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Shawnee Smith (born July 3, 1969) is an American film and television actress and musician, best known for her role in the Saw franchise and for playing Linda in the sitcom Becker, Meg Penny in The Blob and Jennifer Goodson in Anger Management.

She played Amanda Young in Saw, Saw II, Saw III and Saw VI.

Early Life

Shawnee Smith was born at Orangeburg Regional Hospital, Orangeburg, South Carolina, the second child of Patricia Ann, an oncology nurse, and James H. Smith, a financial planner and former US Air Force pilot. When she was one year old, her family relocated from South Carolina to Van Nuys, California. Her parents divorced when she was two years old and her mother remarried when she was eight. She attended Ranchito Avenue Elementary School in Panorama City, Los Angeles and Madison Jr. High in North Hollywood. Afterwards, she also attended North Hollywood High School, graduating in 1987.

Career

Smith began acting as a child appearing on stage in A Christmas Carol repertory from age 8 to 11 and starred in a stage play with Richard Dreyfuss at the age of 15. She performed in the original stage production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday and won the Dramalogue Critics Award for her performance, becoming the youngest actor up to that time to receive such an honor. She made her television debut in a McDonald's commercial titled Best Friends in 1978. She joined the Screen Actors Guild at the age of nine and made her feature film debut in John Huston's 1982 adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie as one of Aileen Quinn's fellow orphans. In 1985, she co-starred in two troubled-teen melodramas, Not My Kid and Crime of Innocence. In 1987, Smith co-starred in Summer School as pregnant student Rhonda Altobello. The following year, she starred in a 1988 remake of the Steve McQueen classic horror film The Blob as Meg Penny.

Smith played a rich teen who helps John Candy locate her kidnapped sister in 1989's Who's Harry Crumb? That same year, she co-starred with Jennie Garth and Barbara Eden in the short-lived TV series Brand New Life. The following year, she co-starred as the daughter of Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rogers in the remake of Michael Cimino's thriller The Desperate Hours. She then took a three-year break from acting in the early 1990s, primarily because she had outgrown teenage roles and had a hard time finding work. She finally landed a small role in the film Leaving Las Vegas and has had steady work ever since.

Smith's best-known television role was that of Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker. She was a regular cast member in all 129 episodes of the show from 1998 to 2004. She also played Julie Lawry in the 1994 miniseries The Stand, based on the novel by Stephen King. She also appeared as a waitress in the miniseries The Shining and made several guest appearances on several television shows, such as Cagney & Lacey, Married... with Children, Murder, She Wrote, The X-Files, Players and Law & Order: Los Angeles. In 2003, she lent her voice to an episode of the Disney cartoon Kim Possible as Vivian Porter.

Smith has become well-known to a bigger audience for her role as Amanda Young in the Saw films. She has been called a "scream queen" due to the number of horror films in which she has appeared. In the DVD commentary of the first Saw film, the producers revealed that her scenes were filmed while she was battling a terrible case of the flu. It was revealed in the DVD commentary of Saw II that she was four months pregnant with her second child during filming. Her pregnancy was kept a secret from everyone except director Darren Lynn Bousman. He mentioned in the commentary that Smith's daughter Verve accidentally told him about the pregnancy during filming. She has said that although she is briefly shown in Saw IV and Saw V, she was never on set for those two installments. Any scenes featuring her were dubbed from file footage. On March 20, 2009, producer Mark Burg released a statement confirming that Smith would be in Saw VI. She arrived in Toronto on March 31, 2009, to begin filming brand new flashback sequences.

She admitted she has a hard time watching the Saw films or horror movies in general. She originally turned the role of Amanda Young down because it was very upsetting to her. After turning the role down, she was shown the eight-minute short film by Leigh Whannell and James Wan and changed her mind after the role was offered to her a second time. In 2006, Smith made an appearance in the ten-minute short film trailer Repo! The Genetic Opera, also directed by Bousman. Smith's character was Heather Sweet, the surgery addicted daughter of GeneCo president Rotti Largo. The trailer was filmed in Toronto, Ontario and was an adaptation from the stage version. Bousman filmed the trailer after completing Saw III to try to pitch the idea to film producers. Smith did not reprise her role as Heather Sweet when Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures picked up the film in 2007 and was replaced by Paris Hilton. Additionally, the character's name was changed to Amber.

In 2008, Smith played Detective Gina Harcourt in the FEARnet original series 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust. The series premiered on July 17, 2008, on FEARnet.com in six 4- to 6-minute webisodes along with behind the scenes clips. This series was a continuation of the first webisode series 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails. It is still available on FEARnet.com and can also be seen in its entirety on FEARnet On Demand. Smith made her producing debut with this series.

She was also the host and one of three mentors on the VH1 reality program Scream Queens, in which ten unknown actresses competed for a role in Saw VI. The show aired from October 20, 2008 to December 8, 2008. In January 2010, it was announced that Smith would not be returning as host and mentor for Season 2 due to scheduling conflicts. She was replaced by Jaime King.

In 2009, Smith played the role of Dr. Ann Sullivan, Child Psychiatrist, in The Grudge 3. The film was a direct-to-DVD release in May 2009. She appeared as a guest star on The Secret Life of the American Teenager on August 30, 2010. It was her first television appearance since Scream Queens aired in 2008. Shortly afterwards, she appeared in the series premiere of Law & Order: Los Angeles on September 29, 2010. Smith also starred as Jennifer Goodson, the ex-wife of Charlie Sheen's character on Anger Management, which ended in 2014 after exactly one hundred episodes, of which Smith appeared in 94.

