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Winona Ryder: the homeschooled prodigy
Born Winona Laura Horowitz, more known as Winona Ryder, born  in Olmsted, Minnesota, was named after a nearby city. Her father's parents – Michael Horowitz, a successful author, editor and publisher -  came to America from Romania and Russia, changing their original name of Tomchin (Томчины) during the immigration process. Winona has a younger brother Uri, named by her famously whimsical parents after the Soviet cosmonaut Yuriy Gagarin.
Despite the fact that Michael became an ardent atheist and his wife adopted Buddhism, Winona considers herself Jewish - her parents never forced their beliefs on her, saying that she must choose and develop her world view herself. The family practised progressive thinking, socialized with the most avant-garde musicians, literary figures (Allen Ginsberg being one of them) and actors, and at one time even lived in an agricultural commune where the girl, having no access to television or radio (due to their complete absence) and being homeschooled, took to reading...
Winona's career started in 1985, when she was noted by director David Seltzer, who cast her in his film Lucas. It was during the filming that her new name was created: when asked by the producers what her name should look like in the credits, she decided to use Winona Ryder – after the singer Mitch Ryder, whose album was used as the background music.
Winona's role in Beetlejuice (1988) gave her prominence among the mainstream audience, but it was Heathers (also 1988) - the controversial film that, according to her horrified agent, would ruin her career – that was her breakthrough. The girl insisted on accepting the offer from the producers and was proved to be right: her acting won her accolades from critics, even those who were not amused by the movie itself.
The roles in Mermaids (1990) and The Age of Innocence (1993) won her the Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Awards. The very next year, she was again nominated for the Oscar for the Little Women.
Although in 2000 she got her own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, the new millenium was not too kind to the actress, who received two negative nominations from the Golden Raspberry Award, the jury that awards worst actors and actresses. It was only in 2010 that she regained her footing, and won a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in Black Swan.
Wynona's personal life was just as chaotic. In the beginning of the 90s, Wynona had a relationship with Johnny Depp, which ended only three years, with Depp removing the "Wynona Forever" tattoo he had on his arm. She went on to date the Soul Asylumn band frontman and had a relationship with Matt Damon from 1998 to 2000. 
In 2001 she found herself in the center of a scandal: she was caught shoplifting while under the influence of prescription drugs in Beverly Hills. She had to repay $10,000 of restitution, served 480 hour of community service and spent – successfully – three years on probation.
"Winona Ryder: The Biography" – Nigel Goodall (1998)
"Winona Ryder biography" – DominicWills (2006)

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