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Shannyn Sossamon

Sossamon at Comic-Con 2007, promoting Moonlight TV series
Born Shannon Marie Kahoolani Sossamon
October 3, 1978 (1978-10-03) (age 31)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Occupation Actress, dancer, musician
Years active 1997–present

Shannon Marie Kahoolani Sossamon[1] (born October 3, 1978) is an American actress, musician, dancer, DJ, and former model. She is perhaps best known for her roles in A Knight's Tale, The Rules of Attraction, 40 Days and 40 Nights and One Missed Call as well as her starring role on CBS's vampire drama Moonlight.


Early life

Sossamon was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Sherry Sossamon, a nurse, and Todd Lindberg; her mother later re-married Randy Goldstein.[1][2] She is of Dutch, English, Irish, German, French, Filipino, and Hawaiian descent.[3] The y in her first name was an adolescent alteration in 1995. Sossamon grew up in Reno, Nevada, and attended Galena High School there. The day after her high school graduation, Sossamon moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in dance.[4] After moving to Los Angeles, Sossamon began to work as a DJ, booking gigs in local clubs.


Early career (1998–2001)

At the beginning of her career, Sossamon modeled for various companies including Sassy Magazine, Unionbay Clothing, American Eagle Outfitters, and Planned Parenthood. She also appeared in two television commercials for Gap and starred in music videos for artists such as Daft Punk, The Goo Goo Dolls, Cher, Mick Jagger, and DJ Quik as well as Korn. In 1999, Sossamon was discovered by casting director Francine Maisler, while assisting a friend DJ at Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday party. After going through several auditions, Sossamon beat out Kate Hudson[5] for the role of 'Lady Jocelyn' and landed the lead female role in the 2001 film A Knight's Tale opposite Heath Ledger. The film received generally positive reviews and performed strongly at the box office with a domestic take of more than $55,000,000.[6]

Rise to fame (2002–2004)

After starring in A Knight's Tale, Sossamon began to receive a lot of attention from Hollywood. In 2002, she starred in Miramax Films' romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, alongside Josh Hartnett. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was considered a box office success after earning a worldwide total of $95,146,283.[7]

Also in 2002, Sossamon played a lead role in Roger Avary's dark satirical ensemble The Rules of Attraction, an adaptation of the Brett Easton Ellis book of the same name. The film was fairly controversial and provocative. It included suicide, heavy drug use, and sexual content. Initially, The Rules of Attraction was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, but the film's distributor, Lions Gate Entertainment, ordered the filmmakers to edit the film in order to receive an R rating. The film received extremely mixed reviews from critics; most either loving it or hating it. Rolling Stone called the film "a perverse and sickly delightful treat,"[8] while Richard Roeper stated that he "hated this movie."[9] Despite the mixed critical reception, the film is considered a cult hit. The film grossed $11,819,244 worldwide, almost tripling its budget.[10]

Sossamon and Heath Ledger were cast together again and starred in the supernatural thriller The Order. The film was released in late 2003. It was received very poorly by critics and flopped at the box office.[11] After shooting the unsuccessful movie, she became pregnant and decided that it was a good time to take a short break from acting.

In 2004, Shannyn guest starred on the episode "Doubt" on the popular NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. It was her only acting appearance of the year.

Recent years (2005–present)

Shannyn returned to film in 2005, by starring in the direct-to-video low-budget horror film Devour, alongside Jensen Ackles and William Sadler. Next, she had small roles in the films Undiscovered and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Undiscovered was a box-office and critical failure, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang also failed at the box office, grossing only $13,105,837 compared to a budget of $15 Million even though it was praised by critics. She also appeared alongside Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law in Nancy Meyers's 2006 romantic-comedy The Holiday. The film was mainly aimed toward women, and it received positive reviews from critics.

In 2006, Sossamon was cast as the female lead in the independent film Wristcutters: A Love Story opposite Patrick Fugit, Tom Waits, and Will Arnett. Wristcutters revolved around two characters who fell in love in purgatory after committing suicide. Its interesting plot gained the film a lot of attention. The film was shown at both The Sundance Film Festival and The Seattle International Film Festival Awards in 2006. Autonomous Films picked it up for distribution, and it was released on March 25, 2008, to extremely positive reviews. It was nominated for several awards including Sundance's Grand Jury Prize, two Independent Spirit Awards, the Humanitas Prize.[12]

Sossamon was next cast in Courteney Cox's dark drama series Dirt on FX. She starred as Kira Klay, a celebrity who, after realizing that she is pregnant, kills herself. She then appears in visions to a schizophrenic photographer. Shannyn appears in five episodes in the first season.

She then starred in the horror film Catacombs alongside singer Pink. It was FEARnet and Lions Gate Entertainment's first film collaboration. It was first released in 2007 in several countries including Italy, Japan and Mexico, but it wasn't released in the United States until 2008.[13] It was filmed in early 2005[14], but its release was delayed for more than two and a half years due to the death of one of the producers.

Next, Sossamon signed on as a series regular on CBS's vampire drama Moonlight. The series began airing on September 28, 2007, and was watched by 8.54 million viewers. CBS ordered a 16-episode first season, but over the season, viewership decreased to around 7.5 million viewers. The series had a very large fan base, but despite fans' efforts, CBS canceled the series after the first season.

Her next project, One Missed Call, was a remake of the Japanese horror film Chakushin Ari. The film also stars Ed Burns, Azura Skye, Margaret Cho, and Ray Wise. The film received extremely negative reviews from critics but was considered a major box-office success, grossing more than $42,000,000 worldwide. It was also considered a success on DVD and Blu-Ray, generating sales of more than $25,000,000 since its release on April 22, 2008.[15]

In 2008, Sossamon appeared with George Clooney in the commercial "A Beautiful Race" for the company Martini. Her next two films—The Heavy and Life Is Hot in Cracktown—were released in 2009.

Shannyn currently stars in the new HBO television series How to Make It in America.[16]

Personal life

Sossamon has three tattoos, including an S with a flower on her right back shoulder, and an "S" backward on her left shoulder. She also has a tattoo of a set of eyes with arched brows underneath the word "Believe," located on the small of her back. With Dallas Clayton, she has a son, Audio Science Clayton, born on May 29, 2003.[17] Graham Coxon's 5th solo album Happiness in Magazines features a song called "Spectacular", reportedly about Sossamon after seeing her picture on the internet. Sossamon continues to study acting, music and dance. She was originally the drummer in the Los Angeles psychedlic band, Warpaint with her sister Jenny Lindberg, but had to leave the band due to her busy schedule.


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Mr. Show unknown 2 episodes
2001 A Knight's Tale Jocelyn
2002 40 Days and 40 Nights Erica Sutton
The Rules of Attraction Lauren Hynde
2003 Wholey Moses Max Short Film
The Order Mara Sinclair
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Myra Dempsey 1 episode
2005 Devour Marisol
Chasing Ghosts Taylor Spencer
I Hate You Jo Short Film
The Double Melanie Short Film
Undiscovered Josie
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Pink Hair Girl
2006 Wristcutters: A Love Story Mikal
The Holiday Maggie
2007 Catacombs Victoria
Moonlight Coraline/Morgan 2007–2008
Dirt Kira Klay
2008 One Missed Call Beth Raymond
2009 The Heavy Claire
Life Is Hot in Cracktown Concetta
Man Without A Head Hazel Post-Production
2010 How to Make It in America Gingy Wu
Road to Nowhere TBA Filming

Television commercials

Music videos

Modelling credits


External links

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