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Eliza Dushku

Date of birth : 1980-12-30
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Watertown, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-09-21

Eliza Patricia Dushku is an American actress best known for her television roles, including her recurring appearances as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series Angel. She also starred in two Fox series, Tru Calling and Dollhouse. Additionally, she has appeared in several films, including True Lies, The New Guy, Bring It On, Wrong Turn and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Early life


Dushku was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, the daughter of Philip R. Dushku, an administrator and teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and Judith "Judy" (née Rasmussen), a political science professor at Suffolk University in Boston. Dushku's father is Albanian and her mother is of Danish and English descent. Dushku attended Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, and graduated from Watertown High School. She was raised a Mormon, the faith of her mother (though she is not actively practicing). She has three older brothers: Aaron, Benjamin (Ben), and Nathaniel (Nate), the latter of whom is a model and actor. Her parents divorced when she was still an infant. In 2006, she visited her father's family in Albania after being personally invited by the prime minister. While there, she also visited Kosovo and received an Albanian Eagle tattoo on the back of her neck.

Career


Dushku came to the attention of casting agents when she was 10. She was chosen at the end of a five month search throughout the United States for the lead role of Alice, playing with Juliette Lewis in the film That Night. In 1993, Dushku landed a role as Pearl alongside Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in This Boy's Life, a role that she said opened a lot of doors. The following year, she played the teenage daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies. She also had parts as Paul Reiser's daughter in Bye Bye, Love, as Cindy Johnson with Halle Berry and Jim Belushi in Race the Sun, as well as roles in a television movie and a short film.

Dushku took some time off from acting to finish her junior and senior years of high school. She was accepted to the George Washington University in Washington, DC and Suffolk University in Boston, where her mother serves as professor of government and previously served as dean of the campus in Dakar, Senegal.

Later roles


After completing high school, Dushku returned to acting with the role of Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a Slayer much more troubled than the main character Buffy Summers. Though initially planned as a five episode role, the character became so popular that she stayed on for the entirety of the third season and returned for a two-part appearance in season four, after which the remainder of her original story arc was played out as part of the first season of the Buffy spin-off series Angel. Repentant and rededicated, Faith returned as a heroine in a number of further episodes of Angel and in the last five episodes of Buffy. Dushku was inundated with piles of fan mail from legions of prisoners. She said:

I've been getting fan mail from maximum security penitentiaries and death row. What are the authorities thinking of in playing a show with young teenage girls to Death Row inmates? They write everything — disgusting things that you don't even want to know about. And they send me pictures — 'Oh, here's a picture of me before I was incarcerated!' — and there's some guy sat on the sofa with a bottle of beer and a moustache, and a big gut. It's so creepy. Way more creepy than Buffy.

In 2000, Dushku starred in Soul Survivors, reuniting her with Race The Sun co-star Casey Affleck. One reviewer described the film as "84 minutes of everyone's wasted time." She followed that up with the hit cheerleader comedy Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst. In 2001, she appeared in The New Guy with DJ Qualls and City by the Sea with Robert De Niro and James Franco. The latter film garnered attention from a wider adult audience and several good reviews. The same year, Kevin Smith invited Dushku to be a part of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, where she co-starred with Shannon Elizabeth, Ali Larter, and Ben Affleck.

In 2003, Dushku appeared in Wrong Turn, a horror film in which she had the starring role, and The Kiss, an independent comedy-drama. Starting that same year, she also starred in a new Fox TV series, Tru Calling, where she played the main character, medical student Tru Davies. After having a grant pulled out from under her, Tru is forced to take a job at a local morgue where she discovers her power to "re-live" the previous day over again if one of the deceased asks for her help to change what has happened. Dushku turned down a role in a spin-off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer which would have been about Faith. She has had many roles as a "bad girl" in movies and relishes the opportunities. In an interview with Maxim in May 2001, Dushku says of her roles, "It’s easy to play a bad girl: You just do everything you’ve been told not to do, and you don’t have to deal with the consequences, because it’s only acting."

Dushku starred in an off-Broadway production entitled Dog Sees God from December 2005, playing "Van's sister", a character paralleled with Lucy Van Pelt from the original Peanuts comic strip on which the play production is based. She quit in February 2006 along with several other members of the cast amidst rumours of alleged abuse from the producer, which were later dismissed.

She played the lead character on Nurses, a hospital comedy/drama for Fox. This was the second Fox pilot in which she has been cast, but will not be broadcast. She appeared in the Simple Plan music video, "I'm Just a Kid", as the band's love interest, as well as Nickelback's video for "Rockstar".

