Hilary Ann Swank was born on July 30, 1974 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The younger child of two (she has a brother who is eight years her senior), she moved with her family from Spokane, Washington to Bellingham, Washington at the age of six. It was here that she was discovered by producer, Suzy Sachs, who began to coach her in acting. By the time she was nine, Hilary had landed her first lead role as Mowgli in "The Jungle Book." She didn't know it then, but playing the part of a boy would wind up winning her her first Oscar in the film, "Boys Don't Cry."
Hilary continued to act in local theater throughout junior high and high school. She also passed her time competing in sports such as swimming and gymnastics. Among her most memorable sports-relted feats were Competing in the Junior Olympics and Washington state swimming events, as well as ranking 5th in the state in all-around gymnastics. However, when she was 15, her parents separated, and soon after, she moved with her mother to Los Angeles to continue pursuing an acting career.
Starting out playing small roles on TV shows such as "Harry and the Hendersons" and "Growing Pains," Hilary eventually landed her first movie role in 1992 in the film, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Of course, it wasn't until two years later that she would win her breakout role in the film, "The Next Karate Kid," which lead her to a recurring role on "Beverly Hills, 90210" and eventually the lead in "Boys Don't Cry." Since that film, she has gone on to win a second Academy Award for her role in "Million Dollar Baby," and has also starred in other famous films such as "Insomnia," "P.S. I Love You," and "Amelia."