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Shawnee Smith (born July 3, 1970) is an American film and television actress and musician. Smith is well known for her roles as Amanda Young in the Saw film series and Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker. Smith once fronted the band Fydolla Ho, with which she toured the United States and the UKmarker, and is also the other half of Smith & Pyle, a desert country-rock band, with actress Missi Pyle.

Early life

Shawnee Smith was born in Orangeburg, South Carolinamarker, the second child of Patricia, an oncology nurse, and Jim Smith, a financial planner and former US Air Force pilot. The family relocated from South Carolina to Van Nuys, Californiamarker when she was a year old. Smith's biological parents divorced when she was two and her mother remarried when she was eight. She attended Ranchito Avenue Elementary School in Panorama City, Californiamarker. She also attended North Hollywood High School in North Hollywood, Californiamarker and graduated in 1987.


Smith began acting as a child appearing on stage in A Christmas Carol repertory from age 8 to 11 and starred in a stage play with Richard Dreyfuss at age 15. She also performed in the original stage production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday and won the Dramalogue Critics Award for her performance. She was the youngest actor up to that time to receive such an honor. She made her television debut in a McDonald's commercial titled "Best Friends" in 1978. She joined the Screen Actors Guild at age nine and made her feature film debut in John Huston's 1982 adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie, as one of Aileen Quinn's fellow orphans. In 1985, Smith co-starred in two troubled-teen melodramas, Not My Kid and Crime of Innocence. In 1987, Smith co-starred in the hit comedy film Summer School as pregnant student Rhonda Altobello. The following year, she starred with Kevin Dillon and the late Joe Seneca in a 1988 remake of the Steve McQueen classic The Blob as Meg Penny.

Smith played a rich teen who helps John Candy locate her kidnapped sister in 1989's Who's Harry Crumb?. That same year, she co-starred with Jennie Garth and Alison Sweeney in the short-lived TV series Brand New Life. The following year, Smith co-starred as the daughter of Anthony Hopkins and Mimi Rogers in the remake of Michael Cimino's thriller The Desperate Hours. Smith took a three-year break from acting in the early 1990s primarily because she had outgrown teenage roles and had a hard time finding work. During that time she climbed Mt.marker Kilimanjaromarker and competed in a triathlon. Near the end of the hiatus she decided to sell all her belongings and relocate to North Carolinamarker to visit family and go back to school. When she was about to start attending classes she landed a small role in Leaving Las Vegas and has had steady work ever since.

Smith's best-known television role was Linda, an air-headed nurse's aide, in the CBS hit comedy series Becker with Ted Danson. She served as a regular cast member in all 129 episodes from 1998-2004. Another well-known television role was that of Julie Lawry in the 1994 miniseries The Stand, based on the novel by Stephen King. She also appeared as a waitress in The Shining miniseries, which King adapted from his own novel. Besides her regular role on Becker and the cameos in the Stephen King miniseries, Smith made several guest appearances on television shows, such as Cagney & Lacey; Married With Children; Murder, She Wrote; The X-Files; and Players. In 2003, she lent her voice to an episode of the Disney cartoon Kim Possible as Vivian Porter.

Smith as Amanda Young in Saw
Smith has become well-known in recent years for her role as Amanda Young in the Saw films. She has also been acknowledged as a "scream queen" due to the number of horror films she has appeared in. IGN "The Women of Horror: Shawnee Smith" "Bloody-Disgusting"In the DVD commentary of Saw, the producers revealed that her scenes were filmed while she was battling a terrible case of the flu. It is also revealed in the DVD commentary of Saw II that she was four months pregnant with her second child, Jakson, during filming. Her pregnancy was kept a secret from everyone except director Darren Lynn Bousman. He mentioned in the commentary that Smith's daughter Verve accidentally told him about the pregnancy during filming. She also wore a man's watch while filming Saw III, which she kept. She has also said that although she is briefly shown in Saw V, she was never on set. Any scenes featuring her were dubbed from file footage. On March 20, 2009, producer Mark Burg released a statement confirming that Smith will be in the latest installment of the Saw films, Saw VI. She arrived in Toronto on March 31, 2009 to begin filming brand new flashback sequences.

Smith has repeatedly admitted that she hates being scared and has a hard time watching the Saw films, or any horror movie. She originally turned the role of Amanda Young down because it was very upsetting to her. After turning the role down, she was shown the eight-minute short film by Leigh Whannell and James Wan and changed her mind after the role was offered to her a second time. Smith in the jaw trap became the image on the film poster. She also revealed at SawMania 2008 that her name was initially brought up for the role of Amanda because Saw director James Wan was a big fan of her films in the 1980s and had a longtime crush on her. Director Darren Bousman and Leigh Whannell have also talked about their crushes on Smith in the Saw DVD commentaries.

In 2006, Smith made an appearance in the ten-minute short film trailer Repo! The Genetic Opera by director Darren Lynn Bousman. Smith's character was Heather Sweet, the surgery addicted daughter of GeneCo president Rotti Largo. The trailer was filmed in Toronto, Canadamarker and was an adaptation from the stage version. Bousman filmed the trailer after completing Saw III to try and pitch the idea to film producers. Smith did not reprise her role as Heather Sweet when Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures picked up the film in 2007 and was replaced by Paris Hilton. The character name was also changed from Heather to Amber.

In 2008, Smith played Detective Gina Harcourt in the FEARnet original series 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust. The series premiered on July 17, 2008 on in six 4-6 minute webisodes along with behind the scenes clips. This series is a continuation of the first webisode series 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails. It is still available on and can also be seen in its entirety (about 30 minutes straight through) on FEARnet On Demand. She also made her producing debut with this series.

Smith was the host and one of three mentors on the VH1 reality program Scream Queens which aired from October 20, 2008 to December 8, 2008.

In 2009, Smith played the role of Dr. Ann Sullivan in the third installment of The Grudge series, The Grudge 3, which was a direct to DVD release in May 2009.

Music career

Smith performing with Fydolla Ho in 2002
Along with her acting, she is also a musician; she plays the guitar, piano, drums, and sings. She contributed to the soundtrack of Saw III with vocals on Hydrovibe's song "Killer Inside" and to the soundtrack for Catacombs as a solo vocalist with the song "Please Myself." Her voice was also featured in the film Carnival of Souls where her character Sandra performed a jazz song titled "I Fear."

Smith fronted the punk/metal band Fydolla Ho (pronounced like Five-Dollar Whore) in the early 2000s. The group was originally formed by Smith and current Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo as a small recording project. The band released their debut full-length album Untied in December 2001. She balanced the band with being a regular cast member on the CBS sitcom Becker. The band officially ended in 2004.

Smith began working on a solo career/album in 2004 with producer Chris Goss, but the project was never completed. In an interview with Radio Free in October 2005 she stated, "between being a mom, and working, and growing another baby, I have not had time to give attention to music for a while."

Smith with Missi Pyle performing as Smith & Pyle
She is currently part of a country music group with actress Missi Pyle called Smith & Pyle. The two actresses met while filming an ABC comedy pilot titled Traveling in Packs. The band started after Smith invited Pyle to join her in attending the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivalmarker. While stuck in traffic, Pyle talked about her dream to be a rock star and Smith agreed to form a band with her. Their first album, It's OK to Be Happy, was released digitally through iTunes and in July 2008. The debut album was recorded in Joshua Tree, Californiamarker at Rancho de la Lunamarker and was produced by Chris Goss. Smith and Pyle have also become business partners and formed their own record label called Urban Prairie Records, which It's OK to be Happy was released under. Smith has talked about the possibility of a Smith & Pyle television or webisode series in the near future. She mentioned the idea of a series on Fangoria radio with Dee Snider and also on a radio appearance with bandmate Missi Pyle in April 2009.

Personal life

Smith has two children: a daughter named Verve, born in 1999, from her marriage to photographer Jason Reposar (1998–2003) and a son named Jakson, born in 2005, from her brief marriage to musician Kai Mattoon (2005–2006). Her daughter was named after Verve Records. Both Verve and Jakson were featured in the debut Smith & Pyle album, It's OK to be Happy. The kids are listed in the album credits as having vocals and spoken narrative tracks for two songs. An article published October 28, 2009 highlighting Smith & Pyle's small tour in West Virginia stated that Shawnee is pregnant with her third child due in January 2010.

Smith and ex-husband Jason Reposar eloped in 1998 while on vacation in Scotlandmarker due to the inability to organize a wedding. The song "Sugar," performed by her country-rock band Smith & Pyle, was written by Smith after her divorce from Reposar. She describes it as her break-up song that is quite different from Pyle's break-up song, "I Wish You Were Dead."

Smith was featured in Maxim magazine in June 2001.


