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Melanie Griffith

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Melanie Griffith was born on August 9, 1957 in New York City, to then model/future actress Tippi Hedren and former child actor turned advertising executive Peter Griffith. Her parents' marriage ended in 1961 and Tippi came to Los Angeles to get a new start. Tippi caught the eye of the great director Alfred Hitchcock, who gave her starring roles in The Birds and Marnie. Tippi married her then-agent, Noel Marshall, in 1964 (they divorced in 1982), and Melanie grew up with three stepbrothers. Meanwhile, her father married Nanita Greene Samuels and had two more children: Tracy Griffith and Clay A. Griffith.Melanie also grew up with tigers and lions, as Tippi and Noel were raising them for the movie Roar, in which the family later starred. Melanie's acting career, however, began as a model at just nine months old in a commercial and she later appeared as an extra in Smith! and The Harrad Experiment, where she fell in love with her mother's co-star, Don Johnson. She was only 14 years old, while he was a twice-divorced 22-year-old. Tippi took a very liberal approach and allowed Melanie to move in with Don at a tender age. Even though Melanie didn't like modeling, she continued to do it to pay the bills. One day she went to meet with director Arthur Penn for what she thought was a modeling assignment. It was actually an audition for his film Night Moves, and Penn gave her the role of a runaway nymphet, which got her noticed in Hollywood. She didn't really want to be an actress, but Johnson encouraged her to do it. She agreed but was terrified of performing in front of the camera. Penn took a paternal interest in her, and she felt confident and gave a riveting performance, doing racy nude scenes. It immediately typecast her and led to more nymphet roles, with her beautiful nude body a permanent fixture in C-grade movies like Ha-Gan and Joyride. She also married Johnson, in Las Vegas in 1976, but the union ended within six months.Unfortunately, as her career progressed, she became increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol, a fact well-known to studio executives, who stopped considering her for feature film roles. She started doing television work, where she met her second husband, Steven Bauer, on the set of the TV movie She's in the Army Now. He helped her to overcome her drug and alcohol problems and got her to take acting classes with Stella Adler in New York. The classes paid off, as director Brian De Palma cast her as a porno actress in his murder mystery Body Double and her sexy, funny performance won her rave reviews and the Best Supporting Actress Award by the National Society of Film Critics. Jonathan Demme was so impressed with her performance that he gave her the female lead in Something Wild without even auditioning her. The film became a cult favorite, with Melanie again getting critical plaudits and a Golden Globe nomination, but commercial success still eluded her grasp. The birth of her first child, Alexander, in 1985, didn't help to save her struggling marriage, and she and Bauer separated shortly thereafter. To cope with the breakup, Melanie started drinking and using drugs again, in particular cocaine. She was given starring roles in Cherry 2000 and Stormy Monday, but the films were barely released. Soon writers were asking when the public at large was going to take notice of this talented and unique actress.Melanie's career skyrocketed when Mike Nichols cast her as a spunky secretary named Tess McGill in Working Girl, a box-office hit for which she received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress and won the Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Comedy. Behind the scenes, however, her ongoing substance abuse had become problematic, and Nichols pushed her into a rehabilitation clinic after production wrapped. En route to the clinic she called ex-husband Johnson for support, and they reconciled after her release from the clinic. She got pregnant, divorced Bauer and remarried Johnson in 1989, and later that year their daughter Dakota Johnson was born. A sober Melanie concentrated on her film career, now in high gear, but apart from the Hitchcockian thriller Pacific Heights, the films she chose usually flopped badly. Even though she gave heartfelt performances in all her films, she was often miscast, with her breathy little-girl voice not helping matters in her role as a spy in Shining Through and as a homicide detective going undercover in the Hassidic Jewish community in New York City in A Stranger Among Us.There were a few bright spots, such as her turn as a street hooker who befriends a group of middle schoolers in Milk Money, and her supporting role as a desperate housewife in Nobody's Fool, which reunited her with Bruce Willis, her co-star in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Paul Newman, her co-star from The Drowning Pool. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work in the well-received TV miniseries Buffalo Girls. Her personal life was making headlines again, though, as she left Johnson because of his own substance-abuse problems, reconciled with him briefly when he became sober, only to leave him again, this time for Antonio Banderas, her married co-star from Two Much. Both she and Banderas created a scandal in 1995 with their torrid romance, and the tabloids followed their every move, including her divorce from Johnson and his divorce from wife Ana Leza. Melanie became pregnant with her third child, and she and Banderas married in 1996. Their daughter Stella Banderas was born the same year, and the notorious couple were forgiven by the public and the media.Melanie won strong reviews in independent films like Another Day in Paradise, where she played a heroin-using criminal accomplice on the run, and the made-for-cable movie RKO 281, in which she portrayed actress Marion Davies, a part that garnered her Golden Globe and Emmy nominations as Best Supporting Actress. Melanie became dependent to pain killers, however, returning to rehab in 2000. She wrote about her struggle and recovery in her journal on her official website. Greenmoon Productions, the production company that she formed with Banderas, produced several flops, such as her starring vehicle Crazy in Alabama, directed by Banderas. Her career took another blow when her TV series, Me & George, never even aired. As a result, film and television offers started to dry up. After making Cecil B. DeMented and Forever Lulu, Melanie was largely absent from the screen except for a voice-over role in Stuart Little 2. She ventured to Australia to film The Night We Called It a Day with Dennis Hopper, but the movie barely saw the light of day in the U.S.In 2003, Melanie turned to the Broadway stage, and packed houses with her turn as the murderess "Roxie Hart" in the musical "Chicago," for which she received a rave review from the New York Times theater critic. It renewed her confidence, as she had never sang, danced or been on the Broadway stage before. In 2005 she surprised viewers by playing a mom to two grown women in the TV series Twins, which was canceled after one season. She tried to resurrect her career with another attempt at a TV series, Viva Laughlin, but it was canceled after just two episodes. Melanie didn't act again for the remainder of the decade, because, by self-admission, she couldn't obtain any worthwhile roles. In 2009, she was back in rehab after yet another relapse, emerging after a three-month stay. Professionally, she was faced with more disappointment in 2012 when This American Housewife, a Lifetime series that Banderas produced for her to star in, never aired. She went back to the stage in 2012 and played mother to Scott Caan in a play that he wrote titled "No Way Around but Through." She impressed Caan enough to recommend her to producers of his television show Hawaii Five-0. In 2014, she played a recurring role as his mother on the show.Also in 2014, Melanie filed for divorce from Banderas citing "irreconcilable differences" after nearly twenty years together. She never publicly discussed her reasons for the divorce, and she didn't promote her feature film Automata, the final time that she acted with Banderas. It took a year for the divorce to be finalized, during which time, she and Banderas made one important appearance together at their daughter Stella's high school graduation. She also made another public appearance with another ex-husband, Don Johnson, on Saturday Night Live to promote their daughter Dakota, who was the host for that week. Dakota was promoting her star-making turn in Fifty Shades of Grey, thus carrying on the family tradition of being a film actress. Melanie maintains close ties with her three children and her mother Tippi Hedren. She is involved in various charities, including raising funds for Tippi's Shambala preserve, a refuge for wild animals. Melanie also runs a non-profit organization for benefiting burned children. She continues to seek out acting roles.  See full bio on IMDb »

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