Celebrity crush: Alicia Witt

Sunday, December 18, 2011
Today's entry is arguably a bigger name than the norm, especially in terms of the length of her credits list. But she's never quite managed to become a household name, and her niche of credits fits in well with many others here, so why not?

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Name: Alicia Witt (images -- some mildly NSFW | Web site | Facebook | Twitter)
Hometown: Worcester, Mass., according to her Wikipedia profile. (Just a few miles away from Ye Olde Podcaster's grad school home!)
Best Known For: Tons of TV and film work, including a co-starring role on the sitcom Cybill, a season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent paired with Chris Noth, and a recurring role in the fourth and fifth seasons of Friday Night Lights as mother to series regular Becky (actress and aspiring director Madison Burge).

Doctor Who companion and fellow celebrity crush
Karen Gillan may grow up to be Alicia Witt,
given all that time travel she's doing.
Film work includes a starring role in the horror film Urban Legend, a role as an awkward teen musician in Mr. Holland's Opus, and a starring role as a child in David Lynch's film Dune. (Most of her credits are as an adult, and those are the only ones listed below.) She played fellow crush Jena Malone's older sister in the indie drama Confessions of an American Girl and has tried her hand at writing and directing short films.

Her Wikipedia entry notes that she's in talk with Dick Wolf's camp about possibly joining Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the coming season, when Mariska Hargitay is expected to leave -- or at the minimum to cut her episode count to 13. (Take that with a minimum pound of salt, but if true, it beats the hell out of the leading rumor that Jennifer Love Hewitt will be brought on board as a detective.)

Humble Beginnings: Dune was her debut on screen -- with filming starting when she was 7 -- followed by roles as a teenager on Lynch's Twin Peaks and TV miniseries Hotel Room and the independent film Bodies, Rest and Motion. (David Lynch had seen her on the TV show That's Incredible! reciting -- presumably, part of -- "Romeo and Juliet," Wikipedia notes.)

Madonna was also an early fan, requesting that Alicia play her daughter in her segment of the multi-director film Four Rooms.
Not the Courteney Cox Factor: Alicia has put out a not at all shabby EP showcasing her talents as a singer-songwriter. It also features a cover of Paul Simon's song "Call Me Al."
Why Ye Olde Podcaster Likes Her: She's a terrific actress with a varied résumé -- sometimes girl next door, sometimes femme fatale, sometimes troubled single mother, sometimes police detective with no inner filter. The red hair adds to the sex appeal, of course, and her smile can light up at least a small city. Not all of Massachusetts, perhaps, but definitely at least New Hampshire.

Glammed down for her role on Friday Night Lights, with
on-screen daughter Madison Burge (scarily talented).
The ambition in writing and directing are also admirable, as is her stage career (including The Shapes of Things by Neil Labute). Plus: She's an advocate for pet adoption, as reported in a 2004 issue of The Pet Press (based in Los Angeles).
Music and voice work: Alicia Witt (2009 EP) (Amazon | iTunes) * Gen13 (2000 animated feature, not officially released) (Amazon | iTunes) * "Me or New York" (2011 single) (Amazon | iTunes)
Auteur works: Belinda's Swan Song (2006 short -- writer, director, producer) (Amazon | iTunes) * Girls' Lunch (2004 short -- writer, producer, co-star) (Amazon | iTunes)
TV and Web series credits: Friday Night Lights, season 5 (Amazon | iTunes) * CSI: Miami, season 9: "Blood Lust" (Amazon | iTunes) * Friday Night Lights, season 4 (Amazon | iTunes) * The Mentalist, season 1: "Red John's Footsteps" (Amazon | iTunes) * Two and a Half Men, season 6: "A Jock Strap in Hell" (Amazon | iTunes) * Puppy Love (2008 Web series) (Amazon | iTunes) * Wainy Days, season 3: "Shelly II" (Amazon | iTunes) * Law & Order: Criminal Intent, season 7 (Amazon | iTunes) * The Twilight Zone (2002): "The Executions of Grady Finch" (Amazon | iTunes) * Ally McBeal, season 3 (Amazon | iTunes) * The Sopranos, season 2: "D-Girl" (Amazon | iTunes) * Cybill, season 4 (Amazon | iTunes) * Cybill, season 3 (Amazon | iTunes) * Cybill, season 2 (Amazon | iTunes) * Cybill, season 1 (Amazon | iTunes)
At The Bitter End in New York.
Film and TV-movie credits: The Boarding House (2012) (Amazon | iTunes) * Bending the Rules (2011) (Amazon | iTunes) * Joint Body (Amazon | iTunes) * The Flight of the Swan (Amazon | iTunes) * Peep World (Amazon | iTunes) * Backyard Wedding (2010 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Pond (2010 short) (Amazon | iTunes) * Edgar Floats (2010 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * 88 Minutes (Amazon | iTunes) * Blue Smoke (2007 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * Last Holiday (2006) (Amazon | iTunes) * Conflict (2005 short) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Upside of Anger (Amazon | iTunes) * Curse of the Ring (2004 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * Girls' Lunch (2004 short) (Amazon | iTunes) * Two Weeks Notice (Amazon | iTunes) * Confessions of an American Girl (2002) (Amazon | iTunes) * Ten Tiny Love Stories (Amazon | iTunes) * Vanilla Sky (Amazon | iTunes) * Cecil B. Demented (Amazon | iTunes) * Playing Mona Lisa (Amazon | iTunes) * Passion's Way (1999) (Amazon | iTunes) * Urban Legend (1998) (Amazon | iTunes) * Bongwater (Amazon | iTunes) * Citizen Ruth (Amazon | iTunes) * Mr. Holland's Opus (Amazon | iTunes) * Four Rooms (1995) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Disappearance of Vonnie (1994 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * Fun (1994) (Amazon | iTunes)

