Emily Jean "Emma" Stone (born November 6, 1988) is an American actress. She is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Golden Globe Award. Stone was the world's highest-paid actress in 2017 and was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Stone began acting as a child in a theater production of The Wind in the Willows in 2000. As a teenager, she relocated to Los Angeles with her mother and made her television debut in In Search of the New Partridge Family (2004), a reality show that produced only an unsold pilot. After small television roles, she made her film debut in Superbad (2007), and received positive media attention for her role in Zombieland (2009). The 2010 teen comedy Easy A was Stone's first leading role, earning her nominations for the BAFTA Rising Star Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. This breakthrough was followed with further success in the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) and the drama The Help (2011).
Stone gained wider recognition as Gwen Stacy in the 2012 superhero film The Amazing Spider-Man and its 2014 sequel. She went on to voice the lead female character Eep in The Croods (2013) and its 2020 sequel. Stone was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing a recovering drug addict in the black comedy Birdman (2014), and her Broadway debut came in a revival of the musical Cabaret (2014–2015). For her performance as an aspiring actress in the romantic musical La La Land (2016), Stone won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She portrayed Billie Jean King in the biographical sports film Battle of the Sexes (2017) and Abigail Masham in the historical comedy-drama The Favourite (2018), receiving a third Academy Award nomination for the latter. She has since starred in the Netflix dark comedy miniseries Maniac (2018), the comedy sequel Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), and the crime comedy-drama Cruella (2021).
Early life and education
Emily Jean Stone was born on November 6, 1988, in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Jeffrey Charles Stone, the founder and CEO of a general-contracting company, and Krista Jean Stone (née Yeager), a homemaker. She lived on the grounds of the Camelback Inn resort from ages twelve to fifteen. She has a younger brother, Spencer. Her paternal grandfather, Conrad Ostberg Sten, was from a Swedish family that anglicized their surname to "Stone" when they immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island. She also has German, English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry.
Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, where Stone appeared in sixteen productions
As an infant, Stone had baby colic and cried frequently; she consequently developed nodules and calluses on her vocal cords while she was a child. She has described herself as having been "loud" and "bossy" while growing up. Stone was educated at Sequoya Elementary School and attended Cocopah Middle School for the sixth grade. Although she did not like school, she has stated that her controlling nature meant that "I made sure I got all As". Stone suffered panic attacks as a child, which she says caused a decline in her social skills. She underwent therapy but claims it was her participation in local theater plays that helped cure the attacks. She recalled:
The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend's house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.
Stone wanted to act since age four; she wanted a career in sketch comedy initially, but shifted her focus toward musical theater, and took vocal lessons for several years. Her acting debut, at age eleven, came in a stage production of The Wind in the Willows, playing the part of Otter. Stone was homeschooled for two years, during which time she appeared in sixteen productions at Phoenix's Valley Youth Theatre—including The Princess and the Pea, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and performed with the theater's improvisational comedy troupe. Around this time, she traveled to Los Angeles and auditioned unsuccessfully for a role on Nickelodeon's All That. Her parents later sent her for private acting lessons with a local acting coach, who had worked at the William Morris Agency in the 1970s.
Stone attended Xavier College Preparatory—an all-girl Catholic high school—as a freshman, but dropped out after one semester to become an actress. She prepared a PowerPoint presentation for her parents titled "Project Hollywood" (featuring Madonna's 2003 song "Hollywood") to convince them to let her move to California to pursue an acting career. In January 2004, she moved with her mother to an apartment in Los Angeles. She recalls, "I went up for every single show on the Disney Channel and auditioned to play the daughter on every single sitcom", adding, "I ended up getting none." Between auditions for roles, she enrolled in online high-school classes, and worked part-time at a dog-treat bakery.