Clea DuVall

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Clea DuVall
Clea DuVall (2019 crop).jpg
DuVall in 2019
Clea Helen D'Etienne DuVall

(1977-09-25) September 25, 1977 (age 45)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Actress
  • filmmaker
Years active1996–present
Height5′ 5″
Parent(s)Steph DuVall
Rosemary Hatch

Clea Helen D'Etienne DuVall (born September 25, 1977) is an American actress, writer, producer, and director.[1] She is known for her appearances in the films The Faculty (1998), She's All That; But I'm a Cheerleader; Girl, Interrupted (all 1999); Identity, 21 Grams (both 2003), The Grudge (2004), Zodiac (2007), Conviction (2010), and Argo (2012).

On television, she played Sofie in Carnivàle (2003–2005), Audrey Hanson in Heroes (2006–2007), Wendy Peyser in American Horror Story: Asylum (2012–2013), Emma Borden in The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015), Lara Cruz in Better Call Saul (2015–2017), Marjorie in Veep (2016–2019), and Sylvia in The Handmaid's Tale (2018–2022).

In 2016, DuVall made her feature directorial debut with The Intervention, which she also wrote and co-produced. Her next project as director was Happiest Season in 2020.[2]

Early life[edit]

DuVall was born in Los Angeles, California.[1] Her father, Steph DuVall, is also an actor.[3] Her forename derives from the novel Clea by Lawrence Durrell.[4][5] She once worked in a coffee shop and studied at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.[6]


DuVall made her debut in the low-budget horror film Little Witches (1996). This was followed by roles in several independent films and guest appearances on episodes of ER and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, before her breakthrough in 1998 as a goth high school student in Robert Rodriguez's The Faculty. She also had a supporting role in the cult teen comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998),[7] which included appearances by Jason Segel and Selma Blair before they were well-known.[8]

In 1999, she had prominent roles in several films, including The Astronaut's Wife alongside Johnny Depp; Girl Interrupted opposite Winona Ryder; the hit romantic comedy She's All That; and the independent features Wildflowers and But I'm a Cheerleader. For her performance in Wildflowers, DuVall received rave reviews from critics.[9][10] The latter film, in which she played a lesbian undergoing conversion therapy, has since developed a cult following and is often cited as a favorite among fans of LGBT cinema.[11][12]

Over the next few years, DuVall had roles in a variety of films, including John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001); Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001) with Matthew McConaughey; The Laramie Project (2002); The Slaughter Rule (2002) with Ryan Gosling; Identity (2003); and the Academy Award-nominated 21 Grams (2003), opposite Sean Penn. She then appeared as part of the main cast of HBO's Carnivàle, which ran from 2003–05 and received several Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[13] During that time, she also starred in the television film Helter Skelter (2004), which earned her a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actress, and in the box office hit The Grudge (2004),[14] with Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Subsequent projects included a guest role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2005); supporting roles in the films Two Weeks (2006), opposite Sally Field, and David Fincher's critically acclaimed Zodiac (2007); and a recurring character on NBC's popular science fiction series, Heroes (2006–2007).

Next, she appeared in the thrillers Anamorph (2007), with Willem Dafoe; Passengers (2008), with Anne Hathaway; and The Killing Room (2009), with Chloë Sevigny. This was followed by guest roles on Lie to Me (2009), Numb3rs, Bones, and Law & Order (all 2010).

In 2012, she co-starred in the film Argo, based on the Iran hostage crisis. DuVall played Cora Amburn-Lijek, one of the six American diplomats rescued from Iran in 1980. She, along with the rest of the Argo cast, received the 2013 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Also in 2012, DuVall appeared in a recurring role on the second season of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, as Wendy Peyser.

In 2014, DuVall starred as Emma Borden, sister of Lizzie Borden (played by Christina Ricci), in the Lifetime television film, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax. She then reprised the role for the limited series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015). The latter received mixed reviews, but critics praised the performances of Ricci and DuVall. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Keith Uhlich said the actresses "have a delectable rapport not too far removed from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford at their hag-horror peak in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"[15]

In 2016, DuVall made her feature directorial debut with the comedy-drama The Intervention, which she also wrote, starred in, and produced.[16][17] The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was later acquired by Paramount Pictures.[18] The Intervention received positive reviews; Andy Webster of The New York Times noted that "DuVall juggles the emotional dynamics with fluid editing and light comic touches".[19] The same year, she starred in the independent features Zen Dogs and Heaven's Floor, and guest starred on AMC's Better Call Saul.

