Ryan, Meg 1961–

views updated May 23 2018

RYAN, Meg 1961


Original name, Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra; born November 19, 1961, in Fairfield, CT; daughter of Harry Hyra (a mathematics teacher) and Susan Hyra Jordan (an actress, casting director, and teacher; maiden name, Ryan); married Dennis Quaid (an actor), February 14, 1991 (divorced, July 16, 2001); children: Jack Henry Quaid. Education: Attended University of Connecticut, c. 1979, and New York University. Avocational Interests: Photography.

Addresses: Agent Steve Dontanville, William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Manager Suzan Bymel, Management 360, 9111 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Publicist PMK/HBH Public Relations, 8500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; Annett Wolf, Wolf/Kasteler/Van Iden and Associates Public Relations, 335 North Maple Dr., Suite 351, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

Career: Actress and producer. Prufrock Pictures (also known as Fandango Films), Los Angeles, cofounder, c. 1993, owner, 19932000. Appeared in advertisements in the United States and Japan. Cannes International Film Festival, member of jury, 2003.

Awards, Honors: Independent Spirit Award nomination, Independent Features Project West, best female lead, 1989, for Promised Land; Golden Apple Award (with Pauline Collins), Hollywood Women's Press Club, female discovery of the year, 1989; Film Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, American Comedy Award, funniest lead actress in a motion picture (leading role), and Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picturecomedy/musical, all 1990, for When Harry Met Sally; American Comedy Award, funniest actress in a motion picture (leading role), Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a motion picturecomedy/musical, and MTV Movie Award nominations, best female performance and best on-screen duo (with Tom Hanks), all 1994, for Sleepless in Seattle; named Hasty Pudding woman of the year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard University, 1994; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role, 1994, and MTV Movie Award nomination, best female performance, 1995, both for When a Man Loves a Woman; Crystal Award (with Sharon Stone), Women in Film, 1995; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest actress in a motion picture (leading role), 1996, for French Kiss; Annie Award nomination, International Animated Film Society, outstanding individual achievement for voice acting by a female performer in an animated feature production, 1997, for Anastasia; named one of "the top 100 movie stars of all time," Empire, 1997; named one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, Entertainment Weekly, 1998; named favorite female movie star, People Weekly readers and online viewers, 1998; Saturn Award nomination, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, best actress, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actressdrama or romance, and MTV Movie Award nomination (with Nicolas Cage), best onscreen duo, all 1999, for City of Angels; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite actresscomedy or romance, Golden Globe Award nomination, best actress in a comedy or musical motion picture, American Comedy Award nomination, funniest lead actress in a motion picture (leading role), and Golden Satellite Award nomination, International Press Academy, best performance by an actress in a comedy or musical motion picture, all 1999, for You've Got Mail; ShoWest Award, National Association of Theatre Owners, actress of the year, 1999; named one of "the one hundred most powerful people in Hollywood," Premiere, 1999; Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actresssuspense, 2001, for Proof of Life; subject of the song "All Around Me," by Savage Garden.


Film Appearances:

Debby at the age of eighteen, Rich and Famous, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1981.

Lisa, Amityville 3D (also known as Amityville: The Demon and Amityville III: The Demon ), Orion, 1983.

Carole Bradshaw, Top Gun, Paramount, 1986.

Maggie Cavanaugh, Armed and Dangerous, Columbia, 1986.

Bev, Promised Land (also known as Young Hearts ), Vestron, 1987.

Lydia Maxwell, Innerspace, Warner Bros., 1987.

Donna Caldwell, The Presidio (also known as The Presidio: The Scene of the Crime ), Paramount, 1988.

Sydney Fuller, D.O.A., Buena Vista, 1988.

Sally Albright, When Harry Met Sally, Columbia, 1989.

DeDe, Angelica Graynamore, and Patricia Graynamore, Joe versus the Volcano (also known as Joe against the Volcano ), Warner Bros., 1990.

Pamela Courson, The Doors, TriStar, 1991.

Rita Boyle, Prelude to a Kiss, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1992.

Annie Reed, Sleepless in Seattle, TriStar, 1993.

Kay Davies, Flesh and Bone, Paramount, 1993.

