Born in Palo Alto, California, Amy was the youngest of three children and was the daughter of influential theatrical director and producer Jules Irving, and actress Priscilla Pointer. Amy was brought up in the world of theater, she was put on the stage from the time she was nine months old, her father was the director and her mother was the actress, they didn't want baby sitters for their children, so if she wasn't performing, she would stayed in the wardrobe department or her mother used to put her in the second row center where she could watch her. And before she was 10 years old, she had already worked in several plays. At a young age, Amy Irving was trained at the American Conservatory Theater and Britain's LAMDA. She made her off-Broadway debut at the age of 17 and from that moment to date, she received critical acclaim, appearing in such plays as: Heartbreak House (1983), The Road to Mecca (1988), Broken Glass (1994), The Three Sisters (1997), The Guys (2002), Ghosts (2002), and Celadine (2004), among others.
In 1976, Amy made her film debut, playing Sue Snell, one of her most unforgettable characters in Stephen King's Carrie, a classic in the horror genre, taken to the big screen by director Brian De Palma. For the next few years, Irving continued working in important films, The Fury (1978) also directed by De Palma, Voices (1979) and The Competition (1980). Later, in 1983 she gave a fine performance as Hadass, in Barbra Streisand's Yentl, and won an Oscar nomination for her great work in that successful film. Two of her best opportunities arrived in the late 80s, when she played Anna Anderson in Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) and Isabelle in the romantic comedy Crossing Delancey (1988); she received a Golden Globe nomination for each movie.
Amy was married to director Steven Spielberg from 1985 to 1989 and she has a son with him (Max). And in 1990, after her divorce, she met Brazilian director Bruno Barreto while they were working in "A Show of Force". They wed a few years later and they have a son (Gabriel). In 1997 Irving made a guest appearance in Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry, and in 1999 she came back in the sequel of Carrie, The Rage: Carrie 2.
Unfortunately her film opportunities were supposedly narrowed in the 90s. However in the year 2000, she surprised the whole world again when she performed as Mary Ann Simpson, a very funny and sensual at the same time English teacher in the film Bossa Nova. She managed to capture this peculiar character very well. After this romantic comedy, Amy had a great opportunity, playing Barbara Wakefield, Michael Douglas wife in Traffic (2000), the film was a huge success and she won an Actor Award, shared with the rest of the cast. Then, this beautiful and talented actress continued working in remarkable films such as, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001), with her Carrie co-star Sissy Spacek in the Walt Disney production Tuck Everlasting (2002) and in the horror film Hide and Seek (2005) along with Robert De Niro. Recently, she had an important part as Emily Sloane in the very known show Alias.
In addition to her talents as an actress, she is a great dancer and also showed off her vocal talents, singing in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Honeysuckle Rose (1980), Rumpelstiltskin (1987) and An American Tail: Feivel Goes West (1991).
Nowadays Amy Irving continues working on stage in Broadway's productions and spends most of her time with her friends and family, especially with her two children.