Shawnee Rebecca Smith (born July 3, 1969) is an American actress and singer. She is known for her portrayal of Amanda Young in the Saw franchise and for starring as Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker (1998–2004). She co-starred as Jennifer Goodson, the ex-wife of Charlie Goodson on the FX sitcom Anger Management (2012–2014). In addition to acting, Smith once fronted the rock band Fydolla Ho, with which she toured globally. Later, with actress Missi Pyle, she served as half of Smith & Pyle, a country rock band.
Shawnee Rebecca Smith
July 3, 1969
(m. 1998; div. 2003)
(m. 2005; div. 2006)
Smith was born at Orangeburg Regional Hospital in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She is the second child of Patricia Ann (née Smoak), 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 years old. She attended Ranchito Avenue Elementary School in Panorama City, Los Angeles and Madison Jr. High in North Hollywood, Los Angeles. She then attended North Hollywood High School, graduating in 1987.
Smith began acting as a child appearing on stage in A Christmas Carol repertory from ages eight to 11 and starred in a stage play with Richard Dreyfuss at age 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 1981.
She joined the Screen Actors Guild at age 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 melodramas, Not My Kid and Crime of Innocence, along with a small role in Iron Eagle (1986).
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 The Blob. As well as the film Bluegrass with Cheryl Ladd.
Smith played a rich teen who helps John Candy locate her kidnapped sister in the 1989 film 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 in Michael Cimino's remake of the thriller 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. In 1994, she played Julie Lawry in the TV miniseries, The Stand, based on the novel by Stephen King, and landed a small role in the film Leaving Las Vegas.
From 1998 to 2004, Smith co-starred as Linda in Becker. She made several guest appearances on such television shows as Cagney & Lacey, 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.
In the DVD commentary of Saw, the producers revealed that her scenes were filmed while she was battling a terrible case of the flu. In the DVD commentary of Saw II, she was revealed to be 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. 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 new flashback sequences.
Smith 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 10-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; she was replaced by Paris Hilton.
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 webisodes along with behind-the-scenes clips. This series is a continuation of the first webisode series 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails. She made her producing debut with this series.
Smith was the host and one of three mentors on the VH1 reality program Scream Queens, which aired from October 20, 2008, to December 8, 2008. Smith did not return as host and mentor for season two due to scheduling conflicts; she was replaced by Jaime King.
In 2009, Smith played the role of Dr. Sullivan, child psychiatrist, in The Grudge 3. The film was a direct-to-DVD release on May 12, 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 after, she appeared in the series premiere of Law & Order: Los Angeles on September 29, 2010.
Along with acting, she is also a musician; she sings and plays the guitar, piano, and drums. 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 (the name coming from the Chris Rock character in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)) in the early 2000s. The group was originally formed by Smith, Suicidal Tendencies 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 part of a country rock 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. The duo formed a band. 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, she stated that she reached a point where she wanted to focus on her children and television work.
She provided vocals on a cover of Steve Miller Band’s “Abracadabra” by Eagles of Death Metal after Jesse Hughes overheard her singing the song in a studio bathroom. This cover was released in 2019.
Smith has three children, a daughter from her marriage to photographer Jason Reposar (1998–2003), a son from her brief marriage to musician Kai Mattoon (2005–2006) and a son in 2010. Her two older children were featured in the debut Smith & Pyle album, It's OK to Be Happy. The children are listed in the album credits as having vocals and spoken narrative tracks for two songs.
Smith and Reposar eloped in 1998 while on vacation in Scotland. The song "Sugar", performed by Smith & Pyle, was written by Smith after her divorce from Reposar. She describes it as her breakup song, saying that it is quite different from Pyle's breakup song, "I Wish You Were Dead".
Smith is a convert from Lutheranism to Eastern Orthodoxy, and in 2014 stated that she was thinking of making a documentary about her conversion and other aspects of Orthodoxy, which she planned to call Orthodoxy: A Love Story.
Smith was featured in Maxim in June 2001. In 2013, after her religious conversion to Orthodox Christianity, Smith expressed regret about the two Maxim photo shoots and guessed that 80% of her presence on the Internet comes from those two shoots alone.
