• American actress and model Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw was born on 19 July 1976 in Los Angeles
• She is best known for her role in the 2007 action crime movie “3:10 to Yuma”
• She has had roles in over 50 movies and TV series, and has been nominated for nine awards
• She is married to artist Kristopher Gifford and has a son
• She follows Nichiren Buddhist philosophy and is followed by over 60,000 people on Instagram

Who is Vinessa Shaw?

American actress and model Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw was born in Los Angeles, California USA, on 19 July 1976, so her zodiac sign’s Cancer. She’s had roles in more than 50 movies and TV series, and is perhaps still best known for playing Emma Nelson in the 2007 action crime movie “3:10 to Yuma”, which James Mangold directed, and which starred Ben Foster, Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. It follows a rancher who’s agreed to hold a captured outlaw until his train arrives, and the movie won three of its 37 award nominations, including two Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.

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Education and early life

Vinessa and her sister Natalie Shaw were raised in Los Angeles by their mother Susan Damante, a famous American actress, and father Larry Shaw who was a psychologist and professor at Antioch University.

Vinessa fell in love with acting at quite an early age, and was five when she made her debut film appearance, playing Angel Bradley in the 1981 horror “Home Sweet Home”; she had no roles in the following 10 years, but as part of her education still began practicing acting at a University of California, Los Angeles’ acting camp at the age of nine.

Vinessa was 13 when she signed a contract with Elite Models, thus launching her modelling career; she returned to acting aged 15 and has since been active in the film industry. She studied at a local high school in Los Angeles, from which she matriculated in 1994, and she then enrolled at Pitzer College, however, Vinessa dropped out after a year wanting to focus on acting.

Roles in movies

Vinessa played Clara Tarpin in the 1991 drama “Long Road Home”, and could then have been seen appearing in the 1992 sports comedy “Ladybugs”, and the 1993 drama “Country Estates”.

She became popular in 1993, following her portrayal of Allison in the hit family fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus”, which Kenny Ortega directed, and which starred Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler. It follows teenager Max and his younger sister who’ve mistakenly awoken three witches in Salem, and the movie won two of its 13 award nominations. Some of the popular movies in which Vanessa appeared in the remainder of the ‘90s were the 1996 action adventure “Coyote Summer”, the 1998 romantic comedy “L. A. Without a Map”, and the 1999 mystery thriller “Eyes Wide Shut”.

In 2004, Vinessa starred as Stacey Fox in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy “Melinda and Melinda”, written and directed by Woody Allen, and which also starred Chiwetel Ejiofor and Will Ferrell; it follows the lives of two women named Melinda. Vinessa could then have been seen appearing in the 2005 drama “Fathers and Sons”, the 2006 horror thriller “The Hills Have Eyes” and the 2008 horror thriller “Stag Night”.

The year 2014 saw her play Ann in the crime thriller “Cold in July”, which Jim Mickle wrote and directed, and which starred Don Johnson, Sam Shepard and Michael C. Hall. It follows a protective father who’s teamed up with a former convict in an attempt to protect their loved ones; the movie won one of its nine award nominations.

Some of Vinessa’s most recent film roles have been in the horror thriller “The Blazing World”, the horror mystery “We Need to Do Something”, and the historical sports drama “12 Mighty Orphans”, all released in 2021.

Roles in TV series

Vinessa’s debut TV series role was her playing of Meredith Reed in the 1992 episode “Sweat Not by the Moon” of the family comedy “The Torkelsons”, and the following years saw her appear in an episode or two of the comedy “Great Scott!”, and the crime mysteries “Fallen Angels” and “Murder, She Wrote”.

In 1995, Vinessa played Teen Covergirl in the episode “Young, Beautiful and Dead” of the hit crime drama “New York Undercover”, which Dick Wolf and Kevin Arkadie created, and which starred Patti D’Arbanville, Michael DeLorenzo and Malik Yoba. It follows the war between police officers and criminals in New York City, the series aired from 1994 to 1999, and won nine of its 25 award nominations.

Vinessa had no TV series roles in the following 15 years, until in 2010 when she was cast to play Dr. Kelly Benedict in the episode “Massage Therapy” of the mystery “House”, then 2012 saw her play Jennifer Walsh in the episode “Clean Sweep” of the crime mystery “CSI: NY”.

In 2012 and 2013, she starred as Laura Savino in the crime action “Vegas”, created by Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker, and which also starred Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis. It follows the lives of Sheriff Ralph Lamb and The Savoy Hotel and Casino owner Vincent Savino – the series was nominated for two awards.

Vinessa’s since appeared in only three TV series: she played Angela Early in three episodes of the 2014 crime action “Those Who Kill”, Kate McPherson in 10 episodes of the 2014 crime drama “Ray Donovan”, and Diane in the 2022 episode “Here Comes the Sun” of the sports drama “Swagger”.

Other credits

Vinessa directed the 2016 short movie “Crossing the Bar”, and produced the 2021 mystery horror film “We Need to Do Something”.

Some of the talk-shows in which she’s recently made a guest appearance include “The Matthew Aaron Show Podcast”, “The Broadway.com Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Awards and nominations

Vinessa’s been nominated for nine awards, which include six Young Artist Awards for her performance in “Ladybugs”, “Great Scott!” and “Hocus Pocus”, a 2008 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, for “3:10 to Yuma” (shared with colleagues), and a 2009 Village Voice Film Poll Award for Best Supporting Actress, for “Two Lovers”.

Love life and relationships

Vinessa rarely speaks about her love life in public, and there’s only a single man whom she’s dated, that the public knows about. She met American artist Kristopher Gifford in 2007; he’s worked in the art department of more than 30 movies and TV series, while the most popular amongst these was perhaps the 2021 animated adventure comedy “Space Jam: A New Legacy”. The two became engaged in 2008, and married in front of their closest friends and family members in 2017.

On 20 February 2018, Vinessa gave birth to their son Jack Hiroki Gifford.

She hasn’t spoken of other men whom she’s dated; as of December 2022, Vinessa’s married to Kristopher Gifford, and they have a son together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Vinessa was raised a Buddhist, today follows Nichiren Buddhist philosophy, and has revealed that she chants daimoku at least once a day.

The magazine “Stuff” ranked Vinessa #66 on their 2002 list of 102 sexiest women on Earth.

Vinessa and famous British actor Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch were born on the exact same date.

Even though she’s acted in numerous horror movies, she’s revealed that she’s actually scared of them, and doesn’t watch them.

Vinessa’s followed by more than 60,000 people on Instagram, and has posted close to 600 pictures and videos onto her account; most of these feature her and her friends spending time together.

Her favorite actresses are Kate Winslet and Natalie Portman, and some of her favorite movies include “Hideous Kinky”, “Revolutionary Road” and “Contagion”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Vinessa’s age is 46. She has green eyes and long blonde hair, is 5ft 8ins (1.74m) tall and weighs about 140lbs (63kgs).

Vinessa’s net worth’s been estimated at over $500,000, as of December 2022.


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