The Wings of the Dove
Model-turned-actress Alison Elliott started acting on the ABC short-lived sitcom "Living Dolls" (1989) and has since proved her talent as an actress in an eclectic mix of leading roles in such films as "Wyatt Earp" (1994), "Underneath" (1995), "The Spitfire Grill" (1996), and "The Wings of the Dove" (1997), which earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and won her Best Supporting Actress Awards from Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association and Las Vegas Film Critics Society.
The 5' 6½" former Ford model also starred in the made-for-television movies "The Miracle Worker" (2000; as Anne Sullivan), "The Song of the Lark" (2001; as Thea Kronborg), and "A Wrinkle in Time" (2003; as Mrs. Who), as well as the recent films "Birth" (2004) and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007).
Elliot, who played one of the lead roles in the BBC miniseries "The Buccaneers" (1995), also has narrated audio books, including “Belle Prater's Boy” by Ruth White and its sequel,”The Search for Belle Prater.”
San Francisco Native
Childhood and Family:
Born in San Francisco, California, on May 19, 1970, Alison Elliott moved with her family to Japan when she was 4 years old. She returned to her hometown at age 8 and later attended Urban School, San Francisco, California. The middle child to Robert 'Bob' Elliot, a computer executive, and Barbara Elliot, a teacher of nursing, Alison has one older sister, Elizabeth Anne Elliott (born in January 1968), and one younger sister, Janine F Elliott. She currently resides in Los Angeles and New York.
At age 14, Alison Elliott began her modeling career, and as one of the Ford models, she spent summers in Tokyo and Paris on modeling shoots. At age 18, she decided to pursue an acting career and moved to Los Angeles, where she starred as a teen-aged model on the ABC short-lived sitcom "Living Dolls" (1989), a spinoff of "Who's the Boss?," in which she teamed up with Michael Learned, Leah Remini, Deborah Tucker, Alison Elliott, and Halle Berry.
Elliot then had a small role in "Perfect Date" (1990), an "ABC Afterschool Special," and was cast in first feature role in "Pretty Hattie's Baby" (1991; with Charles S. Dutton and Alfre Woodard), an independent film directed by Ivan Passer that was never released. After appearing the 21-minute short film "Another Round" (1992) and the short-lived sitcom "Black Tie Affair" (1993), she eventually made her feature acting debut in Franco Amurri-directed family film starring Thora Birch, "Monkey Trouble" (1994).
She followed it up with the portrayal of Lou, wife of Linden Ashby's Morgan Earp, in Lawrence Kasdan's Oscar-nominated biopic about the iconic figure in American folk history, "Wyatt Earp" (1994; starring Kevin Costner in the title role). She also portrayed Virginia St. George in the miniseries based on the last and unfinished novel by Edith Wharton, "The Buccaneers" (1995; alongside Carla Gugino and Mira Sorvino).
Elliot subsequently landed a female lead role in Steven Soderbergh's film adaptation of the novel "Criss Cross" by Don Tracy, "The Underneath" (1995), opposite Peter Gallagher, and supported James Woods in the drama/thriller TV movie "Indictment: The McMartin Trial" (1995). She then went on to star as a woman named Percy who was just released from prison for manslaughter, in writer/director Lee David Zlotoff motion picture "The Spitfire Grill" (1996; also featuring Ellen Burstyn and Marcia Gay Harden).
1997 saw Elliot portrayed Millie Theale, an American heiress stricken with a serious disease, in Iain Softley's Academy Award-nominated film adaptation of the 1902 novel by Henry James, "The Wings of the Dove" (1997; alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Linus Roache). Her performance in the film received rave reviews, earning her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and winning her Best Supporting Actress Awards from Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association and Las Vegas Film Critics Society.
In the following years, she co-starred with Rachel O'Rourke, Lois Smith, and Jared Harris in writer/director Michael Almereyda's horror movie "Trance" (1998) and portrayed Annie Sullivan, opposite Hallie Kate Eisenberg's Helen Keller, in the ABC remake of William Gibson's classic play, "The Miracle Worker" (2000).
She also starred in the made-for-television movies "The Song of the Lark" (2001), based on Willa Cather's 1915 novel in which Elliot portrayed ambitious young heroine Thea Kronborg, who leaves her hometown to go to the big city to fulfill her dream of becoming a famous opera star, and in "A Wrinkle in Time" (2003), based on Madeleine L'Engle's science fantasy 1959/1960 novel in which Elliot portrayed Mrs Who. Additionally, she was spotted as a guest in an October 2003 episode of the hit NBC medical drama series "ER," playing a mother suspected of abusing her child.
Returning to the wide screen, Elliot played Brent Crawford's girlfriend Winifred in Chris Boebel's romantic family drama "Red Betsy" (2003) and co-starred with Tony Griffin as two immortal siblings and Zeus' illegitimate progeny, in writer/director Lawrence Bridges' musical comedy "12" (2003). She was also cast alongside Niccole Kidman, Cameron Bright and Danny Huston in Jonathan Glazer's mystery drama "Birth" (2004) and performed in the play Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie" with Stacy Keach produced by L.A. Theater Works in Summer 2005.
After appearing in the TV series pilot "A House Divided" (2006), Elliot co-starred with Amanda Peet and Dermot Mulroney in Ed Stone's romantic drama comedy "Griffin & Phoenix" (2006) and played a small role as Martha Bolton in Andrew Dominik's Western drama film adapted from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007; starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck). She as completed filming an upcoming TV movie called "Long Island Confidential," in which she will co-star with Lorraine Bracco and Amber Benson.
In addition to her film roles, Elliott has narrated audio books, including "Belle Prater's Boy" by Ruth White (1999) and its sequel "The Search For Belle Prater," as well as "Into The Forest" by Jean Hegland.
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actress, "The Wings of the Dove," 1998
Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Best Supporting Actress, "The Wings of the Dove," 1998