Gillian Anderson

Occupation: Actress
Date of Birth: August 9, 1968
Place of Birth: Chicago, Ill., USA
Sign: Sun in Leo, Moon in Aquarius
Relations: Ex-husband: Clyde Klotz; daughter: Piper
Education: B.F.A., DePaul University


AS a teenager, Gillian Anderson kept busy by shocking her middle-American hometown with her outrageous dress and spiked hair of varying colors. Like many angry young girls of the '80s, she could best be described as a cross between Madonna and Cyndi Lauper; Anderson swore at pedestrians who looked at her funny and sported the occasional safety pin through her cheek.

Anderson was raised in London from the age of two, but her family decided to move back to the States just as she was entering those formative teen years. They landed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where her English accent immediately made her the subject of ridicule. Either out of anger at the move or just general teenage angst, Anderson rebelled. At the age of fourteen, she hooked up with a twenty-one-year-old Sid Vicious wanna-be, winning his loyalty by buying him "Big Gulps and cigarettes" and sometimes singing back-up in his punk band wearing nothing but bandages. The rebellion spilled over to high school, where she was a notorious hellcat; she was even arrested while trying to glue the school's doors shut just days before her graduation. Anderson got a hint of her fame to come in her high school's hall of fame when she was voted Class Clown, Most Bizarre Girl, and Most Likely To Go Bald.

But even before the glue dried, Anderson had begun a transformation. She had found an outlet for her frustration in community theatre?an interest that she continued to pursue at the Goodman Theater School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago. After earning a degree in fine arts, Anderson moved to the Big Apple, where she worked in off-Broadway plays and, like all other actresses, supported herself as a waitress. Her first real break came when she replaced Mary-Louise Parker in the play Absent Friends. That role led to a low-budget feature called The Turning, and another stage role in The Philanthropist. Anderson decided to try her luck in Los Angeles, but there was one problem: she was a television snob and refused for quite a while to go on pilot auditions. In fact, when she finally gave in and auditioned for a new Fox series called The X-Files, her agent had to explain to her what a pilot was. Soon she found herself on a plane to Vancouver, B.C., having landed the role of F.B.I. agent Dana Scully.

While Anderson may have thought landing a plum role on a new series was a piece of cake, there was a great deal of behind-the-scenes controversy about her being cast. The paranormal show's creator, Chris Carter, lobbied hard for the less-bodacious-than-usual actress. (Executives wanted Pamela Lee with a brain, but Carter flat-out refused.) Her agent fudged her age a bit by adding a few years so the twenty-four-year-old Anderson would seem credible playing an F.B.I. agent with a medical degree. To exacerbate the situation, during the first season, when the show was still trying to find its audience, Anderson found out she was pregnant by her then-husband, Clyde Klotz, the show's art director. Anderson feared she would be replaced, but Carter championed her cause once again and worked around it (in fact, some of that season's best episodes came from Carter having to write around her pregnancy). The show experienced exploding popularity the next two seasons, and Anderson and her co-star, David Duchovny, have become intellectual centerfolds for millions on the Internet. Fan clubs have sprung up: Anderson has the Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade to complement Duchovny's Estrogen Brigade. (In fact, there's also an Anderson Estrogen Brigade). Anderson's fame has reached the point where it's downright dangerous: ten thousand fans showed up at a mall in Australia where Anderson was on-hand to sign copies of an X-Files video. Two people were rushed to the hospital and dozens were treated for hyperventilation when the crowd surged toward the stage.

Anderson has made a 180-degree turn from her adolescent days. Nowadays, her life consists of motherhood and grueling television work: the only wildness in her life is caused by her rabid fans. Her daughter, Piper, has become something of a mascot on the set (when Piper was cutting her first teeth, she even wore a shirt emblazoned with the phrase, "The tooth is out there," a play on the show's popular message, "The truth is out there") and any off time Anderson can grab is spent with her. By now, her various piercings have closed up, and her hair didn't fall out from excessive dye. It seems that the former punk rocker, who says that she "feels like I'm going nuts" when she listens to the music of her youth, turned out downright regular.

The Emmy-winning actress has also essayed a handful of movie roles: She appeared alongside Sharon Stone, Gena Rowlands, and Harry Dean Stanton in the family drama The Mighty; she shot a cameo in the forthcoming Hellcab, which also stars John Cusack and fellow carrottop Julianne Moore; and certainly most exciting of her big-screen efforts to date is the smartly made summer 1998 feature version of her TV series, The X-Files: Fight the Future.

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