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Selma Blair Bio
Selma Blair (born June 23, 1972 as Selma Blair Beitner) is an American film, television, and theater actress. Blair started her professional acting career in 1995. During her early years, she played a large number of supporting roles in film and television, before obtaining recognition for her leading role in the film noir Brown’s Requiem (1998).
Her breakthrough came in 1999, when she starred on The WB teen sitcom Zoe and in the coming-of-age drama Cruel Intentions. Blair continued to find commercial success with the comedies Legally Blonde (2001) and The Sweetest Thing (2002), and achieved international fame as a result of her portrayal of the heroine Liz Sherman in the fantasy films Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008). Other notable films include Storytelling (2001), A Guy Thing (2003), The Fog (2005), Feast of Love (2007), The Poker House (2008), Dark Horse (2011), In Their Skin (2012), Mothers and Daughters (2016) and Ordinary World (2016).
Blair portrayed the leading role in the American remake of Kath & Kim as Kim (2008–2009), and on the sitcom Anger Management (2012–2014). Blair also appeared as socialite Kris Jenner in the first season of FX true crime anthology series American Crime Story (2016). In 2011, Blair lent her voice to narrate the Holocaust-related audio documentary The Diary of Anne Frank, garnering a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children nomination.
1990–1998: Career beginnings
In 1990, during her time at Cranbrook Kingswood, Blair was involved in a production of T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. According to Blair, it was a failure, but her English teacher told her not to give up; that was the first time she thought she could be an actress. In 1993, she began training at acting schools in New York. She was discovered by an agent in acting class; subsequently, Blair signed with her. After 75 auditions, she got her first advertising contract for a television spot ad for a theater in Virginia, for which she received her Screen Actor’s Guild membership.
Blair began auditioning in the mid-1990s. Her first audition was for a cereal commercial. She won her first professional role in 1995, in an episode of the children’s television sitcom The Adventures of Pete & Pete. She portrayed the love interest of the main character Big Pete. In 1996, she landed her first feature film role in The Broccoli Theory, an “unromantic comedy” set in NYC. In 1997, she made her first appearance on a mainstream feature film, the Kevin Kline comedy In & Out. Blair auditioned six times for the role and remained several weeks on the set, but most of her scenes were cut from the final screened edition. She obtained her first lead role in a feature film on the teen drama Strong Island Boys, based on true events about a Long Island 80’s street gang. Alec Baldwin gave her a favorable review—he called her “a cross between Debra Winger and Marlene Dietrich”.
Later, she was selected to take the lead in the fantasy film, Amazon High, alongside Karl Urban. Blair starred as a present-day orphaned high school student who accidentally travels back in time to the mythical days of the Amazons. Amazon High, which also was proposed as a third show set in the Hercules and Xena mythological genre, never has been aired. Later, portions of the pilot were adapted and edited into the Xena: Warrior Princess episode “Lifeblood” in 2000. In the same year, Blair was cast as Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek, but was later replaced by Katie Holmes. Soon afterward, she auditioned for the title role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Sarah Michelle Gellar was chosen, instead. Blair starred opposite Suzanne Somers in the family drama No Laughing Matter as a pregnant teenager. She subsequently appeared in several independent and short productions, including Debutante, opposite Josh Hartnett. The short drama was shot in NYC and won multiple awards after its premiere in September 1998.
In 1998, Blair starred opposite Dominique Swain in the teen drama Girl, as well as in the suspense thriller Brown’s Requiem, based on the crime novel of the same name. In the same year, Blair appeared in My Friend Steve’s 1998 music video for the song “Charmed” (which was also the opening theme for the first season of Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane in 1999). She also appeared in the music video for the single “Every You Every Me” by the British alternative rock band Placebo; the track was featured on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack.[unreliable source?]
1999–2004: Breakthrough and mainstream success
Following several auditions, independent film roles, and guest-roles in television series, Blair achieved her breakthrough opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe in the 1999 coming-of-age drama Cruel Intentions, loosely based on the 18th-century novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Blair played the role of an innocent student manipulated by two of her classmates. The film received mixed reviews, with Variety finding “newcomer” Blair to be ” too broad” while “overdoing [her role]’s clumsiness”. Nevertheless, the film made an impressive US$75.9 million at the international box office, and earned the actress an MTV Movie Award nomination for “Best Breakthrough Performance” and a win for “Best Kiss”, shared with Gellar. Cruel Intentions has since developed a cult following.
