Holly Hunter is an American actress who, until 2007, had never appeared in a television show. In mid-2007 she began starring in her first television series, Saving Grace, playing the title role.
She was best known before Saving Grace for her role as Ada McGrath in the 1993 feature film The Piano, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar.
Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia, the youngest of seven children whose father was a part-time sporting goods company representative and part-time farmer with a 250 acre farm.
Her parents encouraged her talent at an early age, and her first acting part was as Helen Keller in a fifth-grade play.
In 1976 she went to Pittsburgh to pursue a degree in drama from Carnegie Mellon University.
After graduating in 1980, she went to New York City, where she met playwright Beth Henley in a stalled elevator. Hunter went on to get roles in a number of Henley's southern gothic plays, including Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest.
In 1982 she relocated to Los Angeles.
Hunter's first starring role in films came in 1987's Raising Arizona. That year, she also starred in Broadcast News, for which she earned an Oscar nomination for the Best Actress.
In 1993, she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Piano and showcased her skill with the piano by playing all the elaborate pieces on the score herself.
That year, Hunter was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Firm.
In 2004, she earned another Best Supporting Actress nomination for thirteen and voiced a star role (Helen Parr/Elastigirl) in the animated film The Incredibles.
Hunter has also appeared in several television films and has earned two Emmys.