From 2016 to 2019, she played Marjorie on the HBO series Veep, for which she was twice nominated—along with her co-stars—for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, winning in 2018.[20]

DuVall appeared in four episodes of the Hulu drama series The Handmaid's Tale in 2018 and 2019. She also starred in the independent comedy All About Nina, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

DuVall wrote and direct the 2020 film Happiest Season, which premiered on Hulu.[21] The film, co-written by DuVall and Mary Holland, won the 2021 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release.[22]

Personal life[edit]

DuVall identifies as a lesbian[23][24] and is married.[25] She came out in 2016.[26] DuVall also said that she was "very closeted" while making But I'm a Cheerleader.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Little Witches Kelsey
1997 The Alarmist Suzy
Niagara, Niagara Convenience store clerk
1998 How to Make the Cruelest Month Bell Bryant
Girl Gillian
Can't Hardly Wait Jana
The Faculty Stokely "Stokes" Mitchell
1999 A Slipping-Down Life Nurse
She's All That Misty
Wildflowers Cally
Sleeping Beauties Clea Short film
The Astronaut's Wife Nan
But I'm a Cheerleader Graham Eaton
Girl, Interrupted Georgina Tuskin
2000 Committed Mimi
Bear to the Right Waitress Short film
2001 See Jane Run Jane Whittaker
Ghosts of Mars Bashira Kincaid
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Bea
How to Make a Monster Laura Wheeler
2002 The Slaughter Rule Skyla Sisco
2003 Identity Ginny Isiana
21 Grams Claudia
2004 The Grudge Jennifer Williams
2005 Two Weeks Katrina
2006 Champions Billy
2007 Zodiac Linda Del Buono
Ten Inch Hero Jen
Itty Bitty Titty Committee Singer
Anamorph Sandy Strickland
2008 Passengers Shannon
2009 The Killing Room Kerry Isalano
2010 Conviction Brenda Marsh
Lez Chat Librarian Short film
2012 Argo Cora Amburn-Lijek
2013 Armed Response Lena Also executive producer; original title of film was In Security
2014 Jackie & Ryan Virginia
Zen Dog Marlene Meeks
2015 Ma/ddy Dana
Addicted to Fresno Regina
2016 The Intervention Jessie Also writer, director, and executive producer
Heaven's Floor Julia
2018 All About Nina Paula
2020 Happiest Season Co-writer and director


