|Born||May 12, 1970|
New York City, U.S.
Samantha Mathis (born May 12, 1970) is an American actress and trade union leader who served as the Vice President, Actors/Performers of SAG-AFTRA from 2015 to 2019.[a] The daughter of actress Bibi Besch, Mathis made her film debut in Pump Up the Volume (1990), and later co-starred or appeared in such films as FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Super Mario Bros. (1993), The Thing Called Love (1993), Little Women (1994), The American President (1995), Jack and Sarah (1995), Broken Arrow (1996), American Psycho (2000), The Punisher (2004), and Atlas Shrugged: Part II (2012). She has recently had recurring roles on The Strain as New York City Councilwoman Justine Feraldo, and on Billions as Taylor Mason Capital COO Sara Hammon.
Mathis was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City, the daughter of Donald Mathis and Austrian-born actress Bibi Besch. Her parents divorced when she was two years old, and Mathis was brought up by her mother. She relocated with her mother to Los Angeles, California, at the age of five.
Besch tried to discourage Mathis from pursuing acting, but growing up on locations, in theaters, and in acting classes, Mathis knew she wanted to act. She decided to become an actress at the age of twelve.
Mathis began acting professionally at the age of 16. Her first job was a commercial for "Always Slender Pads – Just for Teens". She co-starred in the television series Aaron's Way and Knightwatch from 1988 to 1989. Her first starring role in a feature film was that of Nora in Pump Up the Volume (1990), opposite Christian Slater, whom she briefly dated at the time. Mathis dyed her natural blonde hair black for the role in an effort to change her image from sweet and innocent to strong-willed.
Mathis appeared in the television films Extreme Close-up, 83 Hours 'til Dawn and To My Daughter in 1990. Mathis and Slater had voice roles in the animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). She next appeared in the comedy This Is My Life (1992), written and directed by Nora Ephron, playing an insecure teenager. Mathis appeared in the play Fortinbras in New York City in October 1992. Super Mario Bros. (1993), in which she played Princess Daisy from the popular Nintendo video game, was a box-office bomb but gained a cult following since its release.
Mathis co-starred with River Phoenix in The Thing Called Love (1993). She appeared in the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women, and in How to Make an American Quilt (1995), both starring Winona Ryder. She then appeared in The American President (1995), playing the assistant to the President of the United States. Mathis costarred with Christian Slater again, along with John Travolta, in John Woo's Broken Arrow (1996). She took a little over a year off from acting after her mother died in 1996 from breast cancer.
Mathis later appeared in American Psycho (2000), a film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel of the same name. She starred in Attraction (2000) and in The Simian Line (2001). She starred in the TNT television miniseries The Mists of Avalon (2001). Mathis starred with Thomas Jane in The Punisher (2004). She had a guest role on the ABC television show Lost as Olivia Goodspeed. She played Jane Fonda's daughter in the Broadway show "33 Variations". Her indie film Lebanon, PA had its world premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. She appeared in an off-Broadway production of the play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, at New York City's Westside Theatre in October 2011.
In 2013, Mathis played psychiatrist Alice Calvert on the CBS television series Under the Dome, based on a novel by Stephen King. In 2014, she joined the cast of the FX horror drama series The Strain as Justine Feraldo, a New York City councilwoman for Staten Island.
Mathis met actor River Phoenix on the set of the 1993 film The Thing Called Love. Soon thereafter, she broke up with boyfriend and Super Mario Bros. co-star John Leguizamo and started a relationship with Phoenix. She was with Phoenix on October 31, 1993, the night he died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital of a drug overdose after collapsing outside The Viper Room in West Hollywood, California.
In the autopsy report, the LASD detailed that Mathis refused several times to give more details surrounding the death of Phoenix and had told deputies at the time of Phoenix's death that she had no knowledge of his drug use. Mathis took a role in the film Jack and Sarah (1995), which was shot in London, to get out of the country after Phoenix's death because of the excessive press coverage.
Mathis spoke for the first time publicly about the death of Phoenix in an interview with The Guardian in 2018. She elaborated on the circumstances surrounding Phoenix's death: "I knew something was wrong that night, something I didn't understand. I didn't see anyone doing drugs but he was high in a way that made me feel uncomfortable...the heroin that killed him didn't happen until he was in the Viper Room. I have my suspicions about what was going on, but I didn't see anything."
Awards and nominations
Mathis was nominated in 1995 for a Young Artist Award, despite being 22 years old at the time of her role, at the Young Artist Awards for Best Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture for This Is My Life (1992) and in 2005 for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Supporting Actress on Television for Salem's Lot (2004).
