|Born||Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw
July 19, 1976
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw (born July 19, 1976) is an American film actress and model. Shaw has starred in numerous motion pictures since the early 1990s and was a supporting cast member in the Showtime Drama Ray Donovan. Her breakout role was in Disney's 1993 Halloween comedy-fantasy hit film Hocus Pocus. She also was in Ladybugs (1992), Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999), the 2006 remake of Wes Craven's horror picture The Hills Have Eyes, as well as 40 Days and 40 Nights as Josh Hartnett's sadistic ex-girlfriend.
Childhood and early career
Shaw was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Larry Shaw and actress Susan Damante-Shaw (née Susan Jean Damante). Her family's original surname was "Schwartz", and her ancestry includes Jewish (from her paternal grandfather), Italian (from her maternal grandfather), German, Irish, English, Mexican, and Swedish. Her name, Vinessa, spelled with an "i" rather than the common "a", was a variation of her grandfather's name, Vincent. Shaw made her first formal performance in a UCLA acting camp short at age 10, and subsequently toured with children's folk singer Peter Alsop at age 11. She also signed on with the Elite Models agency in 1989 at the age of 13 before beginning her acting career, and did a few modeling jobs and commercial work throughout her earlier career.
Shaw made her film debut in a little-known-of 1981 slasher film called Home Sweet Home, which dealt with a serial killer at Thanksgiving time. She then landed parts in a handful of television roles. She played a considerably large role in Disney's 1993 Halloween family film Hocus Pocus alongside Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, and a young Thora Birch. Shaw completed roles in various independent films for the remainder of the 1990s.
In 1999, she was cast in a small yet significant role by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in his final film Eyes Wide Shut, playing an HIV-positive prostitute who is encountered by Tom Cruise's character. In a 2008 interview, Shaw stated that Kubrick was "very influential" to her and that he "was the first person who encouraged her to continue acting". Following her role in Eyes Wide Shut, Vinessa played parts in a handful of films including the independent 2000 mystery-drama The Weight of Water with Sarah Polley and Sean Penn; the slapstick comedy Corky Romano alongside Chris Kattan; the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, playing the feisty ex-girlfriend of Josh Hartnett; and a very small role in Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda.
More low budget and independent films consumed Shaw's time until 2006, where she returned to the big screen in Alexandre Aja's remake of Wes Craven's exploitation-horror film The Hills Have Eyes, playing a young mother on a camping trip with her family who is attacked by bloodthirsty mutants in the New Mexico desert. Director Aja had wanted to cast her in the film after seeing her performance in Eyes Wide Shut. Asked why she wanted to act in a horror film, Shaw responded "Well, I guess I could be good in it since I'm so frightened of those kinds of concepts. But this one in particular really attracted me because of the filmmakers. I really thought that they had a great stance on it. Like it's very different, very heartfelt, and heartbreaking because of the characters involved. So that's kind of what made the difference. It was more of an actor's piece, if you can believe that, in a horror movie." Shaw was featured on the official one sheet promotion poster for the film, which was a box-office success.
Vinessa was in the 2007 remake of the classic Western film 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, the indie drama film Garden Party, as well having a leading role in Two Lovers alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow. That film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and was released theatrically in February 2009.
Shaw was raised a Buddhist. She embraced the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy during her first year attending college in 1996: "I was lonely and depressed, and I had so many questions about life. I called my dad every night crying, saying that I wanted to go home." As a core practice of Nichiren Buddhism, Shaw chants daimoku daily, and is also a facilitator of the SGI-USA lay Buddhist Association for Peace, Culture, and Education. Shaw mentioned her practicing of the religion in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in February 2009. Shaw has been engaged to behind-the-scenes film artist Kristopher Gifford since 2008.
|1981||Home Sweet Home||Angel Bradley||Alternative title: Slasher in the House|
|1996||Coyote Summer||Callie Carpenter|
|1998||L.A. Without a Map||Barbara|
|1999||Eyes Wide Shut||Domino|
|2000||Weight of Water, TheThe Weight of Water||Anethe Christenson|
|2001||Corky Romano||Agent Kate Russo|
|2002||40 Days and 40 Nights||Nicole|
|2004||Melinda and Melinda||Stacey|
|2006||Hills Have Eyes, TheThe Hills Have Eyes||Lynn Carter|
|2007||3:10 to Yuma||Emmy|
|2008||Two Lovers||Sandra Cohen|
|Garden Party||Sally St. Claire|
|2012||Big Miracle||Kelly Meyers|
|Come Out and Play||Beth|
|2013||Side Effects||Dierdre Banks|
|Dark Around the Stars||Terry|
|2014||Things People Do|
|Cold in July||Ann Dane|
|1991||Long Road Home||Clara Tarpin||Television film|
|1992||Torkelsons, TheThe Torkelsons||Meredith Reed||Episode: "Sweat Not by the Moon"|
|1992||Great Scott!||Carolyn Cole|
|1993||Fallen Angels||Jeannie Streeter||Episode: "The Quiet Room"|
|1993||Country Estates||Heather Calhoun||Pilot|
|1994||McKenna||Cassidy McKenna||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1994||Murder, She Wrote||Gloria Bryce||Episode: "Murder by Twos"|
|1995||New York Undercover||Teen Covergirl||Episode: "Young, Beautiful and Dead"|
|2000||The '70s||Eileen Wells||Miniseries|
|2005||Fathers and Sons||Nell||Pilot|
|2005||World of Trouble||Pilot|
|2010||House||Dr. Kelly Benedict||Episode: "Massage Therapy"|
|2012||CSI: NY||Jennifer Walsh||Episode: "Clean Sweep"|
|2014||Ray Donovan||Kate McPherson|
Awards and nominations
- 2008: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" - 3:10 to Yuma
- 1993: Nominated, "Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture" - Ladybugs
- 1993: Nominated, "Best Young Actress Recurring in a Television Series" - Great Scott!
- 1993: Nominated, "Best Young Actress Co-starring in a Motion Picture" - Ladybugs
- 1994: Nominated, "Best Youth Actress Leading Role in a Motion Picture Comedy" - Hocus Pocus
- 1995: Nominated, "Best Performance by a Youth Actress in a Drama Series" - McKenna
- 1995: Nominated, "Best Performance By a Youth Actress as a Guest Star" - Murder, She Wrote
- Vinessa Shaw Biography (1976-)
- Vinessa Shaw Biography - Yahoo! Movies
- "The Vanities Girls". Vanity Fair. 2009-01-12. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- 1 Like0 Dislike0 Feb 17, 2009 by Julian Roman (2009-02-17). "EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Director James Gray and Vinessa Shaw Discuss Two Lovers!". MovieWeb.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- IMDB Bio- Vinessa Shaw
- Yahoo! Movies Biography: Vinessa Shaw
- Combustible Celluloid interview: Vinessa Shaw by Jeffrey M. Anderson. (retrieved 30 June 2009).
- Radio Free.com interview with Vinessa Shaw and Dan Byrd of The Hills Have Eyes. 7 March 2006. (retrieved 29 June 2009)
- IMP Awards Posters, 2006: The Hills Have Eyes
- "Vinessa Shaw: Buddhism— My Favorite Gosho". SGI. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
- Vinessa Shaw talks Two Lovers; originally posted 6 February 2009
- SGI-USA Members Resources (retrieved 30 June 2009)