|Born||(1970-05-12) May 12, 1970
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Samantha Mathis (born May 12, 1970) is an American actress. The daughter of actress Bibi Besch, Mathis made her film debut in Pump Up the Volume (1990), and later co-starred or appeared in such films as Little Women (1994), The American President (1995), Broken Arrow (1996), American Psycho (2000), The Punisher (2004), and Atlas Shrugged: Part II (2012).
Mathis was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Donald Mathis and Austrian-born actress Bibi Besch. Her parents divorced when she was two years old, and Mathis was raised by her mother. She relocated with her mother to Los Angeles at the age of five. Mathis’s mother discouraged her from pursuing acting, but growing up on locations, in theaters, and in acting classes, Mathis knew she wanted to act. She decided to become an actress at the age of twelve.
Mathis began acting professionally at the age of 16. Her first job was a commercial for “Always Slender Pads – Just For Teens.” She costarred in the television series Aaron’s Way and Knightwatch from 1988 to 1989. Her first starring role in a feature film was that of Nora in Pump Up the Volume (1990), opposite Christian Slater, whom she briefly dated at the time. Mathis dyed her natural blonde hair black for the role in an effort to change her image from sweet and innocent to strong-willed.
Mathis appeared in the television movies Extreme Close-up, 83 Hours ’til Dawn, and To My Daughter in 1990. Mathis and Slater had voice roles in the animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). She next appeared in the comedy This Is My Life (1992), written and directed by Nora Ephron, playing an insecure teenager. Mathis appeared in the play Fortinbras in New York City in October 1992. Super Mario Bros. (1993), in which she played Princess Daisy from the popular Nintendo video game, was a box-office bomb.
Mathis met actor River Phoenix on the set of The Thing Called Love (1993) and the two started a relationship. She was with Phoenix on October 31, 1993, the night he died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital of a drug overdose after collapsing outside West Hollywood’s Viper Room. She made the film Jack and Sarah (1995), which was shot in London, in order to get out of the country after his death because of the plentiful press coverage.
Mathis appeared in the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women, and in How to Make an American Quilt (1995), both starring Winona Ryder. She then appeared in The American President (1995), playing the assistant to the President of the United States. Mathis costarred with Christian Slater again, along with John Travolta, in John Woo‘s Broken Arrow (1996). She took a little over a year off from acting after her mother died in 1996 from breast cancer.
Mathis later appeared in American Psycho (2000), a film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis‘s 1991 novel of the same name. She starred in Attraction (2000), and in The Simian Line (2001). She starred in the TNT television miniseries The Mists of Avalon (2001). Mathis starred with Thomas Jane in The Punisher (2004). She had a guest role on the ABC television show Lost as Olivia Goodspeed. Her indie film Lebanon, PA had its world premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. She appeared in an off-Broadway production of the play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, at New York City‘s Westside Theatre in October 2011.
In 2013, Mathis played psychiatrist Alice Calvert on the CBS television series Under the Dome, based on a novel by Stephen King. She joined the cast of the FX horror drama series The Strain in 2014, playing Justine Feraldo, a New York City councilwoman for Staten Island.
Mathis was the last girlfriend of actor River Phoenix and was with Phoenix the night he died as a result of a drug overdose while attending The Viper Room in Los Angeles, California. In the autopsy report the Los Angeles Police detailed that Mathis refused several times to give more details surrounding the death of Phoenix and had told deputies at the time of Phoenix’s death that she had no knowledge of his drug use.
