Relive Helen Hunt’s greatest performances in movies, TV shows and on stage
Legendary Hollywood star Helen Hunt will make her London theater debut this fall in the lively play Eureka Day at Old Vic. The Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress has performed on Broadway before. She now directs Jonathan Spector’s provocative satire on a contagious virus and the controversy surrounding mandatory vaccination and quarantine.
The Eureka Day The play is set in a painfully progressive school in California, but this ostensibly considerate environment, with its neutral pronouns and reworkings of colonial stories, is torn apart by an epidemic of mumps. Many parents show their anti-vaxxer colors, refusing to have their children vaccinated, putting the school principal in a dilemma: the county health department has ordered that all unvaccinated students be quarantined.
So, as we prepare for this very timely piece, let’s take a look back at Hunt’s incredible job – of starring alongside Jack Nicholson in the Oscar-winning film As good as it gets to his beloved stint on a long-running sitcom Crazy of you. Here’s our handy guide to Helen Hunt‘s career.
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Helen Hunt’s television work
The Californian hunt started early. She was a child actress on the likes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The bionic woman, The Swiss Robinson family and The facts of lifetransitioning to teenage roles in Saint Elsewhere and highway to paradise.
However, his biggest television role by far was in the sitcom Crazy of youwhich ran from 1992 to 1999, and returned for a revival in 2019. She and Paul Reiser played, respectively, newlyweds Jamie, a public relations specialist, and Paul, a documentary filmmaker, who were navigating their relationship and their burgeoning family life — including a baby — along with their busy careers in New York.
The NBC show was a huge hit with audiences and won numerous awards, including four Emmys and three Golden Globes for Hunt. She and Reiser also received $1 million per episode for the final season, and Hunt directed several episodes, including the finale.
Hank Azaria, Hunt’s then-husband, appeared on the show, as did Friends actress Lisa Kudrow as waitress Ursula. This last character then became the twin of Phoebe Buffay, and Hunt and his companion Crazy of you actress Leila Kenzle has also made guest appearances on Friends.
Hunt largely focused on her film career after Crazy of you finished, but she appeared in The simpsonsas Moe’s girlfriend, Renee.
Most recently, she played the governor of North Carolina in the miniseries Shots firedabout a racist murder, and she was an American journalist trying to broadcast from Berlin during World War II in the acclaimed drama world on fire. Hunt also appeared in Blind spota spinoff of the 2018 film about a criminal on probation who witnesses a police shooting.
Additionally, Hunt has a solid background as a television director. She started with Crazy of you and has since directed episodes of Californication, Revenge, House of Lies, This Is Us, Feud: Betty and Joan, The Politician and more.
The film work of Helen Hunt
Hunt made his film debut in the 1977 film Russian mountains. But she made more of an impact as punk rock enthusiast Leena in the sci-fi thriller slicers (and its sequels), and alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in the cult comedy Girls I just wanna have fun. She played Kathleen Turner’s daughter in Francis Ford Coppola Peggy Sue got marriedand Patrick Swayze’s wife in an action thriller next of kin.
Hunt then had his biggest commercial success to date with the 1996 disaster film Tornadoin which she played storm chaser Dr. Jo Harding and followed up with her most critically acclaimed dark comedy, James L Brooks in 1997 As good as it gets.
Hunt played Carol, a waitress and single mother of a severely asthmatic son, who begins a cautious romantic relationship with Jack Nicholson’s crass, obsessive-compulsive novelist Melvin. They also befriend Melvin’s neighbor, a gay artist played by Greg Kinnear. Both Hunt and Nicholson won Oscars for their performances, and the film was nominated for Best Picture.
Hunt continued to appear in high-profile films, including Dr. T and the women, give it to the next, throw it away and What women Want. In 2007, she made her first film, Then she found mein which she co-stars with Bette Midler.
She was again nominated for an Oscar for the 2012 comedy-drama Sessionsplaying sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene, and recently starred as real-life volleyball coach Kathy Bresnahan in The season of miracles.
The scenic work of Helen Hunt
Hunt began his theatrical career with a production of Our city at Lincoln Center in New York in 1989; she played Emily Webb. She continued with a version of the Wild West on Shakespeare The Taming of the Shrew at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, alongside Tracey Ullman and Morgan Freeman. Hunt then returned to Shakespeare and Lincoln Center to play Viola in twelfth night.
In 2003 she starred in the Broadway production of Yasmina Reza Life x 3, with Linda Emond, Brent Spiner and John Turturro. The London production at the National Theater featured an equally impressive company starring Mark Rylance, Harriet Walter, Imelda Staunton and Oliver Cotton.
Our city reappeared in 2010, with Hunt swapping the role of Emily for stage manager in the revival of Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theatre. She then played another iconic Shakespearian heroine, Beatrice, in a Los Angeles series A lot of noise for nothing.
Most recently, Hunt starred in the 2019 Encores! production of the musical by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso Work. The revised show included new songs from hamiltonby Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the cast also included Andrea Burns, Christopher Jackson, Javier Munoz and Tracie Thoms. In a New York Theater Guide review on WorkHunt performed a moving rendition of “Just a Housewife.”
Now Hunt will direct the European premiere of Eureka Day. Spector’s play opened in California in 2016 and played Off-Broadway in 2019. The Old Vic production will be directed by Katy Rudd, whose dazzling adaptation by Neil Gaiman The ocean at the end of the road moved from the National Theater to the West End and is now touring, and has the backing of super-producer Sonia Friedman – so she may well have West End ambitions. Catch it first by booking for the Old Vic race!
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Photo Credit: Helen Hunt in Eureka Day, Mad About You, (Photos courtesy of production, photo by Darren Michaels, photo courtesy of IMDB and photo by Joan Marcus)