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Cyrus, Miley

Miley Cyrus

Singer, songwriter, actress

Best known as the title character of the Disney sitcom Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus is one in a long line of young talents, from Annette Funicello and Haley Mills to Hillary Duff and the cast of High School Musical, who have been nurtured by Disney Studios. Cute, perky, and blessed with a mature command of her vocal chops, Cyrus's popularity with pre-teens exploded in 2006, making her into one of the entertainment industry's top grossing acts.

Billy Ray Cyrus is Her Dad

The performer billed as Miley Ray Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus on November 23, 1992, in Franklin, Tennessee. She was the daughter of country singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus and his second wife, Leticia. According to family legend, baby Destiny Hope smiled all the time, so her parents and siblings began to call her "Smiley," which eventually evolved into the nickname Miley. The name stuck, and the youngster had it legally changed to Miley Ray Cyrus in 2008. Early on, the youngster showed an interest in music and acting, and her father was able to provide the precocious youngster with some important opportunities.

Although he is now overshadowed by his more successful daughter, the elder Cyrus's career as a singer-songwriter and actor had a profound effect on the life of Miley Cyrus. The same year she was born, her dad scored with his signature hit "Achy Breaky Heart" and hit the country top ten with such songs as "Could've Been Me," "She's Not Cryin' Anymore," "In the Heart of a Woman," and "Somebody New." When the hits stopped coming, the Kentucky native took acting roles on such television programs as Diagnosis Murder and The Nanny. These roles led to Cyrus's 2001-04 run as the star of the syndicated family medical drama Doc. During the show's 88-episode run, daughter Miley made her small screen debut billed as Destiny Cyrus. Further, Billy Ray's duet with his then eleven-year-old daughter on the Colgate Country Showdown caused a sensation in country music circles. Subsequently, she was offered a supporting part in the 2003 feature film Big Fish.

She's Hannah Montana

Despite some promising exposure and a big screen credit, Cyrus's dad couldn't help her get the part that finally made her a star, and she had to audition repeatedly. "At first Disney said I was too small and too young,"she told the UK edition of People. "I was 11. Anyway, I went back a year later when they still hadn't found anybody and I got the part. After that, dad went for the role of my on-screen dad. I had to audition HIM, which was really weird."

One of many sitcoms aimed at pre-teens on the Disney Channel, the premise of Hannah Montana is decep- tively simple. Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a young girl who moves with her dad and brother to Malibu, California. By day, when she attends school or hangs out with friends at the beach, she's the brunette Miley. When she puts on a blonde wig and kicky clothes and sings, she is the world-famous pop star Hannah Montana. Hoping to live something akin to a normal life, she only shares her secret with her two best friends, Lilly Truscott and Oliver Oken. Teen problems—pimples, cute boys, curfews, widower dad dating again—are compounded by the continual threat of her secret being revealed.

Cyrus's character made her debut on another popular Disney kid-com, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and her own series followed soon after. The 6- to 14-year old target audience warmly responded to the show's reverse Pinocchio-like plot lines of a pop star wanting top be a real girl. Moreover, they were equally enthusiastic about the songs she recorded. Bolstered by major airplay on Disney radio, nearly every one of her single releases, under her name and/or Hannah Montana's, has achieved a chart position. More important, her first two albums hit number one on the Billboard pop charts within the space of one year, something no teen idol had done before.

The success of the show and Cyrus's recording career led to dozens of products, everything from makeup and toy karaoke equipment to books and Montana-style blonde wigs bearing the Hannah Montana imprint. Moreover, books based on the television series and bearing the character's name and Cyrus's likeness have sold over one million copies to date. What percentage of the massive sales has ended up in Cyrus's pocket hasn't been divulged, but Conde Nast Portfolio magazine estimated that the youngster could be worth as much as a billion dollars by the time she turns 18.

While her father had never really left the public spotlight, his role in the series as her father/manager/songwriter gave his own recording career fresh energy. Recorded for the Disney label, his song "Ready, Set, Don't Go" hit number four on the country charts and became his first top 40 pop hit since "Achy Breaky Heart." Cyrus told that he wrote the song about his daughter Miley. "It's about every parent reaching that bridge where you have to let go. I wrote that song, and then the writers of Hannah Montana wrote an episode around that song, and then the song became the cornerstone of my album Home At Last and it became a big record." With his career hot once again, Cyrus—sans daughter—hosted NBC's Nashville Star talent competition during the summer of 2008.

For the Record …

Born Destiny Hope Cyrus, November 23, 1992, in Franklin, Tennessee, legally changed name to Miley Ray Cyrus, 2008; daughter of Billy Ray (a country singer/actor) and Leticia Cyrus.

