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Maggie Gyllenhaal

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Maggie Gyllenhaal Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

Indie "It" Girl:

Maggie Gyllenhaal has made a name for herself with daring performances in independent films. The talented actress has broken the barrier into blockbuster stardom as Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight.

Breakout Role:

The tormented (and sexy) Lee Holloway in Steven Shainberg's cult hit Secretary.

Background:

Maggie Gyllenhaal was born on November 16, 1977, in Los Angeles, California. Her father is director Stephen Gyllenhaal, her mother Naomi Foner is a screenwriter/producer, and her younger brother Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, Rendition) is also a bona fide star.

Education:

L.A. Prep School Harvard-Westlake, Columbia University, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

Trivia #1:

Has been in three movies with her brother Jake: A Dangerous Woman, Homegrown, and Donnie Darko.

Trivia #2:

She was the first actress to audition for the role of Lee in Secretary.

Trivia #3:

The actress and mother has added a new line to her resume: model. Maggie Gyllenhaal has become the new face (and body) for the Agent Provocateur lingerie line. See photos here.

Maggie Gyllehnaal Biography:

Maggie Gyllenhaal is not your ordinary ingenue. An odd beauty, she gave a star-making performance in Steven Shainberg's independent film Secretary (2002). The role of shy secretary Lee Holloway won her both an Indie Spirit Award and a Golden Globe nomination for best actress, a hosting gig at the Sundance, and a legion of devoted fans. Parker Posey passed down the crown, calling the unique Gyllenhaal the new indie queen.

Gyllenhaal has an English degree from Columbia University. She has worked on the stages of New York and London theaters in such productions as The Tempest, The Butterfly Project and Homebody/Kabul. She started with bit parts in independent films, with small roles in John Waters' Cecil B. Demented and Donnie Darko alongside her younger brother Jake. She was soon cast in supporting roles in Riding in Cars With Boys, 40 Days and 40 Nights and Spike Jonze's Adaptation.

Gyllehnaal's career quickly gained ground in Hollywood. She worked with George Clooney in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the John Sayles ensemble drama Casa de Los Babys, and joined an elite cast of female stars in the Julia Roberts vehicle Mona Lisa Smile.

She had a leading role in Gregory Jacobs's crimer caper Criminal with Diego Luna, and was the heart and soul of Don Roos's ensemble drama Happy Endings.

In the spring and summer of 2006, Gyllenhaal appeared in four films: The Great New Wonderful, Trust The Man, Sherrybaby and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center.

Maggie gave birth to a healthy baby girl on October 2, 2006 in a New York City hospital. Ramona is the first child for Gyllenhaal and fiancé Peter Sarsgaard.

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