Alicia Roanne Witt (born August 21, 1975) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and pianist. She first came to fame as a child actress after being discovered by David Lynch, who cast her as Alia Atreides in his film Dune (1984) and in a guest role in his television series Twin Peaks (1990).
Witt in 2014
Alicia Roanne Witt
August 21, 1975
|Occupation||Actress, singer-songwriter, pianist|
Witt later had a critically acclaimed role as a disturbed teenager in Fun (1994), and appeared as a music student in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995), and as a terrorized college student in the horror film Urban Legend (1998). She then appeared in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (2001), Two Weeks Notice (2002), Last Holiday (2006), and the thriller 88 Minutes (2007). Witt has made television appearances in The Walking Dead, The Sopranos, Nashville, Two and a Half Men, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Cybill, Justified, Twin Peaks: The Return, and Orange Is the New Black. In addition to acting, Witt has been described as a musical prodigy, as an accomplished pianist, singer, and songwriter. She released her self-titled debut album in 2009. Witt has also appeared in six Hallmark Channel movies, and one Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel movie.
Witt was born on August 21, 1975, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Diane (née Pietro), a junior high school reading teacher, and Robert Witt, a science teacher and photographer. She has a brother, Ian. "Talking by age two and reading by the age of four," Witt has been described as a child prodigy. Her acting talent was recognized by director David Lynch in 1980, when he heard her recite Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet on the television show That's Incredible! at age 5. He would begin working with her in film and television even before Witt earned her high school equivalency credential (at age 14). She did undergraduate work in piano at Boston University and competed nationally.
Film and television
Witt's discovery by Lynch led to his casting of the "flame-haired" child in the movie Dune (1984), as Paul Atreides's sister Alia; she turned 8 during filming. She worked with Lynch again when she appeared in an episode of Twin Peaks, playing the younger sister of Lara Flynn Boyle's character Donna.
These experiences led to Witt's having small parts in Mike Figgis' Liebestraum (1991), in which her brother Ian also appears, the Gen-X drama Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993), and the TV movie The Disappearance of Vonnie (1994). In 1994, Witt landed her first lead role in a film, playing a disturbed, murderous teenager in Fun and receiving the Special Jury Recognition Award at the Sundance Festival. Witt was then cast in the "desultory" Four Rooms, as Madonna's lover in the episode, "The Missing Ingredient".
Witt was introduced to a larger audience in the role of Cybill Shepherd's daughter, Zoey Woodbine, in the sitcom Cybill. While playing that part, from 1995 to 1998, she also had film roles in Stephen Herek's Mr. Holland's Opus, Alexander Payne's Citizen Ruth, Robert Allan Ackerman's Passion's Way (based on the Edith Wharton novel, The Reef), and Richard Sears' comedy Bongwater. After Cybill was cancelled, Witt went on to leading roles in Jamie Blanks' horror film Urban Legend (alongside Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, and Rebecca Gayheart), and in Kevin Altieri/Touchstone Pictures' limited-release animated feature, Gen¹³. In 2000, Witt had starring roles on episodes of the television shows Ally McBeal and The Sopranos, the lead role in the Matthew Huffman comedy Playing Mona Lisa (featuring Harvey Fierstein, Elliott Gould, and Marlo Thomas), and a part in John Waters' Cecil B. Demented.
She then went on to a small part in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (2001). Witt played "Two", the college graduate discussing loss of her virginity, in Rodrigo Garcia's Ten Tiny Love Stories (a series of 10 monologues, alongside ones by Radha Mitchell, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Debi Mazar, Elizabeth Peña, and others), and played the role of promiscuous Barbie, half-sister of the title character, in American Girl (starring Jena Malone). Witt also appeared in Marc Lawrence's romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice (2002), starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock.
