Poughkeepsie, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Country Music Singer, Actress, Screenwriter|
Riley Elizabeth Weston is an actress and screenwriter from Poughkeepsie, New York. Weston became embroiled in a debate about ageism in Hollywood after it was discovered that she lied about her age to get work in the entertainment industry.
Weston had bit film and television roles as a young girl, including the 1980s sitcoms Growing Pains and Who's the Boss?. In May 1997, she began claiming her date of birth as 1979 in order to be considered for acting roles. The deception was assisted by her small size: her height is 4' 11" and weight is 93 pounds.
Screenwriting and age issue
In 1998, she began drafting screenplays and marketing herself to television studios as a recent high school graduate. She was soon hired by the WB Network as a writer for the show Felicity after they saw one of her scripts about teenage sisters. Hailed as a child prodigy and "wunderkind" she was featured on Entertainment Weekly's October 1998 list of the "100 Most Creative People in Entertainment", which described her as an up-and-coming 19-year-old. Shortly thereafter, she was offered a half-million dollar screenwriting deal with Disney.
After Entertainment Tonight began working on a segment about Weston, her real identity and age emerged. Soon afterward, her contract with WB expired and was not renewed, and her deal with Disney fell through. The story sparked much discussion about age bias in entertainment. Weston herself was quoted as asking: "If I were getting a job in any other industry, do you think anyone would care how old I am?"
She continues to work as an actress, singer, voiceover artist, and author. Weston's first novel, Before I Go, was published in September 2006. The book earned Weston a 2007 Independent Publisher (IPPY) award for Storyteller of the Year. Her debut novel also received the 2007 New York Book Festival Grand Prize and was named Best Fiction. Before I Go also received a Book Sense Pick. Weston's debut single, "If I Said Howdy to You", was released in late 2009.
- Jenny Hontz (1998-10-15). "Old enough to know better". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Joe Flint (1998-10-30). "The Life Of Riley". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Elber, Lynn. "Teen Wunderkind TV Writer Unmasked". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- Bernard Weinraub (1998-10-17). "TV Writer, 32, Passed for 19; Bloom Is Off Her Contract". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- http://newyorkbookfest.brinkster.net/portal/content.asp?ContentId=615. Missing or empty