|†||Denotes works that have not yet been released|
|1988||Aaron's Way||Roseanne Miller||Main cast; Season 1|
|Circle of Love||Roseanne Miller||Television film|
|1988–89||Knightwatch||Jacqueline 'Jake' Monroe||Main cast; Season 1|
|1989||Cold Sassy Tree||Lightfoot McClendon||Television film|
|CBS Summer Playhouse||Mary Dunne||Episode: "American Nuclear"|
|1990||Extreme Close-Up||Laura||Television film|
|83 Hours 'Til Dawn||Julie Burdock|
|To My Daughter||Anne Carlston|
|1999||The Outer Limits||Marie Wells||Episode: "The Shroud"|
|Freak City||Ruth Ellison||Television film|
|1999–2000||Harsh Realm||Sophie Green||4 Episodes|
|2001||First Years||Ann Weller||Main cast; Season 1|
|Night Visions||Diane Ballard||Episode: "The Passenger List/Bokor"|
|The Mists of Avalon||Gwenhwyfar||Television film|
|2002||PBS Hollywood Presents||Lisa Morrison||Episode: "Collected Stories"|
|2003||The Twilight Zone||Rachel Stark||Episode: "Into the Light"|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Hilary Barclay||Episode: "Control"|
|2004||Salem's Lot||Susan Norton||Television film|
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
|2005||Fathers and Sons||Jenny||Television film|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Dr. Christine Ansel||Episode: "Saving Face"|
|2006||Secrets of a Small Town||Samantha Steele||Episode: "Pilot"|
|Absolution||Bettina Lloyd||Television film|
|House||Maria Palko||Episode: "Clueless"|
|Nightmares & Dreamscapes||Karen Evans||Episode: "The Fifth Quarter"|
|2007||Lost||Olivia Goodspeed||Episode: "The Man Behind the Curtain"|
|A Stranger's Heart||Callie Morgan||Television film|
|Mitch Albom's For One More Day||Young Pauline 'Posey' Benetto|
|2009||Grey's Anatomy||Melinda Prescott||3 Episodes|
|Royal Pains||Amy Hill||Episode: "Wonderland"|
|2010||Unanswered Prayers||Lorrie Beck||Television film|
|2011||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Donna||Episode: "The Hero"|
|2013||Under the Dome||Alice Calvert||Recurring role; Season 1|
|2014||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Catherine Summers||Episode: "Reasonable Doubt"|
|2015–16||The Strain||Justine Feraldo||Main cast; Seasons 2–3|
|2019||Billions||Sara Hammon||Recurring role; Season 4|
|Into the Dark||Dr. Victoria Harris||Episode: "All That We Destroy"|
|Bull||Avery Kress||Episode: "The Flying Carpet"|
|2020||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Melanie Franks||Episode: "Swimming With The Sharks"|
|2023||12 Desperate Hours||Val Jane||Television film|
- Each position is for two years. Mathis was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2017.
- International Television & Video Almanac. University of Michigan. 2007. p. 315. ISBN 9780900610813.
- "SAG-AFTRA Opens Third Convention, Elects National Officers". SAG-AFTRA. October 6, 2017. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021.
- Graves, Lucia (July 24, 2019). "'It was too much loss. I fell apart': Samantha Mathis on River Phoenix and her career revival". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
- Craven, Jonathan (March 1996). "Sam I am" (interview). Bikini.
- "Samantha Mathis". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on September 11, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Hensley, Dennis. "Elementary Mathis", Detour (December 1995)
- Matsumoto, Jon (September 1, 1990). "Acting's in Samantha Mathis' Blood: Mom's and Grandmom's Too" Archived October 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The Los Angeles Times; retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Malkin, Nina (June 1992). "This is my Life". Seventeen. pp. 4, 82–83.
- Gussow, Mel (October 14, 1992). "Theater in Review" Archived February 19, 2022, at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times; retrieved April 24, 2008.
- "That Time Samantha Mathis, Daisy from Super Mario Bros., and a Puppet Defeated King Koopa". YouTube. October 14, 2017. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
- Richesin, Nicki (September 25, 2012). "Interview With Peter Bogdanovich about River Phoenix". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on July 29, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
- Thompson, Bob (October 15, 1995). "Patch in to Mathis". The Toronto Sun.
- Sheridan, Patricia (April 30, 2007). "Samantha Mathis profile" Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; retrieved April 24, 2008.
- Kaufman, Joanne (March 17, 2020). "Samantha Mathis, Self-Isolating Downtown". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- Hetrick, Adam (October 5, 2011). "Dee Hoty and Samantha Mathis Join Love, Loss, and What I Wore Oct. 5" Archived November 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill; retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Rushfield, Richard (July 15, 2013). "Richard Rushfield visits the set of CBS's summer hit 'Under the Dome'". Grantland.com. Retrieved August 7, 2013.[permanent dead link]
- Petski, Denise (November 14, 2014). "Samantha Mathis Joins 'The Strain'; Inbar Lavi In 'The Last Ship'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 22, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- "SAG-AFTRA Opens Second Convention; Elects National Officers". SAG-AFTRA. October 2, 2015.
- Brunner, Jeryl (August 16, 2019). "With The New Play 'Make Believe' Samantha Mathis Takes A Deep Dive Into Childhood". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 17, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- Pearce, Garth (June 1996). "Why I Still Grieve For River", OK! Weekly. Accessed October 27, 2022.
- "Autopsy report" (PDF). autopsyfiles.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 25, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- Alexander, Bryan (October 26, 2018). "River Phoenix's death: Samantha Mathis breaks silence about the tragic night 25 years ago". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
- Freeman, Hadley (October 25, 2018). "The untold story of lost star River Phoenix – 25 years after his death". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.