Eliza Patricia Dushku (born December 30, 1980) is an American actress, who has appeared in several Hollywood movies such as True Lies, The New Guy, Bring It On and Wrong Turn. She is also well known for her acting on television, such as her recurring appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as Faith, as well as the main character in the series Tru Calling. She is also set to star in a new series called Dollhouse, created by Joss Whedon (with whom Dushku worked on Buffy and Angel), premiering January 2009 on FOX.
Dushku was born in Watertown
, Middlesex County
. She currently resides in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California
. She is the daughter of Philip R. Dushku, an Albanian American
administrator and teacher in the Boston
Public Schools, and ex-wife Judith "Judy" (née
Rasmussen), a professor, who is Danish American
through both of her grandfathers and English American
through both of her grandmothers. Dushku attended Beaver Country Day School
in Chestnut Hill
, Mass and graduated from Watertown High School (Massachusetts)
as a teenager. She was raised a Mormon
, the faith of her mother (though she is not actively practicing). She has three older brothers: Aaron, Benjamin (Ben) (born February 5, 1976), and Nathaniel (Nate) (born June 8, 1977, in Boston, Massachusetts), the last of whom is a model and actor. Her parents divorced when she was still an infant. In 2005 she visited her father's family in Albania after being personally invited by the president. While there she also visited the Albanian Community in Kosovo and got an Albanian Eagle
tattooed on the back of her neck.
Dushku came to the attention of casting agents when she was 10. She was chosen at the end of a five month search throughout the United States for the lead role of Alice, playing with Juliette Lewis
in the film That Night
. In 1993, Dushku landed a role as Pearl alongside Robert De Niro
and Leonardo DiCaprio
in This Boy's Life
, a role that she said opened a lot of doors. The following year, she played the teenage daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Jamie Lee Curtis
in True Lies
. She also had parts as Paul Reiser
's daughter in Bye Bye, Love
, as Cindy Johnson with Halle Berry
and Jim Belushi
in Race the Sun
, as well as roles in a television movie and a short film.
Dushku took some time off from acting to finish her junior and senior years of high school. She was accepted to the George Washington University in Washington, DC and Suffolk University in Boston, where her mother serves as professor of government and previously served as dean of the campus in Dakar, Senegal.
After completing high school, Dushku returned to acting with the role of Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, a Slayer
much more troubled than the main character Buffy Summers
. Though initially planned as a five episode role, the character became so popular that she stayed on for the entirety of the third season and returned for a two-part appearance in season four, after which the remainder of her original story arc
was played out as part of the first season of the Buffy spin-off
. Repentant and rededicated, Faith returned as a heroine in a number of further episodes of Angel
and in the last five episodes of Buffy
. Dushku was inundated with piles of fan mail from legions of prisoners. She said that:
- I've been getting fan mail from maximum security penitentiaries and death row. What are the authorities thinking of in playing a show with young teenage girls to Death Row inmates? They write everything — disgusting things that you don't even want to know about. And they send me pictures — 'Oh, here's a picture of me before I was incarcerated!' — and there's some guy sat on the sofa with a bottle of beer and a moustache, and a big gut. It's so creepy. Way more creepy than Buffy.
In 2000, Dushku starred in Soul Survivors, reuniting her with Race The Sun co-star Casey Affleck. She followed that up with the cheerleader comedy Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst, which was a surprising success at the box office that spawned straight-to-DVD sequels. In 2001, she appeared in The New Guy with DJ Qualls and City by the Sea with Robert De Niro and James Franco. The latter film garnered attention from a wider adult audience and several good reviews.
The same year, Kevin Smith invited Dushku to be a part of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, where she co-starred with Shannon Elizabeth, Ali Larter, and Ben Affleck.
In 2003, Dushku appeared in Wrong Turn, a horror film in which she had the starring role, and The Kiss, an independent comedy-drama. Starting that same year, she also starred in a new Fox TV series, Tru Calling, where she played the main character, medical student Tru Davies. After having a grant pulled out from under her, Tru is forced to take a job at a local morgue where she discovers her power to "re-live" the previous day over again and uses it to bring murderers to justice. Dushku turned down a role for which she would have been in a spin-off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (that would have been about Faith).
