Celebrity Biographies  >  Alicia Silverstone

 Alicia Silverstone Biography

Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone (pronounced Uh-liss-ee-uh) Silverstone was born October 4, 1976 in San Francisco, California. The daughter of Monty, a real estate investor and financial consultant, and Didi, a former airline stewardess, Silverstone traveled to England with her family during summer vacations to visit relatives.

Silverstone's time in the spotlight began as a model at the age of six, after her father began taking pictures of her to submit to modeling agencies. Although her heart was really in acting, Silverstone landed several modeling gigs for companies such as Levi's Dockers and Marshall's. The modeling jobs led to television commercials -- such as a spot on a Domino's Pizza ad -- which eventually led to appearances on sitcoms, most notably as a "dream girl" in The Wonder Years.

In 1993, Silverstone finally landed her first starring role in a feature film, entitled The Crush. Playing a teenager obsessed with an older man, Silverstone refused to pose nude in the film and a body double was hired for "behind" shots. Actually, Silverstone refuses to pose nude until today. The film -- dubbed a Fatal Attraction for teenagers -- was a hit among teenagers and was recognized by the 1994 MTV Movie Awards by honoring Silverstone with the award for Best Villain and Best Breakthrough Performance. A couple of made-for-TV movies followed: Torch Songs and Scattered Dreams.

Marty Callner, the director of the Aerosmith videos, caught Silverstone's performance in The Crush and knew she would be perfect for the Aerosmith video Cryin'. This was to be the first of a now famous trilogy of Aerosmith videos, as Silverstone was also cast in the videos for Crazy and Amazing (co-starring Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv Tyler). When Cryin' was released, it was voted number one video of all time on MTV.

Before hitting it big with the sleeper hit of 1995, Clueless, Silverstone worked on the films Hideaway, Babysitter, True Crime, and Le Nouveau Monde. It was Silverstone's role as the spoiled rich girl, Cher Horowitz in Clueless, that launched her career. Clueless, a 90's version of Emma, earned Silverstone many awards, including the American Comedy Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, The National Board of Review of Motion Picture Awards for Best Breakthrough Performance, the 2nd Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Female Newcomer Theatrical, as well as the 5th Annual MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance and Most Desirable Female.

After the success of Clueless, Barry Josephson of Columbia Pictures signed Silverstone to a $7 million two-picture deal, the first of which was Excess Baggage. Silverstone not only starred in the film, it was also the first film produced by Silverstone's First Kiss Production Company. Unfortunately, Excess Baggage did not enjoy the same box office numbers as Clueless.

Silverstone's next feature film foray was as Batgirl in Batman and Robin, the fourth release of the Batman series. Batman and Robin did, on the other hand, attract moviegoers. In 1999, things started to pick up for Silverstone as her role in the romantic comedy Blast From The Past was more impressive and reminiscent of the Silverstone audiences saw in Clueless. Owner of many dogs, Silverstone is actively involved with several animal rights groups such as The Ark Trust and PETA.

Silverstone will next be seen in the summer release Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Kenneth Branaugh. She took lessons for her part in the musical adaptation of the William Shakespeare play.

Alicia Silverstone was born in San Francisco to English parents on October 4th, 1976. She spent many of her early summers in England, during one of which she became interested in theatre. She began with ballet and started modelling at the age of six. She had a very active imagination, often believing that her parents were aliens or that her mother, an airline stewardess, was Olivia Newton John. She made her stage debut in Carol’s Eve, playing a lesbian who overdoses on cocaine. She made her television debut in a Domino’s Pizza commercial at the age of fourteen. In 1992, she played Kevin’s dream girl in an episode of The Wonder Years.

Her movie debut came in The Crush. Because she was only fifteen when the movie was filmed, she had to become legally emancipated in order to get around the child labour laws. As well, a stand-in was used in a brief nude scene. In the movie, Silverstone played Darian Forrester, a fourteen-year-old girl who becomes obsessed with the man who has moved into her parent’s garage apartment. Although the movie was a failure both critically and commercially, many of the critics were able to recognise Silverstone as an emerging talent. That year, she won for Best Villain and Best Breakthrough Performance at the MTV Movie Awards.

After appearing in two made-for-TV movies, Torch Song and Scattered Dreams, she made her next big step towards fame by appearing in the video for Aerosmith’s “Cryin’”. This was the first of three videos that she did for the band. Before she became famous in her own right, she was often referred to as ‘the girl from the Aerosmith videos’.

After turning down an offer to replace Shannen Doherty on Beverly Hills 90210 and appearing in another Aerosmith video (Crazy), she appeared in more big-screen movies. None of them did as much for her career as the Aerosmith video (Amazing) that she appeared in after them. The same could not be said of Clueless. Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, who directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless starred Silverstone as Cher Horowitz, a fashion-obsessed high school student. The character was the opposite of who Silverstone really was. Silverstone had gone to Beverly Hills High School, but had been a fashionless loner. She looked down on the clothes-obsessed, oh-so-popular girls that seemed to make up the majority of students at that school. Her parody of these girls went over well with the critics and even better with the audiences. The movie was a hit and she was a star.

