Real name: Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
Birthdate: November 19, 1961
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Meg Ryan (born November 19, 1961) is an American actress who specializes in romantic comedies but has also worked in other film genres.
She graduated from Bethel High School in 1979, where she was elected Homecoming Queen. She went on to study journalism at the University of Connecticut and then at New York University, while acting in television commercials to earn extra money. Her success led her to drop out of college only a semester shy of graduating.
After her first role in a feature film, Rich and Famous (1981), Ryan (then using her screen name) played Betsy Stewart in the daytime drama As the World Turns from 1982 to 1984. Several TV film and smaller movie roles followed. Ryan's first film role was a small role in Amityville 3-D, She appealed to a much larger audience's in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun, opposite Tom Cruise. Ryan then appeared in the indie film The Promise Land, where she received her first Independent Spirit Award Nominaton. Ryan then appeared in two romantic movies D.O.A. and The Presidio.
Her first full-blown hit in a leading role was the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989) which paired her with comedic leading man Billy Crystal. Her portrayal of Sally Albright, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, is memorable for her depiction of a theatrical faked orgasm in a Manhattan delicatessen (shot at the legendary Katz's on E. Houston Street.) The film would be the first of three successful Nora Ephron films in which Ryan would be typecast as a bubbly, feisty, incurable romantic. Ryan then starred in The Doors, and Prelude to a Kiss. Both films were moderately successful.
She had much success with her on-screen pairing with Tom Hanks. They starred in three films together: Joe Versus the Volcano, Sleepless In Seattle and You've Got Mail.
In 2000 Ryan starred in the action thriller Proof of Life opposite Russell Crowe. The two actors carried on a clandestine love affair during filming. The media then pounced on the story, and critics and audiences scorned the movie. In 2003, she broke away from her usual roles and starred in Jane Campion's In the Cut, an erotic crime thriller in which Ryan appeared nude.
Ryan married actor Dennis Quaid on Valentine's Day in 1991, after starring in two films with him. Ryan agreed to marry him only after he kicked his drug and alcohol addiction. Quaid and Ryan have one child together, Jack Henry, born April 24, 1992. The couple divorced on July 16, 2001. Although Ryan had a relationship with actor Russell Crowe, with whom she made a movie, both she and Quaid deny it was a factor in their divorce. In a 2006 interview with Allure, Ryan indicated that Quaid had not been faithful to her during their marriage.
It was during Ryan's marriage to Quaid that she had a falling out with her mother over his alleged drug abuse. In interviews, the actress cast her mother, Susan Ryan Jordan, in a negative light, saying that she had abandoned her children to pursue an acting career. In response, Jordan published a book in 1999, The Immune Spirit, about her struggle with breast cancer and her difficult relationship with her famous daughter. Her mother has since given many interviews painting Ryan in a negative light.