Margalit Ruth “Maggie” Gyllenhaal (born November 16, 1977) is an American actress. She started her career as a child actress in films directed by her father, Stephen Gyllenhaal. Her younger brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
In 2002, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance as Lee Holloway in Secretary. In 2006 she was nominated for her second Golden Globe Award for her performance in Sherrybaby. Her other films include Donnie Darko (2001), Adaptation (2002), Happy Endings (2005), World Trade Center (2006), and The Dark Knight (2008). For her performance as Jean Craddock in the musical-drama Crazy Heart (2009), she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2014 she made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Real Thing, and also starred in the television mini-series The Honourable Woman. For her performance as Nessa Stein in the latter she has won a Golden Globe Award and received a nomination for an Emmy Award.
Gyllenhaal was born in New York City, the daughter of Naomi Achs and Stephen Gyllenhaal. Her father is a film director and writer and her mother is a producer, writer, and director. She has one sibling, actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Her father, who was raised in the Swedenborgian religion, is of Swedish and English ancestry, and is a member of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. Her last native Swedish ancestor was her great-great-grandfather Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal, a descendant of Leonard Gyllenhaal, a leading Swedenborgian who supported the printing and spreading of Swedenborg’s writings. Her mother was born in New York City, and is from a Jewish family (from Russia and Poland). Her mother’s first husband was Eric Foner, a noted historian and history professor at Columbia University. Gyllenhaal has stated that she “grew up mostly Jewish, culturally”, though she did not attend Hebrew school Her parents married in 1977, and filed for divorce in October 2008. The first name on Maggie’s birth certificate is “Margalit”, which she did not discover until 2013, when she officially changed it to “Maggie”. “Margalit” is a Hebrew word meaning “Pearl”; some news stories have spelled it “Margolit”.
Gyllenhaal grew up in Los Angeles, and studied at the Harvard–Westlake prep school. In 1995, she graduated from Harvard–Westlake and moved to New York to attend Columbia University, where she studied literature and Eastern religions; she graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she took a summer job working as a waitress in a Massachusetts restaurant.
Gyllenhaal began a relationship with actor Peter Sarsgaard, a close friend of her brother Jake, in 2002. They announced their engagement in April 2006 and married on May 2, 2009, in a small chapel in Brindisi, Italy. They have two daughters, Ramona and Gloria Ray The family lives in Brooklyn, New York.