Hilary Ann Duff (born September 28, 1987), is an American actress and pop music singer. After gaining prominence in the television show Lizzie McGuire, she has since gone onto a successful film career, with roles in mainstream pictures such as Cheaper by the Dozen and independent films such as Material Girls.
Early life and career
Duff was born in Houston, Texas the second child of Bob Duff, owner of a chain of convenience stores, and his wife Susan, a homemaker. After her mother encouraged her to take an acting class alongside her older sister, Haylie Duff, both girls won parts in various local theatre productions. At the age of six, the Duffs participated in the ballet The Nutcracker Suite with Columbus Ballet Met in San Antonio. The siblings became more and more enthusiastic about the idea of acting professionally, and they eventually relocated to California with their mother. Bob Duff stayed at the family home in Houston to maintain their business. Through years of auditions and meetings, both sisters managed to clinch appearances in several television commercials. She has recently had veneers attached to her teeth.
Most of Duff's first few acting roles were small, starting off with an uncredited appearance in Hallmark Entertainment's western miniseries True Women (1997), an adaptation of the novel by Janice Woods Windle. She also served as an extra, again uncredited, in writer and director Willard Carroll's comedy drama Playing by Heart (1998), whose ensemble cast included Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie, star of True Women from the previous year.
Her first major part was as the star of the 1998 film Casper Meets Wendy, playing the young witch Wendy who encounters the animated character Casper. Like Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997), the first sequel to the hugely successful Casper (1995), the film went direct-to-video with generally unenthusiastic reviews.
Duff later appeared in a supporting role in the television movie The Soul Collector in 1999, which was based on a Kathleen Kane novel, and starred Bruce Greenwood as an angel who helps out a female farmer (Melissa Gilbert) whose husband has recently died. Duff ended up winning a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting Young Actress).
Duff's first serious shot at fame came when she was cast as one of the children in the pilot episode of the NBC sitcom Daddio (2000). Said Michael Chiklis, star of Daddio, "After working with her the first day, I remember saying to my wife, 'This young girl is going to be a movie star.' She was completely at ease with herself and comfortable in her own skin." However, before the show had even aired, Duff was dropped from its cast lineup, an unfortunate turn of events which made the twelve-year-old reluctant to continue her acting career. But her manager and mother, Susan Duff, spurred her on, and she successfully auditioned for the family comedy show Lizzie McGuire just a week later.
Lizzie McGuire, which first aired on the Disney Channel in January 2001, was a ratings hit, drawing in 2.3 million viewers per episode, and became the career breakthrough Duff had been waiting for. Her performance in this role as a typical teenager led to appearances on the covers of many teen magazines, and she became highly popular among children between the ages of seven and fourteen, with Richard Huff of the New York Daily News calling her "a 2002 version of Annette Funicello". After fulfilling her entire sixty-five episode contract, as well as participating in a film spin-off, Disney toyed with the idea of continuing the franchise in further movies and a prime-time television series to be broadcast on ABC, but Duff refused the proposal. There was a dispute over the amount of pay Duff would receive; reportedly, she had been receiving $15,000 per episode, but she and her representatives, including her mother, wanted that figure to be raised to $100,000. Disney offered to raise it up to $35,000 but Duff would not relent and all plans of continuing the series were abandoned.
Duff's second role in a theatrical motion picture was in Human Nature, an independent film released in most countries in 2002 following a good reception at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry, the film follows a female naturalist, played by Patricia Arquette, who has body hair growing all over her body. Tim Robbins and Rhys Ifans co-starred. Duff played the younger version of Arquette's character.
She starred in the Disney Channel television movie Cadet Kelly (2002) with Christy Carlson Romano and Gary Cole, which became the network's most watched program in its nineteen-year history.
Her first major role in a feature film was in Agent Cody Banks with Frankie Muniz in 2003. It was successful enough to spawn a sequel, proving that Duff's popularity was not limited to the small screen.
Duff then reprised the role of Lizzie McGuire in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which was her first million-dollar movie role.
She played the part of Lorraine Baker in the Twentieth Century Fox film Cheaper by the Dozen with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt.
In 2004, she appeared in the romantic comedy A Cinderella Story, a twenty-first century update of Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale Cinderella. Comedienne Jennifer Coolidge played the wicked stepmother of the picture, which was directed by Mark Rosman, a veteran of Duff's Lizzie McGuire. Trashed upon its release in the summer, the film nonetheless became a modest sleeper hit, and many critics were impressed by Duff's performance, as well as her chemistry with co-star Chad Michael Murray, another actor popular with teens, who plays Duff's love interest in the film.
Later that year, she starred in the romance film Raise Your Voice, which marked the third collaboration between Duff and director Sean McNamara (after Casper Meets Wendy and episodes of Lizzie McGuire). While some critics praised Duff for appearing in a more dramatic role than she had previously been seen in, the film was heavily panned, with many slating in particular the striking similarities to the musical film Fame (1980). Reviews were, by and large, negative to Duff's vocals (several critics have pointed out what appears to be her digitally enhanced voice and indifferent towards her acting performance, although she did receive a Razzie award nomination for "Worst Actress" (in addition to her work in A Cinderella Story). The film also received a muted reception at the fall box office, where it became Duff's least commercially successful film to date.
In Duff's latest film, The Perfect Man, she plays the eldest daughter of a divorced woman, played by Heather Locklear, who moves to New York City as she desperately searches for a good man to settle down with. The movie saw Duff once again united with director Mark Rosman. Reviews were mostly negative.
