Maggie Gyllenhaal

b. November 16, 1977

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Maggie Gyllenhaal until we are able to commission a full entry.

Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, nominated for supporting actress for "Crazy Heart," March 7, 2010.

Photograph by Sgt. Michael Connors, courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has garnered critical acclaim for her performance in difficult roles in 2002’s Secretary, 2009’s Crazy Heart, and 2014’s The Honourable Woman. The daughter of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Gyllenhaal, Margalit “Maggie” Ruth Gyllenhaal debuted in her father’s 1992 film Waterland, and she played many of her first roles, including the 2001 cult classic Donnie Darko, alongside her brother Jake. But her breakthrough hit was the 2002 independent film Secretary, where she starred opposite James Spader as part of a sadomasochistic couple. Drawn to challenging and unconventional stories, she earned film festival awards for her performances in 2006’s Sherrybaby and 2009’s Crazy Heart and performed on Broadway in Chekov’s Uncle Vanya in 2009 and Austin Pendleton’s Three Sisters in 2011. In 2015 she won a Golden Globe for her starring role in the BBC miniseries The Honourable Woman, focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict. A longtime supporter of the ACLU and Witness, a nonprofit that records and exposes human rights violations, Gyllenhaal has also been active in anti-war and voting rights causes, as well as TrickleUp, an organization that gives micro-loans to small-business owners in developing countries. In 2018, she played the title character in the movie The Kindergarten Teacher. Gyllenhaal made her writing and directing debut in 2021 for the film The Lost Daughter. The film won fifteen awards, including the Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival and Best New Filmmaker from the Boston Society of Film Critics.  


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Maggie Gyllenhaal." (Viewed on April 16, 2024) <>.