Alice Green, When a Man Loves a Woman (also known as Significant Other and To Have and to Hold ), Buena Vista, 1994.

Catherine Boyd, I.Q., Paramount, 1994.

Kate, French Kiss (also known as Paris Match ), Twentieth CenturyFox, 1995.

Katherine, Restoration, Miramax, 1995.

Captain Karen Emma Walden, Courage under Fire, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1996.

Maggie, Addicted to Love (also known as Forlorn ), Warner Bros., 1997.

Voice of Anastasia, Anastasia (animated), Twentieth CenturyFox, 1997.

Bonnie, Hurlyburly, Fine Line, 1998.

Dr. Maggie Rice, City of Angels (also known as Stadt der Engel ), Warner Bros., 1998.

Kathleen Kelly, You've Got Mail, Warner Bros., 1998.

Alice Bowman, Proof of Life, Warner Bros., 2000.

Eve Mozell Marks, Hanging Up, Columbia, 2000.

Kate McKay, Kate & Leopold, Miramax, 2001.

Frannie Averey (some sources cite Thorstin), In the Cut, Screen Gems, 2003.

Jackie Kallen, Against the Ropes, Paramount, 2004.

Mary Hemingway, Papa, Paramount, 2005.

Film Producer:

French Kiss (also known as Paris Match ), Twentieth CenturyFox, 1995.

Lost Souls, New Line Cinema, 1999.

Executive producer, The Wedding Planner (also known as Wedding Plannerverliebt, verlobt, verplant ), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2001.

Desert Saints, Artisan Entertainment, 2002.

Television Appearances; Series:

Jane, One of the Boys, NBC, 1982.

Betsy Stewart Montgomery Andropoulos, As the World Turns, CBS, 19821984.

Cally Oaks, Wildside, ABC, 1985.

Voice of Dr. Blight, Captain Planet and the Planeteers (animated; also known as The New Adventures of Captain Planet ), TNT and syndicated, 19901991.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Herself, Searching for Debra Winger, Showtime, 2002.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Denise, "Amy and the Angel," ABC Afterschool Specials, ABC, 1981.

Hollywood's Leading Ladies with David Sheehan (also known as The Leading Ladies of the Movies ), NBC, 1993.

Narrator, Celebrate Storytelling with Tracey Ullman (animated), PBS, 1994.

The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1994.

Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema, The Disney Channel, 1995.

Herself, The Making of "Hanging Up " (also known as Getting Connected: The Making of Hanging Up and HBO Look: The Making of "Hanging Up "), HBO, 2000.

Herself, 20th Century Fox: The Blockbuster Years, American Movie Classics, 2000.

Herself, America: A Tribute to Heroes, multiple networks, 2001.

Herself, Concert for New York City, VH1, 2001.

Herself, E! 101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment History, E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

(In archive footage) Celebrity Naked Ambition, Channel 5, 2003.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The American Film Institute Salute to Elizabeth Taylor, ABC, 1993.

(Uncredited) Herself, The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.

Presenter, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

Herself, 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.

Herself, AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Tom Hanks, USA Network, 2002.

The 34th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2003.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Megan Harper, "Hurricane Meagan," Charles in Charge, CBS, 1984.

Megan Harper (some sources cite Jane), "War," Charles in Charge, CBS, 1984.

Megan Harper, "Charles 'R' Us," Charles in Charge, CBS, 1985.

Herself, The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross (also known as The Last Resort ), Channel 4, 1987.

Narrator, "Red Riding Hood/Goldilocks," Storybook Classics, Showtime, 1990.

Herself, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001.

Herself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996.

"Tom Hanks: Hollywood's Golden Boy," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1997.

Herself, The Oprah Winfrey Show, syndicated, 2000.

Herself, Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

Herself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001, 2004.

Presenter and narrator, "The White Elephants of Thailand with Meg Ryan," Nature, PBS, 2002.

Before They Were Stars, ABC, 2002.

Herself, Parkinson, BBC, 2003.

Herself, The Terry and Gaby Show, Channel 5, 2003.

Herself, Tinseltown.TV, 2003.

Herself, Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, 2004.

Herself, OnAir with Ryan Seacrest, syndicated, 2004.

Herself, The View, ABC, 2004.

