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Nixon, Cynthia (b. 1966)  
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Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon has had success in theater, film, and television. She recently acknowledged publicly that she is bisexual and in a loving relationship with a woman. In addition, she has become a strong advocate for marriage equality.

A native New Yorker, born April 9, 1966, Cynthia Nixon partook of the city's theatrical offerings from her earliest years. Her mother, who had also been an actress, began taking her to Shakespeare in the Park when she was three.

Nixon began her acting career as a young teen, appearing in Ronald F. Maxwell's film Little Darlings in 1980. In the same year she had her first role on the Broadway stage in a revival of Philip Barry's Philadelphia Story. She earned a Theatre World Award for her work.

Nixon continued to act in film, performing in Bob Brooks's Tattoo (1981) and Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City (1981), as well as in several television movies.

New York Times reporter Leslie Bennetts described Nixon, then a ninth-grader at Hunter College High School, as "a formidably self-possessed and articulate young woman whose manner is thoroughly adult."

For her part, the young Nixon saw acting as "challenging . . . and part of the educational process." She welcomed the opportunity to "meet so many different people," but she drew the line at leaving Hunter College High School and instead being tutored on the movie sets because, she said, "I think the most important thing is to go to a good school with good people and grow up normally."

Nixon demonstrated her commitment to both education and acting by enrolling as an English major at Barnard College while keeping up a demanding schedule of theater performances. In 1984, her freshman year, she worked at an exhausting pace, appearing in simultaneous productions of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and David Rabe's Hurlyburly on Broadway. (Actors Equity subsequently adopted a rule preventing actors from undertaking the grueling schedule of being in two shows at the same time.) She also had a role in Milos Forman's acclaimed film Amadeus (1984).

Nixon appeared in Marshall Brickman's film The Manhattan Project (1986) and in more television projects before graduating from Barnard in 1988. She returned to Broadway the following year in Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles.

Throughout the 1990s Nixon found steady work on the screen, appearing in numerous television shows and in made-for-television movies. Her big-screen roles demonstrated her versatility as an actress. Her cinematic credits include Barry Sonenfeld's comedy Addams Family Values (1993) as well as Alan J. Pakula's mystery thriller The Pelican Brief (1993) and Jerry Zaks's comedy-drama Marvin's Room (1996).

Live theater remained Nixon's great professional love, and she was back on Broadway in 1993 in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America: Perestroika. She was also a member of the original cast of the 1995 production of Jean Cocteau's Indiscretions (translated by Jeremy Sams), for which she was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Nixon is probably best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes, a high-powered lawyer on the extremely popular series Sex and the City (1998-2004). The first season of the show was loosely adapted from Candace Bushnell's book of the same name (1996), a collection of her New York Observer columns. In subsequent years the writers created new adventures and dilemmas for four female friends (played by Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, and Kim Cattrall) in their thirties or forties, all of them (hetero)sexually active, affluent, and always fashionable.

Sex and the City quickly became a hit for HBO. Nixon was an important contributor to the program's success, earning three Golden Globe Award nominations and three Emmy Award nominations. She won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2004. She and the other three principal actresses also received the 2002 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

Sex and the City featured a recurring gay character, Stanford Blatch (played by Willie Garson), a talent agent, who was initially insecure but who in the last years of the series found love with a Broadway dancer.

Although there were sometimes storylines for the Blatch character, and the sophisticated principal characters were predictably accepting of homosexuality, the focus of the show was the love and sex lives of the four heterosexual lead characters. Nevertheless, Dennis Hensley of The Advocate wrote that "the saucy sitcom has a gay sensibility all its own" and that the show had "finally given gay urban men a regular series to call their own" despite the fact that the lead characters hued to heterosexual norms.

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Cynthia Nixon in a publicity photograph for HBO's Sex and the City.
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