Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Biography
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was born November 28, 1984 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the daughter of Betty Lou (née Knight) and James Ronald Winstead.
When she was five years old, her family moved to Sandy, Utah. Her interest in the performance arts began to emerge with very special interests in ballet and acting.
Mary Elizabeth has been developing an acting career that has won her the reputation as the newest "scream queen". She is being compared to a young Jamie Lee Curtis because of her roles in horror films such as Final Destination 3, Black Christmas and Death Proof.
An ambitious actress, Mary Elizabeth has also appeared in comedy films such as the very popular Sky High as well as drama and action vehicles. She appeared in Bobby and Live Free or Die Hard with Bruce Willis.
As a child, the brunette beauty appeared in the Mountain West Ballet's version of The Nutcracker. Hoping to become a ballerina, at the age of eleven, she received the opportunity to study dance in a summer program of the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. There, she studied ballet and jazz dance, but decided to also study acting.
Mary Elizabeth ended up appearing on Broadway during Donny Osmond’s successful run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
She was also a member of the International Children's Choir during her youth and honed her skills performing at her church.
She began her acting career in the late 1990s, guest starring in episodes of the CBS dramas Touched by an Angel and Promised Land, before being cast as Jessica Bennett in the NBC soap opera Passions, a role she played from 1999 to 2000.
She then appeared in the short-lived CBS drama series Wolf Lake (2001-2002), and in the made-for-television film Monster Island (2002).
Trying her hand at comedy, she went the independent film route as the Jewish daughter of a large, zany family in the indie feature Checking Out, but her screen time fared better in the more mainstream Walt Disney Pictures confection Sky High, which was both financially and critically successful. Mary Elizabeth starred as Gwen Grayson, the in-disguise alter ego of the supervillain Royal Pain.
Mary Elizabeth appeared at 2006 Comic-Con International, promoting the film Grindhouse.
After the exposure Sky High provided, she formed a professional relationship with the creative team of James Wong and Glen Morgan, formerly best known for their memorable contributions to The X-Files.
She and her co-star, Ryan Merriman, landed in the path of the grim reaper’s master plan in Final Destination 3. She had failed to land a part in the second film in the trilogy, but found her place in the third instalment, which to this day is the most successful of the trilogy.
Morgan and Wong wanted to collaborate with her again and convinced her to appear in their sorority slasher Black Christmas. The film, however, failed with critics and viewers.
One day, she inadvertently received a chance to lampoon horror scream queens when The Tonight Show host Jay Leno, unaware of who she was, knocked on her front door and included her in a comedy segment spoofing horror movies.
The same year, she appeared in Emilio Estevez's Bobby, a love story dedicated to the politics and morals of Robert F. Kennedy, which drew moderate critical attention, and became a minor box office success. Mary Elizabeth and her co-stars were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture.
In 2007, she appeared in a pair of high-profile event films. Quentin Tarantino cast her as a well-intentioned but vapid and naïve actress in his high-speed segment of Grindhouse titled Death Proof, his half of a double-billed feature. The film was not popular in terms of actual ticket sales, but drew critical acclaim.
The same summer, hot off the heels of its release, Mary Elizabeth received another shot at action as Lucy McClane in Live Free or Die Hard alongside Bruce Willis. The Live Free or Die Hard film earned over $130 million domestically and drew excellent reviews, making it the highest grossing film that features Mary Elizabeth.
She has recently screen tested for the role of Wonder Woman in the film adaption of Justice League.
She is due to star in Make it Happen, a dance film to be shot in and around Chicago and Winnipeg. It was also announced on May 16, 2008, that Winstead would co-star opposite Michael Cera in forthcoming comic-book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Filming is due to start in the Fall of 2008.
She has been nominated for both a SAG Award and Young Artist Award.