Name: Eliza Dushku
Born: December 30, 1980
Birth place: Watertown, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality: American, Albanian
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Eliza Patricia Dushku (play /ˈdʊʃkuː/; born December 30, 1980) is an American actress known for her television roles, including recurring appearances as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series Angel. She starred in two Fox series, Tru Calling and Dollhouse. She is also known for her role in films including True Lies, The New Guy, Bring It On, Wrong Turn and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
Dushku was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, the daughter of Philip R. Dushku, an administrator and teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and Judith "Judy" (née Rasmussen), a political science professor. Dushku's father is Albanian and her mother is of Danish and English descent. Dushku attended Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, and graduated from Watertown High School. She was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the faith of her mother, though she is not practicing. She has three older brothers: Aaron, Benjamin (Ben), and Nathaniel (Nate). Her parents divorced when she was an infant
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Dushku took time off from acting to finish her junior and senior years of high school. She was accepted to the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 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 whole 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 series Angel. Repentant and rededicated, Faith returned as a heroine in other 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:
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 the hit cheerleader comedy Bring It On. She followed that up with Soul Survivors, reuniting her with Race The Sun co-star Casey Affleck. One reviewer described the film as "84 minutes of everyone's wasted time". 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.
In 2003, Dushku starred the horror film Wrong Turn, and The Kiss, an independent comedy-drama. Starting that same year, she 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 if one of the deceased asks for her help to change what has happened. Dushku turned down a role in a spin-off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer which 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."
She played the lead character on Nurses, a hospital comedy/drama for Fox. This was the second Fox pilot in which she was cast, but not 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 roles in two video games. 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 was developed by Volition and published by THQ. It was released in North America on October 14, 2008, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. She was the voice talent for the role of Rubi Malone, the main character in the game WET. She appeared at Spike TV's 2008 Video Game Awards in December 2008.
More recent work
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. 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 shown in independent film festivals and has 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. A reviewer described Dushku as "charming" and giving the character "an edge." The movie was released in Los Angeles on November 30, 2007 and on DVD on January 22, 2008. She starred in Open Graves, a 2008 horror-thriller about a satanic game co-starring Mike Vogel. She played the main character in The Thacker Case and The Alphabet Killer, both thrillers based on real-life events, one of them directed by Rob Schmidt with whom she had worked on Wrong Turn. Both movies were released in 2008. The Alphabet Killer contains Dushku's first topless scene. The film earned mixed reviews, but reviewers praised Dushku's performance, commenting "Eliza Dushku commands the screen but cannot reconcile the script's conflicted and increasingly idiotic agendas." She appeared in Bottle Shock, a drama about Napa valley wine. The film was 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 would develop projects tailor-made for the actress. They approached her with existing pitches and scripts.
Consequently, it was announced on October 31 that Dushku had lured Joss Whedon, of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, back to TV, as they agreed to create a show called Dollhouse. Dushku produced the show and played the main character, 'Echo', which aired on Fox during the 2008–09 TV Season. One TV reviewer said Dushku "does wonderful things to a tank top, but her grasp of this vague, personality-changing character is a bit of a muddle." In an interview, Dushku talked about how Dollhouse, and how her reconnection with Whedon came about:
I invited Joss Whedon to lunch after I did the business deal with Fox. We'd had a cool relationship in the past and I so wanted to do something else, and I wanted to get back into a television show. I had him on the brain for sure but I hadn't called him yet, but I sort of took a leap of faith and set things up with Fox and then called Joss. We went to a four-hour lunch where I just sort of used my womanly wiles. No, we've become such good friends, kind of like brother and sister and kind of like he was my watcher, my handler from when I first moved out to L.A. when I was 17 and I was a little bit of a wild child. He's watched me and helped me and taught me over the years. I told him how bad I wanted and needed him back and he accepted and here we are.
Dushku described Whedon as "my favorite genius ... favorite friend ... big brother ... and the only person out here I've ever wholeheartedly trusted, because he's never let me down." Dollhouse was renewed for a second season. The producers cited their confidence in the strength of Joss Whedon's fan base and high DVR numbers as their reasons for keeping the show. FOX cancelled Dollhouse on November 11, 2009. The show officially wrapped filming on the second and final season on December 16, 2009.
Dushku was the voice actor for contract killer "Rubi Malone" in the action video game Wet. Dushku secured exclusive rights to make "The Perfect Moment", a film based on the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and enlisted the help of Ondi Timoner.
Dushku provides her voice for Noah's Ark: The New Beginning and will appear in the film Locked In set for release in 2010.
Dushku guest-starred in CBS' comedy The Big Bang Theory in the fall of 2010 which aired on November 4, 2010.
In 2011, Dushku featured alongside Jayson Floyd in "One Shot", a short action clip on YouTube directed by and starring Freddie Wong, which was released on May 13, 2011. Dushku will have a lead role in an online animated "motion comic" series, titled Torchwood: Web of Lies, based on Starz' upcoming Torchwood: Miracle Day.
In August 2011, Dushku visited Albania to film a documentary on her father's country of origin with a crew from the Travel Channel and Lonely Planet. She applied for Albanian citizenship and obtained the Albanian passport and ID Card. She was given the honorary title of Tirana Ambassador of Culture and Tourism in the World by mayor Lulzim Basha. In her father's home town of Korce, she was awarded honorary citizen status.
Dushku resides in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California.
Dushku is the CEO of her production company, Boston Diva Productions
In 2006, she visited her father's family in Albania after an invitation from the Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha. She visited Kosovo and got an Albanian Eagle tattoo on the back of her neck.
Dushku began dating former Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Rick Fox in October 2009, and in August 2010 the couple confirmed that they are living together.
Awards and nominations
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 at the 30th Saturn Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series for Tru Calling.
Maxim magazine ranked Dushku 6th on the "Hot 100 Women of 2009" list.
Dushku was nominated in 2009 for a Scream Award for Best Science Fiction Actress for her role of Echo
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