PALTROW, GWYNETH (1972–), U.S. actress. Paltrow was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of the Tony Award-winning actress Blythe Danner and the film director Bruce Paltrow, who was said to have had generations of rabbis in his family tree. In 1991, Gwyneth quit the University of California to actively pursue a career in acting. She made her film debut with a small part in Shout (1991) and then had featured roles in a variety of films before playing the title role of Emma Wood-house in Emma (1996), which led to her being offered the role of Viola in Shakespeare in Love (1998). For the latter role, she won an Oscar as best actress.