Alicia Witt

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Alicia Witt
Alicia Witt 2014 (cropped).jpg
Witt at the 18th Annual PRISM Awards, 2014
BornAlicia Roanne Witt
(1975-08-21) August 21, 1975 (age 39)
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
OccupationActress, singer, model
Years active1984–present
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Alicia Witt
Alicia Witt 2014 (cropped).jpg
Witt at the 18th Annual PRISM Awards, 2014
BornAlicia Roanne Witt
(1975-08-21) August 21, 1975 (age 39)
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
OccupationActress, singer, model
Years active1984–present

Alicia Roanne Witt (born August 21, 1975) is an American film, stage, and television actress, as well as a singer-songwriter and pianist. Witt 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); she also appeared in a guest role in Lynch's subsequent television series Twin Peaks (1990).

Witt later had roles as a disturbed teenager in Fun (1994), as a music student in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995), and as a college coed in the horror film Urban Legend (1998). She later appeared in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (2001), Last Holiday (2006), and the thriller 88 Minutes (2007). Witt has also made television appearances in Friday Night Lights, Justified, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In addition to acting, Witt is also a musical prodigy and accomplished pianist.[1] In 2009, she released her self-titled debut EP.

Early life[edit]

Witt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her mother, Diane (née Pietro), is a junior high school reading teacher, and her father, Robert Witt, is a science teacher and photographer.[2][3][4] She has a brother, Ian. At two years old, she was a child prodigy reading college textbooks.[5] Witt was discovered by David Lynch in 1980 when she recited Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet on the television show That's Incredible!. He cast her in the movie Dune (1984) as Paul Atreides's sister Alia. She turned eight during filming.[6] 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.

At age 14, Witt earned her high school diploma. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Hollywood with her mother to pursue acting. In September 1990, she competed on Wheel of Fortune.[7]


Alicia Witt at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, 2012

During this time, Witt supported herself by playing piano at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. She had small parts in Mike Figgis's Liebestraum (in which her brother Ian also appears), the Gen-X drama Bodies, Rest & Motion and the TV movie The Disappearance of Vonnie. In 1994, Witt landed her first lead role in a film, playing a disturbed teenager in Fun. She received the Special Jury Recognition Award at the Sundance Festival and was nominated for Best Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards. This performance inspired Madonna to recommend Witt be cast as her lover in the first segment of Four Rooms ("The Missing Ingredient").

Witt was introduced to a larger audience in the role of Zoey Woodbine, daughter of actress Cybill Shepherd's character in the sitcom Cybill. While playing that part from 1995 to 1998, she had film roles in Mr. Holland's Opus, Alexander Payne's abortion comedy Citizen Ruth, Passion's Way and Bongwater. After Cybill was cancelled, Witt had leading roles in the horror film Urban Legend and the animated feature Gen¹³, which was never released because the studio withdrew funding before its completion.

In 2000, Witt had starring roles on the television shows Ally McBeal and The Sopranos; the lead role in the comedy Playing Mona Lisa; a supporting part in John Waters's Cecil B. Demented; and her stage debut at Los Angeles's now-closed Tiffany Theater in Robbie Fox's musical The Gift, in which she played a high-priced stripper with a disease.

She had a small part in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky intended as a reference to her roles in Dune and Liebestraum; played a college graduate who discusses losing her virginity in Ten Tiny Love Stories; and was the trailer-trash Barbie in American Girl, which was released to video in 2005.

Witt appeared in the 2002 romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. In 2003-04, she lived primarily in the United Kingdom, filming The Upside of Anger opposite Kevin Costner and starring as Evelyn in a stage production of Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things. Between these two projects, she went to South Africa to shoot the German TV movie Kingdom in Twilight, which also goes by the names The Sword of Xanten, The Ring of the Nibelungs and, in the United States, Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King. Witt played Kriemhild in this film interpretation of the epic poem Das Nibelungenlied. 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.[8] In September 2006 she returned to the London stage at the Royal Court Theatre in Piano/Forte, portraying the piano-playing Abigail, a role in which she demonstrated herself to be an "outstanding pianist" of "formidable skill".[9][10]

Witt joined the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for the 2007-08 season as Detective Nola Falacci, a character who was a temporary replacement for Megan Wheeler (played by Julianne Nicholson, who was away on maternity leave).[11] She was a recurring character in Friday Night Lights for the 2009-10 season. In March 2012, Witt retweeted a link on her official Twitter page in hopes of getting Law & Order: Criminal Intent back for an 11th season on NBC.[12]

In 2013, Witt co-starred in the independent film Cold Turkey, opposite Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines. She co-wrote and performed the end credits song with Ben Folds. Her performance in this film was critically acclaimed,[13][14] with New York Magazine's David Edelstein proclaiming her turn one of the top performances of 2013.[15] Witt also appeared in three 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. Following the success of the latter, which is Hallmark's highest rated holiday film in history, Witt will return to Hallmark in Christmas 2014 with the new film Holiday Help.

Witt joined the cast of Justified FX for Season 5 in 2013.[16] In July 2014, Witt began rehearsals for the Neil LaBute play Reasons To Be Pretty at the Geffen Playhouse. The play runs through August 2014.[17] She filmed a major guest starring role on the DirecTv series Kingdom,[18]which airs in October 2014.


1984DuneAlia Atreidescredited as Alicia Roanne Witt
1990Twin PeaksGersten HaywardEpisode: "2.1"
1991LiebestraumGirl in Dream
1993Hotel RoomDianeEpisode: "Blackout"
1993Bodies, Rest & MotionElizabeth
1994FunBonnieGijón International Film Festival Award for Best Actress (shared with Renee Humphrey)
Sundance Film Festival - Special Jury Recognition
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance
1994Disappearance of Vonnie, TheThe Disappearance of VonnieJanineTV movie
1995Four RoomsKivaSegment: "The Missing Ingredient"
1995Mr. Holland's OpusGertrude Lang
1995–98CybillZoey WoodbineNominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
1996Citizen RuthCheryl Stoney
1998Urban LegendNatalie SimonNominated — Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
1999Reef, TheThe ReefSophy Viner
2000Sopranos, TheThe SopranosAmy SafirEpisode: "D-Girl"
2000Playing Mona LisaClaire GoldsteinU.S. Comedy Arts Festival - Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Actor
2000Cecil B. DementedCherish
2000Ally McBealHope MerceyEpisode: "Hope and Glory"
Episode: "Ally McBeal: The Musical, Almost"
2000Gen¹³Caitlin Fairchild (voice)Video
2001Vanilla SkyLibby
2001Ten Tiny Love StoriesTwo
2002American GirlBarbie
2002Two Weeks NoticeJune Carver
2003Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight ZoneLizEpisode: "The Executions of Grady Finch"
2004Girls' LunchShort film
2004Dark Kingdom: The Dragon KingKriemhildTV movie
2005Upside of Anger, TheThe Upside of AngerHadley Wolfmeyer
2006Last HolidayMs. Burns
2007Blue SmokeReena HaleTV movie
200788 MinutesKim Cummings
2007Law & Order: Criminal IntentDet. Nola Falacci5 episodes
2008Wainy DaysLauraEpisode: "Shelly II"
2008Puppy LoveClaireTV series short
2008Two and a Half MenMiss Pasternak /
Desiree Bush, lap dancer
Episode: "A Jock Strap in Hell"
2009Mentalist, TheThe MentalistRosalind HarkerEpisode: "Red John's Footsteps"
Episode: "Little Red Book"
Episode: "Red Is the New Black"
2009–11Friday Night LightsCheryl9 episodes
2010Edgar FloatsSandraTV movie
2010Pond, TheThe PondShellyShort film
2010Backyard WeddingKim TylerTV movie
2010Peep WorldAmy
2011Flight of the Swan, TheThe Flight of the Swan
2011CSI: MiamiMichelle BaldwinEpisode: "Blood Lust"
2011Joint BodyMichelle Page
2012Cowgirls n' AngelsElaine Clayton
2012Bending the RulesRoslyn Wohl
2012I DoMya Edwards
2012Person of InterestConnie WylerEpisode: "The High Road"
2013Weiner Dog NationalsMelanie
2013A Very Merry Mix-UpAlice ChapmanTV movie on the Hallmark Channel
2013A Madea ChristmasAmber
2013A Snow Globe ChristmasMeg
2014Kingdom (TV series)MelanieTV series on DirecTV
2014JustifiedWendy CroweTV series, 10 episodes
2014, Away From HereAway From HereLily
2014, The Librarians (TV series)The Librarians (TV series)LucindaTV series on TNT
2014, The Bronx BullThe Bronx BullDenise
2001Gift, TheThe GiftTiffany Theatre, Los Angeles
2004Shape of Things, TheThe Shape of ThingsNew Ambassadors Theatre, London
2006Piano/ForteRoyal Court Theatre, London
2007DissonanceWilliamstown Theatre Festival
2014Reasons To Be PrettyGeffen Playhouse, Los Angeles


  1. ^ Wendy Jeffries.That's incredible, vol. 4: based on the television series created by Alan Landsburg , pg. 23. ISBN 0-441-17271-7.
  2. ^ Alicia Witt Biography (1975-)
  3. ^ Lavallee, Wendy (1980-09-17). "Little Girl's Big Intellect Amazes Parents, Doctors". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Genius wants to grow up". Meriden, Conn.: PRecord-Journal. 1980-09-15. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  5. ^ Wendy Jeffries.That's incredible, vol. 4: based on the television series created by Alan Landsburg , pg. 25. ISBN 0-441-17271-7.
  6. ^ Dune (1984) - Box office / business
  7. ^ "TANYA HART HEADS FOR NATIONAL JOB ON COAST". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 24 August 1990. Retrieved 5 August 2011. "Alicia Witt, 14, of Worcester will take her chances during Wheel of Fortune's Teen Week beginning Sept 3." 
  8. ^ Brain Fertilizer: Why Is This Girl Smiling?
  9. ^ Bassett, Kate (2006-09-24). "Piano Forte, Royal Court, London". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-16. [dead link]
  10. ^ Billington, Michael (2006-09-21). "Piano/Forte". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Actress Plays Noth's New Partner as Series Moves to USA Network[dead link]
  12. ^ "Twitter / @aliciawitty: RT @CassieStackSVU: ms. wi ...". Alicia Witt/Twitter. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
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