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Michelle Williams celebrates her 36th birthday today. She began acting at about 13, and her first big role was as Jen Lindley on Dawson’s Creek. She was one of the large cohort of young actors and actresses who first came to notice in the late 1990s in one or more of teen-oriented television series, high school romantic comedies, or hip horror films. Along with Mila Kunis, Williams has had the most successful career of all of this crowd (although the late Heath Ledger was doing well at the time of his death).
There were hints, during her Dawson’s Creek years, that Williams might be the one from that series to make it big, especially her delightful turn in the comic Dick, where her character crushes on Richard Nixon. But her big breakthrough, and her first Oscar nomination, came with the 2005 drama Brokeback Mountain: