Anne Elizabeth Gish is an American film and television actress. Starting her career on stage at an early age, she is a wunderkind who made the successful transition to playing mature roles as an adult. Her initial love for acting was nurtured at the community theatre scene in her hometown, and by the time she turned 11, she was already a professional model. Gish made her film debut in the 1986 drama ‘Desert Bloom’. Her strong show-stealing performance in the film put her career on the fast track. She followed it up by playing the female lead in ‘Hiding Out’, co-starring with Julia Roberts in the cult classic ‘Mystic Plaza’, and portraying the meek daughter of a senator in ‘Shag’. Gish appeared on television for the first time in 1994, in the CBS’ miniseries ‘Scarlett’. However, the leading roles eventually stopped coming her way and she had to reinvent herself. Over the following years, she re-established herself as one of most prominent character actresses in the industry, with an incredibly diverse filmography.
Childhood & Early Life
Anne Elizabeth Gish was born on March 13, 1971, in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Robert Gish, an English professor, and Judy Gish, an elementary school teacher. When she was only two years old, her family relocated to Cedar Falls, Iowa after her father accepted a teaching position at the University of Northern Iowa. Her mother landed a job as well, at Malcolm Price Laboratory School. She has two older siblings, a brother, Timothy, and a sister, Robin.
Hailing from a family of educators, her academic life was given its proper due. She attended Northern University High School, graduating in 1989. She then enrolled at Duke University where she became a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and focused on the Drama Program, Film Studies, and Women’s Studies. Taking a break from acting, she completed her B.A. in English in July 1993.
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The acting bug bit Annabeth Gish pretty early. By the time she was eight years old, she was already performing at local community and children’s theatre. Within the next three years, she became a professional model, appearing in various commercials.
Her screen career began in 1986 with the film ‘Desert Bloom’, where playing an emotionally demanding role of an abused teenager, she held her own against industry veteran Jon Voight. The film was a critical success, opening up future opportunities for her.
She was cast opposite Jon Cryer in her next feature, ‘Hiding Out’ (1987), a comedy-drama about a state witness who disguises himself as a student while hiding from the mob.
In ‘Mystic Plaza’ (1988), she outshone Julia Roberts as the eldest Arujo sister, a determined go-getter who becomes involved in a passionate affair with her married boss. For ‘Shag’ (1989), she learned Carolina Shag and danced up a storm alongside her co-stars Bridget Fonda and Phoebe Cates.
In 1994, she debuted on the small screen with the role of Anne Hampton in ‘Scarlett’, a miniseries inspired by the1991 book of the same name. Three of her projects premiered in 1995: CBS’ legal drama ‘Courthouse’, black comedy film ‘The Last Supper’, and biographical political drama ‘Nixon’; in the last, she portrayed Julie Nixon Eisenhower.
In 1996, she played Tracy Stover in ‘Beautiful Girls, her most critically successful film to date. In the 1997 television film ‘True Women’, she worked with Angelina Jolie and Rachael Leigh Cook.
She played the characters Elizabeth Bartlet Westin in the series ‘The West Wing’ (2003-06) and Eileen Caffee (2006-08) in ‘Brotherhood’. In the multiple award-winning film ‘Mojave Phone Booth’ (2006), she was cast as Beth, a girl trying to escape the problems of her love life.
In the recent years, she has played several recurring roles on television, including Dr. Anne Sullivan in ‘Pretty Little Liars’ (2011-15), Charlotte Millwright in ‘The Bridge’ (2013-14), Sheriff Althea Jarry in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (2014), Lillian Forrester in ‘Scandal’ (2016), Alice Sands in ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ (2016), and Diane Gould in ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ (2016-17).
The new millennium brought about several changes to Annabeth Gish’s career graph. She became part of the cast of the science fiction drama television series ‘The X-Files’ as Special Agent Monica Reyes in 2001. The series proved to be super-hit and her performance was much praised. She returned in the tenth season finale after the show made a comeback in 2016.
Awards & Achievements
Annabeth Gish was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama for the television film ‘When He's Not a Stranger’ (1989).
In 2002, she won the Best Actress Award for her role in the romantic-comedy ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ (2001) at the Slamdunk Film Festival.
For the short film, ‘Commerce’, she received the Best Actress Award at the 2011 Rhode Island International Film Festival.
Annabeth Gish met stuntman Wade Allen on the set of ‘The X-Files’. They began dating in December 2001 and got married on October 11, 2003, at the rustic Sea Ranch Lodge in Sonoma County, California. They have two sons together, Cash Alexander (born on January 12, 2007) and Enzo Edward (October 25, 2008).
Gish is associated with CARE International, Students Rebuild, and One Million Bones. In April 2012, she put out a public service announcement video on behalf of these organizations. She serves on the US Board of directors of non-profit organization The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company.
Contrary to the popular belief, Gish is not in any way related to the early silent film actresses Lillian and Dorothy Gish, though her grandmother’s name is also Lillian.