Thorne-Smith, Courtney 1967–
Thorne-Smith, Courtney 1967–
Born November 8, 1967, in San Francisco, CA; daughter of a computer market researcher (father) and a therapist (mother); married Andrew Conrad (a genetic scientist and business owner), June 2, 2000 (marriage ended, January, 2001); married Roger Fisham (a media consultant), January 1, 2007; children: Jacob Emerson Fishman. Education: Studied acting at the Ensemble Theatre Company in CA. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, working out.
Writer, actor, and performer. Actor on television programs and series, including Fast Times, CBS, 1986; Day by Day, NBC, 1988-89; L.A. Law, 1990; Melrose Place, Fox, 1992-97; Ally McBeal, Fox, 1997-2000; Ally, Fox, 1999; Spin City, 1997-98; The Norm Show, 2000; and According to Jim, ABC, 2001—. Guest on television programs, including Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The View, Tony Danza Show, Ellen, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Caroline Rhea Show, Rosie O'Donnell Show, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Actor in television movies, including The Thanksgiving Promise, ABC, 1986; Infidelity, ABC, 1987; Breach of Conduct, USA Network, 1994; and Beauty's Revenge, NBC, 1995. Actor in motion pictures, including Lucas, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1986; Welcome to Eighteen, American Distribution Group, 1986; Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1987; Summer School, Paramount, 1987; Side Out, TriStar, 1990; The Lovemaster, Rocket Pictures Home Video, 1997; and Chairman of the Board, Trimark Pictures, 1998. Spokesperson, Race for the Cure, Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation. Served as spokesperson for Almay cosmetics, 1999.
Screen Actors Guild Award for work on Ally McBeal.
Outside In (novel), Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Self, InStyle, and Allure.
Courtney Thorne-Smith is a popular and well-known actress in film and television. The California-born performer's love of acting was ignited when she appeared in a kindergarten production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, noted a biographer on TV.com. From this modest beginning, Thorne-Smith has evolved into one of television's best-known faces through roles in prominent programs such as Melrose Place, Ally McBeal, and According to Jim.
Thorne-Smith received her first break in the entertainment business when she was "discovered in high school when 20th Century Fox was searching for a new face to play Charlie Sheen's girlfriend in their feature film, Lucas, reported the TV.com biographer. This experience convinced her that acting was the career she most desired, the biographer continued. She abandoned plans to attend college and instead moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting goals. She landed numerous other roles in feature films and television series as her fame and reputation increased.
"When Thorne-Smith auditioned with Aaron Spelling for a series pilot about young doctors, Spelling was so impressed that he had six more projects sent to her doorstep the next day," the TV.com biographer reported. Among these potential projects was a television series that interested her: Melrose Place. Her role on this extremely popular prime-time soap opera would prove to be a breakthrough for Thorne-Smith. Her portrayal of Alison Parker, often a victim of violence, bad luck, and unfortunate circumstance, caught the attention of viewers, critics, and industry insiders, all of whom reacted positively to her. Other notable television roles followed, including a stint on the quirky comedy Ally McBeal, where she played the character of Georgia, the woman married to main character McBeal's ex-boyfriend. "This time, the ghost of Allison Parker actually helped Thorne-Smith land the gig," noted Kristen Baldwin in Entertainment Weekly. The producers, Baldwin reported, felt that viewer familiarity with Thorne-Smith would help the nascent Ally McBeal to succeed, a hope that was thoroughly borne out for them. Throughout much of the 2000s, Thorne-Smith has played Cheryl on According to Jim, a situation comedy with Jim Belushi.
Thorne-Smith is also a health and fitness advocate, and has served as a spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation, and the Race for the Cure. As part of her work with the Komen Foundation, she appeared on a series of Special K cereal boxes in a breast cancer awareness campaign sponsored by the Komen Foundation and cereal maker Kellogg's.