Made acting debut on her father's show Doc, and made first big screen appearance in the film Big Fish, 2003; signed to star in Disney Channel sitcom Hannah Montana, 2006; signed to Disney's Hollywood label, 2006; became first teen artist to have two number-one albums within the same year, 2008; the 3-D concert film of her Best of Both Worlds Tour became the highest grossing Super Bowl weekend DVD release to date, 2008; provided voice of Penny in the animated feature Bolt; filmed Hannah Montana: The Movie, 2008; signed with Disney Book Group to write her memoirs, 2008.

Awards: Young Artist Award, Best Performance in a TV Series, Leading Young Actress, for Hannah Montana, 2006; Teen Choice Award, Choice TV Actress: Comedy, for Hannah Montana, 2006; Teen Choice Award, Choice TV Actress: Comedy, for Hannah Montana, 2007; Kids' Choice Awards, Blimp Award, Favorite Television Actress, for Hannah Montana, 2007; Kids' Choice Awards, Blimp Award, Favorite Television Actress, for Hannah Montana, 2008; ranked number one on TV Guide's Top 10 Teen Star Countdown, 2008; Gracie Allen Awards, Outstanding Female Lead: Comedy Series, for Hannah Montana, 2008.

Addresses: Record company—Hollywood Records, 500 S. Bueva Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521, phone: 818-560-5670, Web site: Management—The Disney Channel, 3800 Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91505. Web site—Miley Cyrus Official Web site:

Branched Out Into Tours and Movies

From the start, Miley Cyrus proved she could entertain audiences in a live setting. Initially, she stole the show opening for the Cheetah Girls. By 2007 she was headlining major tours with sold-out shows. Cannily, Disney allowed the songstress to sing both in character and as herself on recordings for her second album, a two-disc 20-song set that featured some of the youngster's own compositions. Subsequently, they filmed her working with and without the Montana wig for the film Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert.

Of course, a rapid ascent to fame often has its downside. Cyrus was interviewed for a feature story in the June 2008 issue Vanity Fair. The article itself wasn't particularly shocking: Cyrus claimed to enjoy the camaraderie displayed on TV's Sex and the City, said that she was friends with troubled former teen stars Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears, and that she didn't care if the paparazzi took photos of her eating french fries. However, a photo taken by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, of Cyrus exposing her bare back while holding a blanket to her chest, provoked complaints from critics who felt the magazine was overtly sexualizing a minor. For her part, Cyrus disagreed. "I think it's really artsy," she told Vanity Fair. … "You can't say no to Annie. She's so cute. She gets this puppy-dog look and you're like, O.K."

That said, the sordid trials and tribulations of Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears were fresh in the public mind, and parents balked at even the slightest suggestion that their children's favorite entertainer might be taking her first steps down the same road. Embarrassed, Cyrus apologized to her fans, and told Billboard hopefully, "I don't think people will look at me any differently, because they're like ‘You know, I'm going to do stupid stuff too, and I'm going to make mistakes, and that's fine.’"

Career Still Going Strong

Despite the flap over the Vanity Fair photo, Cyrus's public remained enthusiastic, and her career continued to flourish. The 3-D film version of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert broke records for a film released over a Super Bowl weekend, earning over 29 million dollars. Moreover, the resulting soundtrack album became a major seller, peaking at number three on the Billboard album charts.

During the summer of 2008 Cyrus released a second album under her own name—and the first without an overt Hannah Montana connection. Titled Break Out, the disc highlighted a more "grown-up" version of the pop star, with most of the songs coming from Cyrus herself. "No matter how long what I'm doing here lasts," she told Billboard, "I want to be a songwriter for the rest of my life. I love it and it's my escape. I just hope this record showcases that—more than anything—I'm a writer."

In between writing, recording, touring, and sundry acting jobs, Miley Ray Cyrus has remained an entertainment phenomenon. The third season of Hannah Montana has been taped, and a movie based on the show is set for a 2009 release. That same year will see the release of the 16-year-old's memoirs for the Disney Book Group. Ever the role model, Cyrus told Business Wire, "I'm so excited to let fans in on how important my relationship with my family is to me. I hope I can motivate mothers and daughters to build lifetimes of memories together, and inspire kids around the world to live their dreams."

Selected discography


"Best of Both Worlds," Disney, 2006.

"I Got Nerve," Disney, 2006.

"If I Were a Movie," Disney, 2006.

"Just Like You," Disney, 2006.

"Pumpin' Up the Party," Disney, 2006.

"This Is the Life," Disney, 2006.

"Who Said," Disney, 2006.

"The Other Side of Me," Disney, 2006.

"Life's What You Make It," Disney, 2007.

"Make Some Noise," Disney, 2007.

"Nobody's Perfect," Disney, 2007.

"True Friend," Disney, 2007.

"Rock Star," Disney, 2008.

"We Got the Party (With Us)," Disney, 2008.

"7 Thing," Hollywood, 2008.


Hannah Montana, Disney, 2006.

Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, Disney, 2007.

Best of Both Worlds [Live], Disney, 2008.

Breakout, Hollywood, 2008.