She has had many roles as a "bad girl" in movies and relishes the opportunities. In an interview with Maxim in May 2001, Dushku says of her roles, "It’s easy to play a bad girl: You just do everything you’ve been told not to do, and you don’t have to deal with the consequences, because it’s only acting."
Dushku starred in an off-Broadway production entitled Dog Sees God from December 2005, playing "Van's sister", a character paralleled with Lucy from the original Peanuts comic strip on which the play production is based. She quit in February 2006 along with several other members of the cast among rumours of alleged abuse from the producer, which were later dismissed.
She played the lead character on Nurses, a hospital comedy/drama for Fox. This was the second Fox pilot in which she has been cast, but will not be broadcast. She appeared in the Simple Plan music video, "I'm Just a Kid", as the band's love interest, as well as Nickelback's video for "Rockstar".
Dushku has landed starring roles in two video game productions. She voiced the role of Yumi Sawamura in the English language version of Yakuza for the PlayStation 2, which was published and developed by SEGA, and released in September 2006. Dushku also stars as Shaundi, one of the lead characters in Saints Row 2, which is being developed by Volition and published by THQ. It is set for release on October 14, 2008 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
On October 1, 2005, she announced at Wizard World Boston that shooting had begun for Nobel Son
in which she would star with Alan Rickman
, Danny DeVito
, Bill Pullman
, and Peter Boyle
. The movie was released at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
and received exceptional reviews. Another project is On Broadway
, an independent movie filmed in her native Boston. The movie is receiving great reviews and a few of them highlight Dushku's performance. It is currently being shown in many independent film festivals and has already won six awards.
Variety announced on August 2, 2006 that Dushku would co-star with Macaulay Culkin in Sex and Breakfast, a dark comedy written and directed by Miles Brandman. The movie was released in Los Angeles in November 30, 2007 and on DVD in January 22, 2008. She will also star in Open Graves, a horror-thriller about a satanic game co-starring Mike Vogel. The movie will be released in 2008. She will play the main character in The Thacker Case and The Alphabet Killer, both based on real-life events and upcoming thrillers, one of them directed by Rob Schmidt with whom she had previously worked on Wrong Turn. Both movies will be released in 2008.
She will co-star along with Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine and Rachel Taylor in Bottle Shock, a drama about the Napa Industry of wine. The movie is directed by Randall Miller, who helmed Nobel Son. On August 26, 2007, Dushku signed a development deal with Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox. Under the pact, the network and the studio will develop projects tailor-made for the actress. They also will approach her with existing pitches and scripts.
Consequently, it was announced on October 31 that Dushku had lured Joss Whedon, famous for creating the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, back to TV, as they agreed to create a new show called Dollhouse. Dushku will play the main character 'Echo' and serve as a producer on the show, which will air on Fox during the 2008-09 TV Season.
She has stated that she dated Major League Baseball
player Brad Penny
As of March 2008, OK! magazine reports she was dating Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
Eliza is the CEO of her production company Boston Diva and serves as a producer on her yet to be released Fox sci-fi series, Dollhouse. She is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox.