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Dangerous Minds Nina Episode: "Evolution"
1997 ER Katie Reed 2 episodes
Crisis Center Laura Thomas Episode: "Where Truth Lies"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Marcie Ross Episode: "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
On the Edge of Innocence Ann Television film
The Defenders: Payback Jessica Lane
2000 Popular Wanda Rickets 2 episodes
2001 The Fugitive Lynette Hennessy
How to Make a Monster Laura Television film
2002 The Laramie Project Amanda Gronich
2003–2005 Carnivàle Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya Main role
2004 Helter Skelter Linda Kasabian Television film
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Abigail Spencer Episode: "Shooting Stars"
Fathers and Sons Laura Television film; uncredited
2006–2007 Heroes Audrey Hanson 7 episodes
2008 Grey's Anatomy Jennifer Robinson 2 episodes
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mia Latimer Episode: "Persona"
The Watch Cassie Television film
2009 Virtuality Sue Parsons Unsold television pilot
Saving Grace Maura Darrell Episode: "Looks Like a Lesbian Attack to Me"
Lie to Me Michelle Russell Episode: "Blinded"
2010 Private Practice Natasha Episode: "Fear of Flying"
Bones McKenna Grant Episode: "The Bones on the Blue Line"
Numb3rs Melanie Bailey Episode: "Devil Girl"
Law & Order Amanda Green Episode: "The Taxman Cometh"
2010–2011 The Event Maya 3 episodes
2011 CSI: Miami Lyla Moore Episode: "About Face"
And Baby Will Fall Melinda White Television film
2012–2013 American Horror Story: Asylum Wendy Peyser 5 episodes
2014 The Newsroom Lilly Hart 2 episodes
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax Emma Borden Television film
2015 The Lizzie Borden Chronicles Main role
2015–2017 Better Call Saul Lara Cruz 3 episodes
2016 Brooklyn Animal Control Madeleine Holmlund Unsold television pilot
New Girl Camilla Episode: "Wig"
2016–2019 Veep Marjorie Palmiotti Recurring role (seasons 5–6); main role (season 7)
2018 Take My Wife Audience Member Episode #2.3
2018–2022 The Handmaid's Tale Sylvia 5 episodes
2018 The Romanoffs Patricia Callahan Episode: "End of the Line"
2019 Broad City Lesley Marnel 3 episodes
RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Episode: "Snatch Game at Sea"
Looking for Alaska Director: "I'll Show You That It Won't Shoot"
2021 HouseBroken Elsa (voice) Also co-creator, executive producer, and writer
2022 The First Lady Malvina Thompson 8 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2012 Hollywood Film Awards Best Cast Argo Won [28]
2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Argo Won [29]
2016 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize The Intervention Nominated [30]
2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Veep Nominated [31]
2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Veep Won [32]
2021 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film – Wide Release Happiest Season Won [33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Riggs, T. (2005). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Gale. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7876-7102-0. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  2. ^ "Happiest Season Director Made LGBT Holiday Rom-Com Because 'I've Never Seen My Experience Represented'". TheWrap. November 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Clea DuVall (Finally) Graduates From Cheerleader to Captain | Entertainment Tonight".
  4. ^ "Clea DuVall".
  5. ^ Hanson-Firestone, Dana (March 11, 2020). "10 Things You didn't Know About Clea DuVall". TVOvermind.
  6. ^ "Clea DuVall". This Distracted Globe. September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Beer Has Not Gone Bad: How Can't Hardly Wait Became a Teen Cult Classic". The Ringer. June 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "13 Stars Who Were in Can't Hardly Wait Before They Were Famous". August 29, 2014.
  9. ^ Scott, A. O. (September 1, 2000). "Film Review; A 60's Marin County Map With Vietnam Left Off". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Johnson, Barry (March 10, 2000). "SXSW Film Festival: Five in Focus". The Austin Chronicle.
  11. ^ "Top Ten Best Lesbian Movies: 10 Queer Movies That Don't Suck". Autostraddle. August 19, 2009.
  12. ^ Dry, Jude (May 8, 2017). "The 15 Best Lesbian Movies of All Time, Ranked". IndieWire.
  13. ^ "Carnivale nets five creative arts Emmys". September 13, 2004. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Grudge tops box office". Box Office Mojo. October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006.
  15. ^ "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. April 5, 2015.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (July 20, 2015). "Clea DuVall Making Directorial Debut With Film Starring Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Intervention". Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  18. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 28, 2016). "Paramount Acquires The Intervention In $2.5 Million+ WW Rights Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  19. ^ Webster, Andy Jr. (August 25, 2016). "Review: In The Intervention, There's a Big Chill in the Air". The New York Times.
  20. ^ "Veep wins best comedy cast at SAG Awards". Entertainment Weekly. January 21, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  21. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (November 25, 2020). "'Happiest Season' Director Made LGBT Holiday Rom-Com Because 'I've Never Seen My Experience Represented'". TheWrap. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  22. ^ France, Lisa Respers (April 9, 2021). "GLAAD Media Awards 2021: The winners list". CNN.
  23. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (July 1, 2016). "Clea DuVall Is Finally Playing 'The Gay That I Feel Like I Am'". The Advocate. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  24. ^ Ferber, Lawrence (August 24, 2016). "Clea DuVall: Out actress turns writer-director with The Intervention". Windy City Times. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  25. ^ Li, Shirley (December 9, 2020). "How a Queer Icon Made the Holiday Film of the Year". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "Clea DuVall on 25 Years in Hollywood: 'I've Learned to Be the Source of My Own Happiness'". People. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  27. ^ Chichizola, Corey (December 18, 2020). "Happiest Season Director Clea Duvall Talks Her Own LGBTQ Journey And What Made It Into The Kristen Stewart Movie". Cinemablend. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  28. ^ "Hollywood Film Awards – Honorees Database". Hollywood Film Awards. Archived from the original on April 7, 2019. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "SAG-AFTRA Honors Outstanding Film and Television Performances at the 19th Annual SAG Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. January 27, 2013. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  30. ^ "Sundance Film Festival 2016 – Sundance Institute". Archived from the original on January 21, 2016.
  31. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild. December 14, 2016. Archived from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  32. ^ "SAG Awards Winners: Complete List". Variety. January 21, 2018. Archived from the original on January 24, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  33. ^ France, Lisa Respers (April 9, 2021). "GLAAD Media Awards 2021: The winners list". CNN.

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