Winona Ryder, whose surname at birth was Horowitz, was born in Winona, Minnesota and grew up on a ranch commune in Northern California until age 10 when she moved to Petaluma, California.
Ryder has Jewish ancestry on her father’s side, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise with the last name Horowitz. But that doesn’t mean she grew up in the Jewish religion. She said about her parents,
My father is an atheist. My mother is Buddhist. They encouraged my siblings and me to take the best part of other religions to make our own belief system.
It looks like her own spiritual journey led her down her mother’s path, but not in a terribly devout way. She said,
I still practice Buddhism to a certain extent and I believe in karma.
That’s pretty much all we have on Ryder’s religious affiliation. Even though she was Jewish enough to solicit a remark from Mel Gibson who called her an “oven-dodger” at a party once, it doesn’t seem like Ryder feels too connected to the Jewish faith.
Even though we don’t have a whole lot of explicit information about Winona Ryder’s political beliefs, there’s no doubt that she’s liberal. First of all, her upbringing by a Buddhist and an atheist who were friends with beat poet Allen Ginsburg and lived on a commune does not suggest a conservative Republican childhood.
She also seems to be down with gay people–she was equally offended when Mel Gibson made a “horrible gay joke” about her gay friend as she was about his antisemitic remarks to herself–implying that she would most likely support gay marriage initiatives.
She also seemed optimistic as the George W. Bush presidency was drawing to a close and that of Obama was beginning:
I hope that this new time, with Barack Obama. . . let us to leave behind this dark atmosphere which derives from the George Bush government. . . . I feel that everything will change.
She might not be living on a commune, but she sounds pretty liberal to me.