|1987||Summer School||Rhonda Altobello|
|1988||The Blob||Meg Penny||Nominated Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture|
|1989||Who's Harry Crumb?||Nikki Downing|
|1990||Desperate Hours||May Cornell|
|1995||Leaving Las Vegas||Biker girl|
|1995||The Low Life||Little Tramp Woman|
|1996||Female Perversions||Make-Up Salesgirl|
|1997||Every Dog Has Its Day||Redhead|
|1997||Dead Men Can't Dance||Sgt. Addy Cooper|
|1997||Greater Than a Tiger||Alice||Short film|
|1998||Carnival of Souls||Sandra Grant|
|1998||The Party Crashers||Carolyn|
|1999||A Slipping-Down Life||Faye-Jean Lindsay|
|1999||Breakfast of Champions||Bonnie MacMahon|
|1999||Eat Your Heart Out||Nicole||Alternative title: American Shrimps|
|2002||Never Get Outta the Boat||Dawn|
|2004||The Almost Guys||Bigger|
|2005||Saw II||Amanda Young|
|2006||Repo! The Genetic Opera||Heather Sweet||Short film|
|2006||The Scott Tibbs Documentary||Amanda Young||Short film|
|2006||Saw III||Amanda Young||Nominated for an Eyegore|
Nominated for a Scream Award
|2007||Saw IV||Amanda Young||Archive footage|
Won an Eyegore Award
|2008||Saw V||Amanda Young||Archive footage|
|2009||The Grudge 3||Dr. Francine Sullivan||Direct to video|
|2009||Saw VI||Amanda Young|
|2010||Saw 3D||Amanda Young||Archive footage|
|2013||Jayne Mansfield's Car||Vicky Caldwell|
|2013||Grace Unplugged||Michelle Trey|
|2016||Believe||Dr. Nancy Wells|
|2021||Christmas vs. the Walters||Diane Walters|
|1984||Silver Spoons||Tawny||1 episode|
|1985||Not My Kid||Carol||Television film|
|1985||It's Your Move||Brenda||1 episode|
|1985||Cagney & Lacey||Mrs. Zal's daughter||1 episode|
|1985||Crime of Innocence||Jodi Hayward||Television film, nominated for Exceptional Young Actress Starring in a Television Special or Movie of the Week|
|1986||All Is Forgiven||Sonia Russell||Recurring role; 9 episodes|
|1986||Easy Prey||Tina Marie Risico||Television film|
|1988||Bluegrass||Alice Gibbs||Television film|
|1988||I Saw What You Did||Kim Fielding||Television film|
|1989–1990||Brand New Life||Amanda Gibbons||Recurring role; 6 episodes|
|1990||Lucky Chances||Olympia Stanislopolous Golden||Television miniseries|
|1993||Murder, She Wrote||Jill Cleveland||1 episode|
|1994||The Stand||Julie Lawry||Television miniseries; 2 episodes|
|1994||The X-Files||Jessie O'Neil||1 episode: "Firewalker"|
|1996||Face of Evil||Jeanelle Polk||Television film|
|1997||Something Borrowed, Something Blue||Teri||Television film|
|1997||Arsenio||Laura Lauman||Recurring role; 6 episodes|
|1997||The Shining||Waitress||Television miniseries|
|1997–1998||The Tom Show||Florence Madison||Recurring role; 19 episodes|
|1998||Twice Upon a Time||Maggie Fowler||Television film|
|1998–2004||Becker||Linda||Main role; 129 episodes|
|2003||Kim Possible||Vivian Porter (voice)||1 episode|
|2005||Washington Street||Television film|
|2007||Traveling in Packs||Ivy||Unsold pilot|
|2007||Secrets of an Undercover Wife||Lisa Wilder-Crews||Television film|
|2008||30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust||Detective Gina Harcourt||Miniseries; also Executive producer|
|2008||Scream Queens||Herself||Host and mentor; 8 episodes|
|2010||The Secret Life of the American Teenager||Carrie Costigan||2 episodes|
|2010||Law & Order: Los Angeles||Trudy||1 episode|
|2012–2014||Anger Management||Jennifer Goodson||Main role; 94 episodes|
|2002||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Fever 105 Female Imager||Voice role|
|2012||Lollipop Chainsaw||Mariska, Queen of Psychedelia||Voice role|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|Year||Award||Result||Category||Film or series|
|1985||Dramalogue Critics Award||Won||Performance||To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday|
|1987||Young Artist Award||Nominated||Exceptional Young Actress Starring in a Television Special or Movie of the Week||Crime of Innocence|
|1989||Young Artist Award||Nominated||Best Young Actress in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture||The Blob|
|2007||Spike TV Scream Awards||Nominated||Most Vile Villain||Saw III, with Tobin Bell|
|2007||Chiller-Eyegore Awards||Won||Saw franchise|
- Vial, Fydolla Ho (4-track Demo CD; unknown year)
- Untied, Fydolla Ho (2001)
- It's OK to be Happy, Smith & Pyle (2008)
- Songs featured in film
- "I Fear", Carnival of Souls (1998)
- "Killer Inside" (with Hydrovibe), Saw III soundtrack (2006)
- "Zytrate Anatomy", Repo! The Genetic Opera 10-minute short film (2006)
- "Please Myself", Catacombs soundtrack (2007)
- With Fydolla Ho
- "Oh Yeah"
- "No Matter"
- With Smith & Pyle
- "One Night Stand" (2010)
- "Rafael" (2010)
- Unknown album
- "Deciding" (2004)
- "Head" (2004)
- "Shelter" (2004)
- Biodata, thetandd.com; accessed December 26, 2014.
- Galina, Espinoza (2001-02-02). "Sitting Pretty". People. 55 (6).
- Stax (2006-10-27). "The Women of Horror: Shawnee Smith". IGN. Archived from the original on 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
- "Bloody-Disgusting". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "Official Saw News". Official Saw News. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "UPDATED: Shawnee Smith Returns in 'Saw VI'". BD Horror News. Bloody-disgusting.com. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- Dread Central – "Smith, Shawnee (30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust)
- "Scream Queens Official Site". Vh1.com. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "Set Visit Teaser: Scream Queens Season Two". ShockTillYouDrop.com. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Keck, William (2010-08-04). "Keck's Exclusives: Law & Order: Los Angeles Goes Hollywood For First Case". TVGuide.com. Lionsgate. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- "Smith & Pyle on Demon FM". Demonfm.co.uk. 1999-02-22. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "Exclusive Interview: Shawnee Smith". Radiofree.com. 2005-10-25. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "EODM "Best Songs We Never Wrote" Track by Track". eodmofficial. 2019-07-15. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
- Shawnee Smith on The Time Machine, thetimemachineradioshow.podOmatic.com; accessed December 25, 2014.
- Dreher, Rod (May 20, 2014). "Conversion of Anger Management actress: Shawnee Smith". The Moving Icon. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Shawnee Smith on Every Man's Bacon 3". Every Man's Bacon. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
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