Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn

Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Out of the phenomenon that was the WB’s six season run of “Dawson’s Creek,” Katie Holmes joined forces with Tom Cruise to become TomKat, Joshua Jackson graduated to modest pictures like “Bobby,” and fleeting heartthrob James Van Der Beek remained just that. For Michelle Williams, “Dawson’s Creek” was only the beginning. Since then, there’s been “Prozac Nation,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “The Baxter,” and “I’m Not There.” She was involved with Heath Ledger for three years and bore him a daughter, Matilda Rose, in 2005.

One of Teen People’s “21 Hottest Stars Under 21,” Michelle came from the rustic hills of Montana and, as an early teen, was building a resume that included appearances on “Baywatch,” the Patrick Duffy sitcom “Step by Step,” and “Home Improvement.” Michelle gained a wealth of fans, burgeoning attention, as well as melting the heart of Dawson in 1998, which was also the year of “Halloween H20.” The amiable comedy “Dick” followed in 1999 with Michelle opposite Kirsten Dunst, and the movie showcased Michelle’s acting chops, range, and ability to rise above the WB teen fare for which she was known. Her ease in independent films like “Prozac Nation” with Christina Ricci and “The United States of Leland” further showed Michelle’s interest lay way beyond the placid waters of Capeside. When “Dawson’s Creek” finally ran dry in 2003, Michelle’s transition to film for good seemed natural given the work she had been doing during the show’s hiatus.

2005’s acclaimed “Brokeback Mountain” revealed a newer, more mature Michelle – and exhibited her talent of meshing nicely with period piece films – who portrayed her character Alma with such simplicity it helped director Ang Lee bring home a Best Director Oscar. It was there on the Canadian set where Michelle’s romance with Heath Ledger blossomed. The two would also appear in the bizarre Dylan ride “I’m Not There” in 2007, but before the end of the year, the relationship was over – despite the birth of their child two years before. Still, Michelle’s wave is riding high. While you’ll probably never see her on a WB show again, rest assured Michelle will become an independent film mainstay – all while playing the Hollywood dating game.

Get the latest on this wonderful actress by following our Michelle Williams tag.

Michelle on the Screen

Michelle can be first seen as 13-year-old Bridget Bowers on a 1993 “Baywatch” episode. She also shows up in “Lassie” in 1994, as well as “Species” a year later. Her breakthrough year came in 1998 with the debut of “Dawson’s Creek” on the WB and the summer release of “Halloween H20.” She’s the co-star in “Dick” (featuring Will Ferrell as Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward), and the indie flicks “Me Without You,” “Prozac Nation,” “The United States of Leland” and “The Station Agent.” In fact, Michelle has never truly participated in a big Hollywood extravaganza – “Brokeback Mountain” comes the closest, and even that’s pretty remote. Before the November 2007 release of “I’m Not There,” Michelle was part of Ethan Hawke’s directorial debut, the festival touring “The Hottest State.”

Michelle Says

On her connection with Christina Ricci:
“There was a weird, innate kind of understanding between me and Christina. A psychic told us we were sisters in a past life.”

On liberty:
“I was born with a fierce need for independence.”

On scooping ice cream:
“Making a cone is difficult, and I lost so many scoops into the chocolate swirl.”