In 2003–04, she took up residence in the United Kingdom, though she portrayed Joan Allen's daughter in the US-based comic drama The Upside of Anger (with Kevin Costner, Keri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood, and others). Between these two projects, Witt went to South Africa to shoot a film interpretation of the epic poem "Das Nibelungenlied", played one of the central characters Kriemhild in the German TV movie Kingdom in Twilight (with title Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King in the U.S., and The Ring of the Nibelungs and The Sword of Xanten elsewhere).
Witt filmed the Last Holiday (2006) and the thriller 88 Minutes (2007, alongside Al Pacino), and joined the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for the 2007–2008 season. In the latter she played Detective Nola Falacci, a character temporarily replacing Megan Wheeler as Detective Mike Logan's (Chris Noth) partner (otherwise played by Julianne Nicholson, who was away on maternity leave), and was a recurring character in the 2007–2008 season. Witt appeared in the role of Amy in the film Peep World (2010).
Witt appeared as the character Elaine Clayton in Cowgirls n' Angels (2012), and in 2013 co-starred in the independent film Cold Turkey opposite Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines; there, she additionally performed an original musical piece over the end credits (see below). Her dramatic performance in this film was critically acclaimed, with New York Magazine's David Edelstein proclaiming her turn one of the top performances of 2013. Witt also appeared in four Christmas films in 2013: the feature film Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, A Snow Globe Christmas for Lifetime Channel, and A Very Merry Mix-Up for Hallmark Channel, and in 2014 Hallmark Channel's Christmas at Cartwright's.
Also in 2014, Witt appeared in a major guest starring role on the DirecTV series Kingdom, which aired that October. Witt was a regular part of the cast of Justified in Season 5, which began airing in January 2014. In April 2016, Witt appeared in two episodes of the hit series The Walking Dead; the same month, it was announced that she would also be reprising her role as Gersten Hayward in the 2017 Twin Peaks series. Witt filmed a major guest starring role on Season 12 of Supernatural as Lily Sunder, a former enemy of Castiel's. In 2019, she had a recurring role on the seventh season of Orange is the New Black as Zelda.
While in residence in the U.K. in 2004, she starred as Evelyn in a stage production of Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things at the New Ambassadors Theatre. In September 2006, Witt returned to the London stage at the Royal Court Theatre, in the critically well-received Piano/Forte, wherein she was "well-cast" in portraying the stammering, emotionally damaged pianist Abigail, sister to "unloved attention-seeker" Louise (Kelly Reilly).
In addition to acting, Witt is a professional singer-songwriter and pianist, and is reported to have been a musical prodigy. During her work with David Lynch, she supported herself by playing piano at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
In 2009, Witt released her self-titled extended play album, followed by Live At Rockwood in 2012 and Revisionary History in 2015. In 2013, Witt and Ben Folds performed a song they had co-written on the soundtrack for the independent film Cold Turkey.
On June 14, 2004, Witt modeled what is believed to be the most expensive hat ever made, for Christie's auction house in London. The Chapeau d'Amour, designed by Louis Mariette, is valued at $2.7 million (US) and is encrusted in diamonds.
In September 1990, Witt competed on Wheel of Fortune.
