Born May 14, 1969 in a suburb of Melbourne, Cate Blanchett was a prominent part of an influx of Australian actors that began making their mark in American films in the 1980s.
After she graduated from the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art in 1992, most of Blanchett's early work was done in Australia, including a role opposite Geoffrey Rush in the David Mamet play "Oleanna." She also worked with Rush in "Hamlet," then moved in television with a recurring role in the Australian series "Police Rescue."
Blanchett impressed herself upon the American film consciousness in 1997, starring with Ralph Fiennes in Oscar and Lucinda. The same year, we won the equivalent of the Oscar in Australia for best supporting actress in Thank God He Met Lizzie.
A year later, Blanchett became a bonafide international star, thanks to her role as Elizabeth I of England in the movie, Elizabeth. That earned her an Academy Award nomination, but she lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love).
Blanchett did win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2005, playing Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator. In between, she broadened her fan base by portraying Galadriel, the Elf Queen, in Lord of the Rings (she kept and bronzed her elf ears).
In 2007, Blanchette became only the 11th performer to be nominated for Oscars in two categories -- Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There (in which she played, of all people, Bob Dylan).
In 1996, Blanchett met playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton, whom she first thought was arrogant. They were married a year later, and are now co-directors of the Sydney Theater Company. The couple has three sons.
Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine in 2007 (she has also been included on various Most Beautiful and Sexiest lists), Blanchett has used her prominance to work for a number of environmental causes, especially in Australia.
Perhaps Blanchett's success with American audiences came from the fact that she is half-American. Her father, Bob was a Texan who died of a heart attack when Blanchett was 10.