Date of Birth
23 December 1994, Conyers, Georgia, USA
Hannah Dakota Fanning
5' 4" (1.63 m)
Hannah Dakota Fanning was born on the 23rd of February 1994, in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and Channel Islander descent. Before her debut into the cinematic world, Dakota did her own acting around her house. She was very active for her age, and often put a blanket under her shirt and pretended to be having a baby, using her younger sister, Elle Fanning, who is also an actress now, as the baby. Dakota went to a playhouse near her home, where the children that attended put on a play every week to show to their parents. But the people running the playhouse noticed that Dakota stood out, and advised her parents to take her to an agency. They believed that she was extremely talented.
The Fanning family were advised to spend six weeks in Los Angeles, a long way from their home in Georgia. But there Dakota managed to get her first work; to star in a national Tide commercial. She was chosen out of many, many other children.
The family then decided to move to Los Angeles permanently, for it looked like Dakota's career was looking very good. After they moved, Dakota signed with a professional agency, and soon won a role in the movie Tomcats (2001). She then went onto a small project called Father Xmas (2001) as Clairee.
But Dakota's big break-through was yet to come. She auditioned for one of the main characters in I Am Sam (2001), and the director and the rest of the crew were amazed by her extraordinary talent. Dakota was cast, and starred in the movie as Lucy Diamond Dawson, alongside major Hollywood stars Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer.
After I Am Sam (2001) her talent was immediately recognized around the world. She went straight onto Trapped (2002) as Abby Jennings, alongside Charlize Theron, then played the younger version of Reese Witherspoon in 2002's Sweet Home Alabama (2002) But Dakota still had two more movies to come in 2002. Firstly she got a huge role in Steven Spielberg's Taken (2002), the mini-TV series, and narrated the ten whole episodes, as well as having a part. This was a little more challenging, as she was playing a troubled alien child, but she managed to do brilliantly. Her last movie for 2002 was the children's movie Hansel & Gretel (2002) as Katie.
2003 was also a brilliant year for Dakota, as she starred in a number of exciting projects. Firstly, it was as Sally Walden in The Cat in the Hat (2003) with Mike Myers, then she played Lorraine "Ray" Schleine, a bratty little girl, in the sweet comedy Uptown Girls (2003) alongside Brittany Murphy. She then voiced preschool Kim in Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (2003).
In 2004, Dakota appeared in the violent thriller, Man on Fire (2004), alongside Denzel Washington. Her reviews were excellent.
First in 2005 was Nine Lives (2005), as Maria, then the chilling Hide and Seek (2005) alongside Robert De Niro. By now, she was the busiest child actress in Hollywood, with a resume to die for. Her younger sister, Mary Elle Fanning (Elle Fanning), had also been discovered a few years earlier.
After Hide and Seek (2005) came War of the Worlds (2005), which was one of her major movies out of everything she'd worked in. Not only did it make her more popular, but she got to play the daughter of A-list Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. They had four very successful premieres; the first in Tokyo, Japan, the second in France, the third in London, England and the fourth in New York, USA. The reviews were outstanding, especially Dakota's. She then voiced Lilo in Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005).
She learned to read a little at the age of two.
At the age of eight, she became the youngest person to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award - for her supporting acting in the movie I Am Sam (2001).
When she received the Best Young Actor/Actress award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for her performance in I Am Sam (2001), she was too short to reach the microphone to give her acceptance speech. Presenter Orlando Bloom held her up to the mike for the duration of her speech, which turned out to be quite long.
She began her acting career at the age of five when she was picked for a Tide detergent commercial.
Her father named her Dakota, her mother named her Hannah. She then was named Hannah Dakota Fanning.
Dakota is one of 14 grandchildren.
Parents are Joy Fanning (aka Joy Arrington Fanning) and Steven Fanning.
Her favorite films include Gone with the Wind (1939), Steel Magnolias (1989) and Titanic (1997).
Collected dolls when she was younger.
Dakota was schooled at home and on sets by her tutor, but she joined high school in her freshman year.
Looks up to Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank, "not just because they're great actresses, but because they are amazing people".
Fanning is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic Fionn, meaning "fair", and may have Norman roots from the Viking invasion of northern France. Her mother's maiden name Arrington has links to the east of England, notably Cambridgeshire.
She donated many signed items to Rocky Stone to be given away as prizes in a Dakota Fanning Contest to benefit less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign 2005 and Toy Mountain Campaign 2006.
First time she visited England was on the June 19, 2005 with Tom Cruise, to attend the premiere of War of the Worlds (2005) at London's Leicester Square.
Loves to knit and has knitted scarfs for Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Tim Robbins.
For the 'sad' scenes in I Am Sam (2001), she thought of her pet goldfish, Flounder, dying.
Carried a book of baby names with her wherever she went as a child.
She has been to Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, England and France.
Was a member of the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet for one year.
On her eleventh birthday, Tom Cruise gave her a cell phone.
Listed as a potential nominee on the 2004 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her role in The Cat in the Hat (2003). She was also suggested as an official nominee in the "Worst Screen Couple" couple category with co-star Spencer Breslin in The Cat in the Hat (2003). She was relieved to get neither of these nominations.
Is a member of the Girl Scouts USA, and her sister Elle Fanning is a Brownie.
Is learning to speak French. She also learned to speak some Spanish for her role in Man on Fire (2004).
Missed the premiere of Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005) to go to Mexico while her sister Elle Fanning filmed Babel (2006).
Began kindergarten at the age of four and one-half. She began her freshman year of high school (the 9th grade) in fall 2007.
During filming of War of the Worlds (2005), Tom Cruise gave her an iPod.
Was a Girl Scout. [October 2005]
After filming Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005), Kurt Russell, who plays her father, bought her a palomino horse, whom she named Goldie. Goldie lives on a ranch near Dakota's home where she can visit him often.
Her tutor is Jan Cerwonka.
Her scene in Nine Lives (2005) was done in just one take. She was only required to work on this movie for one day.
Has said she would love to be a director.
On her 10th birthday, Robert De Niro gave her a doll that looked like Dakota's character in Hide and Seek (2005), with the brown hair and blue eyes.
Plays the piano and the violin, knits, collects dolls, ride horses and dances ballet.
Niece of ESPN reporter Jill Arrington, and Jill's husband, Dean Panaro. Granddaughter of Mary Jane Arrington and NFL quarterback Rick Arrington.
She was the youngest member of the "Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences", which admitted her in 2006.
Ranked number nine in "E!" TV's list of the cutest child stars, all grown-up - even though she was still just a girl in 2005.
Has been in three productions with her sister Elle Fanning, yet they have never shared scenes. Elle played the younger version of Dakota's characters in I Am Sam (2001) and Taken (2002), and the two girls voiced sisters in a dub for My Neighbor Totoro (1988).
While she was filming Man on Fire (2004) in Mexico, her sister Elle Fanning was filming The Door in the Floor (2004), so their parents had to go to and from their daughters' destinations.
Her first word was "Momo", which was the family cat's name.
Has mentioned in numerous interviews that she would love to work with her sister, Elle Fanning.
For her, the hardest thing at the end of a movie is saying goodbye to the cast.
A doll was made of her (as her character Cale Crane) for the movie Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005).
She was friends with her late Uptown Girls (2003) co-star Brittany Murphy.
Is a huge fan of US designer Belle of the Ball. She has worn many Belle of the Ball dresses to events such as the Hide and Seek (2005) premiere.
Was originally offered the role of Leslie Burke in Bridge to Terabithia (2007), but turned it down because of conflicting schedules. AnnaSophia Robb was later given the role.
Permed her hair for her films in 2005.
While she lived in in Georgia, she attended a Montessori school for a brief period of time.
Ranked number 14 on the Forbes List of The 20 Top-Earning Young Superstars in 2007.
Ranked number 94 on the Forbes List of "The Celebrity 100" in 2007.
In 2007, Forbes magazine estimated her earnings for the year to be $4 million.
Ranked number six in Interview magazine's "Hollywood Faces to Watch" article: "Future Stars of Tomorrow".
Ranked number 19 along with her sister, Elle Fanning, on Entertainment Weekly magazine's "30 Under 30" actress list in 2008.
Ranked #8 alongside Abigail Breslin on TV Guide Top 10 Teen Star Countdown (2008).
Ranked number four in the Moviefone list of the "The 25 Hottest Actors Under 25" in 2008.
For the 2008-09 school year, she was a cheerleader for Campbell Hall, a private Episcopal Church college-preparatory school in North Hollywood, California, which fields a number of sports teams.
Her favorite scary movie as a child, was The Wizard of Oz (1939).
She had not read all of the books from the Twilight series by the writer Stephenie Meyer before she got hired for the cast of the movie The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), but she wanted to take the role because she loved the cast and the script.
Started recording the voice of Coraline (2009) when she was just 10 years old, but this movie was not released until she was 15 years old.
She chose her costumes and looks in Push (2009). Some of the clothes were actually her own.
When the production of Coraline (2009) started, it was originally going to be a live action, still with Dakota in the lead.
While filming Push (2009) in Hong Kong, she wasn't recognized.
Because of rape scenes that she was involved in, her movie Hounddog (2007) was banned in many cities.
Has the rare distinction of being in the cast of two movies that opened on the same day in the United States: - Coraline (2009) and Push (2009), on February 6, 2009.
She became close friends with Tom Cruise after working with him on War of the Worlds (2005).
Good friends with Kristen Stewart.
She graduated with honors from North Hollywood's Campbell Hall Episcopal High School on June 6, 2011.
She was a cheerleader and was voted homecoming queen in high school.
Her favorite book is "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White, and her favorite book series are "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling, "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Daniel Handler, and "Nancy Drew" by Mildred Wirt Benson.
Has a schnoodle dog named Lewellen.
Had to wear braces for two years.
Announced that she would begin her first semester of college at New York University in fall 2011. [June 2011]
Is a Delta Gamma sorority influence with her aunt, Jill Arrington, being a Delta Gamma member alumna.
Her paternal grandmother, Katharina Kramb, was German. Her other ancestry is Irish, English, French, and Channel Islander (Jersey and Guernsey).
Her favorite movie, which made her cry, is What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).
Often wears pieces from the "Elizabeth and James" clothing line, designed by Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.
Blue Valentine (2010) is one of her favorite movies and it inspired her to do more indie films.
Seeing model Jamie Strachan publicly as of September 2013.
She helped in raising 2,206 toys for the Less Fortunate Kids as part of the 2005 Toy Mountain Campaign with Rocky Stone. [December 2005]
Toronto, Canada: Attended the world premiere of Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005) and the press conference. [September 2005]
For Dakota's 16th birthday, Cherie Currie (who Dakota portrayed in the movie The Runaways (2010)) gave her a custom made guitar.
Dakota is currently attending New York University, and this has inspired her sister Elle Fanning to attend college.
While living in Georgia, Dakota attended a Montessori School, where she learned to read at the age of two.
Dakota worked with her sister Elle Fanning in the movie My Neighbor Totoro (1988), where the characters were sisters as well.
Dakota is a huge fan of Hello Kitty, and she states that she has gotten into it more now she has gotten older.
During the filming of War of the Worlds (2005), the airplane crash set was Dakota's favorite set.
Dakota's first kissing scene was in the movie, Sweet Home Alabama (2002), with actor Thomas Curtis.
Counts Charlotte's Web (2006) as her most profound weepie which she first saw as an in-flight film and wept so much she woke the passenger next to her.
As of 2018, has never appeared in a film nominated for the the Best Picture Oscar.
Preteen years: played extremely precocious and intelligent children who were often smarter than the adults. Her teenage roles have consisted of more troubled girls.
I've always wanted to be an actress, ever since I was a little girl. I've always played the mom and I play my sister as the daughter. I wanted to be an actress on television and movies instead of just around the house.
[on working with Denzel Washington in Man on Fire (2004)]: Working with him, I loved every minute of it. I couldn't wait to see him everyday. He's one of the best actors in the world and I loved observing him.
I think Orlando Bloom is cute. I met him at an awards show. I was actually nominated and I won that one. When I went up on stage, they didn't have a step for me to step on at the Critics' Choice Awards so he had to hold me up. He held me for a LONG, LONG time!
I've been very lucky enough to do all kinds of movies. All the movies that I've done have been very different and all the characters I've done have been very different. I feel very lucky to have been able to do the movies that I've done.
I want to keep acting. I want to go to college, sure, but I really want to keep acting right now. It's so fun.
I'm just a normal kid, really. I just love to act.
I learned that it can be very hurtful to talk about others. You know, I read a quote by Oprah Winfrey where she said, "Turn your wounds into wisdom." It's not nice to spread rumors.
Acting is what I love to do. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I don't think of it as work. It's really fun for me. And home-schooling works out perfectly.
It's fun to know what I want to do - you know, when I grow up. I have friends who say, "Oh, maybe I'll be an astronaut or whatever." But it's cool to want to do this forever. I knew from my first commercial that I wanted to be an actress.
When I go on a movie set, I'm learning about movies. I learned 100 lessons a day from Steven Spielberg. I always think I might not have this opportunity again, so I try to cram a lot of information into my brain.
My dad named me Dakota and my mom came up with my first name Hannah. So it's Hannah Dakota Fanning.
[on Hounddog (2007)]: It was a script that I loved and it's, you know, ultimately my decision because I'm playing the character but, of course, my mom and my agent read everything, but it was no different than anything else.
I have no problem shooting emotional scenes.
I feel so blessed to have been able to be in War of the Worlds (2005).
I think it's everyone's dream to win an Oscar. I'd love just to go to the Oscars and it would be fun. That would be great!