Shawnee Smith
Smith in 2007
Born (1969-07-03) July 3, 1969 (age 54)
Occupations
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1978–present
Known for
Spouse(s)Jason Reposar (divorced)
Kai Mattoon (divorced)
Children2

Shawnee Smith (born July 3, 1969) is an American actress. She is known for playing Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker and Amanda Young from the Saw franchise. She was part of the country rock band Smith & Pyle. She hosted season one of the VH1 acting competition Scream Queens.

Smith began her acting career at a young age, making her feature film debut at age 11 in John Huston's Annie, playing one of the orphans. A few years later, she made her stage debut in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday and won a Drama-League Critics Award. In the late 1980s, she was cast in smaller roles before getting her first starring role in the remake of The Blob (1988) and a supporting role in the film Who's Harry Crumb? (1989).

In the 1990s she made guest appearances on Murder, She Wrote and The X-Files before being cast in a main role of the sitcom Becker (1998–2004). In 2004, she played Amanda in Saw and reprised her role in the sequels, Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), Saw VI (2009) and Saw X (2023). She played Jennifer Goodson in Anger Management from 2012 to 2014 in 100 episodes.

Early life

Smith was born on July 3, 1969, at Orangeburg Regional Hospital in Orangeburg, South Carolina.[1][2] 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 five months old, her family relocated from South Carolina to West Los Angeles, California. Her parents divorced when she was two years old and her mother remarried five years later when they moved to San Fernando Valley.[2][3]

Career

1978–1995: Early roles in stage, television and film

Smith made her television debut in a McDonald's commercial at age eight.[3] At age 11, she made her feature film debut in John Huston's 1982 adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie, as one of Annie Bennett Warbucks's fellow orphans.[3] The next year, she sang on The Merv Griffin Show.[2] At age 15, Smith won her first stage role in the Los Angeles play, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday where co-star Richard Dreyfuss noticed in rehearsals her potential and suggested she be given a leading part. She went on to win the Drama-League Critics Award for her performance.[2]

In 1985, she had small parts in, Not My Kid, Cagney & Lacey and Iron Eagle (1986).[2][4][5][6] In 1987, Smith played a pregnant student Rhonda in Summer School.[7] The following year, her first starring role came with the remake of The Blob.[8] In 1988, Smith starred in television film I Saw What You Did, a remake of the 1965 film of the same name.[9]

Smith had a supporting role alongside John Candy and Annie Potts in the 1989 film Who's Harry Crumb?, where Smith plays a teen who helps Harry Crumb locate her kidnapped sister.[10] 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 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.[3] She made a guest appearance on the 200th episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1993.[11] That following year, she played Julie Lawry in the television miniseries The Stand, based on the novel by Stephen King.[12] Smith made a guest appearance in the 1994 The X-Files episode "Firewalker", playing Jessie O'Neil.[13]

1998–2006: Breakthrough with Becker and the Saw franchise

In 1998, Smith was cast as Linda in CBS's sitcom Becker, playing the office's aide of Dr. John Becker (Ted Danson).[14] After airing three episodes to high ratings, CBS ordered a full season.[15] She was a main character for all six seasons until its cancellation in 2004.[16] In 2003, she lent her voice to an episode of the Disney cartoon Kim Possible as Vivian Porter.[17]

In 2003, she was cast in James Wan's low budget horror film, Saw, as Amanda Young. A small part, opposite Tobin Bell, she filmed her scene within one day and while battling the flu.[18] While initially a direct-to-video release was planned, test screenings in March 2004 turned out positive prompting Lionsgate to release it theatrically that October.[19] It became a box office success, grossing $103 million worldwide.[20] She would reprise her role in Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006) and Saw VI (2009).[21][22] The Saw franchise went on to become one of the highest-grossing horror franchises of all time, grossing over $1 billion worldwide, as of 2021.[19]

Smith (right) with Missi Pyle (left), performing as Smith & Pyle in 2008

2010–present: Continued work and other ventures

In 2006, Smith made an appearance in the 10-minute short film trailer Repo! The Genetic Opera, directed by Bousman. The trailer was filmed after completing Saw III to try to pitch the idea to film producers.[23] In 2008, Smith played Detective Gina Harcourt in the FEARnet original series 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust and also served as executive producer. It premiered in July 17 with six webisodes.[24] Smith was the host and one of three mentors on the VH1 reality television series, Scream Queens, which aired from October 2008 to December 2008.[25] Smith did not return for the second season due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced with Jaime King.[26]