Music Career

Along with acting, Smith is also a musician. She plays the guitar, piano, drums and sings. She contributed to the soundtrack of Saw III with vocals on Hydrovibe's song Killer Inside and to the soundtrack for Catacombs as a solo vocalist with the song Please Myself. Her voice was also featured in the film Carnival of Souls, where her character Sandra performed a jazz song titled I Fear. Smith fronted the punk/metal band Fydolla Ho in the early 2000s. The group was originally formed by Smith, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Rick Battson and Skindred vocalist Benji Webbe as a small recording project. The band released their debut full-length album, Untied, in December 2001. She balanced the band with being a regular cast member on Becker. The band officially ended in 2004.

Smith began working on a solo album in 2004 with producer Chris Goss, but the project was never completed. In an interview with Radio Free in October 2005 she stated "between being a mom and working and growing another baby, I have not had time to give attention to music for a while."

She was also part of a country music group with actress Missi Pyle called Smith & Pyle. The two actresses met while filming an ABC comedy pilot titled Traveling in Packs. The band started after Smith invited Pyle to join her in attending the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Their first album, It's OK to Be Happy, was released digitally through iTunes and Amazon.com in July 2008. The debut album was recorded in Joshua Tree, California and produced by Chris Goss. Smith and Pyle became business partners and formed their own record label called Urban Prairie Records. The two disbanded in 2011 before a second album was completed. While promoting Anger Management in 2013, Smith stated that she reached a point where she wanted to focus on her children and her television work.

Personal Life

Smith has three children: a daughter from her marriage to photographer Jason Reposar, a son from her brief marriage to musician Kai Mattoon and a second son born in March 2010. Her two elder children were featured in the debut album of Smith & Pyle, It's OK to be Happy. The kids are listed in the album credits as having vocals and spoken narrative tracks for two songs. An article published October 28, 2009, highlighting Smith & Pyle's small tour in West Virginia, stated that Shawnee was pregnant with her third child at that time.

Smith and Jason Reposar eloped in 1998 while on vacation in Scotland. The song Sugar, performed by her former country-rock band, Smith & Pyle, was written by Smith after her divorce from Reposar. She describes it as her break-up song that is quite different from Pyle's break-up song, I Wish You Were Dead.

In June 2001, she was featured in Maxim magazine. She expressed regret about the two Maxim photo shoots and guesses 80% of her presence on the internet came from those two shoots alone.

Smith is a convert to the Orthodox Church and is in the process of making a documentary about her conversion and other aspects of Orthodoxy, entitled Orthodoxy: A Love Story.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role
1982 Annie Dancer
1985 Not My Kid Carol
Crime of Innocence Jodi Hayward
1986 Iron Eagle Joenie
Easy Prey Tina Marie Risico
1987 Summer School Rhonda Altobello
1988 Bluegrass Alice Gibbs
I Saw What You Did Kim Fielding
The Blob Meg Penny
1989 Who's Harry Crumb? Nikki Downing
1990 Desperate Hours May Cornell
1995 Leaving Las Vegas Biker Girl
The Low Life 'Little Tramp' Woman
1996 Female Perversions Make-Up Salesgirl
Face of Evil Jeanelle Polk
1997 Something Borrowed, Something Blue Teri
Dead Men Can't Dance Sgt. Addy Cooper
Dogtown Tammy Hayes
Men Clara
Bombshell Shelly
Eat Your Heart Out Nicole
1998 Armageddon Redhead
Carnival of Souls Sandra Grant
The Party Crashers Carolyn
Twice Upon a Time Maggie Fowler
1999 A Slipping-Down Life Faye-Jean Lindsay
Breakfast of Champions Bonnie MacMahon
Every Dog Has Its Day RedHead
2002 Never Get Outta the Boat Dawn
2004 Saw Amanda Young
The Almost Guys Bigger
2005 Washington Street
The Island Suzie
Saw II Amanda Young
2006 Repo! The Genetic Opera Heather Sweet
Saw III Amanda Young
2007 Secrets of an Undercover Wife Lisa
Greater Than a Tiger Alice
Traveling in Packs Ivy
2009 The Grudge 3 Dr. Ann Sullivan
Saw VI Amanda Young
2010 Kill Speed Honey
2012 Jayne Mansfield's Car Vicky Caldwell
Reel America Lisa Slotnik
2013 Grace Unplugged Michelle Trey
2016 Savannah Sunrise Joy
Believe Dr. Nancy Wells

Television

Year Title Role
1984 Silver Spoons Tawny
1985 It's Your Move Brenda
Cagney & Lacey
1986 All Is Forgiven Sonia Russell
1989-1990 A Brand New Life Amanda Gibbons
1990 Lucky Chances Olympia Stanislopolous
1993 Murder, She Wrote Jill Cleveland
1994 The Stand Julie Lawry
The X Files Jessie O'Neil
1997-1998 The Tom Show Florence Madison
1997 Arsenio Laura Lauman
The Shining Waitress
1998-2004 Becker Linda
1998 Players Lila
2003 Kim Possible Vivian Porter
2007 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust Detective Gina Harcourt
2010-2011 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Carrie
2010 Law & Order: Los Angeles Trudy Sennett
2012-2014 Anger Management Jennifer Goodson

Video Games

Year Title Role
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Fever 105 Female Imaging
2012 Lollipop Chainsaw Mariska

Discography

Fydolla Ho

Title
Oh Yeah
No Matter
Pieces
Behave
Afraid

Smith & Pyle

Title
One Night Stand
Rafael

Gallery

External Links

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