For Claire Danes, who returns to HBO this weekend for her fifth season of Homeland, a passion for acting came at the age of six when she began studying modern dance and caught a whiff of life on the stage. Her parents enrolled her in a performing arts school where Danes took Saturday morning acting classes. She soon landed an agent.
At age 13, Danes’ first big job was working on the Dudley Moore TV sitcom pilot called Dudley. She then played a teenage murderer in a guest starring role on Law & Order and appeared briefly in an episode of HBO’s Lifestories: Families in Crisis. Her life-changing role would come around soon after when she turned 15. Danes landed the role of Angela Chase, a curious, hyper-intelligent teen in the ABC series, My So Called Life. The show was buried by the networks for almost 2 years, but finally broke through and the biggest reason why was Danes’ wonderful performance. The role garnered her a Golden Globe award for best actress and launched her career.
Although ABC canceled My So-Called Life after only 19 episodes in 1995, the show helped her to receive more film roles, including 1995′s Home for the Holidays and 1996′s I Love You, I Love You Not and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Her first leading role on the big screen came in 1996, when she portrayed Juliet in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, inspiring director Baz Luhrmann to call her, at age 16, “the Meryl Streep of her generation.
Danes took a break from the limelight, having appeared in 13 films in 5 years, to attend Yale. She also married actor Hugh Dancy in 2009 and had one child, a son named Cyrus. She returned to the small screen in 2011 with the television show Homeland.
Homeland has received generally positive reviews, and has won several awards, including the 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and the 2011 and 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, as well as the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Damian Lewis and Claire Danes, respectively. Season 5 is set to begin on Sunday, October 4, 2015.
In 2014, Claire received awards from Variety Magazine for her charitable work and humanitarian efforts. Claire is an active supporter of afganhands.com, a non-profit organization that supports disadvantaged and disenfranchised women in Afghanistan gain independence, education, and livable wages.