The daughter of a Polish Solidarity movement leader who was jailed for over a year due to his promotion of social and political freedom, screen beauty Dagmara Dominczyk was primed early in life for the themes of film that would provide the stunning actress with her big-screen breakthrough, The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). Devoting his life to the cause of freedom after his own father met an untimely demise at the hands of communists, Dagmara's father and her family were exiled to New York following her father's release, when the future actress was a mere seven years old. Focusing her energies on her acting career and utilizing the integrity her father had instilled in her, Dominczyk achieved success early on when she won the La Guardia Alumni Award for Best Actor while attending New York's High School for the Performing Arts. Granted a full scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University as a result of that achievement, the burgeoning actress performed in such plays as The Philadelphia Story and Twelfth Night and received numerous honors before graduating with a B.F.A. in acting in 1998. Landing her first role shortly after graduation, Dominczyk appeared alongside Edward Norton and Ben Stiller in the 1999 comedy Keeping the Faith. After keeping momentum building the following year with Rock Star, the increasingly in-demand actress received her most pivotal role to date as the object of much affection in the re-telling of the classic tale The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). Gaining surprisingly positive reviews, The Count of Monte Cristo was seen by many as one of the most genuinely engrossing adventures to hit theaters in quite some time. Opting to focus on more thought-provoking films rather than cotton-candy cut-and-paste comedies, Dominczyk hopes to one day utilize her fame to return to Poland and give back to the community and support system that helped her family to survive in their darkest years. Appearing in the psychological thriller They in 2002, the thoughtful actress seemed poised to take the Hollywood hills on her own terms at the dawn of the new millennium.