Duff has recently filmed the satirical comedy Material Girls. The Martha Coolidge-directed film, co-produced by Madonna's independent film production company Maverick Entertainment, stars Hilary and her real-life sister Haylie Duff as wealthy siblings who must fight to reclaim their fortune following a scandal. The Duff sisters are also due to lend their vocal talents to the computer animated comedy Foodfight!, to be distributed by Lions Gate Films in the fall of 2006. The film's director, Larry Kasanoff, said that he is "absolutely thrilled to have Hilary and Haylie Duff as part of the cast."
After seeing her sister perform in a band, Hilary decided that she wanted to be the next 'Pop princess'. Duff's first recorded singing performance was on the song "I Can't Wait", which appeared on the original television soundtrack for her television show Lizzie McGuire in August 2002. The following month, the first Disneymania compilation album was released, featuring Duff in the song "The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room".
Her first album was the 2002 collection of Christmas songs entitled Santa Claus Lane, which included duets with Lil' Romeo and Christina Milian. Released in October, it made the lower reaches of the Billboard 200 album chart and #3 on the kids' music chart, and eventually achieved gold sales in December of the following year. The title track was also included on the soundtrack to The Santa Clause 2.
She also sang on several tracks on the soundtrack to The Lizzie McGuire Movie which was released in April 2003, a few weeks before the actual film came out. One of these tracks, "Why Not", which is performed by Duff in the film, was released as a single, and reached the Top 20 on singles charts in countries including Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Later that year, she recorded her first non-holiday album, entitled Metamorphosis, which was released in August 2003 and went to #1 on the US and Canadian charts in that year. The Metamorphosis album featured music that would appeal to teenagers, as well as the younger children who had supported her to date. Songwriting team The Matrix, who had worked with singers such as Avril Lavigne (on her Let Go album) and Liz Phair, provided three songs on the album. One of these songs, "So Yesterday", was released as the first single, reaching #2 in Canada, the Top 40 in Australia and just outside the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Duff agreed to perform her singles "So Yesterday" and "Come Clean" at MTV's New Year Bash 2004 in New York City's Times Square on December 31, but when she performed "Come Clean" the song (and the vocals) playing over the speakers during the performance skipped (in the same way that a CD does on a malfunctioning CD player), revealing that she had been lip synching: during the last seconds of "Come Clean", Duff was forced to sing the final few words of the song.
Metamorphosis became the eighth-highest selling LP of the year, with over 2.4 million copies purchased in its first four months of release in the US alone; it has since gone to sell over 3.7 million copies. Her success as a singer helped her to be ranked #96 on the Forbes Top 100 Celebrity List of 2003. Metamorphosis was also nominated in the Juno Awards of 2004 for International Album of the Year.
On May 31, 2004, the music video for her cover version of "Our Lips are Sealed" by The Go-Gos, which she performed with her sister Haylie Duff, made its MTV debut. The song was commissioned for the soundtrack of Duff's film A Cinderella Story, which came out the following July.
On September 28, 2004 (her seventeenth birthday), she released her second album, the self-titled Hilary Duff; it reached a peak of #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 in Canada. When describing the album to her fans, Duff noted that she felt it has an edgier, rock feel to it. The album's working title was The Girl Can Rock. Its first single was "Fly", and it also includes "Haters", the lyrics of which were once rumoured to be about Lindsay Lohan, who is often considered by the media to be Duff's rival. The album has sold over 1.5 million copies in the US to date.
She accepted an invitation to perform at the youth concert which formed part of George W. Bush's 2005 Inauguration Day celebrations.
Duff's third official album, Most Wanted, is a compilation of her most popular hits alongside three new songs. Hilary enlisted help from boyfriend Joel Madden to make her three new tracks edgier and more rock, and listened to music by artists such as The Killers and Muse for inspiration. The lead single off the album is "Wake Up".
Drake Bell told the New Jersey newspaper, The Star Ledger, that Duff's music is "sugar pop" and not really popular among 18-year-old guys. However, he also said, "For what she's done, it's amazing. It definitely opens doors for me and other artists."
Lil' John has recently reported to MTV that he is working with Hilary Duff on a new song called Material Girls for the soundtrack of the movie with the same name. He also says it gives the song a new and cool groove.
Duff has dated singer Aaron Carter, brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter. There were reports that she had tried to have fellow teen actress Lindsay Lohan banned from the preview of Cheaper by the Dozen because Lohan had previously been dating Carter in late 2003, as well as other reports about a fistfight that supposedly took place between the two actresses. Hilary Duff was furious when she found out that Aaron Carter had been dating her and Lindsay Lohan at the same time.
Duff has also been reported to have dated Jordan Masterson.
She also was involved in a celebrity feud with Avril Lavigne. Apparently, she insulted Avril Lavigne by saying that she didn't respect her fans, which Lavigne disagreed with.
Duff is involved with many charities, is an animal rights enthusiast, and a member of "Kids With a Cause." She gets up at 4.30 a.m. to allow herself to study. Nicknames include Hil (allegedly the most common), Hilly, Juicy Fruit, and Hils. Her eyes are hazel-coloured and her hair is naturally light brown, but she's been bleaching it blonde since she was a pre-teen. Duff also has six dogs.
Duff launched a clothing line, "Stuff By Duff" on March 12, 2004 with clothes distributed through Target in the United States and Zellers in Canada. Playmates Toys also released a doll of Hilary that year.
Her sister, Haylie Duff, has been trying to sing, too. Hilary has helped her with duet songs including "Our Lips Are Sealed" which have been successful in the United States and in other countries, including Mexico and Colombia.
Her mother, Susan Duff, is a producer, and manages Hilary's career. Susan also co-produced A Cinderella Story.
Hilary is currently dating Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden. She finally cleared up all the rumors in June 2005 by admitting they were dating, and had been seeing each other since she was only 16. Their first public appearance will be at the MTV Video Music Awards in August on the verge of Hilary's 18th birthday.