Saturday, April 17, 2010

Portia De Rossi

Yesterday I saw that Portia de Rossi was next on the list. I thought about how I used to think she was incredibly beautiful, but then I stopped liking her. Why? I didn't know. I see her, and get a bit of the creeps. Then I remembered. She was on Nip/Tuck, and I had developed a strong dislike of that show. I forgot which season she was on, but it was the last season I watched on a regular basis. The show had actually seemed to be improving. Then she and her on-screen daughter came on, and made things stupid again.

Maybe by doing this post I shall rekindle my liking of Portia de Rossi. I hope so.

Lord Wiki says Portia de Rossi wasn't always called Portia de Rossi. Her original name was Amanda Lee Rogers. Lord Wiki says the word Portia can refer to a type of jumping spider, a moon of Uranus, a character in The Merchant of Venice, or a Polynesian plant. I wonder which of those inspired Portia de Rossi. Or maybe she just liked the sound of Portia.

Baby Amanda was born in Horsham Victoria, on 31 January 1973. She's younger than me! I picture her being older for some reason. Although she's only two months younger. I think my brother-in-law may have been born that day too. Although I always forget if he was born on the 30 or 31.

I'm looking at Google Maps. Horsham is about four hours north-west of Melbourne. I think it's one of the places we will pass if we drive from Melbourne to Adelaide.

At some point, de Rossi and her family moved to Geelong, which is about an hour south-west of Melbourne.

De Rossi attended Geelong Grammar School and Melbourne Girls Grammar School. Then de Rossi went to the University of Melbourne to study law. But she left to pursue the TV star thing. I think her first major American role was on Ally McBeal, and that was a law show. So, that's pretty cool. Maybe her law-learning helped her with the part.

Oh wait. Lord Wiki provides a quote about why de Rossi changed her name. She was a fan of The Merchant of Venice. And she said it was about her homosexuality....kind of an identity crisis type thing. Maybe.

I'm going to skip the career stuff now, and get that from IMDb....

There's more personal stuff here.

She's openly gay. She was married to a man from 1996 to 1999, but that was just to get a green card.

From 2000-2004, she dated a female singer. Her Ally McBeal castmates hadn't known she was gay, but then the tabloid photos started appearing. But back then, de Rossi kept her sexual orientation fairly quiet.

In 2005, she came out of the closet and started a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. On 16 August 2008, the lovely couple got married. I guess this was when California allowed gay marriage.

Lord Wiki says that gay marriage thing had a very short open-window. June 2008 to November 2008. Shit. What's the lesson there? If you're gay, and your state suddenly allows gay marriage, rush and get married! I wouldn't risk any long engagements. Who knows when your rights will be stripped away.

During her Ally McBeal days, de Rossi was being anorexic. Hopefully, she's doing better with those issues now.

De Rossi and her wife are both vegans. Oh....speaking of that. I've totally forgotten to do my vegan Wednesdays. I need to go back to doing that. I've been BAD. At least I'm still managing to be vegetarian though. I almost slipped there as well. Tim had Kalbi (Korean ribs) in Waikiki, and they looked and smelled SO good. I was so incredibly tempted. Realistically, I should have just ate a piece or two. It's probably better to be a person who eats meat on rare occasions, then a vegetarian who eats a lot of dairy. I think it's that whole purity thing, and the desire to fit into a nice little label. It's easier to say I'm vegetarian, then I'm sort of vegetarian, but every so often I eat meat. The other thing is I'm afraid if I open myself up, then there will be expectations of me. I know you hardly eat meat, but you HAVE to try this chicken I make. It's amazing.

Maybe what I should do is let myself eat meat IF I know for sure it comes from an ethical one of those little awesome family farms. Although now that I'm considering it, I'm feeling a bit grossed out. So maybe it's not an issue anyway. And in all honesty, though I craved the meat in Waikiki, it's not like the craving lingered. I think I forgot about it by the time the table was cleared. For the most part, meat grosses me out. I especially hate the idea of dead flesh stuck in my teeth. I hate when you floss and find a piece of meat from hours before....knowing it's been sitting in your mouth. And I hate the idea of dead animals sitting in my stomach and coming out in my shit.

I wish I could feel this disgusted about dairy and eggs. Then I could be much more ethical.

I better end my tangent here. And speaking of food....I need to feed us. Then we'll start looking at the career of Portia de Rossi.

I'm back.  

De Rossi's first screen role was in 1993. This was Sirens, that Norman Lindsay movie starring Sam Neil. I don't think I realized Hugh Grant was in it.

Was it filmed in Australia?

Yeah. It was. Cool. It was filmed in New South Wales though. Wasn't Lindsay from Victoria?

Yep. Lord Wiki says he was. But later he lived in New South Wales.

Rachel Portman did the musical score for the movie. I like her work.

Here's a scene from the movie. There's nude women and water snakes. That girl with the close-up at 3:10 reminds me a little of Alyssa Milano.

In 1995, de Rossi was in a movie called The Woman in the Moon. IMDb's information on it was so scant, I assumed it was a short. But it's not. It's 88 minutes. This film website says it was an independent film, and de Rossi played a drug addict.

From 1995-1996, de Rossi did 22 episodes of a TV show called Too Something. I can't really find much about it.

Next, she did a TV show called Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher. IMDb lists it as an American show, but a reviewer says it was popular in Australia. Well, I guess that's not too unusual. A lot of American shows are popular in Australia.

Lord Wiki says it was shown on the WB network in America. I don't remember it at all. It's about an actor whose day job is working as a substitute teacher. He's like John Locke in the flash-sideways! Although John Locke isn't really an aspiring actor or anything.

De Rossi played a social studies teacher.

Here's a quick promo of the show. It looks fairly awful.

In 1997, de Rossi was in Scream 2. I like that movie. Nev Campbell is one of my female crushes. Although I've lost some love for her, because her character in Medium really creeped me out.

Here's the trailer for Scream 2. I think you can see de Rossi very briefly at about 2:15, but she's almost subliminal. That also might be her around 1:52. I'm not sure.

There's supposed to be a Scream 4 coming up. I'm excited about that. I hope it's good.

De Rossi started her work on Ally McBeal in 1998, and continued to be on the show until 2002.

In 2000, there was another show called Ally. I don't remember this. It was a shortened version of the show, without the court scenes. It dealt with the more personal issues of Ally McBeal's life. I don't know if the longer version continued simultaneously, or whether they tried the shorter version, and then returned to the regular one.

This mini-documentary about uni-sex bathrooms in Ally McBeal features a little scene with de Rossi. It starts at :54. It's a bit short again.

De Rossi did various projects while working on Ally McBeal.

In 1998, she was in Girl. It's about a sheltered straight A student who decides to try the wild life. I don't think de Rossi had a big role in it.

Here's the trailer, anyway. The realtor from Poltergeist is in it. You can see de Rossi at :51. It looks like she's plays the protagonist's father's girlfriend.

Wait! She actually has lines in the trailer. It begins at 1:21.

I guess the movie is a coming of age type thing.

Also in 1998, De Rossi did a TV movie called Perfect Assassins. The idea behind it is that children are kidnapped and turned into killers. De Rossi played the sister of one of the killers.

In 1999, De Rossi did a movie about models called The Invisibles. This reviews website says De Rossi plays a supermodel. It seems the movie is about people trying to cling to their careers.

Celebrities don't often keep their fame.

De Rossi was in American Intellectuals. It's about blond waspy people in the Hamptons. I can't find much else about it.

Also in 1999, De Rossi was in Stigmata. Tim and I saw this. Patricia Arquette was in it. I can't remember if we liked it or not. I like Patricia Arquette though.

Here's the trailer for the movie. It looks okay. Lord Wiki makes it sound interesting to me. It's too bad I don't remember it more.

The movie is a criticism of the Catholic Church. The idea is that the church excommunicates people who promote gospels they're not happy about. If I'm reading this right, Arquette is possessed by a dead priest who was excommunicated because he talked about Jesus not wanting churches built. The idea is that attending church is less important than being a good person and helping others. I'm all for that.

I'm not sure who Portia de Rossi played in the movie. I don't think she had a very big part.

In 2001, De Rossi was in Women in Film. It sounds like it could be a documentary. But I think it's fiction. De Rossi doesn't appear as herself. She plays Gina.

Also in 2001, de Rossi was in Who is Cletis Tout? It involved a diamond heist, so I probably wouldn't be interested. I don't like heist stories.

Here's the trailer. Christian Slater seems to be the star.

It doesn't look at all appealing to me.

In 2002, de Rossi was in a TV movie thriller called The Glow. The plot reminds me of Rosemary's Baby. A young couple moves into a NYC apartment, and elderly neighbors bother them. It sounds interesting.

Here's a very short scene from it.

De Rossi did an episode of a modern version of The Twilight Zone. I remember there being a Twilight Zone in the 1980's or 1990's. I didn't know there was one in the 2000's. YouTube seems to have the whole episode. I'm going to watch it. I like that kind of stuff.

Forrest Whitaker is doing the Rod Serling bit.

I just had a major memory pop into my head. When I worked at the Cystic Fibrosis camp, we did skits every year. One year, our cabin did a Twilight Zone parody. The camp director would always make us recite this song about birds in their nest. So we did a skit about the camp in the future, and doing the song as elderly people. And I think we had a Rod Serling type bit. I don't remember much about it. Slowly, it's coming back to me. I think little Passha did the Rod Serling thing. I remember her wearing a black jacket or something. Okay....I'm rambling down memory lane here.

Let me get back to watching the video.

De Rossi's crying looks really fake in this.

The music is a bit overdramatic. I mean I think the show depends too much on music to give us the idea we should be scared.

Do people really sit in their house wearing high heels?

So far, I'm finding this to be a pretty stupid episode.

I think I know who the guilty person is, but I won't say in case someone wants to watch it. I'll just say if I'm right or wrong.

I'm right...totally right. This is WAY too predictable.

No wait. I'm wrong! And now I'm impressed. That was a pretty good twist there. I'm still not loving it though.

In 2003, de Rossi was in a TV movie called America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story. That was sad when he died.

De Rossi played Carolyn Kennedy.

Here's some scenes from the movie.

I was thinking De Rossi was Caroline the sister. But this is the wife. I was all confused.

This scene is the couple meeting for the first time. There's some sweet little flirting going on.

De Rossi did two episodes of a TV show called Mister Sterling. It's a political show about a guy in politics who tries to be less political. He tries to be more honest. Yeah. That would be refreshing.

Oh. IMDb says it was set in the same fictional universe as West Wing. That's kind of cool.

De Rossi was in the movie I Witness which is about murders in Tijuana. It's a human rights political type thing.

She did the Australian movie The Night We Called it a Day. This is that movie about Frank Sinatra doing a tour in Australia. I talked about it when I researched Rose Byrne.

Here's the trailer. I don't remember watching it before. It looks really good...kind of explores the whole tall poppy concept. De Rossi plays the reporter that Sinatra insults. This gets him in big trouble with the Aussie public.

Around this time period of her life, de Rossi started working on Arrested Development. Tim used to watch that show.

De Rossi played Lindsay Funke. There should be two little dots above the u, but I don't know how to do that. Sorry!

Lord Wiki says her character was one of those who gets involved with charities, not because she really cares, but because it's trendy.

In 2005, de Rossi won best actress in the Satellite Awards. These are given out by the International Press Academy...whoever they are. In their last award ceremony, their best TV show was Breaking Bad. I've never even heard of that. Lord Wiki says it's about a teacher with cancer who decides to join the world of crime to get money for his family's future.

I feel very out of the loop right now.

Here's some scenes from Arrested Development. Actually, I'm not sure if that's from the show, or if it's some kind of extra thing.

In 2004, de Rossi was in a horror-comedy called Dead and Breakfast. I don't think I ever heard of that one. As the title suggests, it's a horror movie about a bed and breakfast.

Here's the trailer. I think you can see de Rossi at about :41.

It has dancing zombies. That might be fun. The song's cute.

In 2005, de Rossi was in Cursed. It's a horror thing made by the same writer and director of Scream. I'm surprised I don't remember it. Again....totally out of the loop here.

It's werewolf thing. Christina Ricci is in it. Here's the trailer. De Rossi appears at 1:46. To me, it looks like the movie tries hard too hard to be funny. I feel I should be laughing, but I'm not. I much prefer New Moon.

De Rossi started working on Nip/Tuck in 2007. She played Julia's girlfriend, and her daughter was having some kind of thing going on with Sean.

Here are some scenes. I've actually seen this before. The beginnings not too bad. It's dealing with the whole idea of lesbians coming out of the closet, and also the whole public displays of affection thing. Should you be loud and proud with your love, or be more subtle about it all? I think they're trying to say there's a difference between being accepting and open about your sexuality, and excessively flaunting it. The first is about being secure with oneself, and the last is really about the opposite. Some PDA is really sweet, especially when it's done out of pure love. For example, a couple kissing good-bye at the airport. That's nice. But when it's done in the spirit of proving something to other people....yuck.

In 2009, De Rossi was in a thing called Ambition to Meaning: Finding Your Life's Purpose. It looks like it's some kind of self-help thing involving Wayne Dyer.

Here are scenes from it. And here's the official website. I'm guessing it's kind of like The Secret. Although so far, I'm liking Wayne Dyer's message more. He talks about how we obsess too much about having more and more possessions.

I think that's de Rossi at 5:20. I guess the movie has fictional example scene things.

It's all a little.....I don't know? Forced? Preachy? Kind of fake? But the basic message seems okay to me. Some of it speaks to me right now. There's stuff about how we get our self-worth from how others treat us. Sometimes I feel rejected. I try to stay strong, and remember that just because someone doesn't like me, it doesn't mean I'm a bad person. Maybe I should be like Stuart Smalley and say that in front of a mirror.

I also like what he says about being a women. He says we often define ourselves by roles in our family. We feel we need to be the perfect mother, wife, daughter, sister, etc. But he says we have a life purpose outside of that, and we shouldn't feel guilty about pursuing it. It's okay to have an outside job or a hobby.

I just checked my email and I got something from CNN saying Obama is going to do something about hospitals not allowing gay people to visit their partners. That's good! It makes me sick to think that hospitals would do otherwise. For some people, it's not their blood or legal relatives that are their family. It reminds me of my high school, and this rule that you were only allowed to miss school for the funeral of an immediate family member. That's ridiculous. You can't fit love into easy little compartments.

Can you imagine....being sick in the hospital, and the person you love can't be there with you? It makes me so sad to even imagine.

I'm going to go cook dinner. Then I shall continue with all of this.

I'm back.

Currently, de Rossi has been starring in a show called Better Off Ted. Here's a commercial for the show. Oh! Funny. I thought that was a real commercial at of those annoying commercials you have to watch before watching some online videos. But it was actually part of the show.

I guess the show is about science. Lord Wiki says it's about an evil corporation. It's on ABC, the same network that gives us Lost. I wonder what day it's on.

It looks like there's going to be a Arrested Development movie. Or maybe not. The Huffington Post says it's not going to happen. We shall see.....

The IMDb trivia page says that de Rossi was born in Geelong, and not Hawthorne as Lord Wiki said. I wonder who is right.

I'm going to look at some interviews now.

Here she's being interviewed by her own wife. That's pretty cute.

It was done on their seven month anniversary. They haven't been married long....a little over a year and a half.

De Rossi doesn't seem to have much of an Australian accent.

She's not the neat one in their in cleanliness. DeGeneres is neater.

Ah, but De Rossi CAN put the accent on when she wants to. She still has it in her.

It's really funny to see an Australian with an American accent imitating another Australian. At least I think so.

And I hear a little bit of a natural accent creeping in at around 4:52.

DeGeneres points out that de Rossi often plays cold and insensitive people. But we should be assured that she's not that way in real life. That's good to know. DeGeneres asks why she chooses to play mean women. De Rossi says it's probably because in real life she stresses about saying the right thing, and not hurting people's feelings. I can relate to that. I worry often about saying the wrong things. I think us worriers are divided into two camps. There are those who keep quiet...they clamp shut to avoid saying the wrong things. Then there's those who let it all out, and then worry later that they've made someone mad. I think I'm in the second group more, but sometimes in the first.

Here's Ellen and Portia playing the Newlywed Game. De Rossi had her first kiss at fourteen. I didn't have mine until I was eighteen. I wonder what the average is. Back in high school, I used to think I was some kind of freak. But now I'm beginning to suspect, I was less unusual then I imagined.

This is very sweet. De Rossi is asked what's the best gift she's received from her wife. Her answer? Love. That IS the best gift. Although in a way, it's kind of cheating. It's like when people are asked what they wish for, and they say world peace. So then you have to ask....well, BESIDES world peace, what do you wish for?

Cool. It turns out I'm not the only one who sings in the bathroom. Here's Ellen and Portia doing it. They sing cute together.

Oh, wait! It turns out Ellen has a whole singing in the bathroom concert series. Awesome. Here she sings with Jennifer Hudson.

Here's a great video. Funny, but powerful message about gay marriage. It's sarcastic, but heavily deserved.

This lesbian website has an interview with de Rossi. They side with IMDb, saying she was born in Geelong. Regarding Proposition 8, de Rossi says: I just hope that the American people will all decide that they don’t want discrimination written into their Constitution, and that not just California will change its mind, but the entire country. We hope that gay marriage will be legalised and that this whole thing will be in the past. It will be just a very dark part of history.

Amen to that.

Ellen and Portia haven't been vegan for long. It's new for them. For some reason, I imagined they'd been that way for awhile. De Rossi says they were actually wearing fur and leather when they first met. Well, de Rossi was wearing the wear, and DeGeneres wore the leather.

And here's another gay website with a de Rossi interview.

I love this line in the article. A self-described “staunch feminist,” she was stuck on a show that famously led Time magazine to ask “Is Feminism Dead?” Its leading ladies seemed to shrink in size with every episode.

Yeah. I remember all the rumors about Calista Flockhart being anorexic. And she denied them. Later she admitted the rumors had been true. I think that's usually how it goes with anorexic celebrities.

I've seen a lot of emphasis today on the greatness of de Rossi's marriage. And it is very sweet. They're a cute happy couple. But I won't be that impressed until they're married for 10-20 years. Most people are super happy in those first few years of marriage. It doesn't take a huge amount of effort. I'm not trying to be cynical. Oh, who am I fooling. Yeah. I'm a cynic. I'm not impressed with the love of newlyweds, or engaged couples. That's all too easy. I'm much more impressed with people who've been married for decades. Now THAT is an accomplishment.

De Rossi says, I’ve become a lot less selfish. I’m constantly thinking about her needs and our needs as a team. It’s a lovely, symbiotic partnership. Who knew marriage could be like that? I’d only heard bad things about it. Probably because she's spoken to people who've been married for longer than two years.

Neither de Rossi nor DeGeneres are good at cooking. Yikes! Fortunately, they can afford a personal chef. Then again, I'm a bad cook. I can get by when Tim's not around. You do what you have to do. Today, I boiled pasta, and poured a jar of sauce over it. Shit. I just remembered I didn't put the leftovers in the fridge. Let me go do that.....

