Birthplace: Miami, Fla.
Popular actress on the indie film scene until her role as the sexually direct Maxine in Spike Jonze's hit Being John Malkovich (1999) earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and the kind of media attention she hates. After graduating from Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, Keener worked as an assistant to casting agent Gail Eisenstadt, who encouraged her to pursue acting and arranged for her to play a bit part in 1986's About Last Night. Television work followed. She landed her first starring role in the independent feature Johnny Suede (1991), written and directed by Tom DiCillo, who cast her in starring roles in his next three movies Living in Oblivion (1995), Box of Moonlight (1996), and The Real Blonde (1997). Keener garnered more attention for her part in the black comedy Your Friends and Neighbors (1998), written and directed by Neil LaBute. 8MM (1999) with Nicholas Cage, failed to make an impact at the box-office. Her role as To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee in 2005's Capote netted her an Oscar nod.