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Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is an American actress. Her film career began with a small part in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) and then a major part in The Next Karate Kid (1994), where she played Julie Pierce, the first female protégé of sensei Mr. Miyagi. She has become known for her two Academy Award-winning performances: first as Brandon Teena, a transgender man (FTM) in the movie Boys Don't Cry (1999), and a struggling waitress-turned-boxer, Maggie Fitzgerald, in Million Dollar Baby (2004).