Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham
Dunham at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Supporting Characters
Born (1986-05-13) May 13, 1986 [1]
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Oberlin College (BA)
Occupation Actress, writer, director, producer
Years active 2006–present
Parents Carroll Dunham
Laurie Simmons
Relatives Grace Dunham (sister)
Golden Globe Awards
Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
2013 Girls
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy

Lena Dunham ( ; born May 13, 1986) is an American actress, author, screenwriter, producer, and director.[2] 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 also the first woman to win a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series.

Early life

Dunham was born in New York City, New York.[3] Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter, and her mother, Laurie Simmons, is an artist and photographer, and a member of the Pictures group. Laurie is known for her use of dolls and doll-house furniture in her photographs of setup interior scenes.[4][5] Dunham has described herself as feeling "very culturally Jewish, although that’s the biggest cliché for a Jewish woman to say”; her father is Protestant, and her mother is Jewish.[6][7]

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.[8]

Dunham was raised in Brooklyn and spent her summers in a house in Salisbury, Connecticut, though her parents later purchased a weekend family home in Cornwall, Connecticut.[9]

Dunham attended Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, where she met Tiny Furniture actress and Girls co-star Jemima Kirke.[10][11] She graduated in 2008 from Oberlin College, where she studied creative writing.[12]


Dunham's 2010 feature film Tiny Furniture won Best Narrative Feature at South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, and subsequently screened at such festivals as Maryland Film Festival.[13] Dunham herself plays the lead role of Aura.[5] Dunham's own mother plays Aura's mother, while her real sister, Grace, plays Aura's on-screen sibling.

Dunham's television series Girls was greenlit by HBO in early 2012.[14] The show is executive produced by Judd Apatow.[15] Three episodes were screened to positive response at the 2012 South by Southwest Festival.[16] The first season premiered April 15, 2012, and has garnered Dunham four Emmy nominations for her roles in acting, writing, and directing the series and two Golden Globe wins for Best Comedy Series for Girls and for herself in Best Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical Series. In February 2013, Dunham became the first woman to win a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series for her work on Girls.[17]

As of January 2014, Girls has been produced for three seasons.[18]

Dunham had a cameo in the movie Supporting Characters, along with her Tiny Furniture co-star Alex Karpovsky.[19]

On October 8, 2012, Dunham signed a $3.5 million deal with Random House to publish her first book, an essay collection entitled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned".[20]

Dunham appeared in a video advertisement promoting President Barack Obama's re-election, delivering a monologue, which, according to a blog quoted in The Atlantic, tried to "get the youth vote by comparing voting for the first time to having sex for the first time".[21] Fox News reported "intense criticism" from multiple media sources, who labeled the advertisement as "tasteless and inappropriate", but added that "not everyone was so offended".[22] In February 2014, she was named the Recipient of Horizon Award 2014 by Point Foundation for her support to the gay community.[23]

Dunham hosted Saturday Night Live on March 8, 2014 with musical guest The National.[24]

In September 2014, Dunham published Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned".[25][26] She dedicated the foreword of the book to her friend, Nora Ephron.[26]

Personal life

In 2012, Dunham began dating Jack Antonoff, lead guitarist of the band Fun.[27] She has stated that she will not get married until same-sex marriage is legalized.[28]

Dunham was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder as a child, and continues to take a low dose of an antidepressant to relieve her anxiety.[29][30]


Film credits
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Dealing Georgia Short film
Also writer, director
2007 Una & Jacques Video short
2009 The House of the Devil 911 Operator Voice
2009 Creative Nonfiction Ella Also writer, director, editor
2009 The Viewer Voice Short film
2009 Family Tree Lena Short film
2010 Gabi on the Roof in July Colby
2010 Tiny Furniture Aura Also director, writer
2011 The Innkeepers Barista
2012 Nobody Walks Also co-writer
2012 Supporting Characters Alexa
2012 This Is 40 Cat
2014 Happy Christmas Carson
Television credits
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Tight Shots Main role
Also writer, director, editor
2009 Delusional Downtown Divas Oona Main role
Also writer, director, producer
2012–present Girls Hannah Horvath Main role
Also creator, director, writer, executive producer
2014 Adventure Time Betty "Betty" (Season 5, Episode 48)
2014 Saturday Night Live Host "Lena Dunham/The National" (Season 39, Episode 15)

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2010 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Tiny Furniture Nominated
Breakthrough Director Award Nominated
2011 Independent Spirit Awards Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay Won
2012 Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series Girls Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
2013 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Won
Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won
Gracie Allen Awards Outstanding Director – Entertainment Series or Special Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Nominated
2014 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated

Published works

  • Dunham, Lena (2014).  


  1. ^ "Monitor".  
  2. ^ "Lena Dunham's Big Dreams Rest On 'Tiny Furniture'". NPR. December 6, 2010.
  3. ^ "Lena Dunham". Argotistonline.co.uk. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ Walker, Tim (October 6, 2012). "Lena Dunham: Could she be the voice of a generation? – Profiles – People". The Independent (London). Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Mead, Rebecca (November 15, 2010). "Downtown's Daughter". The New Yorker (Condé Nast): 38–45. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ Girls' writer lays bare women's insecurities"'". Jewish Journal. April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ Silverstein, Melissa (November 12, 2010). "Interview with Lena Dunham – Writer/Director of Tiny Furniture". Women & Hollywood. Womenandhollywood.com. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ Howard, Caroline (November 12, 2010). "Names You Need to Know in 2011: Lena Dunham", Forbes
  9. ^ Browne, Alix (November 4, 2011). "Living Large". Tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ Simpson, Leah (2 April 2013). "Lena Dunham shares ANOTHER steamy lesbian kiss with co-star Jemima Kirke - Mail Online".  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ cast and crewTiny Furniture. TinyFurniture.com.
  13. ^ Maura, Sophie. "Lena Dunham Profile – Filmmaker". Marie Clare. Retrieved February 8, 2011
  14. ^ "Lena Dunham's Show 'Girls' Picked Up By HBO". Huffington Post. January 7, 2011.
  15. ^ Alexis, Nadeska. "Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ Picked Up by HBO". Black Book. January 7, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  16. ^ Nussbaum, Emily. "It's Different for 'Girls'" New York Magazine, April 1, 2012.
  17. ^ "Lena Dunham ('Girls') makes DGA history as first female to win Best TV Comedy Director". Goldderby.com. February 3, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ Maza, Erik (8 January 2014). Girls' Season 3 Premieres at Lincoln Center"'". WWD. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Supporting Characters | Film Review". Slant Magazine. April 26, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  20. ^ Bosman, Julie. "Lena Dunham Signs Book Deal for More Than $3.5 Million", The New York Times, October 8, 2012
  21. ^ Franke-Ruta, Garance (October 25, 2012). "Lena Dunham's New Obama Ad—As Controversial As Everything She Does?". The Atlantic.
  22. ^ "Critics blast Obama campaign for new ad that likens voting for Barack Obama to a young woman losing her virginity". Fox News Channel. October 25, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Actress Lena Dunham named Winner of Horizon Award 2014". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  24. ^ Ng, Philiana (February 25, 2014). "'Girls' Star Lena Dunham to Host 'SNL'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  25. ^  
  26. ^ a b "Lena Dunham Dedicates Book Foreword To Nora Ephron".  
  27. ^ "Girls' Lena Dunham Is Dating Fun.'s Jack Antonoff", US Weekly, September 5, 2012.
  28. ^ Migdol, Erin (January 14, 2014). "Lena Dunham Boyfriend: 'Girls' Star Won't Marry Until Gay Marriage Is Legal".  
  29. ^ Suval, Lauren. "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in the Media | World of Psychology". Psychcentral.com. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  30. ^ Daum, Meghan (September 10, 2014). "Lena Dunham Is Not Done Confessing". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 

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