Dushku has landed starring roles in two video game productions. She voiced the role of Yumi Sawamura in the English language version of Yakuza for the PlayStation 2, which was published and developed by SEGA, and released in September 2006. Dushku also stars as Shaundi, one of the lead characters in Saints Row 2, which was developed by Volition and published by THQ. It was released (in North America) on October 14, 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. She also was the voice talent for the role of Rubi Malone, the main character in the game WET. She appeared at Spike TV's 2008 Video Game Awards in December 2008.

On October 1, 2005, she announced at Wizard World Boston that shooting had begun for Nobel Son in which she would star with Alan Rickman, Danny DeVito, Bill Pullman, and Peter Boyle. The movie was released at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Another project is On Broadway, an independent movie filmed in her native Boston. The movie is receiving great reviews and a few of them highlight Dushku's performance. It is currently being shown in many independent film festivals and has already won six awards.

Variety announced on August 2, 2006 that Dushku would co-star with Macaulay Culkin in Sex and Breakfast, a dark comedy written and directed by Miles Brandman. A reviewer described Dushku as "charming" and giving the character "an edge." The movie was released in Los Angeles in November 30, 2007 and on DVD in January 22, 2008. She starred in Open Graves, a 2008 horror-thriller about a satanic game co-starring Mike Vogel. She will play the main character in The Thacker Case and The Alphabet Killer, both based on real-life events and upcoming thrillers, one of them directed by Rob Schmidt with whom she had previously worked on Wrong Turn. Both movies will be released in 2008. The Alphabet Killer contains Dushku's first topless scene. The film earned mixed reviews, but reviewers praised Dushku's performance, commenting "Eliza Dushku commands the screen but cannot reconcile the script's conflicted and increasingly idiotic agendas." She also appeared, along with Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine and Rachel Taylor, in Bottle Shock, a drama about Napa valley wine. The film was directed by Randall Miller, who helmed Nobel Son.

On August 26, 2007, Dushku signed a development deal with Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox. Under the pact, the network and the studio develop projects tailor-made for the actress. They also approach her with existing pitches and scripts.

Consequently, it was announced on October 31 that Dushku had lured Joss Whedon, famous for creating the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly series, back to TV, as they agreed to create a new show called Dollhouse. Dushku played the main character, 'Echo', and served as a producer on the show, which aired on Fox during the 2008–09 TV Season. One TV reviewer said Dushku "does wonderful things to a tank top, but her grasp of this vague, personality-changing character is a bit of a muddle."

Dushku described Whedon as "my favorite genius ... favorite friend ... big brother ... and the only person out here I've ever wholeheartedly trusted, because he's never let me down."Dollhouse was renewed for a second season. The producers cited their confidence in the strength of Joss Whedon's fan base and high DVR numbers as their reasons for keeping the show. FOX cancelled Dollhouse on November 11, 2009. The show officially wrapped filming on the second and final season on December 16, 2009.

Dushku was the voice actor for contract killer "Rubi Malone" in the action video game Wet, alongside fellow actors Malcolm McDowell and Alan Cumming. Dushku secured exclusive rights to make "The Perfect Moment", a film based on the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and enlisted the help of Ondi Timoner.

Dushku provides her voice for Noah's Ark: The New Beginning and will also appear in the film Locked In set for release in 2010.

Personal life


Dushku resides in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California.

Dushku is the CEO of her production company Boston Diva and served as both lead actress and a producer on the short-lived FOX cult hit, Dollhouse created by Joss Whedon. She is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox.

Dushku is currently dating former basketball player Rick Fox.

Awards and nominations


She was twice nominated in 2004: for a Teen Choice Award at the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout Star - Female for Tru Calling and for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films at the 30th Saturn Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series for Tru Calling.

Maxim magazine ranked Dushku 6th on the "Hot 100 Women of 2009" list.

Dushku was nominated in 2009 for a Scream Award for Best Science Fiction Actress for her role of Echo.

Filmography


1992 That Night Alice Bloom
1993 This Boy's Life
1994
Fishing with George
True Lies
1995
Bye Bye Love
Journey
1996 Race the Sun
2000 Bring It On
2001
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Soul Survivors
2002
The New Guy
City by the Sea
2003
Wrong Turn
The Kiss
2006 The Last Supper
2007
On Broadway
Nobel Son
Sex and Breakfast
2008
Bottle Shock
The Alphabet Killer
The Cover Up
2009
Open Graves
Noah's Ark: The New Beginning
2010 Locked In


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