Leelee Sobieski is a retired American actress best known for starring in films such as ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and ‘The Glass House.’ She was naturally inclined towards a career in the art field due to her creative parents’ influence. She dropped out of college to pursue acting. She made her acting debut at the age of 12 in the TV film ‘A Horse for Danny.’ In 1994, she acted in a TV movie ‘Reunion.’ She received critical acclaim for her performances in ‘Deep Impact,’ ‘A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries,’ and ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ After making her television debut in the mid-1990s in the series ‘Charlie Grace,’ she made her acting breakthrough with the (1)1999 miniseries ‘Joan of Arc’ and the TV movie ‘Uprising.’ In the 2000s, she appeared mostly in indie films, such as ‘Lying’ and ‘Walk All Over Me.’ She consciously stayed away from mainstream cinema for too long and took permanent retirement from acting in 2012.
Childhood & Early Life
Leelee Sobieski was born Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta ‘Leelee’ Sobieski, on June 10, 1983, in New York, USA, to Jean and Elizabeth Sobieski. Her father is a French-born popular painter and a former actor while her mother is a film producer and screenplay writer. Leelee grew up along with her younger brother, Robert.
Leelee has mixed ancestry, as many of her grandparents were from different nationalities and ethnicities. She says that she is proud of her ‘melting pot roots.’
She was born in a liberal and creative family. . It was only natural for Leelee to become attracted to the field of art. She grew up as a highly creative child and knew from the very beginning that she wanted to pursue a career in a creative field.
While she was growing up, her father had the most influence on her psyche. He was an actor who eventually became a visual artist. Following her father’s footsteps, Leelee also decided to become a visual artist. Other than attending her father’s art exhibitions, she also began painting on her own.
She attended acting classes just out of curiosity, but she was never seriously inclined toward the prospect of becoming an actor. It was all a chance happening when she was sitting in a cafeteria of a private school in New York. She was approached by agent and she responded positively and this is how her acting career began.
She completed her high school from ‘Trevor Day School’ in 2001 and enrolled at ‘Brown University’ to study literature and fine art, but dropped out to focus on her acting career.
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She auditioned for a key role in the film ‘Interview with the Vampire’, which eventually went to Kirsten Dunst. In 1994, she portrayed ‘Anna Yates’ in the TV movie ‘Reunion.’ She appeared in the television film ‘A Horse for Danny’, wherein she portrayed ‘Danny.’
In 1994, she earned her television breakthrough role. She appeared as ‘Jenny Grace’ in the crime drama series ‘Charlie Grace.’ Although the series received some good reviews, it was cancelled after one season.
In 1997, she played ‘Karen Kempster’ in the comedy film ‘Jungle 2 Jungle.’ The film received some bad ratings but turned out to be a moderate commercial success.
In the late 1990s, she played one of the lead roles in the film ‘Deep Impact’ and followed it with ‘A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries.' In the latter, Leelee received critical acclaim for her performance as ‘Channe Willis’ for which she was nominated for a ‘Young Artist Award’ and a ‘Chicago Film Critics Association Award.’
She made her big television breakthrough with the mini-series ‘Joan of Arc’ in 1999. In the series, she played the lead role of ‘Saint Joan.’ The mini-series became a huge success and bagged several ‘Emmy’ and ‘Golden Globe Award’ nominations.
For her performance in the series, Leelee was nominated for a ‘Primetime Emmy,’ a ‘Golden Globe,’ and a ‘Satellite Award.’
In 1999, she received she appeared in a supporting role in the erotic thriller film ‘Eyes Wide Shut,’ starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles.
In the early 2000s, she appeared in key/supporting roles in films such as ‘My First Mister’, ‘Joy Ride,’ and ‘Max.’ By now, she had developed a very distinct sensibility about films and worked mostly in artistic independent films, such as ‘Lying’ and ‘Walk All Over Me.’
In the late 2000s, she appeared playing key roles in films such as ‘88 Minutes’, ‘Finding Bliss,’ and ‘Public Enemies.’
She appeared in guest roles in series’ such as ‘Drop Dead Diva’ and ‘The Good Wife.' In 2012, she appeared as ‘Jennifer Perry’ in the police procedural drama series titled ‘NYC 22.’ In the same year, she announced her retirement from acting to focus on her career as a visual artist.
Leelee had continued her association with art alongside her acting projects, but she became increasingly serious about it in 2012. She began painting and sculpting abstract work.
Her debut solo exhibition, ‘Channels,’ was held in 2018, at the ‘Journal Gallery,’ Brooklyn. She received huge appreciation for her work.
She also exhibited her work in London in the same year. The exhibition ‘Wormhole,’ was showcased at the ‘Simon Lee Gallery.’ She also works in VR technology.
Family & Personal Life
Leelee Sobieski dated actor Matthew W. Davis in the late 2000s and got married to him in 2008. The couple divorced a year later.
Thereafter she got engaged to fashion designer Adam Kimmel in 2009. She gave birth to a daughter in 2009 and a son in 2014.
She claimed in an interview that she took early retirement from films to focus on her kids. She also said that she was doing too many sexual scenes which was something she was not comfortable with.