Eyes Wide Shut
Daughter to an actress mother, Vinessa Shaw started acting at the age of 5 and subsequently found job as a teen model before breaking into film with her turn as Domino, a sympathetic HIV-infected prostitute shared a surreal stroll with Tom Cruise's lead character, in director Stanley Kubrick's final film, ''Eyes Wide Shut'' (1999). She has since played the female lead in such films as "Corky Romano" (2001), "Melinda and Melinda" (2004), "The Hills Have Eyes" (2006), and "3:10 to Yuma" (2007). The versatile performer will next be seen in the upcoming films "Garden Party," "Stag Night," and "Two Lovers."
5' 8'' fair-haired screen beauty is also a seasoned model who has appeared on the covers for Seventeen, LA Style, British Vogue, and Elle. She was chosen as one of Stuff magazine's ''102 Sexiest Women In The World'' in 2002.
More personally, she was romantically linked to her ''Ladybugs'' (1992) co-star actor Jonathan Brandis (born April 13, 1976) and actor Oliver Hudson (born September 7, 1976; dated from 1999).
Childhood and Family:
In Los Angeles, California, Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw was born on July 19, 1976. Daughter to Larry Shaw and Susan Damante-Shaw (actress; born on June 17, 1950; appeared with Vinessa in the 1996 film ''Coyote Summer''), Vinessa's unique first name was a tribute to her grandfather, Vincent. She has a sister, Natalie Shaw, who is also an actress and a model and has appeared on "House M.D."
Vinessa attended the famed Barnard College, New York, New York, which she dropped out in her freshman year when she landed the much-coveted featured role in the 1999 film "Eyes Wide Shut."
Hills Have Eyes
Daughter to an actress mother, Vinessa Shaw started acting at the age of 5 in the little-seen horror movie about a killer's arrival at a Thanksgiving dinner, "Home Sweet Home" (1981; aka Slasher in the House). At age 10, she made her acting debut in the UCLA graduate film "My Day at Camp," and at age 11, she recorded and toured with next door neighbor and folk singer Peter Alsop as part of the Karamazoff Brothers Circus.
The talented young girl subsequently found job as a model. She began appearing on a number of TV commercials and was signed to a modeling contract by Elite modeling agency by age 13. She has since graced the cover of such magazines as Seventeen, British Vogue and French Elle.
At age 15, Shaw made her TV acting debut in the NBC Emmy-nominated TV-movie "Long Road Home" (1991; starring Mark Harmon), based on the novel by Ronald B. Taylor, and followed it up with a recurring role on the short-lived, but acclaimed Fox sitcom "Great Scott!", playing the romantic interest of Tobey Maguire's title teen character, which gave her first Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actress Recurring in a Television Series. Meanwhile, she was also spotted as a guest in a 1992 episode of NBC sitcom "The Torkelsons."
At age 16, Shaw eventually hit the big screen with a featured role as a dream girl and soccer teammate to Jonathan Brandis' character, in Rodney Dangerfield's vehicle, "Ladybugs" (1992), a children's soccer comedy directed by Sidney J. Furie. Her work in the film handed Shaw two Young Artist Award nominations, one for Best Young Actress Co-starring in a Motion Picture, and another one for Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture.
After being featured in the ABC failed pilot "Country Estates" (1993), Shaw acted in segment "The Quiet Room" of Showtime's neo-noir anthology series "Fallen Angels" and scored a plum role as Allison Zenko, one of three children who has the ability to break the spell of a trio of wacky witches, in the Disney's comedic Halloween-themed film "Hocus Pocus" (1993; with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and future ''American Beauty'' star Thora Birch). Her performance in the film received another Young Artist Award nomination, for Best Youth Actress Leading Role in a Motion Picture Comedy category.
Shaw returned to television to play Cassidy McKenna in the pilot/premiere for the short-lived ABC family drama series "McKenna," which earned her a Young Artist nomination for Best Performance by a Youth Actress in a Drama Series. Unfortunately, when the show was picked up as a series in 1994, she was replaced by Jennifer Love Hewitt. The disappointment paid off when she was nominated a Young Artist Award again, this time for Best Performance by a Youth Actress - TV Guest Star, for her guest spot in a 1994 episode of CBS popular, long-running television mystery series "Murder, She Wrote."
