Mia Farrow was the daughter of film star Maureen O'Sullivan and director John Farrow. She fell victim to polio at the age of nine, but recovered. Educated in an English convent school, she returned to California with plans to take up acting.
With little experience, Farrow debuted on Broadway in a 1963 revival of 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. The following year, she was cast in TV soap opera 'Peyton Place', which made her an idol of the American teen set.
When she became the third wife of singer Frank Sinatra, 30 years her senior, the marriage caused a great deal of newspaper gossip, but didn't last long. Farrow's first important movie appearance was in 'Rosemary's Baby', as the unwitting mother of Satan's offspring.
Farrow received almost as much recognition for the pixie crop haircut she sported in the film as she did for her acting, for which she was awarded a Golden Globe. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Vidal Sassoon, who came up with the cut for the actress, explained how he was approached to do it.
He said: "Roman Polanski –who directed Mia in the film – was a friend, and he called me and said, "Would you like to come to Hollywood and cut Mia Farrow's hair for Rosemary's Baby?"
The celebrity hairdresser said that the cut was subsequently "in all the newspapers", despite his efforts to keep the look a secret. Sassoon told Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the gamine cut "suited [Farrow] marvellously because she had a shaped face and bone structure that was just perfect". After 'Rosemary's Baby', the actress was often cast in damsel-in-distress parts, as well as in trendy "pop culture" roles.
She married Andre Previn and started a family but, by the early 1980s, a newly divorced Farrow had taken up with comedian-director Woody Allen, for whom she did some of her best work in such films as 'Zelig', 'Radio Days', and 'Husbands and Wives'.
Farrow had a child with Allen named Satchel, who was Allen's first son. But, in 1992, she discovered that Allen had been having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (whom he later married). Farrow and Allen were then engaged in a long and well-publicised court battle for custody of their adopted and biological children. In the aftermath, Farrow wrote a tell-all memoir entitled 'What Falls Away'.
She continued to appear sporadically on the screen, in such films as 'Widows' Peak', 'Miami Rhapsody', and 'Coming Soon'. She also appeared as "Mrs. Baylock", the Satanic nanny, in the 2006 remake of ‘The Omen’. Though the film itself received a lukewarm critical reception, Farrow's performance was widely praised.
Farrow completed work on several films released in 2007, including the romantic comedy ‘The Ex’ and the first part of director Luc Besson's planned trilogy of fantasy films, ‘Arthur and the Invisibles’.Her latest roles was in 'Dark Horse' in 2011.
Away from acting, Mia Farrow has been a high profile advocate for children's rights, working to raise funds and awareness for children in conflict affected regions, predominantly in Africa. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has worked extensively to draw attention to the fight to eradicate polio, which she survived as a child. She has travelled to Darfur three times to advocate for Darfuri refuges.
The actress' role as a human rights activist has been recognised by the Holocaust Museum in Houston, which is planning to present Farrow with its Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award in May 2011. Farrow appeared in the news when she was required to give evidence in the UN trial of Charles Taylor, an African warlord, who is accused of crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.
The trial received large amounts of press coverage when it emerged that Mr Taylor had allegedly given Naomi Campbell blood diamonds after a banquet which Farrow was also present at. Farrow indicated that Campbell relayed the story of receiving the diamonds and was "quite excited" to have been given the gift, contrary to the model's version of events.