Felicity Huffman has been a working actress since the 1980s but in the past two years she has become a household name thanks to the huge success of Desperate Housewives.
An Oscar nomination for her role in Transamerica is also likely to raise her profile further.
In the US hit show she plays stressed out mother Lynette Scavo, one of the four lead characters living in outwardly perfect-looking suburbia.
When the show first started it was co-star Teri Hatcher who was stealing the headlines and the awards, but the tide turned in 2005 when Huffman won the Emmy for outstanding lead actress.
The 2006 Golden Globes also belonged to her as the Housewives' cast collected another best TV comedy award as well as picking up a best actress in a movie drama for Transamerica, highlighting her burgeoning film career.
Her household is no stranger to award ceremonies, with husband William H Macy a favourite of the indie film circuit.
The pair met when Huffman joined his acting class as a student at the Atlantic Theater Company. They married in 1997 and they have two children together.
KEY FILMS AND TV SHOWS
Desperate Housewives (TV) 2005
Transamerica (film) - 2006
Christmas with the Kranks (film) - 2004
Raising Helen (film) - 2004
Magnolia (film) - 1999
Sports Night (TV) - 1998
Huffman had previously done a drama degree, graduating in 1988 from New York University.
Her big break came with the US comedy series Sports Night, set in a TV sports studio, from writer and producer Aaron Sorkin who went on to create the West Wing.
Although the series was a critical hit it failed to pick up a big audience and lasted just two series.
Before and after this starring role, Huffman made appearances in a multitude of made-for-TV movies including Out of Order, Path to War and Quicksand.
She also had small parts in TV shows including X-Files, Chicago Hope and Law & Order, while she had recurring roles in Frasier and The DA.
Later, more high-profile film roles included Magnolia, Raising Helen and Christmas with the Kranks.
But the immediate impact of Desperate Housewives put Huffman on the front pages of all the glossy magazines, along with her co-stars Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria.
OSCAR 2006 FORM GUIDE
Best actress wins from:
National Board of Review
Best actress nominations from:
Screen Actors Guild
Independent Spirit Awards
She won the best actress in a comedy Emmy in 2005, which has been won the previous year by Hatcher, which is now accompanied by her two Golden Globe trophies.
Her best actress in a big screen drama award was for her role in Transamerica, in which she plays a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual.
During her acceptance speech, she acknowledged the people whose situation was highlighted in the film.
"I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and a life lived on the margins to
become who they really are," she said.