"I'd do a nude scene for world peace or if I were facing some serious jail time."
Some screen careers are launched in the most unexpected ways. The talented actress Jorja Fox’s rising star can be traced to one of those serendipitous beginnings. Like many a Hollywood beauty, she was first discovered by the modeling world. As a joke, the 15 year-old Fox entered a modeling contest at a local mall in her Florida hometown, never expecting to win. She recalls that she was "a fish out of water because I wasn't a classic beauty. In Florida, beauty was all about being blond and tan. I'm a tall, gangly, dark-haired Irish girl. I just didn't fit the bill." Nevertheless, win she did. The contest’s prize included an offer extended by Elite, the high profile modeling agency, to the winner to live and work in New York City. After spending the summer testing the modeling waters, Fox decided to stay in the city and complete high school. She appeared mostly in print media in the U.S. and also modeled in Europe, eventually returning to New York at age 18.
By this time, Fox began to explore acting, studying with veteran character actor William Hickey at New York's Lee Strasberg Institute as she auditioned for roles. At age 19, she scored her first movie role in a brooding independent film, “The Kill-Off,” which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1989. Over the next few years, she won a series of small parts in films, which were enough to convince her that she was on the right career path. "By age 25,” she explains, “I knew I could make a living as an actor."
Fox soon made the shift to television work, gradually increasing her profile within the industry. In the early 1990s, she appeared in such television specials as "Summer Stories: The Mall", an installment of "ABC Afterschool Specials" and "Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story", one of HBO's "Lifestories: Families in Crisis". Eagle-eyed fans will remember seeing her in a 1993 episode of "Law & Order" (NBC) as well. The “L&O” bit part helped pave the way for a regular role as an investigator for the Chicago police on ABC's short-lived "Missing Persons" (1993-94).
Fox’s first big break on the small screen came in 1996 when she landed the role of Dr. Maggie Doyle, a gun-toting vegetarian lesbian who was in residency at the "ER" (NBC). Doyle, a recurring character from 1996 through 1999, was noteworthy due to Fox’s memorable and finely tuned performances. As one critic noted, Fox brought her character to life with a winning combination of “grace, reserve and vulnerability.” With her Maggie Doyle persona already familiar to millions of viewers, Fox went on to do a guest spot in the much talked-about 1997 "coming out" episode of ABC's "Ellen."
In 1999, Fox moved on from “ER” to begin a recurring role on the Emmy-winning NBC drama "The West Wing." Fox’s Gina Toscano, a Secret Service agent charged with guarding the daughter (Elisabeth Moss) of the President of the United States (Martin Sheen), stood out as a strong, independent female character, the type of role that has become a hallmark of Fox’s career. Only a year after joining “The West Wing,” however, the producers of freshman drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” came calling. Although she had only a day or so to make up her mind, Fox made a savvy move and agreed to join the stylish forensics drama. She made her first appearance as Sara Sidle in the series’ second episode, Cool Change.
“CSI” became an immediate hit with audiences intrigued with the show's “geek chic” use of scientific techniques to solve crimes. But it is the compelling characterizations of the Vegas team, including Fox’s Sara Sidle, that have done the most to secure viewer loyalty. Sara, an intense, brilliant workaholic hand-picked by Gil Grissom (William Petersen) to join his team, is a perfect example of how “CSI” has managed to craft characters that connect with audiences. We know very little about Sara, other than her basic biographical information, but that has not kept Fox from pulling audiences in with her portrayal. Indeed, she seems to use the air of mystery that surrounds Sara to her acting advantage, giving viewers the sense that Sara is often a bit of mystery to herself as well.
Fox’s portrayal of Sara is been a highly nuanced affair, in fact, revealing the character’s strength and weaknesses, a passion for justice, and an admirable willingness to put herself on the line to get at the truth. As CBS’ official character biography notes, however, she does tend to hide in her job, hoping to avoid the confusing business of relating to other people. Over the last two seasons (2001-2003), fans have seen Sara step outside of her own boundaries in search of a better balance between the work she loves and the need to find a life beyond that work. It is a testimony to Jorja Fox’s acting skills that viewers have been able to trace Sara’s emotional evolution, even in the context of the show’s focus on the science. Some of the CSI episodes in which Fox’s skills are shown to best advantage include: Crate n Burial, Gentle, Gentle, Sex, Lies and Larvae, Too Tough to Die, Strip Strangler, Scuba Doobie Doo, You’ve Got Male, Burden of Proof, Primum Non Nocere, Hunger Artist, The Accused Is Entitled, Blood Lust, Crash and Burn, and Playing With Fire.
Even in the midst of this stellar work on the small screen, though, Fox has also continued to land roles in motion pictures. She appeared in a supporting role as Alan Arkin's love interest in the comedy "The Jerky Boys" in 1995. In that same year, audiences caught sight of her in the black comedy "Dead Funny" and the romance "Alchemy" as well. In 1997, Fox won a role in the critically acclaimed independent feature "How to Make the Cruelest Month,” in addition to a featured role in the NBC miniseries "House of Frankenstein 1997.” "The Hungry Bachelor's Club" provided her next star turn in 1999, and in 2001 she landed a key role in the twisty and highly regarded thriller “Memento,” playing the murdered wife of a man (Guy Pearce) suffering from a disturbing form of amnesia. Her latest movie project is “Down with the Joneses,” a indie character drama in which she portrays a “desperate, angry, used-up wife.”
In addition to film and television, Fox is drawn to the theater. She co-founded the experimental theater group Honeypot Productions in 2000 and continues to write and star in plays for the Los Angeles-based group during CSI’s summer hiatuses.
Although her busy schedule does not leave with her very much free time, Fox still finds opportunities to play guitar, travel and surf. She lives in Los Angeles and shares her home with two cats and a dog.
Jorja Fox Nude: