Antonia Collette, commonly known as Toni, was born on the 1st of November, 1972. This unique looking actress with her wide smile and diverse acting abilities has gathered a huge following in Hollywood. She grew up in Glebe, Sydney, till she was six before she moved to what was then the start of a sprawling suburb of western Sydney, Blacktown. Her father, Bob Collette, was a truck driver and her mother, Judy, a customer-service representative. She grew up with two younger brothers, Ben and Christopher, and had a very tom-boyish upbringing, something that still seems to come through today. From an early age she had an ability to act. This was evidenced when, at the age of eleven, she convinced doctors to have her appendix taken out even though there was nothing wrong with it. She left Blacktown Girls High School when she was 16 and pursued acting at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) where she only stayed for 18 months before stepping into films.
Her first film was with Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins in Spotswood (1992), a role which earned her a nomination for best supporting actress award by the AFI (Australian Film Institute). It’s reported that Russell Crowe took her out, got her drunk, smoked pot, and even went so far as to hold her hair when she got sick from it all… and this all before she was 18 (the legal drinking age in Australia). 1994 saw the release of Muriel’s Wedding, which needed a performance by a very talented actress to show the terrible turmoil hidden behind the cheerful facade of Muriel. Toni Collette won the role and had to gain 40 pounds in seven weeks but her performance earned her an AFI for Best Actress and a Golden Globe nomination.
She did her first Broadway performance in the production of The Wild Party which earned her a Tony nomination but forced her to turn down a role in Bridget Jones’s Diary. However, this allowed her to be in M. Night Shymalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis. A role that earned her an Academy Award nomination and brought her real international attention. One of her other big films is the record breaking indie, Little Miss Sunshine (2006). It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and was picked up for a then record breaking $10.5 million distribution right by Fox Searchlight Productions. The film went on to gross over $100 million world-wide, making it one of the most successful independent films of the mid-2000’s. She now stars in the Showtime comedy-drama The United States of Tara, which is in its third season and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oscar winning writer Diablo Cody. Next, she will be in the 2011 remake of Fright Night.
One of her dreams when growing up was to sing and have an album released which she achieved in 2006 with Toni Collette & The Finish’s album Beautiful Awkward Pictures. They then lent their musical talent to the Al Gore production Live Earth in Sydney in 2007 to combat climate issues. She involves herself in a lot of charity causes – everything from UNICEF to Doctors Without Borders and she is also a very active supporter of PETA and animal rights.
She married Dave Galafassi in January of 2011, and gave birth to daughter, Sage Florence, on the 9th January, 2008. She is expecting another child soon and announced her pregnancy on the 25th October, 2010. She is represented by Lindy King at London’s United Agency Pty Ltd and is managed by the Australian renowned business Shanahan Management Pty Ltd.
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