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Karen Sillas

Karen Sillas

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: June 5, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, speech coach

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A cool, confident-looking blonde with evocative, glamorous eyes and a clefted, jutting chin, Karen Sillas began a collaboration with filmmaker Hal Hartley when she performed in his student thesis film, "Kid" (1985), while the two attended SUNY-Purchase. Moving to New York City, she studied at the Actors Studio and appeared in such Studio productions as "Miss Julie", "The Cherry Orchard" and "Rasputin" before making her feature debut in a small role as the no-nonsense Nurse Paine in Hartley's striking "Trust" (1990). Sillas continued her affiliation with the director, playing a more prominent part as a lonely cafe owner who becomes involved with two very different brothers in his intriguing "Simple Men" (1992), and made a cameo appearance in Hartley's feature version of "Flirt" (1994). Her search for offbeat parts to spotlight her pensive seriousness and skill at conveying an edgy toughness tinged with vulnerability led her to portray a struggling artist in Dierdre Fishel's "Risk" (1993).Sillas was a well-kept secret of the independent film community until Tom Noonan's "What Happened Was . . ." (1993) blew her anonymity. The head of CBS casting saw the intense two-character film about a first date at...

A cool, confident-looking blonde with evocative, glamorous eyes and a clefted, jutting chin, Karen Sillas began a collaboration with filmmaker Hal Hartley when she performed in his student thesis film, "Kid" (1985), while the two attended SUNY-Purchase. Moving to New York City, she studied at the Actors Studio and appeared in such Studio productions as "Miss Julie", "The Cherry Orchard" and "Rasputin" before making her feature debut in a small role as the no-nonsense Nurse Paine in Hartley's striking "Trust" (1990). Sillas continued her affiliation with the director, playing a more prominent part as a lonely cafe owner who becomes involved with two very different brothers in his intriguing "Simple Men" (1992), and made a cameo appearance in Hartley's feature version of "Flirt" (1994). Her search for offbeat parts to spotlight her pensive seriousness and skill at conveying an edgy toughness tinged with vulnerability led her to portray a struggling artist in Dierdre Fishel's "Risk" (1993).

Sillas was a well-kept secret of the independent film community until Tom Noonan's "What Happened Was . . ." (1993) blew her anonymity. The head of CBS casting saw the intense two-character film about a first date at the 1994 Sundance Festival (where it won the Grand Jury Prize) and immediately wanted her as the star of the network's new cop series "Under Suspicion" (1994-95). Sillas was right at home, comparing the atmosphere of the Oregon-based "Suspicion" to that of an independent film, and though it lasted only a season, she drew nothing but raves for her tight-lipped, tight-skirted detective Rose Phillips. Since then she has starred in two miniseries, "Peter Benchley's 'The Beast'" (NBC, 1996) and "Night Sins" (CBS, 1997), acted opposite Gary Cole in the ABC movie "Lies He Told" (also 1997). On the big screen, Sillas essayed a lesbian psychiatrist in "Female Perversions" (1996) and attempted a change of pace breezy turn as Steven Weber's no-nonsense girlfriend in Larry David's uneven black comedy "Sour Grapes" (1998).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Ned Rifle (2015)
2.
 On the Edge (2001) Dr Anna Richardson ("The Other Side")
3.
 75 Degrees in July (2000) Letty Anderson
4.
 Bad Money (1999)
5.
 As Time Runs Out (1999) Detective Janet Wise
6.
 Reach the Rock (1998) Donna
7.
 Sour Grapes (1998) Joan
8.
 Lies He Told (1997) Alyson Bay
9.
 Female Perversions (1996) Renee
10.
 Flirt (1995) Dr Clint (New York)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1984:
Acted in director Hal Hartley's short film, "Kid", the thesis film he made at SUNY Purchase; first collaboration with Hartley
:
Moved to NYC and began a career in the theater, supporting herself for a time as a children's speech coach
:
Selected to join the Actors Studio in New York; performed in such Studio productions as "Rasputin", "Miss Julie" and "The Cherry Orchard"
1990:
Feature debut in a small role in Hartley's "Trust"
1990:
Earliest TV appearances include a guest spot on the NBC police drama series "True Blue"
:
Acted for a time on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live"
1992:
First prominent role in a feature film, "Simple Men", directed by Hartley; billed third, Silas received an Indepent Spirit Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1993:
First feature lead, "What Happened Was..."; first created the role on stage; also provided some of the film's financing
1994:
Made cameo appearance in Hartley's feature "Flirt"
1994:
First TV series as a regular, "Under Suspicion", a CBS police detective drama, with Sillas in the leading role of Rose 'Phil' Phillips
1996:
Co-starred with Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan in "Female Perversions"
1996:
Starred opposite William Petersen in NBC miniseries "Peter Benchley's 'The Beast'"
1997:
Portrayed Dr Hannah Garrison in CBS miniseries "Night Sins"; featured alongside Hartley regular Martin Donovan
1997:
Acted opposite Gary Cole in the ABC movie "Lies He Told"
1998:
Played the part of Joan in Larry David's balck comedy "Sour Grapes"
1998:
Appeared in the John Hughes-scripted drama "Reach the Rock"
1998:
Filmed pilot, "The Repair Shop" (CBS), executive produced by Mark Frost, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal and directed by Philip Noyce
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Education

Actors Studio: New York , New York -
State University of New York, Purchase: Purchase , New York - 1984

Notes

About landing her role in "Under Suspicion": "They'd tried for a long time to find 'Phil' [her character in the show]. Then the head of CBS casting went to Sundance and [said], 'We've got to get this woman.' It was only the second time I'd ever been to L.A., and I went down there to do an audition with just this small bag, and I did the audition and got the role, and we started shooting the pilot right away, and I never went back to Brooklyn." --Karen Sillas, PARADE MAGAZINE, April 2, 1995

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Peter Stormare. Actor. Divorced.

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