Awards and nominations
Mathis was nominated in 1995 for a Young Artist Award at the Young Artist Awards for Best Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture for This Is My Life (1992) and in 2005 for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Supporting Actress on Television for Salem’s Lot (2004) (TV).
|1988||Circle of Love||Roseanne Miller||Television movie|
|1989||Cold Sassy Tree||Lightfoot McClendon||Television movie|
|1990||Extreme Close-Up||Laura||Television movie|
|1990||83 Hours ‘Til Dawn||Julie Burdock||Television movie|
|1990||To My Daughter||Anne Carlston||Television movie|
|1990||Pump Up the Volume||Nora Diniro|
|1992||This Is My Life||Erica Ingels||Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture|
|1992||FernGully: The Last Rainforest||Crysta (voice)|
|1993||Music of Chance, TheThe Music of Chance||Tiffany|
|1993||Super Mario Bros.||Princess Daisy|
|1993||Thing Called Love, TheThe Thing Called Love||Miranda Presley|
|1994||Little Women||Adult Amy March|
|1995||Jack and Sarah||Amy|
|1995||How to Make an American Quilt||Young Sophia Darling Richards||Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1995||American President, TheThe American President||Janie Basdin|
|1996||Broken Arrow||Terry Carmichael|
|1996||Museum of Love||Stephanie||Short film|
|1998||Waiting for Woody||Gail Silver||Short film|
|1999||Freak City||Ruth Ellison||Television movie|
|2000||Simian Line, TheThe Simian Line||Mae|
|2000||American Psycho||Courtney Rawlinson|
|2001||Mists of Avalon, TheThe Mists of Avalon||Gwenhwyfar||Television movie|
|2002||Becoming Glen||Unknown||Television movie|
|2004||Punisher, TheThe Punisher||Maria Castle|
|2004||Salem’s Lot||Susan Norton||Television movie
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
|2005||Fathers and Sons||Jenny||Television movie|
|2005||Kids in America||Jennifer Rose|
|2006||Believe in Me||Jean Driscoll|
|2006||Absolution||Bettina Lloyd||Television movie|
|2007||Stranger’s Heart, AA Stranger’s Heart||Callie Morgan||Television movie|
|2007||Mitch Albom’s For One More Day||Young Pauline ‘Posey’ Benetto||Television movie|
|2009||New Daughter, TheThe New Daughter||Cassandra Parker|
|2009||Apple Pie and Coffee||(voice)||Short film|
|2010||Buried||Linda Conroy (voice)|
|2010||Order of Chaos||Jennifer|
|2010||Unanswered Prayers||Lorrie Beck||Television movie|
|2011||Good Day for It||Sarah Bryant|
|2011||Camilla Dickinson||Rose Dickinson|
|2012||Atlas Shrugged: Part II||Dagny Taggart|
|2016||Ray Meets Helen||Mary|
|2016||American Pastoral||Penny Hamlin|
|1988||Aaron’s Way||Roseanne Miller||14 Episodes|
|1988 – 1989||Knightwatch||Jacqueline ‘Jake’ Monroe||9 Episodes|
|1989||CBS Summer Playhouse||Mary Dunne||Episode: “American Nuclear”|
|1999||Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits||Marie Wells||Episode: “The Shroud“|
|1999 – 2000||Harsh Realm||Sophie Green||4 Episodes|
|2001||First Years||Ann Weller||9 Episodes|
|2001||Night Visions||Diane Ballard||Episode: “The Passenger List/Bokor”|
|2002||PBS Hollywood Presents||Lisa Morrison||Episode: “Collected Stories”|
|2003||Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone||Rachel Stark||Episode: “Into the Light“|
|2003||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Hilary Barclay||Episode: “Control”|
|2005||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Dr. Christine Ansel||Episode: “Saving Face”|
|2006||Secrets of a Small Town||Samantha Steele||Episode: “Pilot”|
|2006||House||Maria Palko||Episode: “Clueless“|
|2006||Nightmares & Dreamscapes||Karen Evans||Episode: “The Fifth Quarter“|
|2007||Lost||Olivia Goodspeed||Episode: “The Man Behind the Curtain“|
|2009||Grey’s Anatomy||Melinda Prescott||3 Episodes|
|2009||Royal Pains||Amy Hill||Episode: “Wonderland”|
|2011||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Donna||Episode: “The Hero”|
|2013||Under the Dome||Alice Calvert||8 Episodes|
|2015 – 2016||The Strain||Justine Feraldo||17 Episodes|