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Hilary Swank & family.jpg

Hilary Ann SWANK was born on July 30, 1974 at Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of Stephen and Judy (CLOUGH) SWANK. Stephen was an NCO and recruiter for the Air National Guard, then later a traveling salesman. Judy, a graduate of Grand Valley Community School at Kellerton, Iowa, is an executive assistant. They also have a son, Dan.

At the age of nine, Hilary starred in her first play, The Jungle Book, taking on the role of "Mowgli." She attended school in Bellingham and began appearing regularly in local Bellingham Theatre Guild productions and in school plays. Hilary was a swimming competitor in the Junior Olympics and Washington State championships. She ranked 5th in the state all-around gymnastics.

Hilary and her mother Judy moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1990. There, Hilary enrolled in South Pasadena High School and began her professional acting career while mother and daughter lived out of their car until Judy had saved enough money to rent a bedroom with a bath, where they lived for almost two years. When Judy gained employment, they moved into a rented house. Hilary continued her education, being home schooled by her mother and later was tutored on the set.

In 1992, she appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and won her breakout role in The Next Karate Kid in 1994, landing the part against hundreds of other actresses. This was the fourth and final film in the Karate Kid series. Since then, Hilary has worked non-stop in motion pictures.

In 1999, Hilary won a Golden Globe and an Oscar as Best Actress for her portrayal of Teena BRANDON in the film Boys Don't Cry. She won a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, and her second Oscar for her preformance as Maggie Fitzgerald in Clint EASTWOOD's 2004 film, Million Dollar Baby, becoming the third youngest woman in history to win two Academy Awards for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role."

Hilary not only was nominated in 2005 for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her role as Maggie Fitzgerald in “Million Dollar Baby,” but also for Actress in a Leading Role for Alice Paul in “Iron Jawed Angels.” She was a double nominee that year for these roles, as well as a double nominee for the SAG award.

Hilary has also won Best Actress awards from the New York Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. She won the "Breakthrough Performance" award from the National Board of Review.

One critic noted that Hilary "brings credibility" to the roles she plays.

Hilary received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (pictured above with her mother Judy and grandfather Jim CLOUGH who resides in Ringgold County) on January 8, 2007, the 2,325th star which has been presented.

In her 2005 Academy Awards acceptance speech [Million Dollar Baby], Hilary said, "I don't know what I did in this life to deserve all this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream. I never thought this would ever happen, let alone be nominated. And a working actor, for that mattter. And now this. I thank the Academy. I'm eternally grateful for this great honor. . . ."


  • Betty Ann Waters, pre-production 2009, producer
  • Amelia, scheduled for 2009, "Amelia Earhart" and executive producer
  • Birds of America, 2008, "Laura
  • P.S. I Love You, 2007, "Holly"
  • The Reaping, 2007, "Katherine"
  • Freedom Writers, 2007, "Erin Gruwell"
  • The Black Dahlia, 2006, "Madeleine Linscott"
  • Million Dollar Baby, 2004, "Maggie Fitzgerald"
  • Red Dust, 2004, "Sarah Barcant"
  • Iron Jawed Angels, 2004 (TV), "Alice Paul"
  • 11:14, 2003, "Buzzy"
  • The Core, 2003, "Maj. Rebecca Childs"
  • The Space Between, 2002
  • Insomnia, 2001/2, "Detective Ellie Burr"
  • The Affair of the Necklace, 2001 "Jeanne St. Remey de Valois"
  • The Gift, 2000 "Valerie Barksdale"
  • The Audition, 2000
  • Boys Don't Cry, 1999 "Brandon Teena"
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 (TV series), 1997-1998, 16 episodes as "Carly Reynolds"
  • Heartwood, 1998 "Sylvia Orsini"
  • Quiet Days in Hollywood a.k.a. , 1997 "Lolita"
  • Leaving L. A. (TV series), 1997, as "Tiffany Roebuck" - series ran only 6 episodes
  • The Sleepwalker Killing, 1997 (TV) "Lauren Schall"
  • Dying to Belong, 1997 (TV) "Lisa Connors"
  • Sometimes They Come Back . . Again, 1996 "Michelle Porter"
  • Terror in the Family, 1996 (TV) "Deena Martin"
  • Kounterfeit, 1996 "Colleen"
  • The Next Karate Kid, 1994 "Julie Pierce"
  • Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story, 1994 (TV) "Patty Yaklich"
  • Camp Wilder, 1992 (ABC TGIF TV series) series regular as "Danielle"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992 "Kimberly Hannah"
  • Growing Pains, 1991-1992 (TV series) 2 episodes as "Sasha Serotsky"
  • Evening Shade, 1991-1992 (TV series) 3 episodes as "Aimee"
  • Harry and the Hendersons (TV series) 1 episode
  • Various appearances on talk shows and award shows


  • Academy Awards, 2005 winner "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role" for Million Dollar Baby
  • Screen Actors Guild Award, 2005 winner "Outstanding Performace by a Female Actor in a Leading Role" for Million Dollar Baby
  • Screen Actors Guild Award, 2005 nominee "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" for Million Dollar Baby
  • Screen Actors Guild Award, 2005 nominee "Outstanding Peformance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries" for Iron Jawed Angels
  • Golden Globes Awards, 2005 Winner "Best Performance by an Actress ina Motion Picture Drama" for Million Dollar Baby
  • Golden Globes Awards, 2005 nominee "Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series of Made for TV Movie" for Iron Jawed Angels
  • MTV Movie Awards, 2005 nominee "Best Female Performance" for Million Dollar Baby
  • BAFTA Awards, 2001 nominee "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role" for Boys Don't Cry
  • Screen Actors Guild Award, 2000 nominee "Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role" for Boys Don't Cry
  • Academy Awards, 2000 Winner "Best Performance by an Actress" for Boys Don't Cry
  • Golden Globes Awards, 2000 Winner "Best Performace by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama" for Boys Don't Cry
  • Independent Spirit Awards, 2000 winner "Best Female Lead" for Boys Don't Cry
  • MTV Movie Awards, 2000 nominee "Best Female Performance" for Boys Don't Cry
  • MTV Movie Awards, 2000 nominee "Best Kiss" for Boys Don't Cry
  • Academy Awards, 1999 winner "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role" for Boys Don't Cry
  • NYFCC Award, 1999 winner "Best Performance by an Actress" for Boys Don't Cry

    NOTE: Million Dollar Baby won the Oscar at the Academy Awards as the Best Film of 2004 and co-star Morgan FREEMAN won the award for best supporting actor for his performance. Clint EASTWOOD won the award for best director.


     Judy (CLOUGH) SWANK was born in Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, the daughter of James "Jim" and Frances CLOUGH. She grew up on the family farm in Ringgold County with her three sisters and two brothers, graduating from Grand Valley Community High School at Kellerton. She attended Southwestern Community College, Creston, Iowa, where she obtained her certification as a legal assistant. Judy lived in six states, traveling extensively throughout the United States before arriving in California in 1990 with her daughter Hilary where she worked tirelessly to secure a spot for Hilary in auditions, met with agents, living in the car and calling from payphones as mother and daughter pursued Hilary's dream of becoming an actress.

    "You can do anything if you work hard enough . . . just do it!" Judy often told her daughter.

    Judy currently resides in Playa Del Rey and has three grandchildren, Zackery, Amanda, and Brandon James. In 2006 she was a recipient of the Woman of Courage Award given by the City of Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women and presented with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. She has appeared on Oprah, on radio, and in a variety of publications with her daughter.

    corrections & edits by Judy (Clough) Swank

    Transcription & submission by Sharon R. Becker, 2008; updated April of 2010


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