight Officer Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (played by Anthony Edwards) in Top Gun. Ryan starred in the film Innerspace with her future husband Dennis Quaid, then in the remake of D.O.A. and in The Presidio.

Commercial breakthrough

Her first leading role was the romantic comedy film When Harry Met Sally... (1989), which paired her with comedic leading man Billy Crystal. Her memorable portrayal of Sally Albright, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, famously included a now-iconic scene in which her character, while lunching with Crystal's character in Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan, very theatrically demonstrates for him how easy it is to fake an orgasm.[citation needed]

Ryan next starred in The Doors, which was moderately successful, and Prelude to a Kiss, which flopped[citation needed]. The year 1993 saw the release of the hugely successful romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, which paired Ryan for the second time with Tom Hanks. They had previously been paired as romantic leads in the film Joe Versus the Volcano—which was a commercial disappointment, but later developed a cult following—and they would later be paired for a third time in the film You've Got Mail.[citation needed]


In 1994, Ryan wanted to break away from being typecast and chose to take on several roles that were different from the romantic-comedy ingenue character for which she had become famous.[10] In Luis Mandoki's When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), a romantic social drama film also starring Andy Garcia, she played an alcoholic high-school guidance counselor. The film and her performance were both well received by critics.[11] For example, one critic called the film "a first-class production, accentuated by fine performances and an unflinching script",[12] and another praised Ryan for her "roller-coaster role."[12] The film was a notable success in its domestic run, grossing $50 million in the United States alone,[13] and garnered the actress her first Screen Actors Guild Award.[14] The same year, Ryan starred alongside Tim Robbins in Fred Schepisi's romantic comedy I.Q. (1994). The film centres on a mechanic and a Princeton doctoral candidate who fall in love, thanks to the graduate student's uncle, Albert Einstein (played by Walter Matthau).

Some of her films of the 1990s were hits not only in North America, but also internationally.[citation needed] In 1994, Ryan won Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and People Magazine dubbed her one of "the 50 most beautiful people in the world." In 1995, critic Richard Corliss called her "the current soul of romantic comedy."[10] That same year, she appeared opposite Kevin Kline in Lawrence Kasdan's French Kiss, a romantic comedy that catered to her "America's Sweetheart" image, and Ryan was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. (This award is given to "outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.")[15] In 1997, Ryan voiced the lead role in the animated film Anastasia, which garnered good reviews and enjoyed box office success. In 1998, she starred in two films. City of Angels drew positive reviews and became a financial success, topping nearly $200 million worldwide. You've Got Mail once again paired Ryan with Hanks, earning her a third Golden Globe nomination and making over $250 million worldwide. She also appeared in 1998's Hurlyburly with Sean Penn.


Ryan's first film of the 2000s was Hanging Up, a Diane Keaton-directed family comedy-drama about a trio of sisters who bond over the approaching death of their curmudgeonly father. Also starring Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, and Walter Matthau, the film adaptation of Delia Ephron's 1995 novel received poor reviews by critics, and grossed slightly over $51 million, falling $9 million short of recouping its budget of $60 million.[16]

The same year, Ryan was cast in the action thriller Proof of Life with Russell Crowe, directed by Taylor Hackford. In the film, she portrayed the distraught wife of a kidnapped engineer, played by David Morse, while relying on a resourceful troubleshooter who makes a profession of dealing with international bandits. While the film became a lukewarm critical and commercial success, grossing $63 million worldwide,[17] it garnered much reportage in the tabloid press in association with Ryan and Crowe's affair.[18] Stephen Holden, film critic for The New York Times, did not think the film worked well and opined that the actors did not connect.[19]

File:Meg Ryan.jpg
Ryan in September 2006.
A year later, she once again returned to her romantic comedy roots with Kate & Leopold (2001), alongside Hugh Jackman. A film about a duke who travels through time from New York in 1876 to the present and falls in love with a successful market researcher in the modern New York, the James Mangold-directed film received a mixed-to-positive response,[11] with Lael Loewenstein of Variety summing it as "a mostly charming and diverting tale."[20] At a total gross of $70 million, it would eventually remain Ryan's highest-grossing film of the decade.[21]

In 2003, Ryan broke away from her usual roles, starring alongside Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Jane Campion's erotic thriller film In the Cut. Originally, co-producer Nicole Kidman was cast in the lead, but the actress eventually dropped out after five years of development, leaving the role to Ryan, who appeared nude in a lengthy and rather graphic love scene for the first time in her career. Although her image-conflicting depiction earned Ryan and the film much media attention, the film failed with critics and grossed only $23 million in theaters.[22]

She followed this strategy with a leading role in Charles S. Dutton's directorial debut Against the Ropes (2004). A fictionalized sport drama about American boxing manager Jackie Kallen, who was the first woman to become a success in the sport, and her rocky relationship with protege Luther Shaw. The film grossed less than $6 million in the U.S. and was panned by critics, in part because of its resemblance to other boxing films, such as the Rocky series.