|1984||Dune||Alia Atreides||Credited as Alicia Roanne Witt|
|1991||Liebestraum||Girl in Dream|
|1993||Bodies, Rest & Motion||Elizabeth|
|1995||Four Rooms||Kiva||Segment: "The Missing Ingredient"|
|Mr. Holland's Opus||Gertrude Lang|
|1996||Citizen Ruth||Cheryl Stoney|
|1998||Urban Legend||Natalie Simon|
|1999||The Reef||Sophy Viner|
|2000||Playing Mona Lisa||Claire Goldstein|
|Cecil B. Demented||Cherish|
|Gen¹³||Caitlin Fairchild||Video; voice role|
|Ten Tiny Love Stories||Two|
|Two Weeks Notice||June Carver|
|2004||Girls' Lunch||Short film|
|2005||The Upside of Anger||Hadley Wolfmeyer|
|2006||Last Holiday||Ms. Burns|
|2007||88 Minutes||Kim Cummings|
|2010||The Pond||Shelly||Short film|
|2011||The Flight of the Swan||Maria|
|Joint Body||Michelle Page|
|2012||Cowgirls n' Angels||Elaine Clayton|
|Bending the Rules||Roslyn Wohl|
|I Do||Mya Edwards|
|2013||Weiner Dog Nationals||Melanie|
|A Madea Christmas||Amber|
|2014||Away From Here||Lily|
|2016||Six LA Love Stories||Michelle|
|2017||The Bronx Bull||Denise|
|TBA||I Care a Lot||Dr. Karen Amos||Post-production|
|1990||Twin Peaks||Gersten Hayward||Episode 2.1|
|1993||Hotel Room||Diane||Episode: "Blackout"|
|1994||The Disappearance of Vonnie||Janine||Television film (CBS)|
|1995–98||Cybill||Zoey Woodbine||Series Regular|
|2000||Ally McBeal||Hope Mercey||2 episodes|
|The Sopranos||Amy Safir||Episode: D-Girl|
|2003||The Twilight Zone||Liz||Episode: "The Executions of Grady Finch"|
|2004||Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King||Kriemhild||Television film (Germany)|
|2007||Blue Smoke||Reena Hale||Television film (Lifetime)|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Det. Nola Falacci||5 episodes|
|2008||Wainy Days||Laura||Episode: "Shelly II"|
|Two and a Half Men||Dolores Pasternak||Episode: "A Jock Strap in Hell"|
|2009–12||The Mentalist||Rosalind Harker||3 episodes|
|2009–11||Friday Night Lights||Cheryl||9 episodes|
|2010||Edgar Floats||Sandra||Television film (ABC)|
|Backyard Wedding||Kim Tyler||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2011||CSI: Miami||Michelle Baldwin||Episode: "Blood Lust"|
|2012||Person of Interest||Connie Wyler||Episode: "The High Road"|
|2013||A Very Merry Mix-Up||Alice Chapman||Television film (Hallmark)|
|A Snow Globe Christmas||Meg||Television film (Lifetime)|
|Justified||Wendy Crowe||10 episodes|
|Christmas at Cartwright's||Nicky Talbot||Television film (Hallmark)|
|The Librarians||Lucinda McCabe / Morgan le Fay||Episode: "And the Rule of Three"|
|2015||House of Lies||Maya||2 episodes|
|Elementary||Dana Powell||Episode: "When Your Number's Up"|
|Don't Blink||herself||Episode: "Magic Money, Knife Tosses and Sonic Booms"|
|I'm Not Ready for Christmas||Holly Nolan||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2016||The Walking Dead||Paula||2 episodes (1 episode voice only)|
|Motive||Cindy Vernon||1 episode|
|Nashville||Autumn Chase||11 episodes|
|Christmas List||Isobel Gray||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2017||Supernatural||Lily Sunder||Episode: "Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets"|
|Twin Peaks||Gersten Hayward||2 episodes|
|The Exorcist||Nikki Kim||Recurring role (6 episodes)|
|The Mistletoe Inn||Kim Rossi||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2018||Disjointed||Rosie Bush||Episode: "Helium Dream"|
|Lore||Marjorie Cameron||Episode: "Jack Parsons: The Devil and the Divine"|
|Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane||Emma||Television film (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)|
|2019||Orange Is The New Black||Zelda||6 Episodes|
|Our Christmas Love Song||Melody||Television film (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)|
|2001||The Gift||Tiffany Theater, Los Angeles|
|2004||The Shape of Things||New Ambassadors Theatre, London|
|2006||Piano/Forte||Royal Court Theatre, London|
|2007||Dissonance||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|2014||Reasons to Be Pretty||Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles|
|1994||Sundance Film Festival||Special Jury Recognition for Acting (shared with Renee Humphrey)||Won|
|1995||Independent Spirit Awards||Best Debut Performance||Nominated|
|Gijón International Film Festival||Best Actress (shared with Renee Humphrey)||Won|
|1996||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (shared with Christine Baranski, Dedee Pfeiffer, Alan Rosenberg, Cybill Shepherd, and Tom Wopat)||Nominated|
|1999||Saturn Awards||Best Young Actor/Actress||Nominated|
|2000||The Comedy Festival||Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Actor||Won|
|2008||EDA Awards||Most Egregious Age Difference Between the Leading Man and the Love Interest (shared with Al Pacino)||Nominated|
- Marx, Rebecca Flint. "Alicia Witt". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16.
