Hilary Duff

Hilary Erhard Duff (born September 28, 1987) is an American actress and singer. After gaining fame for her starring role on the television show Lizzie McGuire, she went on to have a film career, and her most commercially successful pictures include Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003), and A Cinderella Story (2004). Duff has expanded her repertoire into pop music, with three RIAA certified-platinum albums, and she launched a clothing line (Stuff by Hilary Duff) and an exclusive perfume with Elizabeth Arden. Her upcoming films include the 2007 action thriller Brand Hauser: Stuff Happens and animated comedy Foodfight!. Duff’s new album, entitled Dignity, is scheduled to released on April 3, 2007 in the U.S.

1 comment February 28, 2007

Early life and career

Hilary Duff was born in Houston, Texas, the second child of Bob Erhard Duff, owner of a chain of convenience stores, and Susan Colleen Duff, a homemaker. After Duff’s mother encouraged her to take an acting class alongside her older sister, Haylie Katherine Duff, both girls won parts 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 Ballet Met in San Antonio. The siblings became more enthusiastic about the idea of acting professionally, and eventually relocated to California with their mother. Bob Erhard Duff stayed at the family home in Houston to maintain their business. After several years of auditions and meetings, the Duff sisters were cast in several television commercials.

1 comment February 28, 2007

Television

Most of Duff’s first few acting roles were small, starting off with an uncredited appearance in Hallmark Entertainment’s western miniseries True Women (1997). She also served as an extra, again uncredited, in writer-director Willard Carroll’s ensemble dramedy Playing by Heart (1998). Her first major part was as the star of the 1998 film Casper Meets Wendy, playing the young witch, Wendy, who encounters the animated character Casper. Like Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997), the second sequel to the successful Casper (1995), the film was released direct-to-video with generally unenthusiastic reviews.

Duff later appeared in a supporting role in the television film The Soul Collector (1999), which was based on a Kathleen Kane novel and starred Bruce Greenwood as an angel who helps out a female farmer (Melissa Gilbert) whose husband has recently died. Duff ended up winning a Young Artist Award for “Best Performance in a TV Movie or Pilot (Supporting Young Actress).”

Duff’s first serious shot at fame came when she was cast as one of the children in the pilot episode of the NBC sitcom Daddio (2000). Actor Michael Chiklis, co-star of Daddio 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.”

Lizzie McGuire

Before Daddio had aired, Duff was dropped from its cast lineup and became reluctant to continue her acting career. Her manager and mother spurred her on, and a week later she successfully auditioned for the family comedy show Lizzie McGuire. In the series Duff portrayed a clumsy but average middle school girl. The show focused on her life and her slow growth into teenhood. Actors that starred alongside her included Lalaine, Adam Lamberg, Jake Thomas, Clayton Snyder, Ashlie Brillault, Robert Carradine, and Hallie Todd.

Lizzie McGuire, which first aired on the Disney Channel in January 12, 2001, was a ratings hit, drawing in 2.3 million viewers per episode, and became the career breakthrough Duff had been waiting for. 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 entire sixty-five episode contract with Lizzie McGuire, Disney toyed with the idea of continuing the franchise in further films and a prime-time television series to be broadcast on ABC, but the plans deteriorated. A successful feature film spin-off, The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003), was then produced.

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Film career

Duff’s first role in a theatrical motion picture was in Human Nature (2002), an independent film shot before Lizzie McGuire and first shown at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry, the film follows a female naturalist, played by Patricia Arquette. Duff played the younger version of Arquette’s character.

2003–2004

Duff subsequently starred opposite Christy Carlson Romano and Gary Cole in the Disney Channel television film Cadet Kelly (2002), which became the network’s most watched program in its nineteen-year history. Her first major role in a feature film was in Agent Cody Banks with Frankie Muniz in 2003. This would mark Duffs first role in an action film and her first “major” feature film. The film recieved positive reviews and was successful enough to spawn a sequel, in which Duff did not participate. Afterwards Hilary reprised her role as Lizzie McGuire for The Lizzie McGuire Movie, the film was very successful and exceeded box office expectations.

Later that year Duff played one of the twelve children of Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the family film Cheaper by the Dozen, which remains her highest grossing film. She reprised her role in the sequel to the film called Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), which failed to be as financially successful as the original film and was panned by critics.