Blair went on to star as Zoe Bean on Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane, alongside Azura Skye and Michael Rosenbaum. The first season follows the lives of four high school classmates from Manhattan. The second season was just renamed Zoe…, which follows the title character a few years later as a psychology student; the show was not renewed for a third season. She was nominated for the Teen Choice Awards for “TV – Breakout Performance” category for her role in Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane.
In 2000, Blair won a Movieline’s Young Hollywood Award in the “Exciting New Face – Female Category”, and portrayed a seductive college student in the teen comedy Down to You, alongside Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Julia Stiles. A lukewarm critical and commercial response greeted the film upon its release. Her film career continued with the independent drama Kill Me Later opposite Max Beesley. She starred as a suicidal bank teller taken hostage during a bank robbery, who tries to persuade her captors to kill her. The film received a limited release in September 2001, in New York and Los Angeles.
Blair co-starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in the comedy Legally Blonde, portraying a preppy, snobby law student and the “rival” for the affections of Witherspoon’s ex-boyfriend. The Hollywood Reporter found her to be a “strong presence” in her role, “coming on as a bitch initially, then softening into feminine solidarity with [Witherspoon’s] heroine”. The film was released on July 13, 2001, topping the US box office in its opening weekend; it went on to gross US$96.5 million in North America and a worldwide total of US$141.7 million. She next starred as a college student having an affair with her professor in the controversial independent drama Storytelling, alongside Leo Fitzpatrick. It premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, and received a limited release in most international markets. SPLICEDwire remarked in its review for the film that both Blair and Fitzpatrick gave “painfully authentic performances as an emotionally insecure coed and her cerebral palsy-stricken dorm neighbor and lover”.
She starred with Jared Leto and Jake Gyllenhaal in the crime drama Highway, which was released directly-to-DVD in March 2002. The independent film, filmed in locations of Seattle, is set in the mid-’90s grunge music scene and follows a road trip to the 1994 Kurt Cobain vigil. Blair next appeared opposite Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate in the comedy The Sweetest Thing, as the roommate of Diaz’s character. While the film received mixed reviews, it grossed US$68.6 million worldwide. For her part, she was nominated for the Teen Choice Awards, in the “Best Actress in a Comedy” category.
In 2002, Blair appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, and in a television commercial for The Sims Online video game. She also had a guest role in the episode “The One with Christmas in Tulsa” on the hit sitcom Friends. In 2003, Blair co-starred with Jason Lee in the romantic comedy A Guy Thing, playing the fiance of a man who wakes up after his bachelor party in bed with another woman (played by Julia Stiles). The film received negative reviews and made a lackluster US$15.5 million at the North American box office.
She filmed supporting parts for the independent road film Dallas 362 (2003) and the well-received comedy-drama In Good Company (2004), and appeared alongside former NBA star John Salley and Judy Davis in the television movie Coast to Coast. In 2004, Blair took on the role of Liz Sherman, a depressed pyrotechnic superhero, in Guillermo Del Toro’s blockbuster fantasy film Hellboy, co-starring Ron Perlman. Based on Mike Mignola’s popular comic book series, the film was favorably received by critics; The New York Times remarked: “Blair’s heavy-lidded eyes seem to be at half mast from some lovely lewd fantasy. With her sleepy carnality and dry, hesitant timing, she is a superb foil for Mr. Perlman’s plain-spoken bravado”. Hellboy topped the box office in the U.S. and Canada in its opening weekend, and ultimately grossed US$99.3 million around the globe.
Also in 2004, Blair played the role of an exhibitionist dancer in John Waters’ satirical sex comedy A Dirty Shame, alongside Tracey Ullman. The film received a limited theatrical run in North America, garnering an overall mixed response; A.V. Club described the production as a “proud retreat back into the sandbox of sexual juvenilia” and a “potty-mouthed manifesto from an elder statesman of shock”, while positively pointing out that both Blair and Ullman “throw themselves headfirst into the insanity, reveling in the forfeiture of dignity, self-respect, and self-consciousness their roles demand”. Blair took part on the social project The 1 Second Film as a producer, and was included on the FHM list of “The 100 Sexiest Women of 2004″.