Smith played the role of Dr. Sullivan, child psychiatrist, in The Grudge 3 that was released direct-to-video on May 12, 2009. She appeared in the series premiere of Law & Order: Los Angeles titled, "Hollywood", on September 29, 2010.[27] In 2012, she had her first voice role in a video game, Lollipop Chainsaw.[28] From 2012 to 2014, Smith starred as Jennifer Goodson, the ex-wife of Charlie Sheen's character in the TV series Anger Management.[29]

Smith co-starred with Dean Winters in the 2021 indie comedy film Christmas vs. the Walters.[30] Smith reprised her role as Amanda Young in Saw X released in September 2023.[31] She will star in the horror film Bloodline Killer.[32]

Music career

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."[33] 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.[34] This cover was released in 2019.[35]

Smith contributed to the soundtrack of Saw III in 2006 with vocals on Hydrovibe's song "Killer Inside",[36] and to the soundtrack for Catacombs as a solo vocalist with the song "Please Myself".[37]

In 2007, she was part of a country rock music group with actress Missi Pyle called Smith & Pyle.[38] Their first album, It's OK to Be Happy, was released digitally through iTunes and Amazon.com in 2008.[39]

Personal life

Smith was married to photographer Jason Reposar. They have a daughter, born 1999. She was later married to musician Kai Mattoon; they divorced and have a son, born 2005.[3][8][40] Smith is a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy.[41]

Credits

Smith promoting Saw III at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con

Film

List of films and roles
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Annie Dancer
1986 Iron Eagle Joenie
1987 Summer School Rhonda Altobello
1988 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
1997 Every Dog Has Its Day Redhead
Dead Men Can't Dance Sgt. Addy Cooper
Men Clara
Dogtown Tammy Hayes
Bombshell Shelly
Eat Your Heart Out Nicole
1998 Armageddon Redhead
Carnival of Souls Sandra Grant
The Party Crashers Carolyn
1999 A Slipping-Down Life Faye-Jean Lindsay
Breakfast of Champions Bonnie MacMahon
2002 Never Get Outta the Boat Dawn
2004 Saw Amanda Young
The Almost Guys Bigger
2005 The Island Suzie
Saw II Amanda Young
2006 Saw III
2009 The Grudge 3 Dr. Sullivan Direct to video
2009 Saw VI Amanda Young
2010 Kill Speed Honey
2013 Jayne Mansfield's Car Vicky Caldwell
2013 Grace Unplugged Michelle Trey
2016 Savannah Sunrise Joy
2016 Believe Dr. Nancy Wells
2021 Christmas vs. the Walters Diane Walters
2023 Saw X Amanda Young
TBD Bloodline Killer Moira Cole Post-production[32]
Key
Denotes films that have not yet been released

Television

List of television appearances and roles
Year Title Role Notes
1984 Silver Spoons Tawny Episode: "Growing Pains: Part 1"
1985 Not My Kid Carol Television film
1985 It's Your Move Brenda Episode: "The Experts"
1985 Cagney & Lacey Mrs. Zal's daughter Episode: "The Psychic"
1985 Crime of Innocence Jodi Hayward Television film
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 Episode: "Bloodlines"
1994 The Stand Julie Lawry Television miniseries; 3 episodes
1994 The X-Files Jessie O'Neil 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 Players Lila Episode: "Confidence Man"
1998 Twice Upon a Time Maggie Fowler Television film
1998–2004 Becker Linda Main role; 129 episodes
2003 Kim Possible Vivian Porter (voice) Episode: "Grudge Match"
2005 Washington Street Television film
2007 Traveling in Packs Ivy Unsold pilot[42]
2007 Secrets of an Undercover Wife Lisa Wilder-Crews Television film
2008 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust Detective Gina Harcourt Television miniseries; also executive producer[24]
2008 Scream Queens As herself Host and mentor; 8 episodes
2010–2011 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Carrie
2010 Law & Order: Los Angeles Trudy Sennett Episode: "Hollywood"
2012 Reel America Lisa Slotnik Television film
2012–2014 Anger Management Jennifer Goodson Main role; 100 episodes
2023 City on Fire Ramona Recurring role; 4 episodes

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