Like many others, Amy’s arduous climb up the acting mountain began on a soap opera – and in her case, it was “As the World Turns.” But as it soon became clear, Amy’s abilities were not limited to daytime television. Over the next 15 years Amy built a modest body of work. Maybe it was her theatre training or acting code to “get out of the character’s way,” but in 2007 with “Gone Baby Gone,” Amy finally managed to scale the Everest of acting and receive her very first Oscar nod.
Born in the early 70s in Queens, Amy had her eyes set on performing as a youngster. A graduate of New York City’s High School of Performing Arts, Amy attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Theater Center. Her first love – and first paycheck – was the stage, and while studying, Amy spent most of her time in off-Broadway productions. At the same time, the role of Renee on “As the World Turns” came to Amy in 1990 followed by a string of guest appearances on shows like “ER” and “Chicago Hope.” Still, her real success was in theater, as Amy both participated in new Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, and Neil Labute plays and received two Tony Award nominations – one for her portrayal of Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Amy’s work on the TV front yielded two notable avenues that would later benefit her career. First, Amy earned a prominent role on HBO’s “The Wire” as Officer Beadie Russell. Second, her television work with Sidney Lumet on “100 Centre Street” would pave the way to reunite actress and director on “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” in Amy’s breakout year of 2007. In film, Amy was making brief appearances as a mom, wife, or neighbor – “You Can Count on Me,” “Capote” and “War of the Worlds” are examples – but the tendency to be cast as these kinds of characters paid off in an enormous way in 2007 when fledgling director Ben Affleck brought Amy on board for “Gone Baby Gone.” The result was the recognition Amy finally deserved – a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination.
Appearing in seven projects on both TV and film in 2007 alone, Amy is now on an explosive trajectory. Thanks to her long climb to the top and inherent acting chops she had been developing since her youth, Amy promises to emerge as one of the heralded actresses of her generation.
Amy on the Web
Ultimate web resource guide for Amy.
TV Guide: Amy Ryan
Recent photos, latest news and TV listings of Amy.
Brief bio covering Amy’s stage, TV and film careers.
Good biography with recent photos of Amy.
Movies Online Interview
Lengthy chat with Amy at the time of the “Gone Baby Gone” release.
New York Daily News Interview
Article/interview on her career and working on “Gone Baby Gone.”
Time Magazine Q & A
Back and forth as Amy describes her approach to acting.
Amy on the Screen
Staring with “As the World Turns,” Amy found work on TV with appearances on “Home Improvement,” Quantum Leap,” The Naked Truth,” and “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” She’s Chris Cooper’s wife in “Capote” and Cruise’s neighbor in “War of the Worlds.” That same year, Amy plays Emily in the Albert Brooks flick “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.” Her work on HBO’s “The Wire” kept her busy on TV and in 2007 there’s “Gone Baby Gone,” “Dan in Real Life,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” and “Neal Cassidy.”
“That stays in your bones forever.”
On working with Clint Eastwood:
“My favorite moment of that movie was a fight scene, where Clint Eastwood showed me how to throw a movie punch. It was a golden moment.”