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LaMorte at Cleveland Slayercon, 2004
|Born||Robia Brett LaMorte
July 7, 1970
Queens, New York, U.S.
Robia Brett LaMorte, sometimes credited as Robia La Morte, (born July 7, 1970) is an American actress and former dancer. She is best known as a dancer and spokesperson for the musician Prince, and for starring as Jenny Calendar in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
LaMorte was born in the New York City borough of Queens and grew up in several locations including the Florida Keys and Ocean City, Maryland. She is named after her father, Robert LaMorte. After being inspired by the 1983 movie Flashdance, she began dancing and taking after-school lessons in jazz dance, ballet, and tap dance. She attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a dance major during the school's first year of operation, and then received a full scholarship to the Dupree Dance Academy in Hollywood. At sixteen, she began working as a backup dancer in music videos, first appearing in Debbie Gibson's "Shake Your Love".
After having appeared in more than thirty music videos and toured in a six-dancer troupe with the Pet Shop Boys, LaMorte was picked by the musician Prince to be one of two lead dancers for the music video for "Cream", a single from his 1991 album Diamonds and Pearls. Prince had originally sought identical twins, but chose LaMorte along with another dancer, Lori Elle, because of their similar appearance and the dance chemistry they had with Prince. Elle as "Diamond" and LaMorte as "Pearl" subsequently appeared in the videos for "Cream", "Gett Off", "Strollin'", and the album's title track, as well as on the album's holographic cover itself. LaMorte then toured Europe with Prince, and when he temporarily refused to do any public speaking, she and Elle served as his spokespersons and conducted the main promotional efforts for Diamonds and Pearls.
At the age of 22, LaMorte retired from dance and turned to acting. After doing numerous television commercials, she landed the role of Jason Priestly's girlfriend Jill Fleming on Beverly Hills, 90210 in two episodes. Her first regular role was as high school teacher and technopagan Jenny Calendar on the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After her character was killed during the second season, she returned for two more episodes as a ghost. In the second season finale "Becoming, Part Two" she makes a brief appearance as a hypnosis induced suggestion by Drusilla to trick Rupert Giles into revealing the flaw in Angel's plan. Finally she returned during the third season episode "Amends" to play a false apparition of the dead Calendar, a guise assumed by the evil force known as "the First Evil". However, LaMorte had become a born-again Christian after a highway encounter with a Christian biker gang while she was praying for a sign from God. After having already accepted the guest appearance on her old show, she was upset to learn that she would be playing the equivalent of Satan.
Since her role ended on Buffy, LaMorte has periodically accepted guest starring roles on various television shows. More recently she has retired from acting, focusing her efforts on other priorities such as Christian counseling, although she occasionally can be seen in commercials and smaller roles. She also spends some of her time preaching Christianity and selling audio CDs on her website that give accounts of her religious conversion and beliefs. In an FAQ on that site, LaMorte writes that while she was once a proponent of New Age beliefs, she rejected them after her conversion to Christianity. She criticizes these beliefs as a form of "earth worship" and characterizes the practice of witchcraft a dangerous opening for demonic influence.
- Swindoll, Jeff (2006) "DVD Review: Prince - Diamonds and Pearls", Monsters & Critics, October 20, 2006, retrieved 2011-07-12
- Gilstrap, Andrew (2002) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", PopMatters, June 10, 2002, retrieved 2011-07-12
- Fahy, Thomas (2010) The Philosophy of Horror, The University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 978-0-8131-2573-2, p. 91
- Mestre, Robert (2008) The Big Book of Buffy Bites 2008: The Ultimate Resource for the Buffy Fanatic, Lulu.com, ISBN 978-1-4357-1081-8, p. 81
- "Robia LaMorte". Robia LaMorte. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
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