Appeared in The Entertainment Business and Inside the Actors Studio, both Bravo; appeared in other episodes of Biography, Arts and Entertainment.

Television Executive Producer:

Northern Lights (movie; also known as L'etoile du nord ), The Disney Channel, 1997.

Quints (pilot), UPN, 1999.



Herself, How Harry Met Sally, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2000.



St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.


Empire, issue 52, 1993, pp. 6465; issue 78, 1995, pp. 7072; October, 1997, p. 202.

Entertainment Weekly, December 18, 1998, pp. 2430.

Flicks, July, 1998, pp. 2829; March, 1999, pp. 26, 27.

Good Housekeeping, July, 1998, pp. 9699.

Harper's Bazaar, December, 1998, pp. 21419.

In Style, April, 2000, p. 370.

Jane, April, 1998, pp. 8489.

Los Angeles, January, 1999, pp. 4851, 121.

Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1998.

People Weekly, June 2, 1993, p. 69; December 21, 1998, pp. 104110; November 3, 2003, p. 73.

Premiere, May, 1996, pp. 5258; "Women in Hollywood" issue, 1999, pp. 5055.

Rolling Stone, February 11, 1988.

Time Out, February 3, 1999, pp. 1618, 20.

Times (London), June 14, 1998.

US Weekly, December 24, 2001, pp. 4246.

Vanity Fair, May, 1995, p. 105.

Woman's World, June 22, 1999, pp. 1617.

Ryan, Meg

views updated May 17 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Margaret Mary Hyra in Fairfield, Connecticut, 19 November 1961. Education: University of Connecticut, studied journalism at New York University. Family : Married the actor Dennis Quaid, 1991, one son: Jack Henry. Career: 1981—film debut in Rich and Famous; 1982–84—appeared in TV daytime drama As the World Turns; 1993—started production company, Prufrock Pictures. Awards: Golden Apple, Hollywood Woman's Press Club, 1989; Crystal Award, Women in Film, 1995. Agent: Steve Dontanville, International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, U.S.A. Address: Prufrock Pictures, 10201 West Pico Boulevard, Building 78, Los Angeles, CA 90035, U.S.A.

Films as Actress:


Rich and Famous (Cukor) (as Debby at 18); Amy and the Angel (Rosenblum—for TV) (as Denise)


Amityville 3-D (Amityville: The Demon) (Fleischer) (as Lisa)


Armed and Dangerous (Lester) (as Maggie Cavanaugh); Top Gun (Tony Scott) (as Carole Bradshaw)


Innerspace (Dante) (as Lydia Maxwell)


Promised Land (Young Hearts) (Hoffman) (as Bev); D.O.A. (Morton and Jankel) (as Sydney Fuller); The Presidio (Hyams) (as Donna Caldwell)


When Harry Met Sally . . . (Rob Reiner) (as Sally Albright)


Joe versus the Volcano (Shanley) (as DeDe/Angelica/Patricia)


The Doors (Oliver Stone) (as Pamela Courson)


Prelude to a Kiss (René) (as Rita Boyle)


Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron) (as Annie Reed); Flesh and Bone (Kloves) (as Kay Davies)


I.Q. (Schepisi) (as Catherine Boyd); When a Man Loves a Woman (Mandoki) (as Alice Green)


French Kiss (Paris Match) (Kasdan) (as Kate, + co-pr); Restoration (Hoffman) (as Katherine)


Courage under Fire (Zwick) (as Capt. Karen Walden); Two for the Road (as Joanna, + pr)


Addicted to Love (Dunne) (as Maggie); Anastasia (Bluth, Goldman) (voice of Anastasia)


Hurlyburly (Drazan) (as Bonnie); City of Angels (Silberling) (as Maggie); You've Got Mail (Ephron) (as Kathleen Kelly)


Hanging Up (Keaton) (as Eve)


By RYAN: articles—

"Brilliant Disguise," interview with Fred Schruers, in Rolling Stone (New York), 11 February 1988.

"That's the Way Love Goes," interview with Nancy Riffin, in Premiere (New York), July 1993.

"Tough Love," interview with Charles Salzberg, in Redbook (New York), July 1993.

"The Crying Game," interview with John Mosby, in Film Review (London), November 1993.

