Reese Witherspoon: From Legally Blonde to This Means War

She began her career by appearing in made-for-TV movies, before establishing herself as a leading lady in several major Hollywood projects, including the film “Pleasantville.” By 2001, this actress landed her career defining role when she played a sorority girl enrolled in Harvard Law School in “Legally Blonde.” A worldwide success, it helped her become one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, before winning an Academy Award for her role as June Carter Cash in the biographical film “Walk the Line.” Most recently, she co-starred in the outrageous CIA comedy “This Means War.” Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the life and career of Reese Witherspoon.
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Reese Witherspoon: From Legally Blonde to This Means War

This Oscar-winning actress made it big with her unshakeable charm and can-do attitude. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at the career of Reese Witherspoon.

Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born March 22nd, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the second child of a surgeon and a nursing professor, and is descended from a number of important American historical figures, including one of the signatories of the American Declaration of Independence.

After spending some time in Germany, Witherspoon grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She first gained exposure at the tender age of seven, when she modeled in a TV ad. This experience prompted an early interest in acting, and her talent won her first place in a local competition.

In 1991, she tried out as an extra in the film “The Man in the Moon.” Her audition proved so successful she was actually given the film’s lead role. Her touching performance as a country tomboy in love earned her a nomination for Best Young Actress at the Young Artist Awards.

Witherspoon was then cast in several made-for-TV movies, including “Wildflower” and “Desperate Choices: To Save My Child.” In that film, she played a youth stricken with leukemia. However, she jumped back to the silver screen for the films “A Far Off Place” and “Jack the Bear.”

Even though Witherspoon was already a movie star, she chose to continue with her studies, and split much of her time between cheerleading and reading. As she grew older, she starred in several thrillers, including 1996’s “Fear” and “Freeway.” Around this time, she contemplated following in her parents’ footsteps and taking up medicine; however, she ultimately decided to drop university to make acting her full time focus.

Over the next years, Witherspoon established herself as a leading lady with her involvement in several highly-praised projects, including “Pleasantville” and “Election.” She even tied the knot and had two children with her “Cruel Intentions” co-star, Ryan Phillippe.

At the turn of the millennium, Witherspoon appeared alongside Christian Bale in the cult thriller “American Psycho.” In spite of its graphic mistreatment of women, Witherspoon identified with the film’s strong feminist undertones.

In 2001, Witherspoon took on one of her most famous roles, as a sorority girl who enrolls in Harvard Law School. “Legally Blonde” was a worldwide success. The star became one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood when she decided to produce its sequel, and this led to the formation of her production company, “Little Miss Type A.”

Witherspoon then starred in the screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and helped “Sweet Home Alabama” rake in over 100 million dollars at the box office as its lead.

In 2005, her career reached a new milestone when she won an Academy Award for her role as June Carter Cash in the biographical film “Walk the Line.” This honor didn’t stop her from taking on lighter fare, as she soon released the fantasy-based romantic comedies “Just Like Heaven” and “Penelope.”

Unfortunately, 2007 was a year of turmoil for the star, as she and her husband called it quits. However, she soon found romance off-screen with her “Rendition” co-star Jake Gyllenhaal and strengthened her support of various advocacy organizations.


Despite a short break from major projects, the actress shoed off her sense of humor once again in the holiday comedy “Four Christmases,” the computer-animated action comedy “Monsters vs. Aliens” and the rom-com “How Do You Know.”

Witherspoon impressed critics in 2011’s film adaptation of “Water for Elephants,” before giving marriage a second try. On-screen, she quickly found herself in a love triangle with Hollywood heartthrobs Chris Pine and Tom Hardy in the 2012 CIA comedy “This Means War.”

Reese Witherspoon is considered by many to be the stand-out actress of her generation, due to her charm, work ethic and critical praise. If you ask us, she is destined to go down in history as one of Hollywood’s most endearing leading ladies.
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