Family & Companions
An enormously gifted actress-musician, Alicia Witt was a child prodigy who caught the eye of David Lynch, who gave her small but memorable roles in "Dune" (1984) and "Twin Peaks" (ABC, 1990-91). Already established as a minor celebrity for her precocious genius, Witt became a world-class pianist and supported herself as a lounge performer while pursuing an acting career. Nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and honored by the Sundance Film Festival for her startling turn as a teenage murderer in "Fun" (1994), Witt notched small roles in "Four Rooms" (1995) and "Citizen Ruth" (1996), but broke out as Cybill Shepherd's dry-witted daughter Zoey on "Cybill" (CBS, 1995-98). Dividing her post-"Cybill" time between film and television, Witt scored large roles in "Urban Legend" (1998) and "Cecil B. DeMented" (2000), while also booking high-profile guest spots on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) and "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002). In addition to enjoying an acclaimed theatrical career, Witt continued to line up supporting film roles, including in the hits "Two Weeks Notice" (2002) and "Last Holiday" (2006), recurred on such TV shows as "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-07; USA Network, 2007-2011), and began performing her own music, releasing an acclaimed debut EP, Alicia Witt in 2009. With so many impressive artistic talents, Alicia Witt built a multi-hyphenate career that inspired many critics and fans to hope such an evolved artist would achieve even greater renown.
Born Aug. 21, 1975 in Worcester, MA, Alicia Roanne Witt was precocious beyond all measure, including speaking at one month old and reading/memorizing/reciting Shakespeare by one years of age. As a child prodigy, she made national headlines and sparked multiple magazine pieces, including a memorable spot on "That's Incredible!" (ABC, 1980-84), where the four-year-old Witt performed the famed balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Home schooled and gifted in numerous disciplines, Witt had never even seen a movie when David Lynch cast her as a mystical child in his sweeping sci-fi saga "Dune" (1984). Of her many gifts, however, Witt was most passionate about music, demonstrating a world-class talent for piano and building a reputation as one of the most gifted pianists of her generation, winning multiple awards and rankings. After earning her high school diploma at just age 14, Witt decided to pursue an entertainment career, starting with a guest spot on Lynch's "Twin Peaks" (ABC, 1990-91) as a youthful piano prodigy.
Supporting herself by playing piano in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel's lounge, Witt continued to cut her professional acting teeth with a supporting role in the drama "Bodies, Rest & Motion" (1993), but proved what a talented actress she really was with a powerful starring role in "Fun" (1994), the based-on-real-life story of two teenage runaways (Witt and Renée Humphrey) who murder an elderly woman for the thrill of it. Although the film was not a commercial success, it earned enormous critical acclaim, and Witt was awarded a special jury prize from the Sundance Film Festival as well as a Best Debut Performance nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards. Buoyed by her success, the actress went on to essay roles in "Four Rooms" (1995), "Citizen Ruth" (1996) and "Bongwater" (1997), but found her most enduring fame when she was cast as Zoey, the genius daughter of flaky actress "Cybill" (CBS, 1995-98) on Cybill Shepherd's eponymous sitcom.
Earning the lion's share of critical praise along with Christine Baranski's brittle boozehound, Witt became a recognized personality thanks to "Cybill," and shared a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild ensemble award with her co-stars. After the series wrapped, however, Witt struggled to build on her momentum. After landing the female lead in the horror hit "Urban Legend" (1998), she booked a memorable guest spot as a "D-Girl" who considers Christopher's (Michael Imperioli) screenplay on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) and played a crusading adult film actress in John Waters's twisted valentine to filmmaking, "Cecil B. DeMented" (2000). Witt sang with Randy Newman on "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002) and took supporting roles in "Vanilla Sky" (2001), "Two Weeks Notice" (2002), "The Upside of Anger" (2005) and "Last Holiday" (2006). Her focus increasingly turned towards her music career and stage performances, with acclaimed turns in productions like "The Shape of Things" and "Piano/Forte." Although she was a seasoned pro as a professional musician who played the works of others, Witt began booking club dates and gaining experience performing her own compositions - a lifelong dream. She released her debut album, 2009's EP Alicia Witt to critical plaudits, while at the same time, continuing to act, notching high-profile recurring roles on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-07; USA Network, 2007-2011), "Friday Night Lights" (NBC/The 101 Network, 2006-2011) and "The Mentalist" (CBS, 2008-15).
By Jonathan Riggs
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
First TV appearance, reciting Shakespeare on ABC's "That's Incredible"
Began studying piano at age seven
Made acting debut at age nine when David Lynch cast her in "Dune"
TV acting debut, on an episode of the David Lynch series "Twin Peaks" (ABC)
Moved to California
Appeared in the Mike Figgis drama "Liebestraum"; played Liszt's title piece
First adult role in features, "Bodies, Rest & Motion"
Appeared in a 1936-set segment of the David Lynch anthology film "Hotel Room" (HBO)
Featured in the CBS TV-movie "The Disappearance of Vonnie"
Starred as a teenage murderer in the acclaimed independent feature "Fun"
Featured as a red-dreadlocked lesbian witch in the Alison Anders-directed segment of the feature "Four Rooms"
Cast as Zoey Woodbine, the rebellious, disagreeable younger daughter of the title character, in "Cybill" (CBS)
Starred as a budding clarinet player in "Mr. Holland's Opus"; learned how to play the clarinet for the part
Played the daughter of a pro-life activist couple in Alexander Payne's satirical "Citizen Ruth"
Was part of the ensemble of the college campus-set horror thriller "Urban Legend"
Was featured in the Los Angeles Film Independent Film Festival-screened feature "Bongwater"
Starred with Sela Ward and Timothy Dalton as part of the 1900s-set love triangle-themed TV-movie "Passion's Way"
Guest starred as a film-industry d-girl on HBO's acclaimed drama "The Sopranos"
Made musical stage debut in L.A. production of "The Gift"; played an exotic dancer
Played a porn actress in the John Waters comedy "Cecil B. Demented"
Had a recurring role as Hope Mercey in the FOX dramedy "Ally McBeal"
Starred as a pianist whose rejected by a competiton results in a breakdown in the feature "Playing Mona Lisa"
Appeared as Libby in Cameron Crowe's "Vanilla Sky"
Played Hugh Grant's girlfriend June in the romantic comedy "Two Weeks Notice"
Portrayed Joan Allen's daughter in "The Upside of Anger" a film by Mike Binder; screened at sundance
Cast opposite Queen Latifah in the comedy "Last Holiday"
Joined the cast of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC/USA) for the 2007-08 season as Det. Nola Falacci
Co-starred with Al Pacino for the thriller, "88 Minutes"
Will join the third season of "Californication" (Showtime) as a sexy gynecologist