Celebrity crush: Billie Piper

Here's a revised entry featuring one of the original entries in the series, as memory serves.

Amazon and iTunes links follow. Any affiliate payments earned from your purchase or rental will help pay the hosting fees for my podcasts, so please consider clicking.

Name: Billie Piper (images -- some NSFW | Web site | Twitter)
Hometown: The southwestern England city of Swindon, according to her Wikipedia profile.
Best Known For: Piper is a former pop singer whose largest claims to fame have come in acting -- playing the companion to first Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant on Doctor Who and, more recently, starring in the racy British TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which aired on premium cable network Showtime in the United States.

Other work include a television production of Mansfield Park and starring as Sally Lockhart in historical thrillers based on a series of novels by Philip Pullman.
Humble Beginnings: Beyond her pop music work, she had an uncredited bit part in the 1996 film version of Evita. Other TV work includes the British series The Canterbury Tales in a modern-day telling of "The Miller's Tale" and ShakespeaRe-Told in a production of "Much Ado About Nothing" re-cast to a television station.
Obligatory Edgy Stuff: Her first husband was 16 years older; she was an unabashed lip-syncer during her musician days; and she got naked a lot on Secret Diary of a Call Girl, as one might imagine. (Though she used body doubles in the second season, filmed while she was pregnant.)
Why Ye Olde Podcaster Likes Her: Her Doctor Who tenure probably holds up as the strongest performance by a companion in the modern era of the series, though comedienne Catherine Tate's turn was surprisingly good. (Her successors have included fellow celebrity crushes Freema Agyeman and Karen Gillan.)

