Hilary Swank Biography

Hilary Swank, an American actress known for her award-winning performances in films like ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry. With two Academy Awards for Best Actress under her belt, Swank is not afraid to take on challenging and unglamorous roles. Her passion for acting began at a young age, and despite a difficult childhood filled with poverty, she persevered and achieved great success. Moving to Los Angeles as a teenager, Swank made her film debut and eventually landed her breakthrough role in “The Next Karate Kid”. Alongside her film career, she has also appeared in various television shows.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Hilary Ann Swank
  • Age: 49 Years, 49 Year Old Females
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Philip Schneider (m. 2018), Chad Lowe (m. 1997–2007)
    • Father: Stephen Michael Swank
    • Mother: Judy Swank
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Hilary Swank
  • Actresses
  • Height: 5’6″ (168 cm), 5’6″ Females
  • Ancestry: Mexican American, Dutch American, German American, British American
  • Notable Alumni: Sehome High School, Happy Valley Elementary School, Santa Monica College
  • City: Lincoln, Nebraska
  • U.S. State: Nebraska
  • More Facts
  • Education: Santa Monica College, Happy Valley Elementary School, Sehome High School

Childhood & Early Life

Hilary Swank was born on July 30, 1974, in Nebraska, as the second child of Stephen Michael Swank and Judy Kay. Her father was an officer in the Air National Guard, while her mother was a secretary cum dancer. She attended Happy Valley elementary school and later went to Sehome High School. As an athletic girl, she participated in various swimming and gymnastics competitions and was also active in the school and regional theater. Her parents separated when she was sixteen, and she moved to Los Angeles with her mother. There she enrolled in South Pasadena High School but soon dropped out.


Swank began her acting career in 1991 with a guest appearance in the television series ‘Harry and the Hendersons’. The same year, she played the guest role of Aimee Thompson in the sitcom series ‘Evening Shade’. She made her Hollywood debut with a small role in the 1992 film ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. In 1994, she landed her first major role as Julie Pierce in ‘The Next Karate Kid’. Over the next few years, she acted in television movies like ‘Victim of Rage’ (1994), ‘Terror in the Family’ (1996), and ‘Dying to Belong’ (1997).

In 1999, Swank was offered the role of Brandon Teena in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Her brilliant performance in the film catapulted her into overnight fame. She received numerous movie offers and acted in films like ‘The Gift’ (2000), ‘The Affair of the Necklace’ (2001), ‘Insomnia’ (2002), and ‘The Core’ (2003). In 2004, she starred in the highly successful sports drama film ‘Million Dollar Baby’, which showcased her dedication to her profession. She appeared in a couple of lesser-known films in the next few years, including ‘The Black Dahlia’ (2006) and ‘The Reaping’ (2007). She also acted in films like ‘Birds of America’ (2008), ‘Amelia’ (2009), and ‘Conviction’ (2010).

Her most recent films include ‘The Resident’ and ‘New Year’s Eve’, both released in 2011.

Major Works

Swank’s Academy Award-winning performance in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (1999) is considered one of her most brilliant works. She portrayed the character of Brandon Teena, a young transman who is brutally murdered when people discover his sexuality. Swank’s portrayal of the character was highly praised for her courage in taking on such a controversial role. She also received rave reviews and several awards for her role as Maggie Fitzgerald, a would-be boxer, in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’ (2004).

Awards & Achievements

Swank won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1999 for her portrayal of Brandon Teena in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. She also received The Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best (Lead) Actress for the same role. In 2004, she won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Maggie Fitzgerald in ‘Million Dollar Baby’. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama for the same role.

Personal Life & Legacy

Swank married actor Chad Lowe in 1997 and divorced him in 2007 after a decade-long marriage. She was in a relationship with her agent John Campisi for some years, but the couple has since broken up. In March 2016, she got engaged to Ruben Torres, but the couple parted ways within a few months. In August 2018, she married Philip Schneid. In September 2022, Hilary and Philip announced that they were expecting twins.


  • Swank cut her hair very short and lost a lot of weight to prepare for her role as a transman in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’.
  • She is an animal lover and has many pets.
  • She is the third youngest actress to win two Academy Awards for Best Actress, after Luise Rainer and Jodie Foster.

Leave a Comment