Born on February 21, 1979, in Waco, TX. Addresses: Record company--Jive Records, 11 West 19th St., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011, website: http://www.jiverecords.com. Website--Jennifer Love Hewitt Official Website: http://www.getmusic.com/microsites/jlove-hewitt.
Jennifer Love Hewitt has worn many hats during her career in entertainment. She started as an actor in commercials and a model in print ads at the age of ten. She cut her first album in 1992, and after appearing in recurring roles on several television series, she broke through to stardom playing the part of Sarah Reeves on the Fox television series Party of Five.
Her father is Tom Hewitt, her mother Pat Hewitt, a speech pathologist. Hewitt's father and mother were divorced the year Hewitt was born, and she grew up mostly with her mother. Born in Waco, Texas, she was raised until the age of ten in Killeen, Texas. She has one sibling, an older brother named Todd Hewitt. Todd Hewitt was born in 1971, and he makes his living as a chiropractor.
Hewitt's mother influenced her daughter's taste in music at an early age, playing Otis Redding, Al Green, and Beatles records around the house while she was growing up. Hewitt's talent for music became obvious before she entered elementary school; she had an impressive knack for remembering song lyrics and tunes.
When Hewitt was ten years old, she moved with her mother and brother to Los Angeles. There, almost immediately, Hewitt began her career in entertainment. She was just ten years old went she went on a world tour as a model to promote the L.A. Gear brand of clothing. She appeared regularly in commercials and print ads from then on.
Equally drawn to music and acting, Hewitt pursued both careers as a child in Los Angeles. Her acting career took off first when she landed recurring parts in such television series as McKenna, The Byrds of Paradise, Shaky Ground, and Kids Incorporated.
Hewitt recorded her first album while she was still a teenager. The album was called Love Songs, and it was released in Japan. Several tracks were distributed in Europe but none in her native United States.
Hewitt's breakthrough acting role came on Party of Five, a family drama that debuted on the Fox network in 1995. The show featured a family of five siblings who were orphaned when their parents were killed by a drunk driver. Hewitt played Sarah Reeves, the girlfriend of one of the brothers. The show proved a critical and popular success, and it assured Hewitt's fame. It also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Drama Series of 1996 and a Humanitas Prize for Writing.
Hewitt graduated from Laurel Springs High School in Ojai, California, in 1997, and after her stint on Party of Five ended in 1999, Hewitt revived her Party of Five role in a new series called Time of Your Life. This show was an offshoot of Party of Five, and Hewitt was a coproducer on the series. The producers hoped that the show would capitalize on the success of the original series, but it never matched Party of Five's popularity and ran for only the 1999 season.
The same year that Hewitt first appeared on Party of Five, she released her first album in the United States, Let's Go Bang, on the Atlantic Records label. The following year saw the release of her second album, called Jennifer Love Hewitt. That year, 1996, was a busy one for Hewitt; she also appeared in the film House Arrest. The film featured several of her songs on the soundtrack.
Film roles for Hewitt followed in rapid succession after the release of House Arrest. She appeared in the horror films I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. For the soundtrack of the second film, she contributed the song "How Do I Deal." Other films in which Hewitt has appeared include Can't Hardly Wait, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, The Suburbans, and Heartbreakers. The latter film stars Hewitt with Sigourney Weaver as a mother and daughter con artist team who specialize in swindling men out of their money. The film, released in 2001, also features Gene Hackman and Ray Liotta.
The year 2002 brought a new level of success for Hewitt's recording career. She moved from Atlantic to Jive Records, the same record label that features pop stars Britney Spears and Aaron Carter, and released her third album, BareNaked. This album was produced by singer-songwriter Meredith Brooks, and it was released in September of 2002, when Hewitt was 23 years old. Brooks also cowrote the songs on the album.
In spite of an album cover on which Hewitt appears topless (with her back to the camera), the album's title refers to baring it all emotionally, not literally. As Hewitt told the Montreal Gazette's Brendan Kelly, "Initially when people hear the title BareNaked, they think automatically, 'Oh cool, we're going to see Jennifer naked,' which is not attractive nor necessary ever in life.... BareNaked is not about me actually being naked. It is about the inner bare-naked."
With this album, Hewitt surprised fans expecting what some thought of as superficial girl-pop in the vein of Britney Spears. Instead, as Hewitt told Kelly, she wanted to perform the kind of soulful rock she grew up listening to. Inspired by Janis Joplin, Billie Holliday, and other female vocalists who have made a lasting impact, Hewitt sought to challenge herself and not just "do a pop record."
Initial critical reactions indicated that she was at least partially successful in this attempt, although All Music Guide's Stephen Thomas Erlewine couldn't help noting that she had not completely transcended her "show-biz kid" origins. Nevertheless, Erlewine said that the album is "very good in its style and is a nice new beginning" for the singer and actress.
Even though Hewitt has been busy making a name for herself as a recording star, she has not let her acting career fall by the wayside. After starring in the ABC televsion movie The Audrey Hepburn Story, Hewitt landed a plum role as action star Jackie Chan's costar in the 2002 film The Tuxedo.
by Michael Belfiore
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Career
Released first album, Love Songs, in Japan, 1992; released second album, Let's Go Bang, on the Atlantic label, 1995; starred on the hit Fox television series, Party of Five, 1995-99; released third album, Jennifer Love Hewitt, on Atlantic, 1996; starred in numerous movies, including House Arrest, which featured her music in the soundtrack, 1996; I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1997; the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, which also featured her music, 1998; The Tuxedo, costarring action star Jackie Chan, 2002; released third album, BareNaked, on the Jive label, 2002.
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Awards
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1998.
- Selected discography
- Love Songs (Japan), 1992.
- Let's Go Bang , Atlantic, 1995.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt , Atlantic, 1996.
- BareNaked , Jive, 2002.
June 11, 2004: Hewitt starred as the voice of the veterinarian in Garfield: The Movie, which was released by 20th Century Fox. Source: New York Times, movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=286092, June 17, 2004.
June 16, 2006: Hewitt starred in Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, which was released by 20th Century Fox. Source: New York Times, http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=325209, June 26, 2006.
- Montreal Gazette, August 20, 2002, p. D5.
- Texas Monthly, September 1998, p. 108.
- "BareNaked," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (November 5, 2002).
- "The Facts: Jennifer Love Hewitt," E! Online, http://www.eonline.com/Facts/People/Bio/0,128,46130,00.html (November 1, 2002).
- "Features--Biography," Jennifer Love Hewitt--The Official Website, http://www.safesearching.com/jenniferlovehewitt/features/bio.shtml (November 5, 2002).
- "Jennifer Love Hewitt," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (November 1, 2002).
- "Jennifer Love Hewitt," Sony Pictures, http://www.sonypictures.com/tv/shows/party/thestars/6.html (November 5, 2002).