Winona Ryder (born Winona Laura Horowitz; born October 29, 1971) is an actress famous for playing kooky, slightly awkward characters in a number of movies. A few of her roles have been Lydia Deetz in ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'' (1988), Veronica Sawyer in ''Film/{{Heathers}}'' (1989), Kim Boggs in ''Film/EdwardScissorhands'' (1990), Jo March in ''Literature/LittleWomen'' (1994), Susanna Kaysen in ''Film/GirlInterrupted'' (1999), Spock's mother in ''Film/StarTrek'' (2009), Sandra Dulles in ''The Private Lives of Pippa Lee'' (2009), a supporting role in ''Film/BlackSwan'' (2010) and Joyce Byers in ''Series/StrangerThings'' (2016-). She was involved with the actor Creator/JohnnyDepp for three years before they later split, and was linked with Creator/MattDamon in the early Noughties.

!!This actress' roles provide examples of:

* AwesomeDearBoy: [[invoked]] She has said that she took the role in ''Film/AlienResurrection'' before even reading the script, because she had always wanted to be in an ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' movie and could brag about it to her brothers.
* CareerResurrection: [[invoked]] A case that took time to gradually build. After taking a few years off from acting while she was on probation for shoplifting from Saks Fifth Avenue, she starred in a film rendition of Creator/PhilipKDick's ''Literature/AScannerDarkly'', which was critically acclaimed. From there, she would manage to pop up in acclaimed independent projects (''Film/BlackSwan'', ''Experimenter'', ''Series/ShowMeAHero'') and occasionally have small parts in more high-budget features (''Film/StarTrek'', ''Film/{{Frankenweenie}}''). However, it really seemed to take hold in a higher profile when she decided to star as single mother Joyce Byers in the Netflix drama series ''Series/StrangerThings'', earning much press and support upon the show's release.
* DawsonCasting: [[invoked]] Averted early in her career, when she was close in age to most of her teenaged characters. She was sometimes criticized for playing teen roles ("I'm like, 19. What do they want me to play, a judge?"). She became a straighter example of the trope as she grew older. She was 28 in ''Film/GirlInterrupted'' whilst her character was 18. Her petite frame and wide eyes contribute to looking much younger.
* DyeHard: [[invoked]] Her hair is naturally blonde. She was required to dye it brown for her first film ''Lucas'' - and has alternated between that and blonde over the years.
* EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette: Often, but [[Film/{{Beetlejuice}} Lydia Deetz]] is the best example.
* FatalMethodActing: [[invoked]] A near miss--she nearly drowned during the shooting of the underwater scene in ''Alien: Resurrection''.
* FormerChildStar: Aversion. She began acting at 13 but enjoyed far more success in adulthood.
* IAmVeryBritish: Adopts this type of accent for ''Film/BramStokersDracula''.
* RealLife/MeanCharacterNiceActor: [[invoked]] Despite being famous for her roles such as the pretentious and homicidal Veronica Sawyer in ''Heathers'' and the vain Beth [=MacIntyre=] in ''Black Swan'', she's known for being a very kind person in real life. While filming ''Black Swan'', she would frequently apologize to Natalie Portman on set for the hateful and vulgar dialogue she delivered to her character. She also offered a reward for the safe return of Polly Klaas, a kidnap victim. After her murder, Ryder dedicated her performance in ''Little Women'' to Klaas.
* PlayingAgainstType: [[invoked]]
** In ''Film/EdwardScissorhands'' and ''Literature/LittleWomen'' she played a GirlNextDoor and a SpiritedYoungLady, respectively, in contrast to her other moody, slightly awkward characters.
** In ''Series/StrangerThings'', she plays a MamaBear of kids who seems to be close to Ryder's age at the time. Many reviews pointed out that it was the virtually the first time she played such a role, as her petite frame and young looks made her prone to DawsonCasting and play characters younger than 30. For reference, the other time she played a mother, being Spock's mom in ''Film/StarTrek'', the actor playing her son was only six years younger than her and already an adult, thus she was PlayingGertrude.
* RomanceOnTheSet: [[invoked]] Briefly dated Creator/ChristianSlater during the filming of ''Film/{{Heathers}}''. She also dated Creator/JohnnyDepp, her co-star in ''Film/EdwardScissorhands''.
* TypeCasting: [[invoked]] Early in her career, she found herself playing a lot of moody adolescents - ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'', ''Film/{{Heathers}}'', ''Film/{{Mermaids}}'' and ''Film/RealityBites''. She also found herself playing a lot of 'innocence lost' characters - ''Film/BramStokersDracula'', ''Film/GirlInterrupted'', ''Film/AlienResurrection'', ''Literature/TheCrucible''.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: [[invoked]]
** She was cast as Mary Corleone in ''Film/TheGodfather: Part III'', but withdrew. The part went to Sofia Coppola.
** Creator/WoodyAllen wanted Ryder to star in ''Melinda and Melinda'', with Creator/RobertDowneyJr to co-star, but after her shoplifting arrest and his drug problems, no one would insure them, so Allen couldn't get a bond to complete the movie.