Following a three-year hiatus, Ryan returned to film with Jon Kasdan's 2007 independent film In the Land of Women, a film she described as "kind of like The Graduate, but with cancer".[23] Starring alongside Kristen Stewart and Olympia Dukakis, she played Sarah Hardwicke, a mother and wife facing breast cancer, who connects with her neighbor's much younger grandson, played by Adam Brody. Released to mixed reviews by critics,[24] the film grossed $17.5 million worldwide,[25] exceeding its budget of $10 million.[26] Ryan received a positive response for her performance, with Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times noting it "the best work [she] has done in forever".[27]

Ryan's first film release of 2008 was The Deal, a satirical comedy film based on Peter Lefcourt's 1991 novel of the same title about Hollywood. Directed by Steven Schachter and co-starring William H. Macy, the film was shot in Cape Town and other South African locations and celebrated its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Garnering generally mixed to negative reviews, it failed to draw interest among film studios, resulting in a straight-to-DVD release in January 2009.[28] In his review for Variety, Peter Debruge said, "The characters seem to be doing all the laughing, while the general public has nothing to cling to but the horndog flirtation between mismatched leads William H. Macy and Meg Ryan—hardly ideal ingredients for mainstream success."[29] Already shot in fall of 2006, George Gallo's film My Mom's New Boyfriend, in which Ryan starred also went direct-to-DVD in 2008.[30] Co-starring Colin Hanks, Selma Blair, and Antonio Banderas, the action comedy received overwhelmingly negative reviews, with David Nusair of Reel Film noting it "an unmitigated disaster virtually from its opening frames".[30]

Ryan's last film of 2008 was The Women, a remake of the 1939 production. The all-female cast comprises Annette Bening, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith.[31] Written, produced and directed by Diane English, the film centers on a group of four female Manhattan socialites whose primary interest is idle gossip, with Ryan portraying a wealthy woman whose husband is cheating on her with a shop girl, played by Eva Mendes. Ryan was the first actress to join the long-delayed production, which struggled to find financing since the early 1990s, resulting in an independent production budgeted at $18 million.[31] Upon its release, The Women received a disastrous response from critics, with Richard Schickel of Time calling it "one of the worst movies I've ever seen".[32] The film was a financial success, however, becoming Ryan's most successful film since 2001's Kate & Leopold with a worldwide gross of $50 million.[33]

In 2009, Ryan starred alongside Kristen Bell and Justin Long in the independent comedy film Serious Moonlight. In this film, directed by actress Cheryl Hines and based on a screenplay by late writer Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered a year prior to filming, Ryan portrayed a high-powered female attorney who learns that her husband, played by Timothy Hutton, is about to leave their troubled marriage, and decides to hold him captive by duct-taping him to a toilet.[34] Picked up by Magnolia Pictures, the production received a limited release throughout North America only, and grossed less than $150,000 worldwide.[35] Critical reaction to the film was generally mixed-to-negative,[36] although Ryan was praised for her "terrific" performance.[37] Also in 2009, Ryan guest-starred on the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In October 2010, she was cast in the ensemble drama Lives of The Saints alongside Kat Dennings, Kevin Zegers and John Lithgow. The drama, similar in style to Crash, interweaves the lives of a group of Los Angeles residents who are all struggling with past mistakes.[38] In April 2011, it was announced that Ryan would make her feature film directing debut with a film titled Into the Beautiful.[39][40] In May 2011 she was cast in Long Time Gone, a film adaptation of the April Stevens novel Angel Angel,[41][42] with filming projected to begin that fall.[43] Ryan was later replaced in the part.

