Name: Jennifer Garner
Born: 17 April 1972 (Age: 39)
Where: Houston, Texas, USA
Height: 5' 9"
Awards: Won 1 Golden Globe
Male action stars are, of course, ten a penny. The world never seems to tire of beefy guys in sweaty vests pulping their victims with no concern for the Sixth Commandment. Kick-ass females, though, are harder to come by. Beyond the B-movie likes of Cynthia Rothrock, we find that top-notch stars really only dabble in the genre. Michelle Pfeiffer made a great Catwoman, but that was a one-off. Uma Thurman threw her weight around in Kill Bill and Paycheck, but that would not last. Halle Berry would press her claim in Die Another Day, the X-Men franchise and, again, as Catwoman, but her best work was clearly done in dramas.
Step forward Jennifer Garner. Having suffered a series of false starts and painful cancellations, she would finally break through in 2001 in the cult TV show Alias as hard-hitting Agent Sydney Bristow, a college student caught up in a sinister world of counter espionage, a mistress of disguise and sudden violence. This was no Scully, usually terrified and pulling a pistol when the going got rough. Bristow was the real action deal, a blistering update of Luc Besson's Nikita, her every body-part a lethal weapon. When Garner then won the part of Elektra in Daredevil and was so successful she spawned her own spin-off, her muscle was undeniable. That she also carried the comedy 13 Going On 30 meant that an impressive new talent had arrived.
She was born on the 17th of April, 1972, in Houston, Texas, the second of three girls, Melissa being older and Suzannah younger. In 1975, when Jennifer was three, her father, Bill, moved the family to Charleston, West Virginia, where he would work as a chemical engineer for Union Carbide and the children's mother Pat would teach English at a local college. Charleston was state capital but, with an urban population of just 53,000, was still a small town isolated in the hills west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Garners lived in a middle class area but, Pat would claim later, due to her babysitting exploits Jennifer would be well-known by half the town's population.
At elementary school, Jennifer discovered a talent for performing, being a perennial winner in the school talent show. It was also noted that, when performing, she had an abnormal hold over her peers. One teacher recalled how once, clad in green overalls, she read a folk tale to the other kids. Whenever anyone became restless, she drew them back in by dropping one of her shoulder-straps. A canny kid.