Once upon a time Michelle Pfeiffer was a supermarket check-out girl. She also trained as a court stenographer, but didn't find either occupation particularly stimulating. Finally, she decided she'd had enough. "I thought, 'This isn't right. What do you want to do with your life?'" The answer, of course, was to act.
Born on April 29, 1958, in Santa Ana, California, Michelle Pfeiffer was the eldest of three girls raised by Dick Pfeiffer, a heating and air conditioning engineer, and Donna, a housewife. A true California girl, Michelle often cut classes at Fountain Valley High School, heading for the nearby beach instead.
After graduating from high school and with her first two forays into the job market behind her, the former Miss Orange County headed for Los Angeles. There, Tinseltown executives, recognizing her delicate beauty, cast the youngster as eye candy in a series of forgettable projects. In the short-lived 1979 TV sitcom Delta House
her character was actually called "the Bombshell", and Michelle soon discovered her looks could be as much a hindrance as an asset.
It wasn't until Martin Scorsese's gritty 1983 flick Scarface
that anyone looked past the luscious features and blonde locks. "Scarface
gave me a little bit of legitimacy that I didn't have before," says Michelle. It also brought in a choice of coveted roles.
In 1987, The Witches Of Eastwick
cast its spell over viewers, with Michelle holding her own opposite Jack Nicholson
and Susan Sarandon
. The following year she scored a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Dangerous Liaisons
and played against type in the comedy Married To The Mob.
Oscar nods for The Fabulous Baker Boys
and Love Field
followed as Michelle established herself as a true Hollywood star.
In 1999 she starred opposite Bruce Willis
in The Story Of Us,
the heart-wrenching tale of a married couple who realise they've fallen out of love. "I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough of the tragic elements to play the part," she confessed of the role. "I certainly responded to the comedic ones!"
Once married to Thirtysomething
actor Peter Horton, Michelle found love again around in an unlikely place on a blind date at the local bowling alley. Set up by mutual friends, she and Ally McBeal
producer David E Kelley hit it off and wed on November 13, 1993. Nine months later John Henry was born a brother to Claudia Rose, the little girl Michelle had adopted shortly before meeting David.
Second time around, Michelle seems to think she's got the matrimony deal sorted. "I was a kid the first time," she says of her marriage to Horton. "I'm less selfish now." The secret of her relationship with David is making time for each other, she explains. "I think you have to spend time away from the kids and stay up late and talk, or go to the movies, or do the crossword puzzle together. We still have date nights, and I look forward to them all week."