In 2004 Duff starred in the romantic comedy A Cinderella Story, an update of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale Cinderella. The film became a moderate box office hit, and though reviews were mostly negative, some critics were impressed by Duff’s performance and her chemistry with co-star Chad Michael Murray. A Cinderella Story earned a total of $66,068,046 worldwide and was a commercial success. Later that year she starred in the film Raise Your Voice. Some critics praised Duff for appearing in a more dramatic role than previously, but the film was heavily panned, with the Las Vegas Weekly writing: “Effortlessly combining Duff’s bad acting and bad singing with bad writing and bad direction, Raise Your Voice is an insulting waste of time that begs to be silenced.”Several reviews were negative to Duff’s vocals (several critics pointed out what appears to be her digitally enhanced voice) and indifferent towards her acting performance. The film received a muted reception at the box office, and is Duff’s least successful film commercially, with total theater receipts of just $13,573,284. This was Hilary’s first starring role in a drama film. Duff received her first Razzie nomination for her role in Raise Your Voice. She lost her 2004 nomination to Halle Berry for her feature film Catwoman.

2005–2006

In The Perfect Man (2005) she played the oldest daughter of a divorced woman (Heather Locklear), who moves to New York City as she desperately searches for love. Reviews were mostly negative and the film disappointed at the box office, grossing a mere $19,770,475 globally. That year, Duff was again nominated for a Razzie Award, for both The Perfect Man and Cheaper by the Dozen 2. The 2006 satirical comedy Material Girls again disappointed, grossing only $14,189,525 worldwide. The Martha Coolidge-directed film, co-produced by Madonna’s independent film production company Maverick Entertainment, starred Duff and her real-life sister Haylie Duff as wealthy siblings who must fight to reclaim their fortune following a scandal. For the film, Duff was nominated for another two Razzie awards on January 24, 2007. The film is to be released in Europe in March of 2007, and has launched a foreign website confirming this information. Material Girls was released to DVD in the US on December 12, 2006. Due to excessive recording of Duff’s next studio album, this was the only movie Duff starred in for 2006.

2007–2008

The Duff sisters are due to lend their voices to the computer animated comedy Foodfight!, which Lions Gate Films is to distribute in 2007. The film’s director, Larry Kasanoff, said that he is “absolutely thrilled to have the Duff sisters as part of the cast.”

Duff is currently slated to star opposite John Cusack in Brand Hauser: Stuff Happens, due for release in late 2007. The film is set in a futuristic country and Duff and Cusack have completed filming it in Bulgaria. Duff plays a European pop star named Yonica. Duff pushed back her fifth studio album so that she had ample time to work on the movie. Cusack has stated that he enjoys working with Miss Duff and that “she is awesome in the movie”. Later Duff herself stated on a radio talk show that the movie “should be released in 7 to 8 months” from January, which means that “Brand Hauser” will have a summer release date in the United States.

Duff is also due to work on a second movie with John Cusack, the sci-fi/action thriller Talking with Dog. Little is known about the film, although its theme revolves around a future that faces some extreme consequences of global warming (including human infertility). Filming is set to begin in 2007, with a 2008 release date.

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Music career

2002–2004

Duff recorded a cover of Brooke McClymont’s “I Can’t Wait” for the original television soundtrack for Lizzie McGuire in 2002 (see 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 which included duets with Lil’ Romeo, Christina Milian, and her sister Haylie. Accompanied by the Disney Channel-only single “Tell Me a Story”, it peaked well outside the top 100 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart, but eventually received a gold certification. The album’s title track was included on the soundtrack to The Santa Clause 2 and another song, “What Christmas Should Be” was used in Cheaper by the Dozen. Duff sang several tracks for the soundtrack to The Lizzie McGuire Movie (see The Lizzie McGuire Movie (soundtrack)), including “Why Not”, which became a modest top twenty hit in Australia.
Audio samples:

* “Santa Claus Lane” (2003) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o First single from Santa Claus Lane.
* “So Yesterday” (2003) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o First single from Metamorphosis.
* “Come Clean” (2003) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o Second single from Metamorphosis.
* Problems playing the files? See media help.

