Australian actress Jacqueline McKenzie first launched to the spotlight as Gabe, a troubled epileptic woman who joins a merry band of neo-Nazi skinheads in Melbourne, Australia fight the Vietnamese population and each other, in the cult hit "Romper Stomper" (1992; opposite Russell Crowe). The NIDA graduate has since starred in many plays and films in Australia and in the USA, and won a string of accolades at home and abroad. Among her film works include "This Won't Hurt a Bit" (1993), "Halifax f.p: Lies of the Mind" (1994; TV), "Angel Baby" (1995; won her Best Actress awards from the Australian Film Institute (AFI), Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) and Valenciennes International Festival of Action and Adventure Films), "Mr. Reliable" (1996), "Under the Lighthouse Dancing" (1997), "Love from Ground Zero" (1998), "Deep Blue Sea" (1999), "Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang)" (2000), "On the Beach" (2000; TV), "When Billie Beat Bobby" (2001; TV), "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (2002), "Human Touch" (2004), "Peaches" (2004), and "Opal Dream" (2005).
TV viewers now can catch her as NTAC (National Threat Assessment Command) agent Diana Skouris in the USA Network's Emmy-nominated sci-fi/drama series "The 4400" (2004-Present). She also has guest starred in such TV shows as "A Country Practice," "Two Twisted" and "Without a Trace."
On a more personal note, the 5' 6" Australian redhead with Irish and Scottish lineage once dated her "Romper Stomper" (1992) co-star, Australian actor Daniel Pollock, before he committed suicide in 1992. She was married to Bill Walter from 1996 to 2000.
Childhood and Family:
In Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Jacqueline Susan McKenzie, nicknamed ''Jac Mac,'' was born on October 24, 1967. In 1990, she graduated with a degree in Performing Arts (Acting) from the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, Australia, which boasts Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush among its alumni. She was married to Bill Walter from 1996 to 2000.
McKenzie, an Australian and of Irish and Scottish descendant, is double-jointed in her fingers. In March 2001, she was given a Green Card in for "Person of Extraordinary Ability."
McKenzie discovered painting while shooting for Paul Cox's "Human Touch" in September 2003. She has since spent her spare time at the canvas or in the recording studio working on her first collection of songs. Her portrait was painted by acclaimed artist Gary Shead for the Archibald Prize, which is awarded for the "best portrait painting preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics"
In her early twenties, Jacqueline McKenzie began appearing on Australian screen in the period drama TV movie "The Riddle of the Stinson" (1987) and in the small film "Wordplay" (1987), in the latter of which she starred as the smart and sassy Pandora. In the following year, she appeared in the miniseries "All the Way" (1988), alongside Dannii Minogue. She also made her stage debut in ''Child Dancing'' for Griffin Theatre Company.
Graduating from NIDA, McKenzie landed a guest role in two 1992 episodes of one of the longest-running Australian television drama series, "A Country Practice." She soon secured her first major film role in an Australian cult hit action/drama written and directed by Geoffrey Wright, "Romper Stomper" (1992), with Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock and Tony Lee. Playing the female lead as Gabrielle/Gabe, a troubled epileptic woman who joins a merry band of neo-Nazi skinheads in Melbourne, Australia fight the Vietnamese population and each other, McKenzie won a Best Actress award at the Stockholm Film Festival and received an FCCA (Film Critics Circle of Australia) Award nomination for Best Actor – Female.
Over the next couple of years, McKenzie displayed her versatility and received Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award nominations for her roles as a beautiful activist and the love interest of Ben Elton's character in the novel-based satire TV movie ''Stark'' (1993), as the endearingly daggy English girlfriend of Greig Pickhaver's barking-mad-but-cunning character in writer/director Chris Kennedy's funny caper film "This Won't Hurt a Bit" (1993), as Dancy Grimshaus in the classic, novel-based TV movie "The Battlers" (1994), and as Viola in Pauline Chan's novel-based independent drama "Traps" (1994). Meanwhile, she also supported Victoria Longley and Angie Milliken in Susan Lambert's independent drama/comedy "Talk" (1994).
McKenzie eventually won an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Drama for her performance as Sharon Sinclair, opposite Rebecca Gibney, in Michael Offer's murder mystery TV movie "Halifax f.p: Lies of the Mind" (1994). IN the subsequent year, she hit the big time when she took home Best Actress awards from the Australian Film Institute (AFI), Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) and Valenciennes International Festival of Action and Adventure Films, thanks to the portrayal of Kate, a high-strung and impulsive schizophrenic who falls for another schizophrenic (played by John Lynch), in an extraordinary powerful romantic drama written and directed by Michael Rymer, "Angel Baby" (1995).
