Claire Danes is an actress that is probably best known for her role as "Juliet" in the 1996 film, "Romeo + Juliet". Like many actresses, she got her start when she was only a child. She grew up in New York City, where she studied dance, acting, and gymnastics. She attended classes at the Lee Strasberg Studio and the Professional Performing Arts School. Her first real performances were on the stage, where she appeared in several "Off Broadway" productions.
Claire was born on April 12, 1979. She grew up with her father Chris (who is a computer consultant), her mother Carla (a teacher), and her older brother Asa (a student). She claims to have come from a "creative household". A lot of child stars end up totally neglecting their education, but not Claire, she still studied regularly, and turned down a role in Schindler's List, because the studio wasn't able to provide her with a tutor in Poland.
Her first big break was the 1994 television series "My So-Called Life", where she had the starring role of "Angela". Unfortunately the show only ran for a single season, but that was all it took to get Claire's career started, and begin her cult following. That same year she also had a part in the film adaptation of Little Women.
The next few years brought supporting roles in several films, but nothing really huge came along until 1996, as that was the year that the modernized "Romeo + Juliet" hit the screen, with Claire in the starring role. She was almost the perfect Juliet. She was adorable, sensual, innocent, and believable all at the same time. I only found one flaw with her performance in that film, that was her loud cry towards the ending, it just seemed forced. The rest was just about perfect, and the scene where she looks through the fishtank was beyond perfection. I could watch that part of the film forever.
Now Claire was beginning to get really famous. Around this time was when the barely-17 year old Claire started dating well-known pedophile, Matt Damon (who was 26 at the time, and had no business screwing around with high school girls). From there Claire made a few bad decisions, mainly in not appearing in Titanic or Lolita, even though she had the opportunity to star in both of them. Kate Winslet was fine in Titanic, but I feel that Claire would have been about a hundred times better. To round out the year of 1997, Claire made the ever popular People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. Which was technically a big fat lie, as much as I like Claire, I have to admit that I see prettier girls on the street every day. Not that I don't adore Claire, I just don't think she is truly in the top 50 as far as beautiful women go.
1998 was another exciting year for Claire. She began attending Yale, acted in two films, did television voice work, and managed to get herself banned from the Phillipines for making nasty remarks about the country. She began dating musician Ben Lee around this time, and was still with him at the time of this writing. Claire had roles in a few films in 1999 as well (Brokedown Palace and The Mod Squad), but after that she concentrated completely on school, and wouldn't be seen on the screen again until "Igby Goes Down" was released in 2002.