2005–2011: Independent films and The Diary of Anne Frank
Blair starred as a young Harvard-trained economist involved in an international oil scandal in the political thriller The Deal (2005), opposite Christian Slater and Angie Harmon. The film received limited release in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Blair next played supporting role in the independent black comedy Pretty Persuasion (2005), starring Evan Rachel Wood. Her last film release in 2005 was the John Carpenter-produced remake The Fog, in which she did her own stunts; among other acts, she spent 12 hours in a water tank over two days to shoot her underwater scenes. The film, co-starring Tom Welling and Maggie Grace, was met with an overwhelmingly negative critical response, while it grossed a modest US$46.2 million worldwide. She also starred alongside Elias Koteas in the fantasy short film The Big Empty, based on the story The Specialist and produced by George Clooney. The production revolved around a young woman suffering a psychosomatic medical condition.
Blair starred in the dysfunctional family drama The Night of the White Pants, with Nick Stahl. The film premiered through a limited theatrical run in NYC in 2006. She also appeared in a small role in the comedy-drama The Alibi (2006). In 2007, Blair took on the lead role in Edward Burns’ Purple Violets, a romantic comedy co-starring Burns, Patrick Wilson and Debra Messing. In the film, Blair played a frustrated and lonely writer who falls in love with her childhood sweetheart. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the first feature film to debut exclusively on the iTunes Store.
She co-starred in Robert Benton’s romantic dramedy Feast of Love (2007), opposite Greg Kinnear and Morgan Freeman, portraying a woman who begins a lesbian relationship due to her marital frustrations. The film received mixed critical reviews upon its limited theatrical premiere in North America. She next appeared in the British crime thriller WΔZ (2007), opposite Stellan Skarsgård, Melissa George and Tom Hardy. Blair starred as a lab assistant who is sexually assaulted by a criminal gang, and becomes a serial killer after watching her mother’s death. The film had a limited theatrical run, but was favorably received by critics.
Blair was included in the list of People Magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful People 2007”. In 2008, she reprised her role of Liz Sherman in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, where her character has a larger role in the storyline than its predecessor. The film garnered largely positive reviews from critics and became a worldwide commercial success, grossing US$160 million. She was nominated for the Scream Awards for Best Actress in a Fantasy Movie or TV Show.
Blair accepted the titular role on the NBC sitcom Kath & Kim, opposite Molly Shannon. The sitcom was based on the Australian television series of the same name about a mother and daughter who are obsessed with celebrity culture. Blair had to gain weight and use hair extensions to play her role as Kim, a self-absorbed suburban young princess who is forced to reassess her relationship with her mother. The series was canceled after one season. Blair also appeared with Rainn Wilson singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for the 2008 Gap winter ad campaign, and was included in Glamour’s list of the 50 Most Glamorous Women of 2008.
In 2009, Blair returned to the stage, whe she took on the lead role of Kayleen in Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, opposite stage actor Brad Fleischer. The drama made its world premiere at Houston’s Alley Theatre on October 16, 2009, to largely positive reviews. In 2010, Blair lent her voice to narrate The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, originally written by Holocaust victim Anne Frank. The audiobook received generally positive reviews from critics and readers. Her performance received a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children nomination.
Blair starred in the music video for Danko Jones’ “Full of Regret”; the video also featured Elijah Wood and Lemmy Kilmister. She next had a guest role in three episodes of the online series Web Therapy starring Lisa Kudrow, and appeared as a guest judge in Heidi Klum’s fashion reality show Project Runway. She appeared in a supporting role as a lesbian teacher in the small-scale black comedy The Family Tree (2011), with Madeline Zima, and starred in the psychological thriller Columbus Circle, with Amy Smart and Giovanni Ribisi, playing an agoraphobic heiress who has to face her fears after she killed a man in her apartment. Filming for Columbus Circle took place in 2009, but the movie received a straight-to-DVD release in March 2012.
In 2011, Blair appeared as guest-star in the Portlandia episode “Blunderbuss”, appeared in Animal Love, a short college film about life in the post global warming world premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and also starred in the comedic short film The Break-In, directed by Jaime King. In the independent comedy-drama Dark Horse (2011), Blair starred with Christopher Walken, Mia Farrow and Jordan Gelber, reprising her role of Storytelling (2001), who has became an “overmedicated depressive” woman. Dark Horse received a limited theatrical release and garnered a positive response from critics. A.V. Club felt that “the scenes between Gelber and Blair are the strongest in [in the film], because they form a bond not out of shared interests or passion, but a weary kind of compromise”.
