Calista Flockhart was born on November 11th, 1964 in Freeport, Illinois. She was named after her grandmother, Calista, whose name meant most beautiful. After finishing high school, she studied at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She only majored in Fine Arts because she didn’t want to list her major as undeclared. After graduating in 1987, she moved to New York to concentrate on acting. While appearing in smaller plays, Flockhart taught aerobics classes to pay the bills. She made her television debut in 1989 playing Elise in an episode of The Guiding Light. Soon after, she began winning praise for her performances in Off-Broadway productions of Sophistry and All For One. Flockhart made her movie debut in Darrow (1991), a bio-pic that starred Kevin Spacey as the famed Attorney Clarence Darrow. A year later, she had her first starring role in the made-for-TV movie The Secret Life of Mary-Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic (1992). This was part of HBO’s Family in Crisis Series. Afterwards, she won more praise for her regional theatre production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. However, this was the beginning of a downward trend in her career. Calista Flockhart worked for eight weeks off-off-Broadway for $400. During this time, she lived off of a case of Ravioli that her brother sent her. Her career picked up again with her Broadway appearance in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. For her performance, she won a Theatre World Award and a Clarence Derwent Award. That year, Flockhart began appearing in more movies with small roles in Quiz Show, Getting In, and Naked in New York. In 1995, she had her first major supporting role in Drunks. The movie showed an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, with different characters telling their stories. Richard Lewis, Spalding Grey, Parker Posey, and Faye Dunaway also starred. Flockhart appeared in two movies in 1996. One of them, the indie pic Pictures of Baby Jane Doe, was shelved until recently. In the other, The Birdcage, she played Barbara Keeley, the daughter of the arch-conservative Senator Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman). Things were complicated because she wanted to marry Val Goldman (Dan Futterman), the son a gay nightclub owner (Robin Williams). The movie was a critical and commercial success. Calista Flockhart next appeared in Telling Lies in America, which was a quasi-autobiography by scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct, Showgirls). In it, a young Hungarian, Karchy (Brad Renfro), moved to Cleveland in the early 60’s and had trouble adjusting until he met a payola-taking disc jockey (Kevin Bacon). He began telling lies to make himself seem cooler but soon suffered the consequences. Flockhart played the girl who continued to date Karchy even after he tried to give her Spanish Fly. Despite several good reviews, the movie bombed at the box office. Apart from her brief role on The Guiding Light, Flockhart had refused to do television up until this point. She finally took the plunge with Ally McBeal (1997). She starred as the title character, a lawyer. She had become a lawyer because she wanted to be with her boyfriend, who was going to law school. However, they broke up. In the show, things were complicated when they Alley and her ex, who was now married, started working at the same law firm. The show was a hit, and in 1998 Flockhart won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical. However, her success was often in danger of being overshadowed by rumours that she was anorexic, which she has strenuously denied. Flockhart will next appear playing Helena in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Kevin Kline will play Bottom and Michelle Pfeiffer will play Titania. The movie will be released on May 7th, 1999. Later in the year, she will appear in Like a Hole In the Head, which is based on a Jen Banbury novel.