Family & Companions
One of a very small number of Academy Award-nominated actresses who also fronted a hard-edged rock band, Juliette Lewis was only 18 years old when she was thrust into the spotlight following her unforgettable performance in Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear" (1991). In quick succession, Lewis co-starred as one-half of young, sexy, murderous couples for whom crime was a just a game in "Kalifornia" (1993) and Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers" (1994). Her way with discreetly vulnerable outlaws had audiences believing the actress herself must be unhinged, and a mounting drug problem proved there was some truth to the typecasting. Lewis had difficulty regaining her visibility in Hollywood following her detox, but shifted her focus to music where she proved to be a terrific front woman and formidable singer in her own 1970s style punk band. Lewis toured internationally for years in support of several charting albums, occasionally resurfacing in indies and cable movies, where she made an effort to expand on her well-worn image of dangerous ingénues as well as kinder and subtler characters in more domestic-oriented dramas.
Born June 21, 1973, in Los Angeles, CA, Lewis was the daughter of film and television player Geoffrey Lewis and mother Glenis, a graphic artist, who had seven marriages and 11 children between them. Lewis wanted to be an actor from the time she was six, and when she was a teen she landed her first "daughter" roles in the Showtime miniseries "Home Fires" (1987) and the ABC series "I Married Dora" (1987-88). Anxious to get on with a full-time acting career, she dropped out of high school at age 14, passed her equivalency test, and became an emancipated minor at age 15, which allowed her the same workplace freedom as adult actors. While the young actress had already found her experience on sitcoms like "The Facts of Life" (NBC, 1979-1988) and "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993) constraining, she tried to gear herself towards drama with a starring role as a 15-year-old facing the death penalty for murder in the TV movie, "Too Young to Die?" (NBC, 1990), which sparked a long-term relationship with co-star Brad Pitt. But her feature film debut as the third actress to play the daughter of bumbling suburban dad Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989) confined her to emotional territory very much in keeping with the sitcoms she loathed. Her turn as a series regular on "A Family For Joe" (NBC, 1990), starring Robert Mitchum no less, was thankfully her last in a sitcom.
The following year she gave a breakout performance as the thumb-sucking nymphet struggling for independence from her warring parents in Martin Scorsese's chilling remake of "Cape Fear" (1991), which earned her an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Her sensuous scenes with a psychotic killer (Robert De Niro) were the most talked-about in an already talked-about remake, and Lewis' brightly piercing eyes and pouty mouth suggested a free-spirited, waifish and dangerously provocative young woman questing for emotional fulfillment. Boyfriend Pitt escorted Lewis to the Oscar ceremony the following year, where the actress' unusual pairing of a sequined gown and corn-rowed hair (and her red carpet explanation that she was going "native") raised a few eyebrows, and suggested that the 18-year-old was perhaps more eccentric than her starlet counterparts. The edgy ingenue was next cast in a supporting role as a college student who becomes involved with her professor (Woody Allen) in Allen's "Husbands and Wives" (1992), sympathetically essaying the would-be "other woman" role in a film whose story of a crumbling marriage and the husband's affair with a much younger woman mirrored the Allen-Mia Farrow breakup. Expanding on her child-woman of "Cape Fear," Lewis began her "psychotic waif" period playing Gary Oldman's peroxide blonde moll in Peter Medak's hopped-up neo-noir, "Romeo Is Bleeding" (1993). That same year, she adopted a horrifically hilarious spastic laugh and adolescent gawkiness for "Kalifornia" (1993). On the road with homicidal partner Pitt and yuppies David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes, Lewis' clueless trailer park Lolita was a perfect "enabler" for Pitt's serial killer.
Lewis was back on the road in Oliver Stone's satirical take on the media,"Natural Born Killers" (1994), where she shared sociopathic tendencies with fellow love-thug Woody Harrelson during a Southwest killing spree. To her credit, Lewis ably captured the frighteningly odd emptiness of her character's moral inattention. Tucked amidst these on-the-edge roles was an atypically sweet, subtle turn with Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in Lasse Hallstrom's engaging and offbeat family drama "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (1993). Following a brief return to comedy in Nora Ephron's cringe-worthy holiday ensemble "Mixed Nuts" (1994), Lewis reteamed with DiCaprio in "Basketball Diaries" (1995), where she returned to her familiar low-life terrain with a small role as a drug addict and hooker. She gave audiences an early taste of her singing talent in Kathryn Bigelow's stylish sci-fi thriller "Strange Days" (1995), and held her place on the outskirts of mainstream film with an appearance in the Robert Rodriquez/Quentin Tarantino vampire outing, "From Dusk 'Til Dawn" (1996). Unfortunately, the fast pace of Lewis' personal life was mimicking her out-of-control onscreen reality, and she could no longer hide her drug addiction by the time she was cast in the "Terms of Endearment" (1983) sequel "The Evening Star" (1996) as a substance abuser.
Taking an 18-month hiatus from movies, Lewis got herself together with the help of Hollywood's Church of Scientology, and returned to pictures in the indie romantic comedy, "Some Girl" (1998). Her next project was Garry Marshall's much more ambitious "The Other Sister" (1999), in which Lewis starred as a mentally challenged female coming of age. She married pro skateboarder Steve Berrea in 1999, and gravitated again towards outlaw material with "The Way of the Gun" (2000). In an abrupt but successful about-face, she starred as the daughter of mentally challenged parents in the TV movie "My Louisiana Sky" (2001), earning a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special. The following year she earned Emmy and Independent Spirit Award nominations for playing a tough New Jersey girl in the 1980s-set "Hysterical Blindness" (HBO, 2002), co-starring Gena Rowlands and Uma Thurman. She teamed with Jennifer Lopez in the low-grade thriller "Enough" (2002), as a woman who tries to help her friend escape an abusive husband (Billy Campbell). The following year, Lewis had a supporting role as the girlfriend of Luke Wilson's character in the hilarious feature, "Old School" (2003), a raucous comedy about a trio of thirty-something buddies who try to recapture their college years by starting their own fraternity. She next starred alongside Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid in the minor thriller, "Cold Creek Manor" (2003).
