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On this Day in Movie History, April 29, 1970: Uma Karuna Thurman Born

It was on this Day in Movie History, April 29, 1970, Uma Karuna Thurman was born. Thurman, an American actress and model, has performed in leading roles in a variety of films, ranging from romantic comedies and dramas to science fiction and action movies. She received an Academy Award nomination for the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction (1994) and she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Hysterical Blindness (2002).

Thurman began her career as a fashion model at age 15, and signed with the agency Click Models. She made her movie debut in 1988, appearing in four films that year, none of them a box office success. Her breakthrough came in her role as Cecile de Volanges in Dangerous Liaisons, but uncomfortable about her role and her success she fled to England.

In 1990, Thurman co-starred with Fred Ward in the sexually provocative drama Henry & June, the first film to receive an NC-17 rating. Because of the rating, it never played in a wide release but critics embraced her.

In 1994 Thurman appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which grossed over $107 million on a budget of only $8 million. Thurman was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar the following year. She became one of Tarantino’s favorite actresses to cast; he told Time magazine in 2003 that she was “up there with Garbo and Dietrich in goddess territory.

After the birth of her first baby in 1998, Thurman took a rest from major roles to concentrate on motherhood. After a five year hiatus, her role in Tarantino’s Kill Bill relaunched her career. Production was delayed for several months after Thurman became pregnant again, as Tarantino refused to recast the part. The film took nine months to shoot, and was filmed in five different countries. The film series earned Thurman Golden Globe nominations for both entries, and three MTV Movie Awards for Best Female Performance and twice for Best Fight

By 2005, Thurman was commanding a salary of $12.5 million per film. Her first film of the year was Be Cool, the sequel to 1995′s Get Shorty, which reunited her with her Pulp Fiction cast mate John Travolta. In the film, she played the widow of a deceased music business executive.

With a successful film career, Thurman once again became a desired model. Cosmetics company Lancôme selected her as their spokeswoman, and named several shades of lipstick after her, though they were sold only in Asia.

On February 7, 2006, she was named a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France for outstanding achievement in the field of art and literature.

In May 2006, she bought the film rights to the Frank Schätzing novel The Swarm, which is in development and due for release in 2015

In 2011, Thurman was a member of the jury for the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival. In December 2011, James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly reported Thurman had joined the cast of NBC’s Smash as Rebecca Duvall. Thurman will appear in five episodes of the drama series.

Thurman supports the United States Democratic Party, and has given money to the campaigns of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Joseph R. Driscoll. She supports gun control laws, and in 2000, she participated in Marie Claire’s “End Gun Violence Now” campaign. She is a member of the board of Room to Grow, a charitable organization providing aid to families and children born into poverty. She serves on the board of the Tibet House. In 2007, she hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway with actor Kevin Spacey. In 2011, Thurman became one of a handful of celebrity faces attached to USAID and Ad Council’s FWD campaign, an awareness push to combat the famine, war, and drought in the Horn of Africa

1907 – Fred Zinnemann (Academy Award-winning director: High Noon [1952], From Here to Eternity [1953], A Man for All Seasons [1966]; died Mar 14, 1997)

1909 – Tom Ewell (Samuel Yewell Tompkins) (Tony Award-winning actor: The Seven Year Itch [1953]; The Tom Ewell Show, Easy Money; died Sep 12, 1994)

1912 – Richard Carlson (actor: I Led Three Lives, MacKenzie’s Raiders, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Doomsday Flight, Tormented; died Nov 25, 1977)

1917 – Celeste Holm (Academy Award-winning actress: Gentlemen’s Agreement [1947]; All About Eve, High Society, The Tender Trap, Three Men and a Baby)

1933 – Keith Baxter (actor: Berlin Blues, Ash Wednesday, Chimes at Midnight)

1957 – Daniel Day-Lewis (Academy Award-winning actor: My Left Foot [1989]; The Unbearable Lightness of Being, In the Name of the Father, Age of Innocence, Gandhi, A Room with a View)

1958 – Michelle Pfeiffer (actress: Dangerous Liaisons, Batman Returns, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Grease 2, Ladyhawke, Scarface, The Witches of Eastwicke, The Age of Innocence)

1958 – Eve Plumb (actress: The Brady Bunch, Little Women, … And God Spoke, A Very Brady Christmas, Force of Evil)

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