- Lumsden, Carolyn (1 March 1987). "Child Prodigy, 11, Leaves 'Dune' in Dust". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015.
- "Alicia Witt". Hallmark Channel.
- "Alicia Witt Biography". Film Reference.
- LaVallee, Wendy (September 17, 1980). "Little Girl's Big Intellect ..." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "Genius Waits to Grow Up". Record Journal. September 15, 1980.
- Lawrence, Vanessa (28 July 2008). "Alicia Witt's Pub Gig". Women's Wear Daily. Fairchild Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "RT @CassieStackSVU". Twitter. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- Sam Weisberg (November 18, 2013). "See Family Holiday Comedy Cold Turkey for Alicia Witt's Performance". villagevoice.com. Archived from the original on 2014-12-13.
- David Edelstein (November 22, 2013). "Movie Review: Cold Turkey". Vulture. New York.
- David Edelstein. "David Edelstein's 10 Best Movies of 2013". Vulture.
- Bricker, Tierney (18 July 2014). "Kingdom Stages Friday Night Lights Reunion! Plus, Jamie Kennedy to Guest Star". E! Online. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Nellie Andreeva. "Alicia Witt & Edi Gathegi Join FX's 'Justified'". Deadline.
- "Alicia Witt on playing the latest 'Walking Dead' villain, and how her last scene was supposed to go". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- Rubin, Sam (November 6, 2015). "Did Alicia Witt Just Reveal She Will Star in the Upcoming 'Twin Peaks' Series?". KTLA 5.
- "Alicia Witt Teases Her Supernatural Role — As an Old Foe of [Spoiler]'s". Retrieved 24 March 2017.
- Foley, Jack (2003). "The Shape of Things to keep its Witts about it". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Inverne, James (11 March 2004). "Alicia Witt to Star in London The Shape of Things". Playbill. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Fisher, Philip (2006). "Review:Piano/Forte". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- Martinez, Julio (21 August 2014). "LA Stage Insider: The Thing Is…". Arts In LA. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- Jeremy Gerard (June 27, 2014). "Amber Tamblyn To Star In 'Reasons To Be Afraid' At Geffen Playhouse". Deadline.
- Jeffries, Wendy (1980). That's Incredible, Volume 4. Jove Publications. ISBN 978-0515058079.
- Billington, Michael (2006-09-21). "Piano/Forte". The Guardian.
- ASIN B0032L1M8I , Alicia Witt (6 Jun 2009)
- ASIN B008A3N86W , Live At Rockwood (7 June 2012)
- Scott Simon (May 2, 2015). "Actor Alicia Witt Turns Musician With 'Revisionary History'". NPR.
- ASIN B00SVYM276 , Revisionary History (7 April 2015)
- TV News Desk (June 1, 2018). "Accomplished Singer/Actress Alicia Witt Announces 15,000 DAYS, EP Set for August 24 Release". Broadway World. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- Ross, Dalton (June 14, 2018). "Nashville star Alicia Witt debuts music video for 'Younger'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- "World's Most Expensive Hats". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Kulpe, Yogesh (9 June 2009). "Worlds most expensive hat- Chapeau d'Amour". The Rich Times. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Tanya Hart Heads for National Job on Coast". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. August 24, 1990.
Alicia Witt, 14, of Worcester will take her chances during Wheel of Fortune's Teen Week beginning Sept 3.
- Klady, Leonard (January 31, 1994). "Schussing over highs and lows of Sundance". Variety. Archived from the original on 2016-12-27.
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