After a number of years working behind the camera (as a director for PBS' “The Ride,” 1994), “Boys and Girls” (2000, as a production assistant) and a segment producer in “Medical Diaries” (2000-2002), Paula Patton made the leap to the front of the camera in 2005 and quickly scored success with “Deja Vu” (2006), in which she took home a Black Reel nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance. She has since offered notable performances in “Swing Vote” (2008, with Kevin Costner), “Mirrors” (2008, opposite Kiefer Sutherland) and the Sundance darling “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” (2009, with comedian, reality TV hostess and actress Mo'Nique and singer Mariah Carey). Moviegoers should look forward to her performance in the upcoming films “Just Wright” (2010) and “This Wednesday” (2010).
The strikingly beautiful actress was named one of People Magazine's “100 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 2007.
Patton is the wife of singer/songwriter Robin Thicke. She was the inspiration for her husband's 2008 single “Lost Without U.”
Childhood and Family:
Paula Maxine Patton was born on December 5, 1975, in Los Angeles, California, to a lawyer father and a schoolteacher mother. Growing up, she became a fan of films and later attended the Hamilton High School’s Academy of Music, a performing arts high school in Los Angeles. Paula acted in many plays at her school, including her favorite role, Abigail, in “The Crucible.” While there, she developed a love for filmmaking, which led her to enroll in the summer film program at the University of Southern California between her junior and senior years of high school. After high school, she attended the University of California, in Berkeley, but left after one semester to study at the USC Film School. She graduated magna cum laude in 1997 with a degree in critical studies.
On June 11, 2005, Paula married singer/songwriter Robin Thicke (born on March 10, 1977), the son of actor Alan Thicke of “Growing Pains” fame and vocalist Gloria Loring. They first met as teenagers at a teen club in Los Angeles.
After attending USC’s summer film program, Paula Patton began making super-8 short movies and in 1994, when she was 18 years old, got a spot on the PBS reality TV series “The Ride,” which followed four young filmmakers across the country as they documented life in America. She later returned to USC as an undergraduate student and after completing her studies in 1997, began a career as a production assistant. She became an assistant to Howie Mandel on his short-lived talk show “The Howie Mandel Show” (1998-1999) and later was a PA on “Boys and Girls” (2000), a feature film starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Claire Forlani. From 2000 to 2002, she worked as segment producer on the Discovery Health Network’s “Medical Diaries.”
Feeling her career was going no where, Patton decided to return to acting. In preparation, she trained with a private coach for a year. Her hard work paid off when she landed a small role in “Hitch” (2005), a box office comedy starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James and Amber Valletta. She then worked with Jessica Biel, Chris Evans, Jason Statham, Joy Bryant, Isla Fisher and Kelli Garner in “London” (2005), a drug laden adventure centered on a Manhattan party. The same year, she also appeared as Detective Angela Kellogg on the short-lived Fox crime drama “Murder Book.”
In 2006, Patton appeared in “Idlewild,” a drama starring André Benjamin and Antwan A. Patton of the hip hop duo OutKast. The film, in which she played a sensual nightclub singer named Angel Davenport, earned mixed reviews and grossed over $12 million. Her breakout role arrived later that same year when director Tony Scott hired her to portray the leading lady Claire Kuchever in the thriller “Deja Vu,” opposite Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer. The film was released to mixed reviews, but went on to earn success at the box office and became the 23rd most successful film of 2006 worldwide. As for her acting, Patton was nominated for a 2007 Black Reel award for Best Breakthrough Performance.
Two years later, Patton played news reporter Kate Madison in Joshua Michael Stern's “Swing Vote,” which received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office bomb. Costars in the film included Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci and George Lopez. She next costarred with Kiefer Sutherland in the horror movie “Mirrors” (2008), a remake of the 2003 South Korean horror film “Into the Mirror.” Although the reviews for the film were primarily negative, it opened at No. 4 at the box office in the U.S., and enjoyed success in France, the U.K., Hong Kong, Spain and Mexico. The Alexandre Aja-directed movie received a worldwide gross of over $72 million.
Recently, Patton starred as Ms. Rain in “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” (2009), a movie directed by Lee Daniels. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for the Dramatic category, and the Special Jury Prize for Mo'Nique's acting.
Patton will costar with Common and Queen Latifah in “Just Wright” (2010), a romantic comedy directed by Sanaa Hamri and scripted by Michale Elliot. She will also play Wednesday in Christine Crokos' drama “This Wednesday” (2010).