Lovely, slim-eyed blonde Julia (O'Hara) Stiles, of Irish, English and German heritage, was born on March 28, 1981 in New York City, the outgoing daughter and eldest of three children of a Greenwich Village artist mother, Judith Newcomb Stiles, and an elementary school teacher father, John O'Hara.
Encouraged to take modern dance lessons, she was introduced to Shakespeare and theater at an early age. When she was 11, she made her stage debut as a child actress with the experimental off-Broadway La MaMa Theatre. Her passion grew and by the next year was performing professionally and working in commercials. A bright, precocious student, she was seriously considered for the child vampire role of Claudia in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) but lost out in the end to Kirsten Dunst. She continued training at New York's Professional Children's School and, at 15, made her cinematic bow with I Love You, I Love You Not (1996) with Claire Danes.
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