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A native of Conyers, Georgia, Dakota Fanning began her acting career at the age of 5 with a Tide commercial.
Several television appearances followed, including playing the child incarnation of the title characters on the series Ally McBeal and The Ellen Show; and guest roles on ER, The Practice, Malcolm in the Middle, Spin City, and Friends.
In 2001, Ms. Fanning made her film debut opposite Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer in Jessie Nelson’s i am sam. She was honored with the Critics’ Choice Award as Best Young Actor and became the youngest actor ever to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. Shortly thereafter, she starred in the Steven Spielberg-produced epic miniseries Taken, which broke ratings records for the SciFi Channel and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries.
Since then, her feature credits have included Andy Tennant’s Sweet Home Alabama, in which she played Reese Witherspoon’s character as a young girl; Boaz Yakin’s Uptown Girls, opposite Brittany Murphy; Tony Scott’s Man on Fire, opposite Denzel Washington, for which she was again a Critics’ Choice Award nominee; and John Polson’s Hide and Seek, opposite Robert De Niro, for which she won the MTV Movie Award for “Most Frightened Performance.”
Ms. Fanning was again nominated in the latter category for her next project with Steven Spielberg, starring for the director opposite Tom Cruise in the smash War of the Worlds. The performance also earned her a second Critics’ Choice Award.
Her other films include John Gatins’ Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, which was awarded the Truly Moving Picture Award at the Heartland Film Festival; Rodrigo Garcia’s Nine Lives, receiving, as part of an ensemble of women including Glenn Close, a Gotham Award nomination; and Gary Winick’s Charlotte’s Web, which brought her a fourth Critics’ Choice Award nomination.
In 2006, Ms. Fanning was honored at the film industry’s ShoWest convention with its Supporting Actress of the Year Award.
She will next be seen in Paul McGuigan’s sci-fi thriller Push alongside Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou. Her other films currently or soon to be in release include Deborah Kampmeier’s Hounddog, Rowan Woods’ Winged Creatures, and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Secret Life of Bees.
Ms. Fanning is an active supporter of the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA.