Leelee Sobieski

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Leelee Sobieski
Leelee Sobieski, 2012.jpg
Sobieski at the 7th Annual Chanel Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner in 2012
Born Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski
(1983-06-10) June 10, 1983 (age 34)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Other names Leelee Kimmel
Occupation Actress, artist
Years active 1995–2012
Spouse(s) Matthew W. Davis
(m. 2008; div. 2009)

Adam Kimmel (m. 2009)
Children 2

Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta "Leelee" Sobieski (born June 10, 1983[1]) is an American former film and television actress. Sobieski achieved recognition in her teens for her performance in the 1998 film Deep Impact and as the daughter of a costume store owner in Eyes Wide Shut (1999). She received an Emmy nomination for the 1999 TV movie Joan of Arc and two Golden Globe nominations for Joan of Arc and the 2001 TV movie Uprising.

Early life[edit]

Sobieski was born in New York City.[2] Her mother, Elizabeth Sobieski (née Salomon), is an American film producer and screenwriter who also works as Sobieski's manager,[citation needed] and her father, Jean Sobieski, is a French-born painter and former actor.[3][4] Sobieski has a younger brother, Robert "Roby".[3]

Sobieski's first name, "Liliane", was the name of her paternal grandmother. One of her middle names, "Elsveta", is derived from "Elżbieta", which is the Polish equivalent of "Elisabeth".[5] Her maternal grandfather, United States Navy Captain Robert Salomon, was Jewish. Her maternal grandmother was of Ashkenazi Jewish and Dutch descent. Sobieski grew up in a "pan-religious" family; she has said that she is "proud of [her] melting pot roots".[6][7] She graduated from Trevor Day School in 2001[8] and studied literature and fine art at Brown University but did not graduate.[9]

Acting career[edit]

Sobieski was spotted by a talent scout who noticed her while he was scouting the cafeteria of a New York City private school as part of a recreational visit.[2] After that encounter, she became a candidate for the role of Claudia in Interview with the Vampire (1994), which she eventually lost out to Kirsten Dunst. She portrayed the character of Anna Yates in the 1994 TV movie Reunion, which starred Marlo Thomas. Next, she played a lead role in A Horse for Danny, a made-for-television film which was released in 1995. Later, she had her first role in a studio film, as Martin Short's character daughter in the Tim Allen comedy Jungle 2 Jungle. In 1999, Sobieski played a modern Lolita in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. The film opened to generally positive reviews, but it generated several censorship controversies due to the explicit nature of its sex scenes. Recalling acting alongside Tom Cruise, she said he was "very kind and considerate with me," and says her most vivid recollection of Stanley Kubrick was that he "genuinely seemed to hold something magic".[10]

She rose to fame in her mid-teens with her appearance in the movie Deep Impact (1998).[11] The film was a major financial success, grossing over $349 million worldwide on a $75 million production budget. Deep Impact brought her to the attention of many casting directors. That same year Sobieski appeared in the Merchant Ivory film A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries. Sobieski's performance received praise from the critics; Emanuel Levy of Variety wrote that "the graceful Sobieski registers strongly as a potential star, combining physical charm with technical skill."[12] The film also garnered her a Young Artist Award nomination, as well as a nomination by the Chicago Film Critics Association.

In 1999, she was cast as a supporting role in the teen comedy feature Never Been Kissed, which was starring Drew Barrymore. The title role in the TV movie Joan of Arc (1999) earned her an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination, and she became the youngest actress ever to portray Joan of Arc in a movie. She received a second nomination for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Tosia Altman in the 2001 TV film Uprising. In 2000, Sobieski played the female lead in the film Here on Earth, for which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination.

In 2001, Sobieski played the lead role in the road horror film Joy Ride with Paul Walker and Steve Zahn. The film received several favorable reviews.[13] Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons stated that Sobieski "does a better job than usual".[14] That same year, she starred in the thriller The Glass House, alongside Diane Lane. The film was panned by critics,[15] and had a disappointing weekend $5,738,448 gross with little promotion.[16] My First Mister, a low-budget drama, was also released in 2001. Sobieski's performance in the film was praised by critics, with Pete Croatto of Filmcritic.com writing that "As for Sobieski, who I've always liked, she does another fine job. This time it's with a shaky character – the troubled Goth chick", and "Sobieski finds her character's human touch and runs with it."[17]

Sobieski landed a starring role in the independent film L'Idole (2002), which opened at the Toronto International Film Festival. She then starred alongside John Cusack in the drama feature Max. She portrayed the character of Cecile in the miniseries Les Liaisons dangereuses (2003) with Catherine Deneuve and Rupert Everett, an adaptation of Laclos's classic novel of sexual intrigue made use of her fluency in French. She portrayed the role of Deianira in Hercules, a television miniseries which was premiered on May 15, 2005.[18]

In May 2006, the experimental-indie film Lying, in which Sobieski starred alongside Chloë Sevigny and Jena Malone, was released.[19] The film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and had a limited release in the United States in 2008. She starred in the American drama Heavens Fall as one of the young women that accuse nine black youths of rape in the segregated South.[20] That same year, she appeared in the horror films In a Dark Place and The Wicker Man, a movie starring Nicolas Cage, which was a remake of the 1973 film of the same title. It was not well received by critics with The New York Times stating that the movie "is neither haunting nor amusing; just boring."[21]

The independent comedy film Walk All Over Me, starring Sobieski, had a range of screening dates at several film festivals – starting with the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. The film is about a woman who becomes a dominatrix. Her next film in wide release, the thriller 88 Minutes co-starring Al Pacino and Alicia Witt, opened on April 18, 2008 in the United States, having already been released in various other countries in 2007. The film suffered critically[22] and was a minor success at the box office, garnering over $32 million worldwide.[23]

In January 2008, she appeared in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, a fantasy film inspired by the Dungeon Siege video game series. For her performances in both 88 Minutes and A Dungeon Siege Tale, she received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress. Sobieski then starred in the direct-to-video film Night Train, with her Joy Ride co-star Steve Zahn. In the film, she played the role of Chloe, a potentially lethal med student. Night Train is about three strangers that meet aboard a Polar Express-like train on one fateful night.[24]

In 2009, she had a small role in the biographical crime drama Public Enemies, and starred with Denise Richards and Jamie Kennedy in the 2010 film Finding Bliss, a romantic comedy about a straitlaced aspiring filmmaker who is forced to go to work for a producer of adult films.[25][26] Finding Bliss was released on June 4 in New York City and June 11 in Los Angeles. She guest appeared in the television series Drop Dead Diva episode "A Mother's Secret".[27] Sobieski also played a lead role in the drama thriller Acts of Violence. The film tells the story of a man who is on a mission to kill the men who raped his wife. Filming of the movie began and finished in Los Angeles, California. The film was released between April and May 2010.

She also joined the cast of a comedy-drama entitled The Last Film Festival, co-starring Dennis Hopper, Jacqueline Bisset, and Chris Kattan. Filming took place in Queens in 2009.[28] The film was released theatrically in Los Angeles on 30 September 2016.

Sobieski guest-starred in an episode of The Good Wife which aired in January 2011; her role was the girlfriend of one of Lockhart-Gardner-Bond’s most influential clients. In the show, Sobieski's character is accused of using prescription stimulants.[29] Sobieski starred in CBS' drama NYC 22 as a rookie New York City police officer.[30][31][32] Sobieski landed the role of Abby Gibbons in the movie Branded which was released in 2012.

Art career[edit]

She began her art career using her married name Leelee Kimmel, and she paints and sculpts abstract work.[9][33] She also works in VR as well, using Google Tilt Brush.[9] Her paintings are bright colors, abstracted and textured shapes floating on either a large black or white background. Her 2018 solo gallery debut, “Channels” is at the Journal Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[9][34]

Personal life[edit]

Sobieski pregnant in 2009 at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera

Sobieski speaks fluent French, which she learned from her father, who lives in France.[35][36] In January, 2009, Sobieski began dating fashion designer Adam Kimmel, the son of American real estate developer Martin Kimmel and grandson of American boat racer and designer Donald Aronow. They were engaged on May 28, 2009 and it was made public on June 23, 2009, when fans at the premiere of Public Enemies spotted Sobieski wearing an engagement ring. The couple officially announced their engagement on July 17, 2009.[37][38][39]

Their daughter, Louisanna Ray, was born in December 2009 and son Martin, was born in August 2014.[40][41]

During an interview, Sobieski spoke about her views on having happiness and a positive attitude,

I think that happiness is a very strange thing. And we really feel that we have a right to this happiness. But I feel like it's constantly fluctuating, and that you can make yourself happy. I think it's an outlook. Having a positive attitude probably sounds like a corny thing to say, but a positive attitude really helps, and respecting your job really helps, and having the support of your family and friends really helps.[42]

Sobieski, in a 2001 interview with IGN, expressed her thoughts about whether the movies she was making were escapist fare, or that they had a deeper message for society,

Joy Ride isn't a film you would make a statement with. It's a fun, jump out of life film. That's great. I love those films. Those films are great in times like these too. You can make a point with a film and help society or not. Take a film like Bulworth, a fantastic film. There are certain films like that, that can appeal to everybody and have a message in it and that's really great.[43]

In 2012, Sobieski confirmed "I don't do movie stuff anymore". Commenting on the reasons for her early retirement to Us Weekly, Sobieski said, "I am just focused on my kids. I think that's mainly why I stopped...Also, ninety percent of acting roles involve so much sexual stuff with other people, and I don't want to do that."[44]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Horse for Danny, AA Horse for Danny Danny Bara
1997 Jungle 2 Jungle Karen
1998 Deep Impact Sarah Hotchner
1998 Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, AA Soldier's Daughter Never Cries Charlotte Anne "Channe" Willis Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actress – Feature Film
1999 Never Been Kissed Aldys Martin
1999 Eyes Wide Shut Milich's daughter
2000 Here on Earth Samantha "Sam" Cavanaugh Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout Performance
2001 My First Mister Jennifer
2001 Joy Ride Venna Wilcox
2001 Glass House, TheThe Glass House Ruby Baker
2002 Idol, TheThe Idol Sarah Silver
2002 Max Liselore von Peltz
2006 Lying Sarah
2006 Heavens Fall Victoria Price
2006 In a Dark Place Anna Veigh
2006 Wicker Man, TheThe Wicker Man Sister Honey
2006 Elder Son, TheThe Elder Son Lolita
2007 Walk All Over Me Alberta
2007 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Muriella Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress
2007 88 Minutes Lauren Douglas
2009 Finding Bliss Jody Balaban
2009 Night Train Chloe
2009 Public Enemies Polly Hamilton
2010 Acts of Violence Olivia Flyn
2012 Branded Abby Gibbons
2016 Last Film Festival, TheThe Last Film Festival Stalker


Year Title Role Notes
1995–1996 Charlie Grace Jenny Grace Main role
1996 Grace Under Fire Lucy Episode: "Positively Hateful"
1996 NewsRadio High school girl Episode: "Arcade"
1998 F/X: The Series Tanya Episode: "Evil Eye"
1999 Joan of Arc Joan of Arc Miniseries
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2001 Uprising Tosia Altman Miniseries
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2003 Liaisons dangereuses, LesLes Liaisons dangereuses Cécile de Volanges Miniseries
2005 Hercules Deianeira Miniseries
2010 Drop Dead Diva Samantha "Sam" Colby Episode: "A Mother's Secret"
2011 Good Wife, TheThe Good Wife Alexis Symanski Episode: "Breaking Up"
2012 NYC 22 Jennifer Perry Main role


  1. ^ According to interview at a fansite: Leelee Sobieski (2006). "Interview" (Interview). Interview with Eric Mitchell. leeleesobieski.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15. [permanent dead link] See also "People Summary". www.veromi.net. Archived from the original on 2014-09-06. Retrieved 2011-12-06 ; Aaron Hillis (2010). "Leelee Sobieski's Blissful Adulthood". IFC.com. Archived from the original on 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2011-06-22 ; Thailan Pham (2010-08-22). "Leelee Sobieski's Big Apple Baby: Daughter Lewi!". People.com. Time Inc. Archived from the original on 2011-05-07. Retrieved 2011-07-22 . Some sources incorrectly give her birthdate as 1982: Samantha Miller (2001-11-12). "Blithe Spirit". People magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-01-06 ; "Don't Walk All Over Leelee", News of the World Sunday Magazine, 2008-02-03, p28; "Celebrity birthdays on June 10". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-23 ; "On This Day". learning.blogs.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
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  35. ^ Janet Weeks. TV Guide; 1999-05-15; Pages 38 – 42
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