Meg Ryan

The daughter of a casting agent, Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Ann Hyra on Nov. 19, 1961, in Fairfield, Conn. While majoring in journalism at NYU, Ryan did some acting on the side; in 1981, she won the role of Candice Bergen's daughter in Rich and Famous and then did a stint on the daytime soap "As the World Turns."

With that on her resume, Ryan headed for Hollywood, landing small TV and film roles; it was her scene-stealing bit as Anthony Edwards' wife in Top Gun (1986) that assured her stardom. When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle (one of three pairings with Tom Hanks) cemented her romantic comedy appeal and show up on many a filmgoer's "personal favorites" list.

Despite her success in lighter fare (which also includes You've Got Mail and Kate & Leopold), Ryan has played against type in The Doors, When a Man Loves a Woman, Courage Under Fire and In the Cut.