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Alicia Roanne Witt was born on August 21, 1975. She is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and pianist. Witt first came to fame as a child actress after being discovered by David Lynch, who cast her as Alia Atreides in his film Dune (1984) and in a guest role in his television series Twin Peaks (1990).
Alicia Witt Biography
Alicia Roanne Witt was born on August 21, 1975 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Diane, a junior high school reading teacher, and Robert Witt, a science teacher and photographer. Witt has a brother, Ian. “Talking by age two and reading by the age of four,” Witt has been described as a child prodigy, Witt’s acting talent was recognized by director David Lynch in 1980, in her fifth year, when he heard her recite Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the television show. Witt earned her high school equivalency credential at age 14. She did undergraduate work in piano at Boston University and competed nationally.
Witt at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, 2012
Witt’s discovery by Lynch led to his casting of the “flame-haired” child in the movie Dune (1984) as Paul Atreides’s sister Alia; she turned eight during filming. She worked with Lynch again when she appeared in an episode of Twin Peaks, playing the younger sister of Lara Flynn Boyle’s character Donna.
These experiences led to Witt’s having small parts in Mike Figgis’s Liebestraum (1991), in which her brother Ian also appears, the Gen-X drama Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993), and the TV movie The Disappearance of Vonnie (1994). In 1994, Witt landed her first lead role in a film, playing a disturbed, murderous teenager in Fun,and receiving the Special Jury Recognition Award at the Sundance Festival. Witt was then cast in the “desultory” Four Rooms, as Madonna’s lover in the episode, “The Missing Ingredient”.
Witt was introduced to a larger audience in the role of Cybill Shepherd’s daughter, Zoey Woodbine, in the sitcom Cybill.
In 2000, Witt had starring roles on the television shows Ally McBeal and The Sopranos, the lead role in the Matthew Huffman comedy Playing Mona Lisa.
In 2003–04, she took up residence in the United Kingdom, though she portrayed Joan Allen’s daughter in the US-based comic drama The Upside of Anger (with Kevin Costner, Keri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood, and others). Between these two projects, Witt went to South Africa to shoot a film interpretation of the epic poem “Das Nibelungenlied”, played the central character Kriemhild in the German TV movie Kingdom in Twilight (with title Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King in the U.S., and The Ring of the Nibelungs and The Sword of Xanten elsewhere).
Witt filmed the Last Holiday (2006) and the thriller 88 Minutes (2007, alongside Al Pacino), and joined the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent for the 2007-2008 season. In the latter she played Detective Nola Falacci, a character temporarily replacing Megan Wheeler as Chris Noth’s partner (otherwise played by Julianne Nicholson, who was away on maternity leave), and was a recurring character in the 2009-2010 season.
Witt made her stage debut in 2001, at Los Angeles’ historic Tiffany Theater, in Robbie Fox’s musical The Gift, in which she played a high-priced, though diseased stripper.
While in residence in the U.K. in 2004, she starred as Evelyn in a stage production of Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things at the New Ambassadors Theatre. In September 2006, Witt returned to the London stage at the Royal Court Theatre, in the critically well-received Piano/Forte, wherein she was “well-cast” in portraying the stammering, emotionally damaged pianist Abigail, sister to “unloved attention-seeker” Louise (Kelly Reilly).
Witt performed alongside Amber Tamblyn in Neil LaBute’s play, Reasons To Be Pretty, at the Geffen Playhouse, which ran through 31 August 2014.
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In addition to acting, Witt is a professional singer-songwriter and pianist, and is reported to have been a musical prodigy.During her work with David Lynch, she supported herself by playing piano at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Responses to her 2006 stage portrayal of Abigail Piano/Forte included recognition of her skill as an “outstanding pianist” of “formidable skill”.
In 2009, Witt released her self-titled extended play album,followe d by Live At Rockwood in 2012 and Revisionary History in 2015. In 2013, Witt and Ben Folds performed a song they had co-written on the soundtrack for the independent film Cold Turkey.
On June 14, 2004, Witt modeled what is believed to be the most expensive hat ever made, for Christie’s auction house in London. The Chapeau d’Amour, designed by Louis Mariette, is valued at $2.7 million (US) and is encrusted in diamonds. In September 1990, Witt competed on Wheel of Fortune.
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