A pert and willowy blonde, Cynthia Nixon has made a successful transition from child performer to adult actress, developing along the way a reputation for creating smart, savvy characters. The native New Yorker broke into showbiz at age 12 as the object of a wealthy schoolmate's crush in "The Seven Wishes of a Rich Kid", a 1979 "ABC Afterschool Special", and made her feature debut shortly after alongside fellow campers Kristy McNichol and Tatum O'Neal in "Little Darlings" (1980), but it was her award-winning Broadway debut as the bratty Dinah Lord in a 1980 revival of "The Philadelphia Story" that established her credentials on the boards, where she has enjoyed her greatest success. Alternating among the three media, she continued to deliver solid work in projects like the 1982 ABC-movie "My Body, My Child", the features "Prince of the City" (1981) and "I Am the Cheese" (1983) and the 1982 off-Broadway production of John Guare's "Lydie Breeze".
While a freshman at Barnard College in 1984, Nixon made theatrical history, simultaneously appearing in two hit Broadway plays directed by Mike Nichols. The much-hyped feat saw her play the precocious English daughter of Jeremy Irons and Christine Baranski in Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" while portraying a teenage runaway who encounters slimy Hollywood types two blocks away in David Rabe's "Hurlyburly". That year's Oscar-winning Best Picture "Amadeus", directed by Milos Forman, also featured her in a brief but memorable role as Mozart's tearful maid, hopelessly confused by the mad goings-on in her master's house. She then landed her first major supporting part in a movie as the intelligent girlfriend who aids her teenage boyfriend (Christopher Collet) in building a nuclear bomb in Marshall Brickman's "The Manhattan Project" (1986). Nixon was part of the all-star cast of the NBC miniseries "The Murder of Mary Phagan" (NBC, 1988) starring Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey and essayed the daughter of a presidential candidate (Michael Murphy) in "Tanner" (also 1988), Robert Altman's sharply-observed, episodic political satire for HBO.
On stage, Nixon portrayed Juliet in a 1988 New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Romeo and Juliet" and acted in the workshop production of Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Heidi Chronicles", playing several characters after it came to Broadway in 1989. She replaced Marcia Gay Harden as a pill-popping Mormon wife whose husband reveals his homosexuality in Tony Kushner's landmark two-part "Angels in America" (1994), received a Tony nomination for her performance as the headstrong young woman who falls for a mama's boy in "Indiscretions (Les Parents Terribles)" (1996, her sixth Broadway show) and, though she originally lost the part to another actress, eventually took over the role of Lala Levy, the aspiring Scarlett O'Hara in the Tony Award-winning "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" (1997). Nixon was also one of the founding members of the theatrical troupe The Drama Dept., which included Sarah Jessica Parker, Dylan Baker, John Cameron Mitchell and Billy Crudup among its actors, appearing in the group's productions of "Kingdom on Earth" (1996), "June Moon" and "As Bees in Honey Drown" (both 1997) and "The Country Club" (1999).
Nixon has contributed fine work in small roles to such varied pictures as "Addams Family Values" (1993) and "Marvin's Room" (1996) but has not yet had that breakthrough role to propel her to full-fledged feature stardom. She did, however, raise her profile significantly as one of the four regulars of HBO's successful comedy "Sex in the City" (1998- ), inhabiting her role as the no-nonsense lawyer Miranda with full-bodied believability in support of series star Sarah Jessica Parker. Nixon also enjoyed her first leading role in a feature, playing a video artist who falls in love, despite her best efforts to avoid commitment, with a bisexual actor who just happens to be dating a gay man (her best friend) in "Advice From a Caterpillar" (2000).
In 2002, Nixon joined cast member Kim Cattrall as an Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series.