After delivering a memorable guest turn as a teen cover girl whose face is slashed by an unknown attacker in 1995 episode "Young, Beautiful and Dead" of the Fox cop drama "New York Undercover," Shaw starred as a troubled teenage girl who reaches beyond her personal struggles to help an untamed horse, in the independent coming-of-age drama "Coyote Summer" (1996; opposite future "Flags of Our Fathers" star Adam Beach), in which her actress mother Susan Damante-Shaw played her on-screen parent.
She then added to her resume with a starring role as an aspiring Hollywood actress who has a brief fling with the town undertaker (played by David Tennant), in the quirky novel-based independent "L.A. Without a Map" (1998), which was directed by Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki, and a supporting role in the period feature "Wayward Son" (screened in Toronto in 1999), starring Harry Connick, Jr. and Pete Postlethwaite.
Also in 1999, Shaw dropped out college in her freshman year to play the much-coveted featured role as an alluring, HIV-infected prostitute named Domino who catches the eye of Tom Cruise's surreal, sexually charged lead character, in Stanley Kubrick's final film "Eyes Wide Shut," based on the novella ''Traumnovelle'' (in English ''Dream Story'') by Arthur Schnitzler.
Following her breakout film role, Shaw co-starred with Brad Rowe, Guy Torry and Amy Smart in the period coming-of-age NBC miniseries "The '70s" and acted in Kathryn Bigelow's thriller starring Sean Penn and Sarah Polley, "The Weight of Water" (both in 2000), based on the novel of the same name by Anita Shreve. The latter film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2000, but was not released until November of 2002. Meanwhile, she appeared on print ad for Calvin Klein Eyewear and appeared in play "Gallows Humor" at the Laurelgrove Theatre, Los Angeles, 2001. She also played the female lead role of FBI agent Kate Russo, the love interest of Chris Kattan's good-natured veterinarian title character, in the crime comedy movie "Corky Romano" (2001).
After losing the part of Jenny Everdeane to Cameron Diaz for Martin Scorsese's ''Gangs of New York'' (2002), Shaw became Josh Hartnett's girlfriend who breaks him up brutally and leaves him stays celibate during the 40 days of Lent, in Michael Lehmann's romantic comedy film "40 Days and 40 Nights" (2002). Two years later, she was cast in Woody Allen's comedic drama starring Radha Mitchell, "Melinda and Melinda" (2004), and returned to television to star as a young Vermont widow haunted by the memory of her dead husband while she is trying to date again in the TV movie "Bereft" (2004). In the next year, she continued working on the small screen, in the made-for-television movie "Fathers and Sons," with Bradley Whitford and Samantha Mathis, and in the un-picked TV pilot "World of Trouble" (both in 2005).
"It was horrific... There was so much blood on the floor I was sticking to the floor. My hair was matted to the ground... It was intense." Vinessa Shaw (on filming the 2006 thriller ''The Hills Have Eyes'').
Moviegoers could catch Shaw co-starring in Alexandre Aja's remake of the Wes Craven 1977 cult classic thriller, "The Hills Have Eyes" (2006), as Lynn Carter Bukowski, a young mother who joins family cross-country roadtrip only to be terrorized in the desert by a group of mutants. Joining Shaw, Ted Levine and Kathleen Quinlan as her parents, Emilie de Ravin and Dan Byrd as her siblings, and Aaron Stanford as her husband. When asked what made she wants to do a horror flick, Shaw revealed, "...I guess I could be good in it since I'm so frightened of those kinds of concepts. But this one in particular really attracted me because of the filmmakers. I really thought that they had a great stance on it. Like it's very different, very heartfelt, [and] heartbreaking because of the characters involved. So that's kind of what made the difference. It was more of an actor's piece, if you can believe that, in a horror movie."
Most recently, Shaw co-starred with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in "3:10 to Yuma," James Mangold's remake of the classic 1957 Western film, and with Jamie Draven, Chandra West and Joe Morton in writer/director Francesco Lucente's drama film "Badland" (both in 2007).
Shaw is currently working on her upcoming film projects, "Garden Party," an independent drama by Jason Freeland, "Stag Night," a thriller by Peter A. Dowling, and "Two Lovers," a Brooklyn-set romantic drama by James Gray starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow.