As a child performer, Rachel Miner amassed an impressive resume and worked with such distinguished directors as Woody Allen and Hal Hartley. In addition, soap aficionados knew her as Michelle Bauer, the troubled young heroine of CBS' long-running "Guiding Light". But, the general public, however, probably knew of the actress from her highly publicized 1998 marriage to -- and 2000 separation from -- fellow actor and kid star Macauley Culkin. Few, however, were prepared for the actress' star-making turn (complete with full frontal nudity) in Larry Clark's dark and disturbing drama "Bully" (2001). In the film inspired by real events (although there was much debate over just how factual the motion picture was), Miner portrayed Lisa Connelly, a troubled Florida teen who goads her boyfriend (Brad Renfro) into murdering his abusive best friend (Nick Stahl).
Born and raised in NYC, Miner was the daughter of a TV director father (best known for his work on the ABC soap "One Life to Live") and a writer mother. By age nine, she had decided to pursue an acting career. While her parents did not discourage her, they warned her of the difficulties, but Miner appeared to lead a charmed life. She nailed her first-ever audition and was cast as the young version of Mia Farrow's title character in "Alice" (1990). Before the film was released, Miner landed the role of Michelle on "Guiding Light" and began her five-year stint on the show in November 1990. Over the course of that time, the young actress more than held her own with veteran players and amassed viewer support and several accolades, including a Daytime Emmy nomination. She was essentially fired when the producers decided to "age" the character a bit. Undaunted, Miner landed small roles in Hal Hartley's "Henry Fool" (1997) and Frank Whaley's directorial debut "Joe the King" (1999). She also appeared in the Broadway revival of "The Diary of Anne Frank", portraying the title character's older sister Margot. (During the show's Boston tryout, Miner was struck by a car and broke her ankle, causing her to miss the NYC opening night.)
But it was the March 1998 announcement of her engagement to Culkin (whom she met at the Professional Children's School) that catapulted her into the public eye. Both she and her intended were only 17, sparking many to predict that the union wouldn't last. Unfortunately, the naysayers were proven correct when Miner and Culkin announced their separation barely two years later in August 2000.