The diminutive Icelandic pop star Björk is best known for her work with The Sugarcubes and her enormously successful solo career. Despite her foray into acting with Lars von Trier's musical tragedy Dancer in the Dark, that's exactly how she would like it. Born November 21, 1965, in Rekjavik, Iceland, Björk trained as a classical pianist and became a pop star as an 11-year-old when her teachers sent a tape of her singing to Iceland's Radio One. In 1987, after drifting in and out of several bands, forming the Sugarcubes, and birthing her son, Björk took her first cinematic role in The Juniper Tree, a tale of witchcraft and mysticism based upon a Brothers Grimm story.
The bizarre fantasy hardly took the world by storm; although filmed in 1987, it never had a theatrical release in the United States and arrived on video only in 1996. Björk spent the next 13 years concentrating on her musical career, returning to acting in 2000 when she accepted the lead role as a Czech immigrant slowly going blind in Dancer, von Trier's paean to old American musicals. Tension grew between the director and his star, who also scored the film and set his lyrics to music. The shoot caused so much difficulty for Björk that she has gone on record saying that she will never make another movie. The international film community, however, felt quite differently, rewarding her with the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance. Further acclaim arrived in early 2001, when Björk and von Trier were nominated for a Best Song Oscar for "I've Seen It All," one of Dancer's standout tracks.