But furthermore, she just oozes sex appeal. Even though her Rose Tyler was less overtly sexual than current companion Amy Pond (Gillan), there was just something naughty in her eyes, in her smile, in her turn of phrase.
Film and TV-movie credits: Truth About Lies (2012) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Raven (2010 short) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Shadow in the North (2007 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * Mansfield Park (2007 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Ruby in the Smoke (2006 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * Spirit Trap (2005) (Amazon | iTunes) * Things to Do Before You're 30 (Amazon | iTunes) * The Calcium Kid (Amazon | iTunes) * Bella and the Boys (2004 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes)
Music and voice work: Animals United (2010 animated feature) (Amazon | iTunes) * Walk of Life (2000 CD) (Amazon | iTunes) * "Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can)" (1999) (Amazon | iTunes) * "Thank ABBA for the Music" (1999) (Amazon | iTunes) * "Last Christmas" (1998 non-album single) (Amazon | iTunes) * Honey to the B (1998 CD) (Amazon | iTunes) * "B to the I" (1998) (Amazon | iTunes) * "Call Me" (1998) (Amazon | iTunes) * "What's Missing" (1998) (Amazon | iTunes)
Music videos: "Day and Night" (2000) (iTunes) * "Something Deep Inside" (2000) (iTunes) * "Walk of Life" (2000) (iTunes) * "Honey to the Bee" (1999) (iTunes) * "Because We Want To" (1998) (iTunes) * "Girlfriend" (1998) (iTunes) * "She Wants You (version 1)" (1998) (iTunes) * "She Wants You (version 2)" (1998) (iTunes)
TV and Web video credits: Secret Diary of a Call Girl, season 4 (Amazon | iTunes) * A Passionate Woman (2010 miniseries) (Amazon | iTunes) * Doctor Who (2005), season 4 specials (Amazon | iTunes) * Doctor Who, season 4 (Amazon | iTunes) * Secret Diary of a Call Girl, season 3 (Amazon | iTunes) * Secret Diary of a Call Girl, season 2 (Amazon | iTunes) * Secret Diary of a Call Girl, season 1 (Amazon | iTunes) * Doctor Who, season 2 (Amazon | iTunes) * Doctor Who: "The Christmas Invasion" (Amazon | iTunes) * ShakespeaRe-Told: "Much Ado About Nothing" (Amazon | iTunes) * Doctor Who, season 1 (Amazon | iTunes) * Canterbury Tales: "The Miller's Tale" (Amazon | iTunes)

Celebrity crush: Eva Amurri

Today's entry features an up-and-coming model-turned-second-generation actress.

Amazon and iTunes links follow. Any affiliate payments earned from your purchase or rental will help pay the hosting fees for my podcasts, so please consider clicking.

Name: Eva Amurri (images -- some NSFW | Web site | Twitter)
Hometown: New York City, according to her Wikipedia profile. She is the daughter of Italian director Franco Amurri and American actress Susan Sarandon.
Best Known For: Eva's longest television role to date has been on Californication, as a college student of Hank's (David Duchovny) whom he later encounters working in a strip club. She's also made appearances on the medical dramas Mercy and House, in the films New York, I Love You and Saved! (which starred fellow celebrity crush Jena Malone), on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother and in the online comedy Children's Hospital.
Humble Beginnings: Eva started work on screen well before she turned 18. She appeared in Bob Roberts (written, directed by, and starring her mother's longtime love Tim Robbins) as "Girl in Hospital" in 1992; she was born in 1985. Similarly, she appeared in flashback as a 9-year-old Sister Helen Prejean in 1995's Dead Man Walking, which starred her mother as the nun-turned-anti-capital punishment activist.

Quite a few of her childhood and early teen appearances on film are in her mother's projects (the Natalie Portman film Anywhere But Here, an episode of Friends) -- the only one I'm listing below is The Banger Sisters, which I'd already listed for sale elsewhere on this site, under the profile of fellow celebrity crush Erika Christensen.
Obligatory Edgy Stuff: As noted, her breakthrough role came playing a stripper on Californication, which -- as a premium cable program -- didn't have to settle for strippers wearing lingerie on the stage. She inherited more than just acting chops from her famously va-va-voom mother.
Why Ye Olde Podcaster Likes Her: In addition to the va-va-voomness, her work on Mercy and House have shown seeds of the same dramatic acting skills that made her mother not just another buxom starlet. Eva may well have the same staying power if she makes the right choices in roles.
TV and Web series credits: Celebrity Ghost Stories, season 3, episode 2 (Amazon | iTunes) * Children's Hospital, season 2: "I Am Not Afraid of Any Ghost" (Amazon | iTunes) * House, season 6: "The Choice" (Amazon | iTunes) * Mercy (2009) (Amazon | iTunes) * Californication, season 3 (Amazon | iTunes) * How I Met Your Mother, season 5: "The Playbook" (Amazon | iTunes)
Film and TV-movie credits: The Doctor (2011) (Amazon | iTunes) * Stag (2011) (Amazon | iTunes) * AmeriQua (Amazon | iTunes) * Isolation (2011) (Amazon | iTunes) * New York, I Love You (2009) (Amazon | iTunes) * Possible Side Effects (2009 TV-movie) (Amazon | iTunes) * Animals (2008) (Amazon | iTunes) * Middle of Nowhere (2008) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Life Before Her Eyes (Amazon | iTunes) * The Education of Charlie Banks (Amazon | iTunes) * Saved! (2004) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Banger Sisters (Amazon | iTunes)