Jennifer Connelly was born in Cairo, New York, on December 12, 1970. She is an American actress and has received an Oscar for the film “A Beautiful Mind.” She started her modeling career at a very young age, and in 1984, she made her debut in the movie “Once Upon a Time in America.” After having worked as a model for several years, she began to concentrate on acting, starring in a variety of movies including the horror film “Phenomena,” the musical fantasy film “Labyrinth,” the romantic comedy “Career Opportunities,” and the period superhero movie “The Rocketeer.” Today, we’ll help you celebrate her special day!
Jennifer Lynn Connelly
December 12, 1970
Jennifer Connelly was born on December 12, 1970, in Cairo, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. She is the daughter of Ilene, an antique dealer, and Gerard Karl Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father was Catholic of Irish descent and her mother was Jewish, having been educated in a yeshiva. Connelly’s maternal great-grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia. The actress was raised in Brooklyn Heights, near the Brooklyn Bridge, where she attended Saint Ann’s, a private school specializing in the arts.
In 1976, Connelly’s family moved to Woodstock to escape the pollution as her father suffered from asthma. When she was 10 years old, a publicist friend of her father’s suggested that she audition to be a model. Her parents agreed and sent a picture of her to the Ford Modeling Agency, which they added to their list almost immediately. Connelly then began modeling for print ads before moving on to television commercials. In 1981, the family moved back to Brooklyn Heights and young Connelly returned to Saint Ann’s School. The next year, she landed her first role in a major movie — the young Deborah Gelly, an aspiring actress, and dancer. Despite having no ballet training, she performed a ballet routine at the audition. Her brilliant acting, and the resemblance of her nose to that of Elizabeth McGovern, who played the adult character, led to her being cast. The film, “Once Upon a Time in America,” was released in 1984. She then appeared on the covers of several issues of the teen magazine “Seventeen” in 1986 and 1988.
After graduating from high school, Connelly decided to study English literature at Yale University in 1988. She describes herself as a conscientious student who wasn’t really concerned about having a social life or sleeping or eating a lot. She considered herself a geek who spent most of her time in the library. After two years at Yale, she transferred to Stanford University to study acting. Encouraged by her parents to continue with her film career, she dropped out of college and returned to the film industry the same year.
In some interviews, she revealed that while modeling, she had no aspirations to become an actress while modeling. Her most recent movie is “Top Gun: Maverick,” where she plays the role of Penelope “Penny” Benjamin, the love interest of Tom Cruise’s character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
At just 15 years old, Connelly is cast in her first leading role in the film "Phenomena" by Italian director Dario Argento.
Connelly plays Sarah Williams alongside David Bowie in the movie "Labyrinth," which becomes a cult classic.
Connelly plays Ruth Kligman in Jackson Pollock's biopic and is acclaimed worldwide.
Connelly once again works with director Joseph Kosinski and this time plays Penelope “Penny” Benjamin in "Top Gun: Maverick."
Why We Love Jennifer Connelly
She does everything for her children
Her interest in voice acting came from her children. She once said that her kids hadn't seen any of her work — after that, she decided to voice characters from superhero movies so they could appreciate her work.
She has a dreamy love life
She and Paul Bettany got married without even dating before. Over the years, they developed a strong friendship that turned into a romance, and they got married. They are married to this day and have three children. It is a beautiful love story.
She engages in charity work
When not on film sets, Connelly does recycling work. In addition, she works in Africa with Amnesty International.
5 Surprising Facts
She can sing in Japanese
Connelly released two songs in Japanese in 1986.
A dark comedy was written for her
"Heathers" was written with Connelly in mind, but she declined to be in the movie.
She thinks paranormal activity is real
Connelly believes in ghosts.
She could’ve appeared in the M.C.U. earlier
According to the director of 2003’s “The Hulk,” he always envisioned Connelly as Betty, Bruce Banner's love interest.
She and her husband were A.I. voices
Connelly voiced the A.I. suit, Karen, in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" — which is hilarious, since her husband Paul Bettany voiced the Iron Man suit A.I. Jarvis before becoming Vision.
Jennifer Connelly FAQs
Was Jennifer Connelly in the original “Top Gun?”
Her character Penny is not physically in the first movie, though she is mentioned as the daughter of a general with whom Maverick had romantic relations.
Is Jennifer Connelly vegan?
She was vegan for many years, but when she became pregnant with her first child, she stopped being vegan because she felt like eating a turkey burger.
Does Jennifer Connelly have a daughter?
Yes, she has a daughter called Agnes Lark Bettany.
Jennifer Connelly’s birthday dates