She was twice nominated in 2004: for a Teen Choice Award at the Teen Choice Awards
for Choice Breakout Star - Female for Tru Calling
) and for a Saturn Award
by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
at the 30th Saturn Awards
for Best Actress in a Television Series for Tru Calling
- Dollhouse (7 episodes, 2009) .... Echo and also executive producer (filming)
- Noah's Ark: The New Beginning (2008) .... Zalbeth (voice) (post-production)
- The Thacker Case (2008) .... Monica Wright (post-production)
- Open Graves (2008) .... Erica (completed)
- The Alphabet Killer (2008) .... Megan Paige and also associate producer
- Bottle Shock (2008) .... Joe
- Sex and Breakfast (2007) .... Renee
- Ugly Betty (1 episode, Giving up the Ghost, 2007) .... Cameron Ashlock
- Nobel Son (2007) .... City Hall
- On Broadway (2007) .... Lena Wilson
- Nurses (2007) (TV) .... Eve Morrow
- Euro Video Grand Prix (2006) (TV) .... Herself and Presenter
- The Last Supper (2006) .... Waitress
- The Tony Danza Show (1 episode, #2.73, 2005) .... Herself
- Live with Regis and Kelly (1 episode, 2 December 2005, 2005) .... Herself
- Reading Rainbow (1 episode, Unique Monique, 2005) .... Herself
- Ryû ga gotoku (2005) (VG) .... Yumi (voice: English version)
- That '70s Show (1 episode, It's All Over Now, 2005) .... Sarah
- Teen Choice Awards 2004 (2004) (TV) .... Herself
- Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards '04 (2004) (TV) .... Herself
- 50 Most Wicked Women of Primetime (2004) (TV) .... Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) archive footage
- Richard & Judy (1 episode, 19 April 2004, 2004) .... Herself
- The Sharon Osbourne Show (1 episode, 26 February 2004, 2004) .... Herself
- On Air with Ryan Seacrest (1 episode, 23 February 2004, 2004) .... Herself
- Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2 episodes, 23 February 2004 and 6 August 2008, 2004-2008) .... Herself
- Last Call with Carson Daly (1 episode, 25 November 2003, 2003) .... Herself
- Extra (1 episode, 21 October 2003, 2003) .... Herself
- Punk'd (1 episode, #1.2, 2003) .... Herself (uncredited)
- 'Buffy': Season 3 Overview (2003) (V) .... Herself
- Stan Winston: Monster Mogul (2003) (V) .... Herself
- Eliza Dushku: Babe in the Woods (2003) (V) .... Herself
- Fresh Meat: The Wounds of 'Wrong Turn' (2003) (V) .... Herself
- Tru Calling (27 episodes, 2003-2005) .... Tru Davies
- 'Angel': Season One (2003) (V) .... Faith Lehane archive footage (uncredited)
- The Kiss (2003) (V) .... Megan
- Late Night with Conan O'Brien (3 episodes, 27 May 2003, 20 November 2003 and 17 January 2006, 2003-2006) .... Herself
- E! News (2 episodes, 20 May 2003 and 19 October 2005, 2003-2005) .... Herself
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (2003) (VG) .... Faith Lehane (voice)
- Wrong Turn (2003) .... Jessie Burlingame
- The Late Late Show (3 episodes, 9 November 2002, 20 January 2004 and 12 April 2004, 2002-2004) .... Herself
- Late Show with David Letterman (2 episodes, #9.205 and 7 April 2003, 2002-2003) .... Herself / Herself - Guest
- HypaSpace (1 episode, #1.113, 2002) .... Herself
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1 episode, 9 May 2002, 2002) .... Herself
- King of the Hill (1 episode, Get Your Freak Off, 2002) .... Jordan
- City by the Sea (2002) .... Gina
- The New Guy (2002) .... Danielle
- Spotlight on Location: The Making of 'Bring It On' (2001) (V) .... Missy Pantone
- Reel Comedy: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) (TV) .... Herself
- Soul Survivors (2001) .... Annabel
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) .... Sissy
- Bring It On (2000) .... Missy Pantone
- Angel (6 episodes, 2000-2003) .... Faith Lehane
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (20 episodes, 1998-2003) .... Faith Lehane
- Race the Sun (1996) .... Cindy Johnson
- True Lies (1995) (VG) .... Dana Tasker
- Journey (1995) (TV) .... Cat
- Bye Bye Love (1995) .... Emma
- The Making of 'True Lies' (1994) (TV) .... Herself
- True Lies (1994) .... Dana Tasker
- Fishing with George (1994) ....
- This Boy's Life (1993) .... Pearl
- That Night (1992) .... Alice Bloom