Julia Stiles has had a steady career as an actress since the early 1990s. She rose to fame as the star of teen romantic comedies and continued to balance her acting career in film and television by earning her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and becoming a wife and mother. Stiles continues to appear in films as well as on television, including the hit British drama series Riviera.
She was born and raised in New York
Julia Stiles was born in New York on March 28, 1981. She grew up in the Greenwich Village neighborhood where her father John was a teacher and her mother Judith was an artist. Julia is the eldest of three children. Always interested in performing, Julia began working with the experimental theater company La Mama when she was 11 years old. She would go on to become a successful stage, television and film actress with a steady career that spans almost three decades.
Julia Stiles enjoyed performing in theater with the experimental theater company La Mama from the age of 11. From 1993 to 1998, Julia appeared in theatrical performances by author and composer John Moran at theaters on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Stiles would continue to perform in theater outside of his film and television career. In 2002, she appeared in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. That same year, she appeared in the production of Twelfth Night alongside Jimmy Smits in New York’s Shakespeare In the Park series. Stiles has appeared in other Shakespeare In the Park productions around the country. In 2004, Stiles starred in the London production of David Mamet’s play Oleanna. She also appeared in the Broadway production of the play after it aired in London.
During the 1993-1994 television season, Julia Stiles appeared in six episodes of the television series Ghostwriter. In 1993, Stiles appeared in Cyndi Lauper’s music video for the song Sally’s Pigeons. She has appeared in episodes of other television series including Promised Land and Chicago Hope. In 2001, Stiles hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. Stiles was featured on an episode of MTV’s Diary series. In 2010, Julia appeared in 10 episodes of the Showtime series Dexter. She earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama for the role as well as a nomination for a Golden Globe Award. Stiles appeared in three episodes of The Mindy Project in 2014. Most recently, Julia Stiles appears in the British drama series Riviera and is the executive producer of the show which is successful in the UK, Australia and the US from America. The series follows Stiles as Georgina, an art curator whose husband is murdered. The story follows her through the criminal underworld as she searches for answers to her husband’s murder.
Early in her acting career, Julia Stiles auditioned for the role of young vampire Claudia in Interview With a Vampire in 1994. The role went to Kirsten Dunst. However, two years later, Stiles was cast in I Love You, I Don’t Love You starring Jude Law and Claire Danes. People started noticing her. The following year, she was cast as Harrison Ford’s daughter in The Devil’s Own. In 1998, Stiles appeared in M. Night Shyamalan’s Wide Awake films and in Wicked which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. 1999 is considered Stiles’ breakout year as teen romantic comedy queen. She starred in 10 Things I Hate About You with Heath Ledger. The film was a teen romantic comedy based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. She won an MTV award for Breakthrough Female. Stiles’ subsequent films included two based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello. She has also appeared in State and Main, Down to You, The Business of Strangers and Save the Last Dance. In 2001’s Save the Last Dance, Stiles plays an aspiring ballerina who meets a boy who teaches her hip hop. She ends up at the Julliard School. Stiles has won two MTV Awards and a Teen Choice Award. She also graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Instead of embracing her role as a teenage rom-com queen, Stiles took on more challenging roles as an actress. She also registered at Columbia University. She graduated with a degree in English Literature in 2005. Stiles also continued to act regularly. She appeared as secret agent Nicky Parsons in The Bourne Identity films. Other films Julia Stiles has appeared in include Mona Lisa Smiles with Julia Roberts, The Prince and Me, a remake of the 1976 horror film The Omen, Between Us, It’s a Disaster, Closed Circuit, The Great Gilly Hopkins and Hustler’s with Jennifer Lopez. In 2021, Stiles was in the movie The God Committee. More recently, she is in Orphan: First Kill which is currently in post-production.
Along with film, television and theater, Julia Stiles had other projects. In 2007, Stiles wrote and directed a short film for Elle Magazine. Raving, starring Zooey Deschanel, premiered at the Tribecca Film Festival. In 2012, she starred in the web series Blue as a single mother working in an office and as a call girl. The series has won two consecutive IAWTV Awards. In addition to acting, Julia Stiles has donated her time to organizations such as Habitat For Humanity, Amnesty International, and Berk’s Youth Center in Leesport, PA. In 2010, Stiles received the John Jay Award. This is Columbia University’s award to alumni for professional achievement.
Julia Stiles dated Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Harbour. She met her husband, an assistant cameraman, in 2015 on the set of the film Blackwater. Stiles and Preston Cook married in 2016. They have two children, Strummer and Arlo. The family lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Stiles grew up.