Duff’s second studio album, Metamorphosis (2003), included contributions by songwriter-producers such as The Matrix and reached number one on the U.S. and Canadian charts. It became one of the biggest selling albums of the year in the U.S. and has since gone to sell over 3.7 million copies. The lead single, “So Yesterday”, was a top ten hit in several countries and its music video received heavy airplay on MTV, while “Come Clean” became Duff’s first top forty U.S. hit and reached the top twenty elsewhere. The third single, “Little Voice”, was not released in the U.S. and was a minor hit in Canada and Australia. In late 2003 Duff embarked on her first concert tour, the Metamorphosis Club Tour and later the Most Wanted tour. All shows on her tour were sold out, a feat neither Britney Spears nor Christina Aguilera achieved that year. She won the award for Best New Artist at the 2004 World Music Awards and Best Female Artist at the Kids Choice Awards of 2004.

The second Disneymania disc was released in January 2004 and contained a duet with her sister, “The Siamese Cat Song”. Another song, “Circle of Life”, featured Duff and other Disney Channel Stars. Duff and her sister recorded a cover of The Go-Gos’ “Our Lips Are Sealed” for the soundtrack to A Cinderella Story, which included two other songs by Duff. The video for “Our Lips Are Sealed” was popular on MTV’s TRL but the song itself failed to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Duff co-wrote several of the tracks on her third album, the self-titled Hilary Duff, which she had an edgier, rock feel than Metamorphosis. It was released on her seventeenth birthday (in September 2004) and debuted at number two in the U.S. and number one in Canada. The album has sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. to date, but the single “Fly” failed to chart in the U.S. despite a popular video. Fly and “Someone’s Watching over Me” reached the Australian top forty, but because the album was less successful than Metamorphosis, no other singles were released commercially. The singer also contributed the song “(I’ll Give) Anything But Up!” for Thanks & Giving : All Year Long album (2004) with Marlo Thomas & Friends for Atlantic/Wea. Duff then continued nine more months of the Most Wanted Tour.
Audio samples:

* “Fly” (2004) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o First single from Hilary Duff.
* “I Am” (2004) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o Popular single from Hilary Duff.
* Problems playing the files? See media help.

2005–2006

Duff’s fourth 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. 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 and co-producing all of the new material with Joel Madden and his brother Benji, both of the band Good Charlotte. The lead single, “Wake Up”, became Duff’s highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 and her highest peaking single in the U.S., and its video received heavy rotation on MTV. The video for the second single, “Beat of My Heart”, was also popular, but the single itself did not chart in the U.S. The album itself debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and became her third number-one debut in Canada. By March 2006, it had sold 1.3 million copies in the U.S. An Italy-only compilation, 4Ever, was released in 2006.

Duff recorded new songs for her Madonna produced film Material Girls, including a Timbaland-produced cover version of Madonna’s “Material Girl” with her sister. She also recorded a song dubbed “Happy” which was featured on the films trailer but was not released commercialy, instead the music from “Happy” was used for Duffs next single “Play With Fire”. According to Total Request Live, Duff’s fourth studio album was to be released in the United States in December 5, 2006 because of her commitment to the film Brand Hauser; it was later pushed back to Feburary and later to April 3, 2007. Titled Dignity, it is preceded by the single “Play with Fire”, which was released to U.S. radio in August 2006.
Audio samples:

* “Wake Up” (2005) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o First single from Most Wanted.
* “Beat of My Heart” (2005) (file info) — play in browser (beta)
o Second single from Most Wanted.
* Problems playing the files? See media help.

2007

Duff’s fifth studio album is entitled Dignity, for which she has co-written material with Kara DioGuardi, and she also worked with producer-songwriter Rhett Lawrence in Toronto, Canada. Duff has been working with producers and mixers such as Richard “Humpty” Vission, Tim and Bob, Manny Marroquin and will.i.am. She said that compared to her previous music it would be “more dancey” and make use of more real instruments. “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”, she said. She has also described the album’s sound as “a little less pop-rock and more electronic-sounding”.

The first single, “Play with Fire”, became a minor club hit but failed to chart in the U.S.; the second single, “With Love”, was released in early 2007 and has achieved more mainstream radio success. The music video for “With Love” has also been used as the commercial for Duff’s first fragrance, With Love… Hilary Duff, which was lauched in September 2006. The album will be released on April 3, 2007 in North America and earlier elsewhere, and it will come in two versions: a standard edition, and a deluxe edition containing bonus material and a DVD.

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Entrepeunership

Duff launched a clothing line, Stuff by Hilary Duff, on March 12, 2004, with clothes distributed through Target in the United States, Kmart in Australia, Zellers in Canada and Edgars in South Africa. The company started out as a clothing line but has expanded to furniture, fragrances, and jewelry. It is aimed at the teen and preteen crowd.

Playmates Toys released a celebrity doll of her in 2004. In September 2006 Duff released her perfume, With Love… Hilary Duff, which she premiered on The View.

Duff and her pet dog Lola made an appearance in the Electronic Arts game The Sims 2: Pets, which was released on October 2006. In console versions of the game Duff’s character will visit public areas and players will be able to let their sims socialize with her and Lola, the dog. However, in the PC expansion pack, players must download the Duff sim from the Maxis website before December 31 she and her dog will be fully playable characters, rather than a non-player character.

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Personal life

Duff began dating singer Aaron Carter in 2002. They met on the set of Lizzie McGuire, when Carter had a cameo role on a Christmas episode. The relationship lasted a year and a half. It was reported that Carter left actress Lindsay Lohan for Duff. Carter said he also cheated on Duff with her best friend, that Duff “got her heart broken” and that he is “sorry” for his actions. Duff and Lindsay Lohan were later reported to have been involved in a “feud” with each other, over their relationship with Carter. As of 2006, the two have reportedly still not reconciled.

From 2004 to 2006, Duff dated Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden. Duff’s mother Susan announced their relationship in the June 2005 interview for Seventeen magazine, after a long period of tabloid speculation. 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 didn’t say the quotes attributed to her in the article and that the subject was “definitely not something that I would talk about…” Duff and Madden broke up in November 2006.

In late 2006 Duff took legal action against an alleged stalker and the stalker’s roommate. The police are currently investigating. On November 3, 2006 Duff’s stalker, Maksim Miakovsky, was arrested for threatening to kill her that weekend. He was booked on charges of making criminal threats and stalking. He came to the U.S. “for the sole purpose of meeting and becoming romantically involved with Ms. Duff.” Miakovsky is currently being held on $200,000 bail at the Manhattan Beach jail. He was arraigned on November 7, 2006. On January 19, 2007 Miakovsky was sentenced to 117 days in jail and five years probation after pleading no contest to the charges, according to the Associated Press.

Duff is involved with several charities, is an animal rights enthusiast, a member of “Kids with a Cause,” and has donated US$250,000 to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In late August 2006 Duff traveled to a New Orleans elementary school and worked with USA Harvest to distribute meals. In 2005 she donated more than 2.5 million meals to Hurricane Katrina victims in the south.

In August 2005 Duff said she received veneers because she chipped off one of her front teeth on a microphone during a concert. On the internet, fans of Duff complained that her veneers were too large for her face and made her appear “horse-like”. She has subsequently had her veneers redone to match the size of her original teeth. In late 2005 Duff took a month off from work as a belated eighteenth birthday present. She said that she wanted to take a short break after releasing Most Wanted and writing three new songs for it, shooting three films, and embarking on her U.S. “Still Most Wanted Tour”. By 2005 Duff appeared to have lost weight, leading the media to speculate that she had developed an eating disorder, although Duff has denied this claim. Duff was interviewed on the Australian current affair show Today Tonight and stated that she lost weight by living a more active lifestyle.

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Other roles

Duff has 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, and she later reappeared in the show in 2005 as a feminist poet friend of Carmen (Masiela Lusha), a character whose poetry had roots in the work of Simone de Beauvoir, Toril Moi, and Ranjit Hakim. She acted opposite her sister Haylie as the 1960s pop group The Shangri-Las in American Dreams in 2003, and played a classmate and idolizer of the title character of Joan of Arcadia in a 2005 episode. During her Most Wanted tour, she performed in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she filmed a brief appearance on the soap opera Rebelde.

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Discography

Albums

1. Santa Claus Lane (2002)
2. Metamorphosis (2003)
3. Hilary Duff (2004)
4. Most Wanted (2005)
5. Dignity (2007)

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