De Rossi avoids the phone. That's like me. I don't like talking on the phone. I rarely answer it. I know that drives some of my family members nuts. My feeling is they can say it in an email. And we see each other fairly frequently in person. I don't mind having short conversations with people...kind of planning stuff. What do you want to do? Where should we meet? But I don't like long dragged out stuff. And I hate being on the phone with someone when they won't let you go. You keep trying to get off, and they keep continuing the conversation.

I did used to like the phone though....especially if it involved a person I was crushing on. I don't know what happened to me there.

De Rossi has written a book. I think it's about anorexia. Is it just about that? Maybe it's about other stuff too? Yeah. Okay. Well, that was a stupid question actually. It's not like an eating disorder exists in a vacuum. For De Rossi, her sexuality played a part. I think it would be a self-esteem issue, perhaps. There's that sense of wanting to please others. And for many producers, TV executives, gossip columnists, fans, etc....thinness is one of the things that greatly pleases them. Hopefully that will change someday, but I'm not holding my breath. I can't say I've received much kudos for getting myself back up to a healthy weight.

This website says that de Rossi feels being on Ally McBeal probably led her to having the eating disorder. She had very thin women around her as role models. I can relate to that. My sister has always been very thin. She gets a lot of positive attention for this, so...... I figured if I could be her size, I could get that attention too. But I think I'm past all that now. There's certain family members who seem to prefer it when I'm underweight. You know what? That's their problem....not mine. AND I like my breasts nice and big. That's one of the things that sucks about losing a bunch of weight. Your boobs get all tiny. Well, at least mine did. That's no fun.

Edited to Add:  Almost 2 years after writing this post; I have FINALLY gotten around to reading Portia De Rossi's book.   It's one of the best books I've read; and I could relate to so much of it.    Reading it made me feel much less alone in the world; so I'm grateful to Portia De Rossi for that.

Btw, the book didn't say anything about her marrying her husband for a green card.  I'm not sure if she left that out of the book; or if it was an untrue rumor I picked up during my research.  

The truth is out there...but so are a lot of untruths. 

If you're interested in seeing more of my Aussie biography posts, click here.


  1. Ally started running during the 3rd(?) season of Ally McBeal. They were on tv at the same time. (I think even the same night of the week?)

    Ally was basically a rerun of the 1st season of Ally McBeal, but the episodes were only half an hour instead of an hour. It was like they were trying to make it into a sitcom. Like you said, they edited out all the courtroom stuff. I watched Ally Mcbeal, but I think I only watched two episodes of Ally.

    The way they did it was pretty awful if I remember correctly. You'd be watching the episode, and instead of just editing the court stuff out completely, they'd still show it, but they sped up the tape superfast so it looked like you were fast-forwarding through it.

    I think the initial draw (for me) was that they were going to include alternate/deleted scenes from the original episode but the formula just did not work.

  2. We never got Ally, but I don't think we missed out on anything. I can hardly remember Ally McBeal at all, I just remember I tired of it after a few seasons. However, I love Better off Ted! I have only seen the first 6 episodes so far, but can't wait to see more. I really like your posts on tv/film-people, thanks a lot! (And I totally agree on the phone ting)

  3. Finally a name I recognize (albeit I had to look her up to make sure it was who I thought it was. all these names get mixed up in my pretty little head)

  4. Rebecca: That's actually pretty funny (the fast-forwarding). I laugh every time I think of it. Now I'm wishing I saw it. It's so dumb, but it amuses me.

    Grethe: I can't remember how much I watched of the show. I know I watched at least a few episodes, but I can't remember if I ever watched it on a regular basis. I don't think so. Thanks for liking my TV people posts : ) They take a LONG time to do, so nice to know someone out there is enjoying them.

    HappyOrganist: MY pretty little head is having major memory issues lately. Any alternative medicine suggestions for that? Anyway, glad you recognized a name.

  5. alternative medicine for that? I think that calls for a private consultation. And I'm all booked for now.

    You know what it probably is.. food allergies =)