Afterwards, McKenzie co-starred with Kris McQuade as two women on a mission in Marcella Hayward's 12-minute comedy film "Roses Are Red" (1995), became the girlfriend of an ex-convict (played by Colin Friels) in 1960s Australia in Nadia Tass' fact-based comedy movie "Mr. Reliable" (1996), and starred in a classic Aussie short film called "A Cut in the Rates" (1997). She also continued working on television, starring in two 1997 made-for-television movies "The Devil Game" and "Kangaroo Palace."
McKenzie spent the rest of the 1990s in the independent films "Under the Lighthouse Dancing" (1997), playing the very ill girlfriend of Jack Thompson's character who really wants to get married, "Freak Weather" (1998), alongside Aida Turturo, and "Love from Ground Zero" (1998), an American indie in which she starred as Sam Robards' Southern girl friend Samantha. She was also cast as one of the paramedics who are sent for helping Stellan Skarsgard's injured character, in Renny Harlin's science fiction action horror film "Deep Blue Sea" (1999), starring Thomas Jane, Samuel L. Jackson and Saffron Burrows. Her character in the film was later bitten by the shark in her pelvis.
Entering the new millennium, McKenzie reunited with Skarsgard for writer/director Stewart Sugg's dark comedy film "Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang)" and co-starred with Simon McBurney in Renny Bartlett's biopic of the Soviet film director with his tumultuous career, "Eisenstein." She also collaborated with Armand Assante, Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown in the Golden Globe-nominated post-apocalyptic TV movie "On the Beach," a remake of the 1959 classic based on the novel by Nevil Shute in which she portrayed Mary Holmes, the naive and childish wife of an Australian naval officer (played by Grant Bowler).
In 2001, McKenzie portrayed Australian World No. 1 tennis player Margaret Court, opposite Holly Hunter's tennis superstar/young feminist Billie Jean King and Ron Silver's middle-aged Wimbledon men's champion Bobby Riggs, in "When Billie Beat Bobby" (2001), an ABC docudrama detailing the historic 1973 tennis match often referred to as The Battle of the Sexes. She then played the younger version of Aimee Malissa "Teensy" Whitman (the older version was played by Fionnula Flanagan), in Callie Khouri's film adaptation of Rebecca Wells' novels, "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (2002), and starred in an Australian romantic drama, "Preservation" (2003).
Meanwhile, on stage, McKenzie was cast as the title role for the 2001 Williamstown Theatre Festival production of ''Educating Rita,'' costarring Edward Herrmann and directed by Bruce Paltrow, and appeared in "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" (October 2002) play by Bertolt Brecht at Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, New York City, New York. She also perform the title role of Catherine in David Auburn's ''Proof'' at the Sydney Opera House, 2003, with Barry Otto as Robert. The play broke all box office records for the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House and was a huge critical success.
From 2004 to present (2007), McKenzie has been starring in the USA Network's Emmy-nominated sci-fi/drama series "The 4400," as NTAC (National Threat Assessment Command) agent Diana Skouris, opposite Joel Gretsch's Tom Baldwin. Created and written by Scott Peters and René Echevarria, the show has been running for four seasons.
During her "4400" stint, McKenzie resumes her film works, starring as a woman embarks on an intimate journey of self-discovery and physical fulfillment in writer/director Paul Cox's dramatic film "Human Touch" (2004; with Aaron Blabey and Chris Haywood), and as Emma Lung's fiery aunt who has sexy secrets with Hugo Weaving's character, in Craig Monahan's true story-based film "Peaches" (2004), which nominated her a FCCA (Film Critics Circle of Australia) Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role. She also portrayed the ''grounded'' mother of Sapphire Boyce's 8-year-old character, in Peter Cattaneo's Australian ensemble drama film "Opal Dream" (2005), which is based on the Ben Rice novella "Pobby and Dingan."
Besides on "The 4400," TV viewers could catch McKenzie in an Emmy-winning mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's collection of short horror stories, "Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King" (2006). She was also spotted as a guest in an episode of Australian TV mystery drama "Two Twisted" and CBS drama "Without a Trace."
Adding to her acting works, McKenzie, along with different musicians in Australia and Canada, also has recorded a collection of original songs: ''Shy Baby'' (was used in the second season finale of ''The 4400'' and included in the show's soundtrack released in April 2007), ''Boo Boo,'' ''Find Me,'' ''Summer,'' ''Under The Elm'' and ''Ever. Shy Baby.''
Australian Movie Convention: Australian Star of the Year, 1996
Valenciennes International Festival of Action and Adventure Films: Best Actress, "Angel Baby," 1996
Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA): Best Actor - Female, "Angel Baby," 1995
Australian Film Institute (AFI): Best Actress in a Lead Role, "Angel Baby," 1995
Australian Film Institute (AFI): Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Drama, "Halifax f.p: Lies of the Mind," 1995
Stockholm Film Festival: Best Actress, "Romper Stomper," 1992