Helen Elizabeth Hunt (born June 15, 1963 in Culver City, California) is an American actress, director and screenwriter. She is the daughter of the late actor and casting director Gordon Hunt and the late photographer Jane Novis (her father later re-married to voice actress BJ Ward), and niece of the late director Peter H. Hunt.
Making her acting debut in 1972, Hunt rose to prominence with her role in Mad About You, for which she won four consecutive Emmy awards. During her film career, she won a Academy Award for the film As Good as It Gets. Some of her other notable films include Twister, Cast Away, What Women Want, Pay It Forward, and The Sessions, the last of which garnered her a second Academy Award nomination. She made her directorial debut in 2007 with Then She Found Me. Hunt has also won four Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Works featuring Helen Hunt with pages on TV Tropes:
- Rollercoaster (1977)
- Quarterback Princess (1983)
- Trancers (1984)
- Galtar and the Golden Lance (1985)
- Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
- Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
- Stealing Home (1988)
- Next of Kin (1989)
- Bob Roberts (1992)
- Mr. Saturday Night (1992)
- Mad About You (1992-1999; 2019)
- Kiss of Death (1995)
- Twister (1996)
- As Good as It Gets (1997)
- Dr. T & the Women (2000)
- Pay It Forward (2000)
- Cast Away (2000)
- What Women Want (2000)
- The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
- Bobby (2006)
- Soul Surfer (2011)
- The Sessions (2012)
- World on Fire (2019)
- The Night Clerk (2020)
- Blindspotting (2021)
- Solar (2022)
- Author Appeal: Both of the films she wrote and directed herself (2008's Then She Found Me and 2015's Ride) are dramedies that focus on complicated relationships between mothers and their children.
- The Call Put Me on Hold: She was part of the same generation of actors that produced the Brat Pack, but had to wait until The '90s before finally breaking through with Mad About You.
- Celebrity Resemblance: To Leelee Sobieski. She's also been mixed up with Jodie Foster and Holly Hunter on occasion, although in the latter case it's more to do with the similarity of their names than any strong physical likeness.
- Family Versus Career: After being a near-constant onscreen presence around the turn of the millennium (in 2000 alone she starred in four films), Hunt became more selective with regards to her projects in order to focus on raising her daughter. Nowadays you're more likely to see her in an indie than a blockbuster.
- Lifetime Movie of the Week: Appeared in her fair share of throwaway made-for-television movies early in her career, including one with a memorably heavy-handed Drugs Are Bad aesop in which her character takes PCP and jumps out of a window.
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: Her two most famous films are As Good as It Gets and Twister but she's more proud of The Sessions because of its body-positive themes and its deconstruction of the Idealized Sex commonly seen onscreen.
- Ms. Fanservice: Hunt fully embraced this trope at age 48 with The Sessions, in which she starred as real-life sexual surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene. She's completely naked throughout the four sessions of Intimate Healing from which the film takes its name, and she also shows full frontal (and rear) nudity during a sequence at the end of the movie in which she disrobes in order to enter a ritual mikvah.
- Typecasting: She typically plays down-to-earth, nurturing Nice Gals, mainly in the form of a Girl Next Door (particularly in her younger years), the Betty in a Betty and Veronica pair, or a Team Mom. It’s also not uncommon to see her as a Struggling Single Mother, most notably Carol Connolly in As Good as It Gets.
- A more unique example: in several movies, including As Good as It Gets, she’s been the Living Emotional Crutch for a man with a physical disability or a disorder.