"Faces of Meg," interview with Amy Fine Collins, in Harper's Bazaar (New York), June 1994.

"Megabucks Megastar Meg Ryan," interview with Richard Natale, in Cosmopolitan (New York), 1 December 1994.

"Maximum Meg," interview with Kevin Sessums, in Vanity Fair (New York), May 1995.

"The French Connection," interview with Marianne Gray, in Film Review (London), December 1995.

"Private Meg," interview with Rachel Abramowitz, in Premiere (New York), May 1996.

On RYAN: articles—

Landman, Beth, and others, "The Meg Ryan Mystique," in Redbook (New York), April 1995.

Corliss, Richard, "Star Lite, Star Bright," in Time (New York), 22 May 1995.

Premier (New York), May 1997.

* * *

Before Meg Ryan achieved the top rank of stardom with When Harry Met Sally . . . in 1989, she had attracted notice in a number of memorable supporting roles on television and in film. Her big-screen debut was as Candice Bergen's daughter in Rich and Famous in 1981 and she acquired fans with her role in the soap opera As the World Turns from 1982–84, but it was in Top Gun, as Anthony Edwards's wife and then widow, that she made her first major impression. Her line to Edwards, "Take me to bed or lose me forever," became something of a catch phrase for teenage girls in the summer of 1986 and Ryan and Edwards stole much of the spotlight away from the film's leads, Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis.

Ryan's raw-nerve, wild-girl image in Top Gun may have caused Michael Hoffman to cast her in Promised Land, two years later. While the film sank under a surfeit of unstructured adolescent angst, Ryan's performance as Kiefer Sutherland's violence prone, white-trash bride impresses and even shocks today's viewers who only know her from her later romantic comedies. Her Bev in that film suggests that Ryan has a range that has gone sadly unused, even in her recent dramatic roles in Flesh and Bone and When a Man Loves a Woman.

After Promised Land, however, Ryan sank comfortably back into "girlfriend-of-the-lead" parts in D.O.A. and The Presidio. It was in Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally . . ., that Ryan emerged as a major star and solidified the comic persona that would dominate much of her career in the coming years. Ryan's faked orgasm scene in that film would be widely replayed and comparisons would be drawn between her and Carole Lombard. Ryan offered a winsome amalgamation of innocence and big city savoir faire; her inchoate romantic schemes seemed to evaporate across her face before being fully solidified but Ryan always managed to land her man in the final reel. If the Lombard comparison was a bit pat, one could compare Ryan to the remarkably similar Clara Bow in the 1927 film, It. As with Bow in that Hooverera picture, Ryan offered the Reagan-Bush years a post-Jane Fonda, post-Sally Field image of the "strong" woman who gets what she wants through feminine ingenuity while maintaining a supple, girlish demeanor. This was hardly a persona feminists took to—even Camille Paglia would criticize Ryan's image in print—but it won the actress a coveted place in the hearts of many filmgoers who yearned for a return to preliberation sex roles and attitudes.

Ryan did stretch a bit in Joe versus the Volcano (where she played three distinct roles) and Prelude to a Kiss (where her character's body is possessed by an elderly, ill man who fortuitously gets a new lease on life). Neither film, however, had the enormous impact of 1993's Sleepless in Seattle. In that Nora Ephron film, as an engaged woman who leaves her fiancé to track down a dream man she has heard about on the radio, Ryan offered another canny alternative to the "strong" and perhaps subliminally threatening female stars of the period.

While Sleepless in Seattle grossed $188 million, Ryan may have played out that film's kind of character to the point where audiences have became a bit wary. I.Q. for Fred Schepisi in 1994 was a critical and box-office disappointment and 1995's French Kiss, co-produced by her new production company, did not recapture the success of her earlier blockbusters. The latter's only modest box-office success, despite a witty script, sharp direction, and some of Ryan's most skillful and precise comic work, points to the actress's need to explore other options in film roles. When A Man Loves a Woman, where Ryan plays an alcoholic mother, earned her a certain amount of respect as a dramatic actress, and Edward Zwick's Courage under Fire, where she plays a Persian Gulf War hero, seems calculated to help Ryan shift gears into a more complex mode of performance for the second half of the nineties.

—Daniel Humphrey