Lena Dunham is an American actress, author, screenwriter, producer, and director. She wrote and directed the independent film Tiny Furniture (2010), and is the creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls. She has received eight nominations for Emmy Awards as a writer, director, actress and producer and won two Golden Globe Awards for Girls. Dunham is the first woman to win a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series.
Her father has English, and remote Scottish, Welsh, and German, ancestry. Her mother is Ashkenazi Jewish (of Russian Jewish descent).
Dunham was born in New York City. Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter, and her mother, Laurie Simmons, is an artist and photographer, and a member of the Pictures group, known for her use of dolls and doll-house furniture in her photographs of setup interior scenes. Her father is Protestant and her mother is Jewish; Dunham has described herself as feeling "very culturally Jewish, although that's the biggest cliché for a Jewish woman to say”.
She has a younger sister, Grace, a 2014 graduate of Brown University, who appeared in Dunham's first film, Creative Nonfiction, and starred in her second film, Tiny Furniture. The sisters were raised in Brooklyn, New York and spent summers in Salisbury, Connecticut.
Dunham attended Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn.
She graduated in 2008 with a degree in creative writing.
While a student at Oberlin College, Dunham produced several independent short films and uploaded them to YouTube. Many of her early films dealt with themes of sexual enlightenment and were produced in a mumblecore filmmaking style. In 2006, she produced Pressure, in which Dunham and a group of friends talk about experiencing orgasms for the first time in their lives.
Another early film, entitled The Fountain, which depicted her in a bikini brushing her teeth in the public fountain at Oberlin College, went viral on YouTube. "Her blithe willingness to disrobe without shame caused an outburst of censure from viewers," observed The New Yorker's Rebecca Mead. Dunham was shocked by the backlash and decided to take the video down.
In 2007, Dunham starred in a ten-episode web series for Nerve.com entitled Tight Shots, described by The New York Times Magazine's Virginia Heffernan as “a daffy serial about kids trying to make a movie and be artsy and have tons of sex. "In 2009, Dunham created the Index Magazine web series, Delusional Downtown Divas, which satirized the New York City art scene. The production was unpaid, so Dunham and her friends "pooled their money from babysitting and art-assistant gigs and borrowed some camera gear." Also in 2009, Dunham premiered Creative Nonfiction—a comedy where she plays Ella, a college student struggling to complete a screenplay—at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. She was initially rejected by the festival the year before; she re-edited it and successfully resubmitted the film.
Dunham had a career breakthrough with her semiautobiographic 2010 feature film Tiny Furniture; the film won Best Narrative Feature at South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, and subsequently screened at such festivals as Maryland Film Festival. Dunham plays the lead role of Aura. Laurie Simmons (Lena Dunham's real-life mother) plays Aura's mother, and Lena's real-life sister Grace plays Aura's on-screen sister. Dunham also won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.
Tiny Furniture's success led Dunham to writer and filmmaker Judd Apatow, producer of blockbusters such as Bridesmaids and Knocked Up. Apatow signed on to executive produce Dunham's debut original series, Girls, which airs on HBO, and follows the constant dramatic disasters and rare triumphs of a group of 20-something women living in New York City. In addition to creating and continuing to write episodes for Girls, Dunham directs and stars in the series; she plays Hannah Horvath, an aspiring writer who pays the bills as a barista, on the show. (Dunham has never taken acting lessons. However, before Girls, she had bit parts in the 2011 HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce and the indie horror movie The Innkeepers.)
Not That Kind of Girl
On October 8, 2012, Dunham signed a $3.5 million deal with Random House to publish her first book. Published in September 2014, the essay collection was entitled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned". The book reached #2 on the The New York Times Best Seller list on October 19.
In the book, Dunham writes about being sexually assaulted by an Oberlin College classmate, which resulted in controversy over the accuracy of her account and a case of mistaken identity. Passages recounting interactions, starting when she was seven years old, of a sexual nature with her then one-year-old sister Grace attracted controversy. Experts described these passages as either too ambiguous to judge, or as describing behavior consistent with normal childhood development.
Dunham is half Jewish, half Protestant by birth, though seems to be largely non-religious.
Dunham has described herself, religiously, as “half-Jew, half- WASP,” because her mother is Jewish and her father is Protestant. In fact, her father’s ancestors were some of America’s first European settlers, having immigrated on the now-famous ship, Mayflower.1 So, along with her Jewish heritage, she’s got some Puritan heritage as well.
Dunham is a liberal Democrat.
“Hard work pays off. I am so annoyed at my father for being right about that.”
Sun Sign - Taurus
Height - 5 ft 3 in or 160 cm
Weight - 63 kg or 139 pounds
Hair Color - Light Brown
Eye Color - Light Brown
Distinctive Features - Boy cut hair
36-28-38 in or 91.5-71-96.5 cm
She is a feminist.
As a kid, she was treated with obsessive compulsive disorder.