To her already impressive list of credentials, Thorne-Smith has added that of writer and novelist. She has contributed articles to the health-related magazine Self, and to InStyle and Allure. In 2007, her debut novel, Outside In, appeared, published by Broadway Books. Protagonist Kate Keyes-Morgan is a former movie star whose celebrity has apparently ended until a role in a nighttime soap opera reinvigorates her career. Despite her outward success, Kate remains troubled by a number of personal issues. She struggles constantly with her weight and sense of self-worth in an industry that emphasizes youth, beauty, and perfectly toned bodies. Her husband, Hamilton, also her manager, is critical, controlling, and difficult to please. To her shock, Kate discovers that Hamilton is having an affair with her friend and television costar, Sapphire Rose. Soon Kate's career begins to decline again as her marriage dissolves and Hamilton removes her from the cast of Generations in favor of his new lover. Betrayed and adrift, Kate must fight to recover her life and self-esteem in an industry where vulnerability sometimes leads to complete destruction. With this novel, Thorne-Smith "offers a satisfying slice of chick lit," commented Mandi Bierly in an Entertainment Weekly review.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 46, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2003.
Business Wire, April 22, 2004, "Courtney Thorne-Smith and Jim Belushi to Host the 11th Annual Revlon Run/Walk in Los Angeles with Revlon Spokeswomen Jaime King and Karen Duffy," p. 5138.
Cosmopolitan, October, 2003, "Weighing in after Ally: Now That Ally McBeal Has Vanished from Television, Its Former Stars' Figures Have Finally Started Reappearing," author profile, p. 77.
Entertainment Weekly, September 22, 1995, Brad Watson, "Course Work," author profile, p. 16; September 19, 1997, Kristen Baldwin, "Right up Her ‘Ally,’" author profile, p. 64; September 14, 2007, Mandi Bierly, review of Outside In, p. 153.
Film Quarterly, spring, 2000, Martha P. Nochimson, "Ally McBeal Brightness Falls from the Air," p. 25.
In Style, June 1, 2005, Rhonda Richford, "According to Courtney: At Her Cozy L.A. Home Actress Courtney Thorne-Smith Cooks Up an Exotic Feast for Her TV Family to Celebrate Four Years on the Air," p. 371.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Outside In.
People, December 12, 1994, "True Grit," author profile, p. 172; February 13, 1995, "Shueless," p. 196; November 30, 1998, "Engaged," p. 160; June 26, 2000, "Hawaiian Surprise: Swept Away by Romance—but (Oops!) Still Short a Marriage License—Courtney Thorne-Smith Weds Her Scientist Beau in Paradise," p. 54; January 22, 2001, "False Start: Courtney Thorne-Smith and Her Scientist Husband Separate after Seven Months," p. 77.
PR Newswire, October 2, 2000, "Courtney Thorne-Smith Speaks Out for Girls and Women; Thorne-Smith to Make Appearance at Girls on the Move Events in Denver," p. 7453; January 4, 2001, "E! Online Columnist Ted Casablanca: Actress Courtney Thorne-Smith Separates from Husband," p. 8475.
Publishers Weekly, June 18, 2007, review of Outside In, p. 32.
San Jose Mercury News, January 13, 2008, "Courtney Thorne-Smith Gives Birth to Baby Boy."
UPI NewsTrack, November 17, 2006, "Courtney Thorne-Smith Writes a Novel"; January 8, 2007, "Courtney Thorne-Smith Weds in Secret."
USA Today, September 20, 2007, William Keck, "Thorne-Smith Lived ‘Outside In’—And Then Wrote about It," author interview, p. 4D.
World Entertainment News Network, January 8, 2007, "Thorne-Smith Marries in Secret Ceremony"; February 15, 2007, "Thorne-Smith Planned Stress-Free Second Wedding"; June 26, 2007, "Thorne-Smith to Be a New Year Mum"; August 17, 2007, "Thorne-Smith: ‘Book Is Not Autobiographical’"; September 23, 2007, "Thorne-Smith Glad She Waited to Become a Mum."
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (April 22, 2008), author filmography.
TV.com,http://www.tv.com/ (April 18, 2008), author profile.
Zap2It.com,http://www.zap2it.com (December 5, 2000), "Thorne-Smith Left Ally McBeal over Pressure to Be Thin"; (January 14, 2008), "BRIEF: According to Jim Star Gives Birth: It's the First Child for Courtney Thorne-Smith."