With her position in Hollywood receding into the past, evidenced by her starring role in an original film for CourtTV, "Chasing Freedom" (2004), Lewis sought a new outlet in music, where she proved a formidable and appealing front woman of Juliette and the Licks, a 1970s-styled glam punk band. The sinewy, writhing and sexually charged Lewis was like an uncaged animal onstage, with raspy pipes that perfectly suited the musical genre. The band's debut EP, Like a Bolt of Lightning was released in 2004, and from its considerable underground buzz, the band advanced to the UK singles charts with the title track of the 2005 follow-up You're Speaking My Language. While the Licks lit up stages at summer festivals, Lewis appeared on the big screen in the adaptation of the 1970s cop series, "Starsky & Hutch" (2004). In 2006, Lewis made her London stage debut as the heroine of Sam Shepard's classic play, "Fool For Love," and a third album, Four on the Floor was released. While not as commercially successful as her second album, it did produce two charting singles. Lewis spent considerable time touring in the UK, the United States and Europe, putting her acting career on hold. She resurfaced with a vengeance in "Whip It" (2009), Drew Barrymore's directorial debut in which Lewis co-starred as the coach of a female roller-derby teen and the terrifying archrival of a newcomer on the circuit (Ellen Page). With its all-star cast of favorite indie film actresses, the film positioned Lewis to regain her big screen visibility and remind viewers of her fiery onscreen appeal. Following supporting roles in the quirky romantic comedy "The Switch" (2010) and the buddy comedy "Due Date" (2010), Lewis moved to television with a role in the John Grisham legal drama "The Firm" (NBC 2012), which did not attract an audience despite its impressive pedigree and was canceled. A supporting role in the family drama "August: Osage County" (2013) was followed by roles in a pair of acclaimed indie films, the dysfunctional family drama "Hellion" (2014) and the oddball suburban-outcast love story "Kelly and Cal" (2014).
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Dance (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Appeared uncredited in Clint Eastwood's "Bronco Billy"
Appeared as series regular on the ABC sitcom "I Married Dora"
Landed first leading role in the Showtime miniseries "Homefires"
Appeared on three episodes of "The Wonder Years" (ABC) as Wayne's girlfriend
Feature debut, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"
Cast as a series regular on the short-lived "A Family For Joe" (NBC)
Co-starred with Brad Pitt in the TV-movie "Too Young to Die?" (NBC)
Breakthrough feature, playing Nick Nolte's daughter in Martin Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear"; earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress
Replaced Emily Lloyd in Woody Allen's ensemble feature "Husbands and Wives"
First leading role in a feature, "That Night"
Portrayed Gary Oldman's peroxide blonde moll in "Romeo Is Bleeding"
Re-teamed with Pitt for "Kalifornia," delivering a harrowing portrait as his childlike, clueless trailer trash girlfriend
Co-starred with Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"
Teamed with Woody Harrelson as two love-thugs terrorizing the Southwest in Oliver Stone's controversial "Natural Born Killers"
Played a rock singer in the film "Strange Days"
Found an authentic note as a scuzzy hooker in "Basketball Diaries," starring DiCaprio
Cast as Melanie Horton in "The Evening Star," a sequel to "Terms of Endearment" starring Shirley MacLaine
Produced and starred in brother Lightfield Lewis' "The Audition"
Co-starred in "From Dusk till Dawn," directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino
Played an unsympathetic best friend in "Some Girls," co-starring Marissa Ribisi and Giovanni Ribisi
Played a mentally-challenged woman in Garry Marshall's "The Other Sister"; re-teamed with Giovanni Ribisi who played her love interest
Co-starred with Ryan Phillippe, Benicio del Toro, and James Caan in "The Way of the Gun"
Portrayed Aunt Dorie Kay in the film adaptation of "My Louisiana Sky" on Showtime; earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special
Co-starred with Uma Thurman in the HBO movie "Hysterical Blindness"; produced for cable and also screened at Sundance; earned Independent Spirit Award and Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress
Appeared in memorable role as Heidi, Luke Wilson's kinky ex-girlfriend in Todd Phillips' comedy feature "Old School"
Featured in the big screen adaption of the 1970s cop series "Starsky & Hutch"
Played Donald Sutherland's feisty home nurse in "Aurora Borealis"
Made London stage debut as the heroine of Sam Shepard's classic play "Fool For Love"
Played Iron Maven, a rival roller derby player, in Drew Barrymore's directorial debut "Whip It"
Released first album with The New Romantiques, <i>Terra Incognita</i>
Appeared in the romantic comedy "The Switch" opposite Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman
Cast in a supporting role alongside Hilary Swank in "Conviction"
Co-starred with Chloë Grace Moretz in the indie drama "Hick"
Starred as Tammy on short-lived legal drama "The Firm"
Had a guest role on "Portlandia"
Appeared in family drama "August: Osage County"
Starred in family dramedy "Kelly & Cal"
Had a recurring guest role on "Wayward Pines"
Played Detective Andrea Cornell on short-lived crime drama "Secrets and Lies"
Co-starred with Alex Pettyfer and Jennifer Morrison in Pettyfer-helmed indie thriller "Back Roads"