In 2012, Ryan was featured in the documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide premiering on PBS October 1. The series introduces women and girls living under difficult circumstances and fighting to challenge them. The Half the Sky PBS TV series is produced by Show of Force along with Fugitive Films.[citation needed] Ryan's audiobook recording of William Saroyan's The Human Comedy was released at Ryan announced in October 2013, that she would be returning to television to produce and star in a new comedy for NBC revolving around a former hotshot New York editor.[44]

Personal life

Ryan married actor Dennis Quaid on Valentine's Day 1991, after starring in three films with him (D.O.A., Innerspace and Flesh and Bones). She agreed to marry him only after he kicked his cocaine addiction.[10] Quaid and Ryan have one child together, Jack Quaid, born April 24, 1992.[45][46] In 2000, she became involved with Russell Crowe on the set of Proof of Life. She and Quaid separated and their divorce became final on July 16, 2001.[45] In September 2008, Ryan stated that Quaid had been unfaithful to her for a long time while they were married.[47] In January 2006, Ryan adopted a 14-month-old girl from China named Daisy True.[48][49] As of November 2010, she is in a relationship with American rock singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, who announced on December 30, 2010 that he and his wife, Elaine Irwin Mellencamp, were divorcing after 18 years of marriage.[50] In August 2014, it was reported that they ended their relationship after three years of dating.[51] In October 2014 it was revealed that the couple was back together.[52]

Political involvement

Ryan has supported the Democratic Party, especially its environmental protection programs and initiatives.[53][54] In 2003, she supported Wesley Clark's campaign for U.S. president.[55] She supported John Kerry during the 2004 presidential elections.[56]


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Rich and Famous Debby Blake
1983 Amityville 3-D Lisa
1986 Top Gun Carol Bradshaw
1986 Armed and Dangerous Maggie Cavanaugh
1987 Promised Land Beverly "Bev" Sykes Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1987 Innerspace Lydia Maxwell
1988 D.O.A. Sydney Fuller
1988 Presidio, TheThe Presidio Donna Caldwell
1989 When Harry Met Sally... Sally Albright American Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1990 Joe Versus the Volcano DeDe/Angelica Graynamore/Patricia Graynamore
1991 Doors, TheThe Doors Pamela Courson
1992 Prelude to a Kiss Rita Boyle
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Annie Reed American Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo(with Tom Hanks)
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
1993 Flesh and Bone Kay Davies
1994 When a Man Loves a Woman Alice Green Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role – Motion Picture
1994 I.Q. Catherine Boyd
1995 French Kiss Kate Nominated—American Comedy Award Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
1995 Restoration Katharine
1996 Courage Under Fire CPT Karen Emma Walden
1997 Addicted to Love Maggie
1997 Anastasia Anastasia Romanov Voice
Nominated—Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer
1998 City of Angels Dr. Maggie Rice Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Drama/Romance
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo(with Nicolas Cage)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1998 Hurlyburly Bonnie
1998 You've Got Mail Kathleen Kelly Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy/Romance
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2000 Hanging Up Eve Mozell Marks
2000 Proof of Life Alice Bowman Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Suspense
2001 Kate & Leopold Kate McKay
2003 In the Cut Frannie Avery
2004 Against the Ropes Jackie Kallen
2007 In the Land of Women Sarah Hardwicke
2008 Deal, TheThe Deal Deidre Heam
2008 My Mom's New Boyfriend Martha Durand
2008 Women, TheThe Women Mary Haines Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress (with Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith)
2009 Serious Moonlight Louise "Lou"
2015 Ithaca Mrs. Macauley Also director
2015 Fan Girl Unknown
Year Title Role Notes
1982 As the World Turns Betsy Stewart Montgomery Andropoulos 2 years
1982 ABC Afterschool Special Denise Episode "Amy and the Angel"
1982 One of the Boys Jane Series cancelled after 13 episodes
1984–1985 Charles in Charge Megan Harper 2 episodes
1985 Wildside Cally Oaks 6 episodes
1990–1991 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Dr. Blight Voice, Cast member
2007 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Dr. Swanson Voice, 1 episode Yokel Chords
2009 Curb Your Enthusiasm Herself Season 7
2011 Web Therapy Karen Sharpe 2 episodes
2013 Web Therapy Karen Sharpe 3 episodes
2014 How I Met Your Dad Future Sally Main Cast Member
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Century of Cinema, AA Century of Cinema Herself Documentary with film personalities.
2002 Searching for Debra Winger Herself Rosanna Arquette film
2012 Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Herself


