a not unusual day in the early 90's, the Trevor Day School
cafeteria was busy feeding a mixture of children and
teachers, but on this seemingly normal day there happened to
be a casting director with a sharp eye for talent among the
mix. Though unbeknownst to anyone, this casting director was
about to spark a change in a young girls life.
Leelee Sobieski was just a preteen, but
she held a vision - instilled in her by her artistic parents
- of what she thought she'd become. Like many her age, she
could recite a long list of possible career choices, and
those in the top running were following in her parents
footsteps. Her dream was to be a writer like Elizabeth, her
mom, or a painter like Jean, her father. However when the
casting director approached her in her New York City school,
Leelee became curious about acting.
"They asked me to come into the casting
director's office and meet with them," Leelee says. "I was
absolutely awful. I didn't do a very good job. But that's
not important. I thought: 'Well, that's kind of strange and
I really sucked but it is kind of amusing that, out of the
blue, I get asked to do this when it's the last thing I
expected, so I might as well give it a try.' And that was
kind of my approach. If, all of a sudden, something changes
in one direction, I'll give it a try. And then, if it works,
go for it. If not, then change to another direction. Then I
took some acting lessons and started to like it more and
Before long Leelee was getting parts in
commercials and guesting in TV shows. What started as a fun
curiosity, was becoming a new creative outlet, and was
starting to change her life.
was born in New York City as Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta
Sobieski on June 10, 1983. Her birth name is rich with her
French and Polish heritage. "Liliane is the name of my
father's mother," says Leelee. "It was a little too serious
and formal for a little girl. So they called me Leelee.
Elsveta comes from my mother's side of the family. It's
Elizabeth in Polish."
grew up in New York City's Upper West Side, and spent time
in France with her father's family. "We were never very
wealthy," she says "but we had the luxury of going to
Häagen-Dazs and getting ice cream. Those little, childish,
sweet luxuries."Besides ice cream, her parents helped her
and her brother Roby (born 1989) to appreciate the culture
that surrounded them. At a very young age Leelee went to art
galleries and attended Shakespearean plays. "My parents are
my best friends," says Leelee. "They kept me very protected,
so I couldn't get hurt physically or emotionally by
The Sobieski family is a direct descendant of Polish
royalty. "Many generations back," says Leelee, "there
was a king in Poland and he was my great great great
great Uncle. The Bagel was [invented] for him. A Jewish
baker made it for him, in the shape of a saddle."
currently studies at Brown, Providence. "It's really nice.
I'm living in a dorm room and I've got a roommate. I didn't
know her until I got to the school and she's really nice...
I'm happy to get away from actors. That doesn't sound right.
It's nice to be with "real" people... It's nice to get away
from the film industry. It's very exciting but it's also
kind of a fake place and it is "la-la land". It is Hollywood
but college isn't a real environment either. It's like a
bubble but to be in a different bubble is nice. "
Leelee's busy life gives her a short break she enjoys the
diversions of painting, writing poetry, and collecting key
chains and locks of hair from her costars. The 5' 10" blue
eyed young woman has achieved more in her years than some
actresses do in a lifetime, but traveling at a pace that
would make Richard Petty proud is just what Leelee intends
to keep doing. Among her future goals remain her originals.
She still wants to paint and write, but she adds to her
ambitions to be a screenwriter and a director. She says,
"[In 25 years] I'll be married, I'll have 2 kids - boy and a
girl. I will have directed five movies, if not more. I will
have had many expositions. I will be with my kids all the
time. I will travel a lot. I won't be acting as much as I am
now - maybe just one movie a year. I'll be creating; I don't
know what, maybe designing chairs or something!"
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