Year Film Role Notes
1982 Annie Dancer
1986 Iron Eagle Joenie
1987 Summer School Rhonda Altobello
1988 The Blob Meg Penny
1989 Who's Harry Crumb? Nikki Downing
1990 Desperate Hours May Cornell
1995 Leaving Las Vegas Biker girl
The Low Life Little Tramp Woman
1996 Bombshell Shelly
Female Perversions Make-Up Salesgirl
1997 Every Dog Has Its Day Redhead
Dead Men Can't Dance Sgt. Addy Cooper
Dogtown Tammy Hayes
Men Clara
1998 Armageddon Redhead
Carnival of Souls Sandra Grant
The Party Crashers Carolyn
1999 A Slipping-Down Life Faye-Jean Lindsay
Breakfast of Champions Bonnie MacMahon
2000 Eat Your Heart Out Nicole Alternative title: American Shrimps
2002 Never Get Outta the Boat Dawn
2004 Saw Amanda Young
The Almost Guys Bigger
2005 The Island Suzie
Saw II Amanda Young
2006 Repo! The Genetic Opera Heather Sweet Unreleased short film
Saw III Amanda Young
2007 Saw IV Amanda Young
2008 Saw V Amanda Young
2009 The Grudge 3 Dr. Ann Sullivan Direct-to-DVD release
Saw VI Amanda Young
Year Title Role Notes
1984 Silver Spoons Tawny 1 episode
1985 Not My Kid Carol Television movie
It's Your Move Brenda 1 episode
Cagney & Lacey 1 episode
Crime of Innocence Jodi Hayward Television movie
1986 All Is Forgiven Sonia Russell 9 episodes
Easy Prey Tina Marie Risico Television movie
1988 Bluegrass Alice Gibbs Television movie
I Saw What You Did... and I Know Who You Are! Kim Fielding Television movie
1989-1990 A Brand New Life Amanda Gibbons 6 episodes
1990 Lucky/Chances Olympia Stanislopolous Golden Miniseries
1993 Murder, She Wrote Jill Cleveland 1 episode
1994 The Stand Julie Lawry Miniseries
The X-Files Jessie O'Neil 1 episode
1996 Face of Evil Jeanelle Polk Television movie
1997 Something Borrowed, Something Blue Teri Television movie
Arsenio Laura Lauman 1 episode
The Shining Waitress Miniseries
1997-1998 The Tom Show Florence Madison 19 episodes
1998 Players Lila 1 episode
Twice Upon a Time Maggie Fowler Television movie
1998-2004 Becker Linda 129 episodes
2003 Kim Possible Vivian Porter 1 episode
2005 Washington Street Television movie
2007 Traveling in Packs Ivy Unsold pilot
Secrets of an Undercover Wife Lisa Wilder-Crews Television movie
2008 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust Detective Gina Harcourt Miniseries
Executive producer
Scream Queens Herself Host and Mentor (8 episodes)

Radio and miscellaneous television appearances

Date Show Notes
January 3, 2001 Loveline with Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla
May 14, 2001 Loveline with Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla
1999-2000 Hollywood Squares 15 episodes
October 10, 2006 2006 Scream Awards With Tobin Bell and Darren Lynn Bousman to promote Saw III
October 27, 2006 Fangoria Radio with Dee Snider To promote Saw III
October 31, 2006 Jimmy Kimmel Live! To promote Saw III
August 8, 2007 Fangoria Radio with Dee Snider With Tobin Bell to promote Saw IV
April 25, 2008 Fangoria Radio with Dee Snider With Mark Christian and Mat Dauzat to promote Smith & Pyle
November 2008 The Time Machine with Mike Clark of the Smith Bros. To promote Smith & Pyle
April 18, 2009 The Single Life with Sam Phillips With Missi Pyle, Mat Dauzat, and Heather St. Marie to promote Smith & Pyle
May 15, 2009 Fangoria Radio with Dee Snider To promote Saw VI
July 10, 2009 Fangoria Radio with Dee Snider To promote Saw VI
November 26, 2009 The Jay Leno Show With Smith & Pyle



  • Vial, Fydolla Ho (4-track Demo CD, unknown year)
  • Untied, Fydolla Ho (2001)
  • It's OK to be Happy, Smith & Pyle (2008)


Featured in film
  • "I Fear," Carnival of Souls (1998)
  • "Killer Inside" (with Hydrovibe), Saw III soundtrack (2006)
  • "Zytrate Anatomy," Repo! The Genetic Opera 10-minute short film (2006)
  • "Please Myself," Catacombs soundtrack (2007)

Unknown album and/or year
  • "Deciding" (2004)
  • "Head" (2004)
  • "Shelter" (2004)

with Fydolla Ho
  • "Oh Yeah"
  • "No Matter"
  • "Pieces"
  • "Behave"
  • "Afraid"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
2007 Eyegore Awards Won
1987 Young Artist Award Nominated Exceptional Young Actress Starring in a Television Special or Movie of the Week Crime of Innocence
1989 Best Young Actress in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture The Blob


  1. Shawnee Smith biography at
  2. Official Saw News
  4. Official Saw News
  6. Dread Central - "Smith, Shawnee (30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust)
  7. Scream Queens Official Site
  8. Shawnee Smith on The Time Machine
  10. Shawnee Smith on Fangoria radio
  11. Shawnee Smith Photos, Videos, and News on
  13. Charleston Gazette Online
  14. Shawnee Smith on The Time Machine
  15. Shawnee Smith Photos, Videos, and News on
  21. Shawnee Smith on The Time Machine

External links

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