Date of Birth: January 8, 1979
Born the youngest by eight years of five children, Sarah began acting at age five when she appeared as Molly Monaghan in Disney's One Magic Christmas (1985). Her older brother, Mark Polley, had also been a child actor, playing a lead role in the Canadian television series A Gift to Last (1976 to 78). Showbusiness was a family business: her father is an actor, another brother, John is a casting director and her mother, who died of cancer in 1990, was a casting director and actress. About her mother's death, Sarah has said, "I find it hard to relate to people who haven't [experienced the pain of losing someone]. There's something less vivid about them. I see these people with both parents alive and think, 'There's so much pain waiting for you.' I'm so afraid for them because everything is waiting. It's not like there's going to be anything familiar about that pain."
Sarah's first big break came at the age of eight, when she starred as Ramona in the television series of the same name. In her fifth feature film, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), she worked alongside the likes of John Neville, Eric Idle, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams and Sting, as well as her father.
In 1988, she played Jody in Sullivan Entertainment's TV movie Lantern Hill. Her performance as the little cockney waif won her a Gemini Award. Sullivan Entertainment was so impressed by her that she was cast in their next production, the long-running television series Road to Avonlea (1989 to 1996), in the starring role of Sara Stanley. She tired of the role by the time she was 12, disdaining the show because of its commitment to family values, and asked to be written out of the script, so during the sixth season her character moved to France to study writing. At about the same time, 14-year-old Sarah left home to live with a man nearly 20 years her senior (in an apartment she'd bought). She later came to regret the situation, which was illegal, saying her father should have stopped her from making such a move.
In Atom Egoyan's Exotica (1994) she played a small role as a girl hired to baby-sit a child that has long been dead. Three years later, Egoyan cast her again, this time in a starring role in The Sweet Hereafter.
Despite her success, Polley claimed acting was not something she sees herself doing forever. In an interview with CBC's The National she once stated: "The thought that I would be an actor when I grew up didn't even enter my mind. It was just sort of something I wanted to do for fun. And it sort of remained like that and still is. And I don't think I ever had any big transition where I decided I'm not going to be an actor, this isn't what I want to do with my life. I just sort of always knew that it wasn't my thing. It was just sort of something that I dabbled in and thought was sort of nifty."
Although she at one time hoped to attend university, Polley dropped out of high school to devote more time to left wing political activism. She continues to act, despite her earlier protestations and directed her first feature film as wellAway From Her (2006), based on an Alice Munro story.
After several affairs with older men, including actor Stephen Rea (33 years her senior) with whom she co-starred in Guinevere (1999) and director Michael Winterbottom (18 years her senior), in September 2003, she married longtime companion, film editor David Wharnsby.
Filmography (actor):Trigger (2010)
Away From Her (2006)