A true-blue New York actress who has worked on the stage and screen since her adolescence, Cynthia Nixon is probably best known to pop culture aficionados as Miranda Hobbes, the high-powered lawyer who has dated some of New York City's most dysfunctional men on HBO's Sex and the City. Although Nixon's starring role on the hugely popular series may have brought her to the attention of a new audience, observers of the New York theater had been watching the actor on and off Broadway since 1980, where she had performed in productions that included David Rabe's Hurlyburly, Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, Angels in America, and Indiscretions, for which she earned a Tony nomination.
Born in New York City on April 9, 1966, Nixon made her film debut in the 1980 movie Little Darlings. She worked steadily through the rest of the decade, appearing in films ranging from Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City (1981) to Milos Forman's Oscar-winning Amadeus (1984) to Robert Altman's satirical Tanner '88, which cast her as the daughter of the titular politician. Nixon also worked on television, popping up in various miniseries, including the 1982 abortion drama My Body, My Child, in which she co-starred with Vanessa Redgrave and future Sex and the City co-star Sarah Jessica Parker.
Continuing to appear on-stage in productions of Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (for which she won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award), and Philadelphia Story (for which she won a Theater World Award), Nixon also became a founding member of the off-Broadway theater group The Drama Dept. In 1998, after appearing onscreen sporadically throughout the 1990s, in such films as Addams Family Values (1993), the actor landed the most widely recognized role of her career up to that point, on Sex and the City. Co-starring alongside Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Kristin Davis, Nixon, as the hilariously caustic Miranda, enjoyed critical praise and a number of awards and nominations for her work on the show, which formed another entry on an already long and varied resumé. She would reprise the role for big screen adaptations of the show, in addition to movie roles in Lymelife and An Englishman in New York, as well as a popular turn on the Showtime series The Big C.