2012–present: Film and television balance
In 2012, Blair starred in the short film Slideshow of Wieners: A Love Story, a satirical love story about the Internet. Shortly after, Blair returned to the small screen as the female lead with the premiere of FX’s Anger Management co-starring Charlie Sheen. Blair starred in 53 episodes as Dr. Kate Wales, Sheen’s neurotic therapist and love interest. The series premiered to mixed critical reviews, but broke ratings records with 5.74 million viewers in its series debut and ranks as the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable history. Blair left the show during the shooting of second season due to disagreements with Sheen. Blair’s departure was officially in June 2013.
In 2013, Blair was the voice of Destiny in the IFC’s animated series Out There. She also had a guest role on the season two of the TV series Comedy Bang! Bang!. In August 2014, Blair obtained her first small screen role since she left Anger Management when she was cast as Joanna in the Amazon’s comedy pilot Really, alongside Sarah Chalke. The comedy, about the complicated life of a group of friends in their thirties is, as of May 2015, available only in the US and the UK.
Blair starred in the drama Sex, Death And Bowling (2015), alongside Adrian Grenier and Bailey Chase. The film is about the marriage of an American soldier who fought in the American intervention in Iraq and who suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer. The film began shooting in October 2013, and was released in selected American theaters in October 2015. Blair also starred with Green Day punk rock frontman Billie Joe Armstrong in the musical drama Ordinary World (2016), as the hard-working lawyer wife of Armstrong’s aging rockstar character. The production premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016.
In February 2016, Blair returned to television in the FX mini-series American Crime Story: The People vs. O. J. Simpson, where she appeared with Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta, and David Schwimmer, portraying Kris Jenner, the former wife of Simpson’s attorney Robert Kardashian. The project recreated the 1995 publicized O. J. Simpson murder case, and aired to critical and popular acclaim. Also in 2016, Blair starred as a “single, unfulfilled rock photographer” in the independent drama Mothers and Daughters, as part of a large ensemble cast, consisting of Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Mira Sorvino and Courteney Cox. The film was released on 6 May 2016 for digital markets and received largely mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter found the “talented actresses” involved to be “hamstrung” by the film’s “unsubtle script that piles on far too many melodramatic plot contrivances for a 90-minute [production]”, and remarked that while Blair’s “voiceover narration promises to be a connective thread, [her] device is quickly abandoned, with the profusion of barely interconnected characters”.
In June 2016, Blair was cast alongside Nicolas Cage and Anne Winters in Brian Taylor’s horror comedy film, Mom and Dad. The film was released in theaters on January 19, 2018.
On October 30, 2005, Blair appeared in The New York Times Magazine award-winning photography gallery, “The Selma Blair Witch Project: Fall’s Dark Silhouettes Have a Way of Creeping Up on You” by the art photographer Roger Ballen, which was in exhibition at the Palau Robert in Barcelona in 2012.
In 2010, Blair posed with Demi Moore and Amanda De Cadenet for a spread in Harper’s Bazaar magazine. In 2012, Blair became the spokesperson for, and first actress to appear on, the Get Real For Kids campaign. In the spring of that year, she released a line of handbags and wallets called SB, which she designed. Blair has appeared on the covers and photo sessions of several magazines. In 1999, she appeared in Seventeen, and in subsequent years the list has grown to include Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Vogue, Glamour, Rolling Stone, The Lab Magazine, Interview, Dazed & Confused, The Hunger Magazine and Elle among others. Blair has been the face of several fashion houses including Chanel, Miu Miu and Gap.
In February 2016, Blair appeared on the cover of CR Fashion Book magazine.
In February 2018, Selma Blair presented parts of the collection of Christian Siriano. Siriano celebrated his 10th stage anniversary with a catwalk in Masonic Hall (New York) during the Fashion Week 2018.
Selma Blair (age: 47) is an actress known for Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, The Sweetest Thing, Hellboy, Storytelling, The Poker House, In Their Skin, Mothers and Daughters, Kath & Kim, Anger Management and American Crime Story.