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Liza Weil Biography


Home > Actresses > W > Weil, Liza > Biography


Birth Name: Liza Weil
Born: 1977


New Jersey native Liza Rebecca Weil was born on June 5, 1977 to parents well acquainted with performing and the arts. Her father, Marc Weil, founded The Madhouse Company of London comedy troupe in 1973 and specialized in a brand of lunacy patterned after the Marx Brothers and Monty Python. The revue - which included popular actor-comedian Jim Carter among its cast members - was a success and he toured throughout Europe and the United States with his wife, Lisa. When daughter Liza came along a few years into the run, she, too, travelled with the troupe. It was this show business exposure from an early age that no doubt helped inspire her decision to pursue acting. Weil's parents supported that dream and by age 12, she was going to auditions. After spending some time in Boston, MA, the family eventually moved to Lansdale, PA, where Weil attended North Penn High School. A less-than-engaged student by her own admission, she did glean satisfaction from the experience by participating in some of the institution's dramatic presentations. At age 16, she made her stage bow in the play "The Speed of Darkness" at the Montgomery Theater in Sounderton.

Weil was still a student at North Penn when she received her first TV credit on the Nickleodeon show "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (1993-96). Upon finishing high school, she moved to New York City to attend Columbia University and earned a role in the award-winning dramatic short "A Cure for Serpents" (1997). Weil then landed her first starring part as a disaffected 1980s teen in the coming-of-age drama "Whatever" (1998). The film was not widely distributed, but both it and Weil's subtle, yet expressive performance were generally well reviewed and she followed up with a supporting assignment in the Kevin Bacon horror sleeper "Stir of Echoes" (1998). After guest parts on such programs as "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006), where she played an intern responsible for a disastrous press leak, Weil was enlisted for a three-episode stint on the dramedy "Gilmore Girls" (The WB, 2000-07) as pushy, sardonic and committed student Paris Gellar. Response to her character and performance was enthusiastic and she was invited to join the cast of regulars. The program initially garnered positive reviews, but few viewers. However, its numbers gradually rose, due in no small part to Weil's comedic abilities which helped to make the often exasperating Paris also surprisingly endearing, particularly when verbally sparring with her fellow prep students. "Gilmore Girls" garnered an extra burst of press coverage in the spring of 2004 when Weil's character unexpectedly shared a lesbian kiss with co-star Alexis Bleidel, who played Rory Gilmore, Paris' main competition and unlikely friend.

In between working on the show, Weil also found time to appear in the Kevin Costner fantasy "Dragonfly" (2002) and a pair of indie features that failed to garner a notable release beyond the festival circuit. She also returned to the Montgomery Theater stage for a production of "Proof" (2004), acting opposite her father, who also essayed that role in the play. One of her more unusual assignments was the short horror film "Grace" (2006), about a woman who is told that her unborn baby is dead, but decides to carry the child to term anyway. The project was created to generate funding for a feature length version, which was released in 2009, but with Weil's character interpreted instead by Jordan Ladd. In 2006, Weil married actor Paul Adelstein, best known for the programs "Prison Break" (Fox, 2005-09) and "Private Practice" (ABC, 2007- ).

When "Gilmore Girls" concluded its run, Weil resumed guest starring on primetime programs, including a memorable episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ) that sent up programs like "Star Trek" and science fiction fans. Weil also received an Indie Soap Award for the Internet series "Anyone but Me" (2008), where she appeared in four episodes as a therapist working with one-half of the young lesbian couple at the show's core. She also appeared in a handful of short features and additional independent films, including "Year of the Dog" (2007), "Neal Cassady" (2007), "The Missing Person" (2009) and "Frenemy" (2009), which was misleadingly marketed as a Zach Galifianakis vehicle on the basis of his co-starring role. Weil garnered a lot of attention for her six-episode run on the mid-season replacement "Scandal" (ABC, 2012- ), which centered around a respected public relations damage control team, led by the series' star, Kerry Washington. A former White House intern, Weil's character claimed to have had an affair with the President, which left her pregnant. She was later found murdered, with clues that suggested someone high up in the administration was involved.

By John Charles