  1. ^ Meg Ryan profile,; accessed October 5, 2014.
  2. ^ "Educating Meg". People. August 2, 1993. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ Graham, Caroline. "Meg and Dennis: It's All Over". You. Archived from the original on June 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Parish, J.R. (2010). The Hollywood Book of Breakups. Wiley. ISBN 9781118040676. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Davidson, Sara, Meg Ryan: Isn't She Romantic?, Reader's Digest. February 2002". Retrieved July 29, 2010. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Meg Ryan profile at". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ "1979 Bethel High Yearbook". Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ Ryan interview with Parkinson on YouTube
  9. ^ "Meg Ryan talks to Parkinson",, October 24, 2003.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference time1995 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ a b "Kate & Leopold (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Klady, Leonard (April 24, 1994). "When a Man Loves a Woman review". Variety. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ "When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)". Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ Wilson, John (2009). "29th Annual Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Award "Winners"". Home of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Retrieved May 1, 2009. 
  15. ^ "404". Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Hanging Up (2000)". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Proof of Life (2000)". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  18. ^ Hollywood Media Corp., 2007. Last accessed: December 30, 2007.
  19. ^ Holden, Stephen (December 8, 2000). "Where Cynicism Rules, Integrity Can Be Heroic". The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  20. ^ Loewenstein, Lael (December 16, 2001). "Also Playing". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Kate & Leopold (2001)". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  22. ^ "In the Cut (2003)". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Parky Is A Nut, Says Meg Ryan". The Daily Mail (London). September 4, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2006. 
  24. ^ "In the Land of Women (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved September 12, 2007. 
  25. ^ "In the Land of Women". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved September 12, 2007. 
  26. ^ "INTERVIEW: Writer-Director Jonathan Kasdan arrives with In the Land of Women". BehindScenesTV. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  27. ^ Turan, Kenneth (April 20, 2007). "In the Land of Women Review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  28. ^ Hilton, Perez (September 4, 2010). "Whatever Happened To Meg Ryan's Career???". Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  29. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 4, 2010). "The Deal". Variety. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  30. ^ a b Nusair, David. "Four Comedies from Sony Pictures". Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  31. ^ a b Schwartz, Missy (June 8, 2007). "Wonder Women". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  32. ^ Schickel, Richard (September 11, 2008). "The Women: Sex Crime". Time. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  33. ^ "The Women (2008)". Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  34. ^ Campbell, Christopher (January 12, 2009). "Up In The Air, Serious Moonlight and Loot In This Week's unLimited". MTV News. MTV's Movie Blog. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Serious Moonlight (2009)". Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Serious Moonlight Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  37. ^ Toumarkine, Doris (May 5, 2009). "Serious Moonlight – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 5, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  38. ^ Meg Ryan joins Lives Of The Saints Total Film. October 21, 2011
  39. ^ "Meg Ryan to make directorial debut" April 5, 2011, Variety.
  40. ^ "Meg Ryan making directorial debut with Into the Beautiful Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Punch Drunk Critics
  41. ^ Meg Ryan circles 'Long Time Gone' Variety. May 25, 2011
  42. ^ Meg Ryan knows what a 'Long Time Gone' is Monsters and Critics. May 26, 2011
  43. ^ Long Time Gone Adds Graham Rogers Movieweb. August 25, 2011
  44. ^ Goldberg, Lesley; Ng, Philiana (October 11, 2013). "Meg Ryan to Star in and Produce NBC Comedy". The-Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  45. ^ a b "Meg Ryan Biography". Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  46. ^ "Genealogy". Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Meg's Back — Public Pain". September 16, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  48. ^ "Meg Ryan Adopts a Girl — Birth, Meg Ryan". People. January 25, 2006. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Meg Ryan and Daisy True shop at Whole Foods". People. December 26, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  50. ^ "Meg Ryan & John Mellencamp Quietly Dating — Meg Ryan, John Mellencamp". People. January 4, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  51. ^ "Meg Ryan, John Mellencamp break up". 
  52. ^ "Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp 'Are Back Together'". 
  53. ^ Colavecchio-van Sickler, Shannon; Amrhein, Saundra (October 27, 2004). "Star-studded roster covers area for Kerry". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  54. ^ Ortiz, Vikki (October 28, 2004). "When Meg met Milwaukee". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Meg Ryan's Federal Campaign Contribution Report". Newsmeat. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  56. ^ "Kerry campaigns the Hol(l)y way". Times of India. October 27, 2004. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 

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