Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon (/ˈriːs ˈwɪðərspuːn/; born March 22, 1976) is an American actress and producer. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in Tennessee, Witherspoon began her career as a child actress, making her professional screen debut in The Man in the Moon (1991), for which she was nominated for a Young Artist Award.
Following breakout roles in Desperate Choices: To Save My Child (1992) and Jack the Bear, she starred in the comedy-drama Pleasantville (1998), for which she won the Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Performance. Her leading role of Tracy Flick in Election was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Witherspoon's breakthrough role was playing Elle Woods in the 2001 film Legally Blonde, for which she received international recognition and her second Golden Globe nomination. The following year, she starred in the romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama (2002), which emerged as her biggest live-action commercial success. In 2005, Witherspoon received worldwide attention for her portrayal of June Carter in Walk the Line, which earned her the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and the Critics Choice Award for Best Actress. Her other films include Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); Monsters vs. Aliens (2009); Water for Elephants (2011) and Sing (2016). In 2014, Witherspoon produced the thriller Gone Girl and received critical acclaim for portraying Cheryl Strayed in Wild, for which she earned her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
Witherspoon owns a production company, Pacific Standard, and she is actively involved in children's and women's advocacy organizations. She serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and was named Global Ambassador of Avon Products in 2007, serving as honorary chair of the charitable Avon Foundation. Witherspoon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 1, 2010.