Also Credited As:Hannah Montana, Miley Ray Cyrus, Destiny Hope Cyrus
|Actor, Producer, Music|
|Destiny Hope Cyrus on November 23, 1992 in Franklin, Tennessee, USA|
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Born Destiny Hope Cyrus on Nov. 23, 1992, Cyrus was the middle child of six and was dubbed Smiley - shortened to Miley - due to her sunny outlook and beaming grin when she was a baby. Cyrus got an early taste of the performer's lifestyle, thanks to her country star-turned-actor father, Billy Ray, who topped the charts in the 1990s with the best-selling single, "Achy Breaky Heart." As a toddler, she frequently appeared onstage at his concerts and performed a song or two with her dad. When the elder Cyrus transitioned into acting, his daughter caught the bug and was granted a few guest appearances on his TV series "Doc" (PAX, 2001-04). This led to a small role in Tim Burton's fantasy feature, "Big Fish," (2003) for which she was billed as Destiny Cyrus.
Bolstered by these appearances, Cyrus began pursuing an acting career in earnest, and at age 11, caught the eye of Disney Channel producers who were scouring the nation for the star of a new series in development, then tentatively titled "Alexis Texas." Concerns over her age (then 12) and height (then 5' 4") were dismissed once execs saw Cyrus' way with a comic line and heard her surprisingly mature voice. By the time she turned 13, the multi-talented girl had been cast in her own Disney Channel series. Making it a true family affair, her dad joined her on the show as her father-manager who would dole out countrified advice and to lend the exceptionally manic series a moment or two of quiet.
"Hannah Montana" debuted on The Disney Channel on March 24, 2006, to record ratings and became an instant network hit, with legions of tweens tuning in faithfully to indulge in the fantasy of living a secret double life of glamour and fame. For playing a teen idol, Cyrus reached teen idol status herself and became a teen magazine mainstay whose likeness sold all manner of merchandise - from accessories and clothing to decorative items and video games. In 2007, Cyrus won a Kids Choice Award and a Teen Choice Award for Best Actress. The following year, she debuted at number one on the Billboard album charts with the show's soundtrack, singing eight songs "in character" as Montana and one duet as herself with her father. The album produced a number of moderately charting singles but sold over four and a half million copies worldwide. The same year, Cyrus also contributed a version of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" to the fourth volume of the Disney Mania CD series and rolled out her first live performance as Hannah Montana at Disney World.
While the show maintained its position as an anchor for the network and Cyrus was hailed as a wholesome role model for kids, she furthered her musical career by signing a four-album deal with Disney's Hollywood Records. The double CD, Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus was released in June of 2007 and helped the starlet establish her own identity, with one disc containing songs from season two of the television show performed "in character," and the second disc performed under Cyrus' own name with the majority of the tracks co-written by the teen herself. The album debuted again at number one in the album charts and launched Cyrus' first Top Ten single, "See You Again." The subsequent 69-date "Best of Both Worlds" tour, in which Cyrus performed both as herself and her alter ego, sold out astronomically. It was, simply, the tour of the year, both dollar and hype-wise, with endless stories told of parents paying top dollar online and through scalpers to get their teens in to the sold out dates.
In February of 2008, a 3-D filmed version of the "Best of Both Worlds" concert was released in theaters and the franchise raked in an additional $70 million dollars. However, only two weeks after Cyrus performed two fan-friendly numbers on Fox's "American Idol Gives Back" charity special and the same week she graced the cover of People magazine, the teen sensation found herself in a firestorm of controversy for the first but not last time in her young career. The PR meltdown resulted from a photo shoot Cyrus did with legendary photographer Annie Liebovitz in the pages of Vanity Fair, in which the 15-year-old posed with only a white sheet held in front her. The artful, backless photos of the Disney cash cow instigated mainstream media discussions about whether children, particularly young girls, were growing up too fast and too sexual. Having thought Cyrus was a suitable role model for their kids, outraged mothers took to blogs and TV talk shows to voice their disappointment while Disney panicked about the potentially fatal blow to their major moneymaker.
For her part, the openly devout Christian superstar immediately issued an apology, proclaiming the shots were supposed to be "artistic," and that she never meant to offend the millions of tweens who looked up to her. Cyrus stayed out of the spotlight for a period and in typical Hollywood fashion, the scandal was forgotten in the face of a new season of her top-rated show and another CD release. Breakout marked Cyrus' first non-"Montana"-related album and proved that her own persona could draw in just as large an audience as her television one. The album produced a number of charting singles, including "7 Things" and "Fly on the Wall." Cyrus also took home Teen Choice and Kids Choice Awards for both her acting and singing. The following year, the budding songwriter was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for "I Thought I Lost You," which she co-wrote and performed with John Travolta in the Disney animated feature, "Bolt" (2008). Cyrus returned to theaters in 2009 as the star of "Hannah Montana: The Movie" (2009). The film adaptation, which found the TV teen forced to choose between a "normal" life or one full of show business pressure, opened at No. 1 at the box office, going on to earn over $50 million. Off screen, Cyrus showed no signs of retreating from her super-stardom and her popularity continued, with the actress taking home another Kids Choice Award for Favorite Female Singer in 2009.