American model and actress Shannon Elizabeth came to prominence after portraying the lusty Czechoslovakian exchange student Nadia in the comedy film American Pie (1999, also starring Tara Reid and Jason Biggs) and American Pie 2 (2001, reprised her character). Aside from her burning performance, she earned a nomination at the MTV Movie Awards. Elizabeth also scored further recognition for playing character Buffy Gilmore, the villain in the teen thriller parody Scary Movie (2000). She continued to play roles in recent films like Tomcats (2001, opposite Jerry O'Connell), the off-beat comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001, with Ben Affleck, Eliza Dushku and Mat Damon), Thir13en Ghosts (2001) and Wes Craven's Cursed (2005, alongside Cristina Ricci). She also worked on the UPN sitcom “Cut” (2005) and the television film Confessions of an American Bride (2005). She will soon play a role in The Kid & I (2005).
Off screen, Elizabeth was voted number 8 on Australian Empire Magazine’s “Sexiest Female Movie Star” in September 2002. As an animal lover, Elizabeth and husband Joseph D. Reitman formed Animal Avengers, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing sick, injured and discarded animals, on February 2001. As for her private life, Elizabeth became headlines following the announcement of her separation with husband/actor Joseph D Reitman after three years of marriage and a decade of dating. She filed for divorce in July 2005.
Childhood and Family:
"I'm half Arabic, but I am one hundred per cent American. What is going on affects me the same as everyone else." Shannon Elizabeth
In Houston, Texas, Shannon Elizabeth Fabal was born on September 7, 1973, to a Syrian and Lebanese descendant father and French, English and Cherokee Indian descendant mother. She began taking dancing lessons, which included tap, ballet and jazz at the age of two. Her parents relocated to Waco, Texas, when she was a young toddler.
Shannon enrolled in Waco High School and became involved in lots of after-school activities. She was active in student council, volleyball and cheerleading, but developed her greatest interest in tennis, which she even considered doing professionally. As a senior, Shannon starred in a music video of a local band and was encouraged by the producer to model fulltime in the fashion industry. Upon graduation in 1991, she moved to New York to pursue a modeling career and would later add acting to her endeavors.
Shannon began her long-running romance with actor Joseph D Reitman in 1992. After an engagement in the summer of 2001, the couple decided to tie the knot on June 15, 2002.
While not working, Shannon enjoys rollerblading, going to the gym, practicing yoga and Krav Maga (the Israeli hand-to-hand combat system). A big fan of the Boston Red Sox, Shannon also likes to watch tennis and football. She is an avid animal lover who has five dogs in her home.
Led by a performance in a music video for a local band in her senior year of high school, Shannon Elizabeth entered the spotlight after she relocated to New York to begin a modeling career after graduating high school. While doing modeling jobs, she traveled to several countries like France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Coming back to America, Elizabeth headed for Hollywood and did some modeling gigs for Ford Model before signing a contract with Elite Model Management. Shortly thereafter, she landed her first TV commercial for Taco Bell and decided to pursue an acting career.
"When I started acting, I was just horrible at it. But I'm a quick learner." Shannon Elizabeth
Elizabeth’s TV commercial led to a guest appearance in Arli$$ (1996) in the episode Crossing the Line. Elizabeth made her feature-acting debut as Jill Metzner in the campy horror flick Jack Frost (1997), in which she appeared nude, and then as a terrified hostage in the low budget action film Blast (1997). She also guest starred in an episode of the teen series USA High (1997, played Melanie) and in the CBS sitcom Step by Step (1997, as Cindi) before appearing in the FOX television movie Blade Squad (1998, as Nurse). Elizabeth next was seen in the movie Seamless: Kidz Rule (1999, opposite Kentaro Seagal) and returned to the small screen with the minor role of young psychopath Vanessa Canningham in the UPN film Dying to Live (1999).
"To me, playing a character who was that in control of her sexuality, who was that comfortable with herself, was the challenge. To pull that off and not sit there looking scared to death, like I felt inside that I was." Shannon Elizabeth on her role in American Pie
After picking up a number of small roles, Elizabeth finally got her breakout screen role when she was cast as Nadia, the vigorous Czechoslovakian exchange student who steals the hormones and heart of Jason Biggs’ character, in the teen comedy American Pie (1999, also starring Tara Reid). The movie did well at the box office and soon became a hit. Following the success of the film, Elizabeth’s career took flight and she signed a three-movie contract with Miramax. Additionally, her poses for Playboy and Maxim helped catapult her name toward the spotlight. In 2000, she received a nomination at the MTV Movie Awards for Breakthrough Female Performance. Elizabeth’s burning appearance could also be seen in the supernatural TV series G vs E (1999), in which she appeared as a stripper.
Portraying Buffy Gilmore, the girl everyone loved to hate, in Keenen Ivory Wayans' Scary Movie was Elizabeth’s opening film work in the new millennium. Her comedic talents in the teen thriller brought her extra attention. After playing Princess in Evicted (2000), she starred alongside Matthew Lillard and Sean Astin in the made-for-video romantic comedy Dish Dog (2000).
2001 saw Elizabeth in four more movies. She played the character Natalie Parker in Tomcats (2001, opposite Jerry O'Connell) and reprised the character of Nadia in the sequel American Pie 2 (2001). Impressed by her acting performance, Kevin Smith cast her in the female leading of Justice in the off-beat comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), opposite Ben Affleck, Eliza Dushku and Mat Damon. Costarring in another horror film, Elizabeth portrayed Kathy Kriticos in Thir13en Ghosts (2001).
Elizabeth had an unaccredited part as an office worker in Survivin' the Island (2002) and returned to TV when she played Courtney in the television movie The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron (2003). She also had a reoccurring role as the pregnant girlfriend of Ashton Kutcher's Kelso in "That '70s Show" (2003). She was then seen in the small role of sexy Harriet in Love Actually (2003) and as Chrishelle Rene Boudreau in Johnson Family Vacation (2004).
American Pie star Elizabeth recently starred in the new UPN sitcom "Cuts" (2005, portrayed Tiffany Sherwood), joined Christina Ricci and the all-star, young cast in Wes Craven's Cursed (2005, as Becky) and played the starring role of Sam in the television movie Confessions of an American Bride (2005). Fans will also soon see her in the upcoming The Kid & I (2005, written by Tom Arnold), for director Penelope Spheeris.
- ShoWest Star of Tomorrow: 2001