An actress with a knack for light comedy, Amy Adams was born in Italy and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado. After high school, she studied dance and worked in regional dinner theater until age 20, when she moved to Minnesota with her family after being spotted by a visiting Minneapolis producer and recruited to work in his dinner theater there. She landed her first film role in the satiric 1999 comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, which was, appropriately enough, set in Minnesota. After appearing in the independent comedy Psycho Beach Party, Adams made guest appearances on a number of television series, including That 70s Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The West Wing; she was also cast as a regular in Manchester Prep, a TV spin-off of the hit film Cruel Intentions. Manchester Prep, however, was never aired when its network decided that the show's sexual content was too strong for television, although several episodes were eventually re-edited into a direct-to-video feature entitled Cruel Intentions 2. 2002 proved to be a very busy year for Adams, who appeared in no fewer than four features, including the eagerly anticipated Catch Me if You Can, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
Adams took a 2 year break following Catch Me If You Can, reemerging in 2004 to appear with Fred Savage in the low-key comedy/drama The Last Run. The next year she took a substantial role in the romantic comedy The Wedding Date, but the part that proved to be a career-shaping one was the very innocent, very pregnant Ashley in Phil Morrison's independent film Junebug. Adams was adored by audiences and praised by critics for her quirky, sensitive performance, and she netted a Best Supporting Actress nomination in the process.
The young actress rounded out 2005 with a brief series of regular appearances on the wildly popular TV comedy The Office. In 2006 Amy co-starred in the NASCAR comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, alongside Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen. 2007 provided a big boost to her lead-actress stock in the form of Disney's Enchanted, a Splash-like confection in which Adams played a fairytale princess inadvertently plopped into the alternate universe of modern-day New York City. The family-friendly Thanksgiving release racked up considerable praise and millions of box-office dollars. Adams picked up her second Academy Award nomination in 2008 for her work in John Patrick Shanley's adaptation of his award winning play Doubt. In addition to that honor, she scored nods from the Screen Actors Guild, and the Hollywood Foreign Press. The following year, Adams teamed with Doubt star Meryl Streep again, to play a young amateur chef who attempts to cook every recipe in a massive cookbook by Julia Child (Streep) in the Nora Ephron-directed Julie and Julia.
The following year, Adams played the romantic interest of Mark Wahlberg in the Oscar contender The Fighter, earning tremendous critical acclaim both for her tough performance and spot-on Boston accent. Then in 2011, Adams teamed up with funnyman Jason Segel for a much anticipated relaunching of Jim Henson's beloved Muppets franchise. In 2012 she played the controlling wife of a cult leader in Paul Thomas Anderson's drama The Master, and captured her fourth Best Supporting Actress nomination in just eight years for her work in that film. In 2013 she took on the legendary part of Lois Lane in the Superman reboot Man of Steel. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi