Hilary Erhard Duff (born September
28, 1987) is an American actress and recording artist. After working in
local theater plays and television commercials in her childhood, Duff
gained fame for playing the title role in the television series Lizzie
McGuire. Duff subsequently ventured into feature films, with her most
commercially successful movies being Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), The
Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003), and A Cinderella Story (2004).
Duff expanded her repertoire into pop music with the release of three
RIAA-certified platinum albums and over thirteen million records sold
worldwide as of February 2007. Her first studio album, Metamorphosis
(2003), was certified triple platinum and she followed it up with two more
platinum albums, Hilary Duff (2004) and Most Wanted (2005). Duff released
her third studio album, Dignity (2007), which was certified gold in August
2007 and released two singles, "With Love", her biggest US single to date
and "Stranger". In November 2008, she released a Greatest Hits
compilation, Best of Hilary Duff with her third #1 on the Billboard Hot
Dance Club Play single "Reach Out" .
Duff has also launched clothing lines including, "Stuff by Hilary Duff",
and Femme for DKNY Jeans and two exclusive perfume collections with
Elizabeth Arden. Duff and her mother were listed as producers for the
movie Material Girls. Duff is credited as executive producer for the
upcoming independent film According to Greta.
Duff was born in Houston, Texas on September 28, 1987. She is the second
child of Susan Colleen (née Cobb), a homemaker and a film producer, and
husband Robert Erhard Duff, a partner in a chain of convenience stores,
who resides at the family home in Houston to maintain the family's
convenience store business. She has an elder sister, Haylie Duff, who is
also an actress/singer. Duff's mother encouraged Hilary to take up acting
classes alongside her elder sister, Haylie, which resulted in both girls
winning roles in various local theatre productions. At the ages of eight
and six, respectively, the Duff sisters participated in the ballet, The
Nutcracker Suite with Columbus BalletMet in San Antonio. The siblings
became more enthusiastic about the idea of choosing acting as a
profession, and eventually relocated to California with their mother.
Duff's father stayed at the family home in Houston to take care of their
business. After several years of auditions and meetings, the Duff sisters
were cast in various television commercials.
Duff's early career was marked by playing minor roles, starting off with
an uncredited appearance in Hallmark Entertainment's western miniseries
True Women in 1997. She also served as an uncredited extra, in
writer-director Willard Carroll's ensemble dramedy Playing by Heart in
1998. Her first major role was as a star of the 1998 film Casper Meets
Wendy, a direct-to-video sequel to Casper: A Spirited Beginning in which
she plays the young witch Wendy, who befriends the animated character
Casper. The film was released to mostly unenthusiastic reviews.
In 1999, Duff appeared in a supporting role in the television film The
Soul Collector, which was based on a Kathleen Kane novel. Duff won a Young
Artist Award for "Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting
Young Actress)" for her role in the movie.
Duff's first serious rise to fame came when she was cast as one of the
children in the pilot episode of the NBC sitcom Daddio in 2000. Her
co-star, Michael Chiklis, stated, "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."
Duff was dropped from the cast of Daddio before it was aired, which made
her reluctant to pursue her acting career further. However, her manager
and mother urged her on, and a week later she successfully auditioned for
the children's television series Lizzie McGuire, where she portrayed the
title role of a clumsy but average middle school girl. The show focused on
her growth into teenhood.
Lizzie McGuire, which first aired on the Disney Channel. Her participation
in the show led to her becoming highly popular among children between the
ages of seven and fourteen, with critic Richard Huff of the New York Daily
News calling her "a 2002 version of Annette Funicello". After Duff
fulfilled her 65 episode contract with Lizzie McGuire, Disney considered
continuing the franchise further, through films and a prime-time
television series to be broadcast on ABC. However, the plans failed
because Duff's representatives said she was not being paid enough for the
proposed series. Duff also starred in the Disney Channel television film
Cadet Kelly (2002), which became the network's most watched program in its
19-year history. In the movie, she plays a free-spirited girl who is
enrolled in a military school and finds it hard to adjust to its strict
and disciplined environment.
Duff's first role in a theatrical motion picture was in Human Nature
(2002), an independent film shot around the time of the start of Lizzie
McGuire. It was first showcased at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals.
The film, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry,
follows a female naturalist, played by Patricia Arquette. Duff played the
younger version of Arquette's character. The same year, Duff recorded a
cover version of Brooke McClymont's "I Can't Wait" for the Lizzie McGuire
soundtrack, and "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room" for the first DisneyMania
compilation album. Her first album was Santa Claus Lane (2002), a
collection of Christmas songs that included duets with her sister Haylie,
Lil' Romeo, and Christina Milian. Accompanied by the Disney Channel-only
single "Tell Me a Story (About the Night Before)", it peaked at 154 on the
U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and was certified gold.
In 2003, Duff received her first major role in a feature film when she was
cast alongside Frankie Muniz in Agent Cody Banks. The film received
positive reviews and was successful enough to spawn a sequel, in which
Duff did not participate. The same year, Duff reprised her role as Lizzie
McGuire for The Lizzie McGuire Movie. It received mixed reviews, with
certain critics calling it "an unabashed promotion of Duff’s image, just
as Crossroads was for Spears", while other reviews were generally positive
and encouraging. Later that year, Duff played one of the 12 children of
Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the family film Cheaper by the Dozen,
which remains her highest grossing film to date. She reprised her role in
the sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), which failed to be as successful
as the original film and was panned by critics.
Duff's first full-length studio album, Metamorphosis (2003), reached
number one on the U.S. and Canadian charts and had sold over 3.7 million
copies by May 2005. The lead single, "So Yesterday" (co-written and
produced by The Matrix), was a top ten hit in several countries; its
follow-up was the Laguna Beach theme song "Come Clean". The third single,
"Little Voice", was not released in the U.S. and was a minor hit in
Australia. In late 2003, Duff embarked on her first concert tour, the
Metamorphosis Tour, and later the Most Wanted Tour. Most shows scheduled
in the major cities were completely sold out.
Duff also made several guest appearances in television shows, her first as
a sick child in the medical drama Chicago Hope in March 2000. In a 2003
episode of George Lopez, she had a role as a makeup salesperson; she later
reappeared in the show in 2005 as Kenzie, a feminist poet friend of the
character Carmen (Masiela Lusha). In 2003, she acted opposite her sister
Haylie in American Dreams, while in 2005, she played a classmate and
idolizer of the title character of Joan of Arcadia.
Duff's second full-length album was the self-titled Hilary Duff in which
she co-wrote some songs. It was released on her seventeenth birthday (in
September 2004) and debuted at #2 in the U.S. and at #1 in Canada. The
album sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. in eight months with its
only US single, Fly.
In 2004, Duff starred in the romantic comedy A Cinderella Story. Though
the reviews were mostly negative, the film went on to become a moderate
box office hit, and critics were impressed by Duff's performance. Later
that year, she starred in the film Raise Your Voice, her first role in a
drama film. While some critics praised Duff for appearing in a more mature
and serious role than her previous films, the film itself was heavily
panned. Several reviews were indifferent towards her acting performance
and were particularly harsh towards Duff's vocals, with critics pointing
out what appeared to be her digitally enhanced voice. The same year, Duff
received her first Razzie nomination for worst actress for her roles in
Raise Your Voice and A Cinderella Story.
In 2005, Duff starred in The Perfect Man in which she played the eldest
daughter of a divorced woman (Heather Locklear). In the same year, Duff
was again nominated for a Razzie Award, for The Perfect Man and Cheaper by
the Dozen 2. She also starred in the 2006 satirical comedy Material Girls,
in which she co-starred with her sister Haylie Duff. Duff along with her
sister Haylie, received two more nominations for Razzie awards for their
role in the film.
Duff's third album, Most Wanted (2005), comprised her favorite tracks from
her previous two albums, remixes, and new songs inspired by pop-rock
musicians such as The Killers and Muse. In an appearance on Total Request
Live, Duff stated that it was not a greatest hits album, but that her
label told her it was time to release a new album. She had more creative
control over Most Wanted compared to her previous releases, co-writing the
new material with producers Joel Madden and his brother, Benji, both
members of Good Charlotte. The album debuted at number one on the
Billboard 200 and became her third number one debut in Canada. An
Italy-only compilation, 4Ever, was released in 2006. Duff recorded new
songs for her movie, Material Girls, which included a Timbaland-produced
cover version of Madonna's "Material Girl" with her sister.
During her Still Most Wanted tour, she performed in Guadalajara, Mexico,
where she filmed a brief appearance on the soap opera Rebelde. She was
also the guest star on The Andy Milonakis Show for its third season
premiere in 2007. In April 2008, Duff was offered the lead role of Annie
Mills in the CW Network's Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff, but she turned it
down because she was more interested in looking for projects outside the
teen genre. She is also a model signed to IMG Models New York.
Duff co-wrote the material for her third studio album Dignity, along with
Kara DioGuardi, who co-produced the album with Rhett Lawrence, Tim & Bob,
and Richard Vission. Duff stated that compared to her previous music, it
is "more dancey" and makes use of more real instruments. She said, "I
don't know exactly how to explain what we're doing, but it's fun and funky
and different, something new for me. It's really cool". In late 2005, the
Duff sisters lent their voices to the computer animated comedy Foodfight!,
which is to be distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment, but has no
scheduled release date. The director of the film, Larry Kasanoff, said
that he was "absolutely thrilled to have the Duff sisters as part of the
cast". Duff also starred opposite John Cusack in War, Inc. which was
released in theatres in Los Angeles and Manhattan, New York on May 23,
On September 7, 2007, Duff confirmed on MuchOnDemand, that she would be
filming two independent films According to Greta, and What Goes Up. In
June 2008, Duff joined the cast of the Polish brothers comedy Stay Cool.
She co-starred alongside Winona Ryder, Mark Polish, Sean Astin, Chevy
Chase, and Jon Cryer. In the film, she portrayed the character of Shasta
O'Neil, described as a sexy high school senior and the film is scheduled
for release in 2009.
In November 2008, Duff's second greatest hits album, Best of Hilary Duff
was released and the album's first single "Reach Out" which samples
Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" was released in the previous month, the
song became Duff's third #1 dance hit. Duff thereafter announced that she
would be leaving her record label Hollywood Records after six years of
service. She later announced to MTV that she would begin work on her new
album in December 2008.
In January 2009, it was announced that she would star in an indie feature,
The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, an adaptation of Bonnie & Clyde. In April
2009, Duff began filming Provinces of Night, which is based on a book by
the same name written by William Gay. Duff plays Raven Halfacre, the
teenage daughter of a promiscuous, alcoholic mother. Duff has signed on
for a seven-episode arc as Olivia Burke, a movie star who enrolls at NYU
in search of a traditional college experience and ends up rooming with
Vanessa (Jessica Szohr) in Gossip Girl.
In August 2009, it was announced that Duff will star in The Business of
Falling in Love, a romantic comedy based on the book "Diary of a Working
Girl," by Daniella Brodsky and directed by Gil Junger. The film is set to
appear on the small screen for ABC Family. In the movie, Duff plays a
fashion reporter who goes undercover in the business world hoping to find
love while writing an article about dating men in suits. In September
2009, Duff released a second clothing line with DKNY Jeans as Femme for
DKNY. She decided to design a new clothing line for girls her age which
had detachable scarves and adjustable belt loops.
In a June 2006 interview with Elle magazine, Duff was quoted as saying:
"...(virginity) is definitely something I like about myself. It doesn't
mean I haven't thought about sex, because everyone I know has had it and
you want to fit in". Duff later told MuchMusic that she did not say the
quotes attributed to her in the article and that the subject was
"definitely not something that I would talk about..." She denied the
quotes again in a 2008 interview with Maxim magazine.
Duff began dating singer Aaron Carter in 2001. They met on the sets of
Lizzie McGuire, during Carter's guest appearance in a Christmas episode.
The relationship lasted two years. It was reported that Carter left Duff
for Lindsay Lohan, but soon broke up with Lohan and resumed dating Duff.
Carter later stated that he also cheated on Duff with her best friend, and
that Duff "got her heart broken" and he was "sorry" for his actions.
Duff began dating Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden in 2004. After a long
period of tabloid speculation, Duff's mother Susan announced their
relationship in a June 2005 interview for Seventeen magazine. Duff and
Madden broke up in November 2006. The same year, Duff's parents separated
after 22 years of marriage, due to infidelity on the part of her father.
She wrote about the pain caused by the separation in her songs "Stranger"
and "Gypsy Woman".
Duff began dating NHL player Mike Comrie in 2007. She frequently attends
his games. Comrie bought Duff a Mercedes-Benz for her 20th birthday.