“When you choose to be an actor, you are going against the odds.” Olivia Wilde.
The daughter of The Peacemaker (1997) screenwriter and the granddaughter of renowned radical British journalist James Helvick (a.k.a. Claud Cockburn), Olivia Wilde is widely remembered while playing the stunningly sexy and bisexual Alex Kelly (2004-2005) on the Fox hit teen drama “The O.C.” Making her film debut in the teen romantic comedy The Girl Next Door (2004), Wilde has appeared in recent films like Conversations with Other Women, Alpha Dog, Running with Scissors, Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas, and the newly-released holiday thriller Turistas.
As for her upcoming project, Wilde just completed filming the film version of The Death and Life of Bobby Z, alongside Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne. The actress who starred on Fox’s short-lived drama “Skin” also recently joined the cast member of NBC’s new drama series, "The Black Donnellys," playing Jenny Reilly.
In 2005, the 5' 7˝ tall actress was one of Maxim magazine’s Hot 100. The next year, she was listed on FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006”.
“It came down to me against Dominique Swain, a really wonderful, beautiful and talented actress with more experience. I took one look at her and thought, 'Why am I even here?'” Olivia Wilde.
House of Writers
Childhood and Family:
The daughter of screenwriter and National Geographic reporter/author Andrew Cockburn (Irish; born in London 1947) and the granddaughter of renowned radical British journalist James Helvick (a.k.a. Claud Cockburn; born in China in 1904), Olivia Jane Cockburn was born on March 10, 1984, in New York City, New York, and was raised in Washington, D.C. Her mother, Leslie Cockburn, is also a writer who co-wrote the action thriller movie The Peacemaker (1997; starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman) with her father. Mrs. Cockburn is also the producer of CBS’ investigative newsmagazine "60 Minutes." Olivia’s sister, Chloe Cockburn, was a writer, and also her two uncles, Alexander and Patrick Cockburn.
Through 8th grade, Olivia attended Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. She graduated with an MA degree from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where she studied acting and starred, directed and produced a number of school productions. During her summers, Wilde traveled to Ireland to study acting at the renowned Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. Olivia later picked up the stage name Olivia Wilde, which was derived from Oscar Wilde after portraying Cecily Cardew in “The Importance of Being Earnest” in High School.
On June 7, 2003, on the LAFCO (The Los Angeles Filmmakers' Cooperative) bus, Olivia married Tao Ruspoli (born November 7, 1975), and Italian American documentary filmmaker, photographer and flamenco guitar player and founder of LAFCO. On her days off, Olivia a fan of hip-hop, funk and reggae music, likes to hang out in Venice Beach and go to bookstores. She also owns a classic Pontiac Thunderbird with the license plate MRWILDE and has a dog named Paco, whom as of July 26, 2006, is the new mascot for Old Navy.
“All I ever wanted was a classic car, the Thunderbird is really like my little beauty. You can cut somebody off at like 50 mph, and they've be like 'Yes! Nice car!'” Olivia Wilde.
"I walked into an audition once and everybody looked like me, blond hair, blue-eyed white person. It showed me that there were a million other people like me out there, but it was good." Olivia Wilde.
Graduating from Phillips Academy, Olivia Wilde moved to L.A. and found job at a casting agency. While working there, she was discovered and soon landed on her first acting job with a small part in Luke Greenfield's teen romantic comedy film The Girl Next Door (2004), starring Elisha Cuthbert and Emile Hirsch.
Before the movie was released, Wilde was cast to play the female lead Jewel Goldman, a teen girl whose father runs a pornography company, on Fox's drama which was basically a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, "Skin" (opposite D.J. Cotrona). Unfortunately, the show had poor ratings and less than favorable reviews, making it being cancelled after only three episodes, with 5 more still yet unaired.
Olivia then moved on to another, more successful Fox’s show, "The O.C." In the hit teen drama comedy, she played the bisexual wild child Alex Kelly (2004-2005) who dated both Adam Brody's Seth and Mischa Barton's Marissa. She appeared on the popular show in its 13 episodes, from 2004 until 2005.
“I'm really satisfied with the way they handled the whole Marissa/Alex thing. The way it ended, it's very heart wrenching. People will feel emotionally attached to them by the end.” Olivia Wilde.
During that time, Olivia also landed roles in feature films. She played roles in Hans Canosa's adult-themed relationship drama Conversations with Other Women (2005; starring Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter) and and Scott Lew's teen comedy Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas (2006; starring Patrick Fugit and Matthew Lillard). She was also cast in Nick Cassavetes' highly-anticipated, hyper-violent and Sundance Film Festival favorite Alpha Dog (scheduled to be released January 12, 2007; starring Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone and Emile Hirsch). In the latter film, which based on the life of Jesse James Hollywood, the youngest man to ever be on the F.B.I.'s most wanted list, Wilde played Hirsch's crazy, violent nymphomaniac girlfriend.
Recently in 2006, Olivia could be seen in Julian Dahl's mockumentary Camjackers and in Ryan Murphy’s film version of Augusten Burroughs' critically acclaimed novel Running with Scissors (with Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood and Alec Baldwin). She also starred as Bea, who comes to exotic Brazil with her brother (played by Josh Duhamel) and her best friend (played by Beau Garrett), in John Stockwell's newly-released vacation horror film, Turistas (also starring Melissa George and Desmond Askew). Additionally, she just completed filming John Herzfeld's adaptation of Don Winslow's novel, The Death and Life of Bobby Z, in which she shared the screen with Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne.
Back on television, Olivia recently joined the cast of NBC’s new drama series "The Black Donnellys," playing Jenny Reilly. The drama, which follows four young Irish brothers in New York’s infamous Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, also stars Billy Lush, Tom Guiry, Jonathan Tucker and Michael Stahl-David.
“If I'm left high and dry at the end of this wild journey, just taking it is a great feeling.” Olivia Wilde.
- HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival: Best Actress, Bickford Shmecklers Cool Ideas, 2006