Helen began studying acting at the age of eight with her father, respected director and acting coach, Gordon Hunt. She made her acting debut in 1973, in the TV-movie 'Pioneer Woman', and landed her first spot as a series regular, playing the daughter of a policewoman, on 'Amy Prentiss'.
One of Helen's first adult roles was as the girlfriend of Dr Jack Morrison (David Morse), on the acclaimed drama series, 'St Elsewhere'.
After a series of supporting roles, and keeping her career varied, she received several awards including two Emmys for her portrayal of Jamie Buchman in the weekly comedy series 'Mad About You', in which she co-starred opposite Paul Reiser from 1992-97, as a couple facing the ups and downs of marriage.
She earned glowing reviews, and received a Best Actress Oscar, for her turn as a single mother and waitress who becomes involved with Jack Nicholson, in 'As Good As It Gets', and in 1998, she made her television directorial debut, with several episodes of 'Mad About You'.
Hunt has been involved in a wide variety of roles, including 'Twelfth Night', a made-for-television production based on the comedy by William Shakespeare, and 'Dr. T & the Women', a romantic comedy featuring Richard Gere. She picked up a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favourite Actress for her role in 'What Women Want' in 2000 and went on to win further recognition with her next projects.
'Pay It Forward', which was released in the same year, earned her another Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, while 'Cast Away' delivered one to her mantelpiece for her supporting role in the Robert Zemeckis film starring Tom Hanks. After starring in 2001's 'The Curse of the Jade Scorpion', Hunt disappeared from the silver screen, only to turn up in 2004 with 'A Good Woman', a drama set in 1930.
She went on to join an ensemble cast featuring Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Demi Moore and Martin Sheen in 2006's 'Bobby', a fictional account about the last hours leading to the shooting of former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Recent projects include 'Then She Found Me' (2007), 'Every Day' (2010) and 'Soul Surfer' (2011). In 2012 she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress In A Supporting Role for her part in 'The Sessions'.
A winner of more than 30 awards from over 85 projects, Hunt was previously married to actor Hank Azaria, whom she divorced in 2000. She has been with Matthew Carnahan since 2001 and the couple have a daughter together.