She was not so fortunate with her next movie, Batman & Robin. The star-studded cast of George Clooney, Chris O’Donnel, Silverstone, Uma Thurman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t save this movie from its script. The movie was nominated for eleven Razzies, the awards for bad movies. Among the awards it was nominated for were Worst Movie, Worst Screenplay, Worst Director, and Worst Disregard for Human Life and Public Property. Silverstone, who played Batgirl, won Worst Supporting Actress, the only one of the eleven nominations that the movie actually ‘won’. Fortunately, the success of the previous three Batman movies gave the movie enough momentum to make back its $110 million budget.

Somewhat more successful critically but far less successful commercially was Excess Baggage. Silverstone starred as Emily Hope, a girl who craves attention but must learn that acceptance comes from within. In her bid to get more attention, mostly from her rich father, she fakes her own kidnapping. Co-starring were Christopher Walken and Benecio Del Toro, two actors for whom Silverstone had great admiration. This was the first movie from First Kiss Productions, the company that Silverstone started with her manager Carolyn Kessler. Silverstone has said that with this movie she learnt the difference between making a Hollywood movie and making a good movie. She didn’t learn well enough in the minds of the critics, who gave the movie mediocre reviews.

Earlier this year, Silverstone has appeared in Blast From the Past, a ‘fish-out-of-water’ comedy that also stars Brendan Fraser, Christopher Walken, and Sissy Spacek. During the Cuban missile crisis, a nut-case scientist (Walken) locks himself and his pregnant wife (Spacek) in a bomb shelter for thirty-five years. Shortly after, their son Adam (Fraser) is born. Upon leaving the bomb shelter thirty-five years later, they discover that America has not been nuked. Fraser soon meets and falls in love with Eve (Silverstone). What follows is a series of clichéd, person-from-the-wrong-decade, gags that were explored thoroughly in movies like Back to the Future and Austen Powers. What saved the movie was the quality of acting from Silverstone, Fraser, and Walken. So far, the movie has done respectably well at the box-office.

Silverstone has three more movies that should be released this year. Love’s Labour Lost, which has Kenneth Branagh co-writing, directing, and starring, is a musical version of the Shakespeare play. Breakers was written by Julie Bateman and will co-star Anjelica Huston. Andy Borowitz, the co-producer of Pleasantville, wrote Stand by Your Man. This will be the second movie from First Kiss Productions. It tells the story of a woman (Silverstone) who attempts to win fame by marrying a notorious killer on death row. Things go wrong when he is released after the real killer confesses.

When she has not been making movies, Silverstone has been speaking out in favour of animal rights. She has worked extensively with Last Chance For Animals, The Ark Trust, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. She has appeared in commercials advocated the neutering of pets and calling for non-participation in biology class dissections. She spends much of her free time with her dog, Samson.

Alicia Silverstone has established herself as one of Hollywood’s top sex symbols. But instead of exploiting this image, she has fought it by refusing to appear nude and not playing clones of her star-making characters in The Crush and Clueless. Instead, she has branched out into production, avoiding the traps of Hollywood clichés. Her future success will depend on whether audiences and critics can see her for more than just a pretty face.

Filmography
Scorched (2002) .... Sheila
Global Heresy (2001) .... Nat
"Braceface" (2001) TV Series (voice) .... Sharon Spitz
Love's Labour's Lost (2000) .... The Princess
... aka Peines d'amour perdues (2001) (France)
Blast from the Past (1999) .... Eve Rustikoff
Junket Whores (1998) .... Herself
Excess Baggage (1997) .... Emily Hope
Batman & Robin (1997) .... Batgirl/Barbara Wilson
True Crime (1995) .... Mary Giordano
... aka Dangerous Kiss (1995)
... aka True Detective (1995)
Babysitter, The (1995) .... The Babysitter (Jennifer)
Clueless (1995) .... Cher Horowitz
... aka I Was a Teenage Teenager (1995)
... aka No Worries (1995)
Hideaway (1995) .... Regina
Nouveau monde, Le (1995) .... Trudy
... aka New World, The (1995)
Cool and the Crazy (1994) (TV) .... Roslyn
Scattered Dreams (1993) (TV) .... Phyllis Messenger
... aka Scattered Dreams: The Kathryn Messenger Story (1993) (TV)
Torch Song (1993) (TV) .... Delphine
... aka Judith Krantz's 'Torch Song' (1993) (TV) (USA: complete title)
Crush, The (1993) .... Darian Forrester (Theatrical Version)/Adrian Forrester (T.V. Version)

Television Guest Appearences
"Big Breakfast, The" (1992) playing "Herself" 8/1/2001
"GMTV" (1993) playing "Herself" 7/11/2001
"Friday Night's All Wright" (1998) playing "Herself" 3/11/2000
"Wonder Years, The" (1988) playing "Jessica" in episode: "Road Test" (episode # 5.6) 1/8/1992


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