Holly Hunter is born in Conyers, Georgia, 1958. Farm-raised, the Oscar-winning actress began a whirlwind string of successes in the fifth grade with her portrayal of Helen Keller. Five years later, as a sophomore in high school, she placed eighth in a national poultry-judging contest. A drama degree from Carnegie Mellon led her to try her luck in New York, where she found herself stuck in an elevator with playwright Beth Henley. Cast in Henley’s plays Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest, Hunter got the attention of Joel and Ethan Coen, who offered her a role in Blood Simple (1984). She turned it down, otherwise occupied with Henley’s play The Wake of Jamey Foster, and suggested they instead cast her roommate at the time, Frances McDormand. They did, and McDormand would go on to marry Joel Coen and make, to date, six more movies with the brothers. For Hunter, the Coens wrote the part of Edwina “Ed” McDunnough in Raising Arizona (1987); that movie and another picture released that same year, Broadcast News, made her a star.