Best of Both Worlds Concert: The 3-D Movie, Walt Disney Video, 2008.



"Billy Ray Cyrus," All Movie Guide, (July 2, 2008).

"Billy Ray Cyrus," Internet Movie Database, (July 2, 2008).

"Billy Ray Cyrus Interview," MSNTV.Com, (July 2, 2008).

"Cyrus Pulling Double Duty On Fall Arena Tour," Billboard, (August 8, 2007).

"Exclusive: Miley Cyrus Grows Up on ‘Breakout,’" Billboard, (June 27, 2008).

"Hannah Montana," All Music Guide, (July 2, 2008).

"Interest In Cyrus' Music Continues Amid Photo Scandal," Billboard, (April 30, 2008).

"Miley Cyrus," All Music Guide, (July 2, 2008).

"Miley Cyrus Memoir Due Next Spring," Billboard, (April 23, 2008).

"Miley Cyrus Signs International Book Deal with Disney Book Group," Business Wire,;col1, (April 22, 2008).

"Miley Knows Best," Vanity Fair, (June, 2008).

"Miley Ray Cyrus," Internet Movie Database, (July 2, 2008).

"My Life in Hannhtastic" People Magazine (UK), (March 2, 2008)

"3-D ‘Hannah Montana’ Film Rules Box Office," Billboard, (February 3, 2008).

—Ken Burke

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Cyrus, Miley 1992- (Destiny Cyrus, Destiny Hope Cyrus)

Cyrus, Miley 1992- (Destiny Cyrus, Destiny Hope Cyrus)


Original name, Destiny Hope Cyrus; born November 23, 1992, in Nashville, TN; daughter of Billy Ray (a country singer) and Leticia "Tish" (a talent manager) Cyrus.


Office—c/o Disney Channel, 3800 Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91505. Agent—Cunningham, Escott, Slevin, and Doherty Talent Agency, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 140, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Publicist—PMK/HBH Public Relations, 700 San Vicente Blvd., Suite G910, West Hollywood, CA 90069.


Actress and singer. Daisy Rock Guitar, spokesperson, 2004.

Awards, Honors:

Teen Choice Award nomination, television—choice breakout star, 2006, Teen Choice Award, choice television actress—comedy, Kids' Choice Award, favorite television actress, 2007, all for Hannah Montana.


Film Appearances:

(As Destiny Cyrus) Ruthie at age 8, Big Fish, Columbia, 2003.

Herself, The Real Miley Cyrus (documentary short), Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.

Television Appearances; Series:

Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart, Hannah Montana, Disney Channel, 2006—.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Girl by pool, High School Musical 2, Disney Channel, 2007.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Presenter, The 41st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, CBS, 2006.

The Disney Channel Games, Disney Channel, 2006.

Presenter, The 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards, ABC, 2006.

CMA Red Carpet 2006, Country Music Television, 2006.

Presenter, The 2006 American Music Awards, ABC, 2006.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, 2006.

Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, ABC, 2006.

Sing-Along Bowl-Athon, 2006.

VH1 Big in '06 Awards, VH1, 2006.

The 8th Annual A Home for the Holidays with Rod Stewart, CBS, 2006.

The Disney Channel Games, Disney Channel, 2007.

The Teen Choice Awards 2007 (also known as The 2007 Teen Choice Awards), Fox, 2007.

The 2007 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2007.

Nickelodeon's 20th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, 2007.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Kylie, "Men in Tights," Doc, PAX, 2003.

Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart, "That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana," The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (also known as TSL), Disney Channel, 2006.

Soap Talk, Soap Net, 2006.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2006, 2007.

Herself, "Just Kidding!," Saturday Disney, Seven Network, 2007.

Dancing with the Stars, ABC, 2007.

Entertainment Tonight (also known as E.T.), syndicated, 2007.

Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, 2007.

Voice of Mudka's Meat Hut waitress, "The Emperor's New Tuber/Room for Improvement," The Emperor's New School (animated), Disney Channel, 2007.

Television Work; Series:

Theme song performer, Hannah Montana, Disney Channel, 2006—.



"Hannah Montana" Disney Channel Original Television Soundtrack, Disney Records, 2006.

"Hannah Montana" 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, 2007.



Fortune, February 5, 2007, p. 53.

Newsweek, May 8, 2006, p. 79.

New York Times, April 20, 2006.

San Diego Union-Tribune, May 20, 2006.

Time, October 29, 2007, p. 64.

USA Today, January 10, 2007.

Variety, February 20, 2006, p. 18.


Miley Cyrus Website,, December 7, 2007.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Cyrus, Miley 1992- (Destiny Cyrus, Destiny Hope Cyrus)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . 12 Dec. 2017 <>.

"Cyrus, Miley 1992- (Destiny Cyrus, Destiny Hope Cyrus)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . (December 12, 2017).

"Cyrus, Miley 1992- (Destiny Cyrus, Destiny Hope Cyrus)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from