Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: . Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Currently Known For:
2003 - 2018
March 27, 1969
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"When I was in N.Y. bartending, I was in a billion music videos. I was in Madonna, George Michael, Salt-n-Pepa, it goes on and on." The eccentric goth girl with a dark sense of humor and a wild sense of fashion, Abby Sciuto has to be one of the most beloved characters of the crime scene investigation genre. To many fans of NCIS (2003-18), Pauley Perrette seemed to come out of nowhere to become of the biggest TV stars of her time, but it was hardly an overnight success. Perrette has been a working actress since the early 1990s, she was just waiting for the right role to really blow up.
Pauley Perrette was born on March 27, 1969 in New Orleans, though she grew up just about everywhere else. As a teen she lived in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, both Carolinas, New York, Jersey, and California. Like many young people, she entertained a number of potential careers in her childhood, and considered being a veterinarian, a rock singer and, perhaps most importantly, an FBI agent, even going on to study criminal justice at John Jay College, which would take her to New York where she made a living as a bartender. It was here that she stumbled into acting.
"I was a bartender in New York and I overheard this girl saying she made $3000 doing a commercial. A kid at work told me, 'Hey, I know this director and he'd really like you!'. So I walked into this guy's office and was like 'I was thinking maybe I could make $3000' and he hired me for commercials, short films, like 15 jobs in a row."
Perrette had her break into being a full-time actress right away, even if her first star role was still decades away. She wasn't struggling by any stretch of the imagination, she had her hands full In the 1990s and 2000s. Besides featuring in countless music videos, she also appeared in Almost Famous (2000), Frasier (1996), The Drew Carey Show (1998) Batman Beyond (1999), The Ring (2002), the list goes on and on. From her first gig to her debut on NCIS, a year didn't go by that she didn't feature in multiple film and television roles.
Longtime fans may remember that Abby did not actually premier on NCIS, but on a 2003 episode of JAG (2003). Abby Sciuto featured as a forensic scientist on a two-part episode of the show that functioned as a backdoor-pilot, that is, essentially a pilot for a spin-off, rooted in the original series. Backdoor pilots have always been a popular method for launching new series, as it is a lot easier to pitch the audience your new characters in an existing show than it is to write and film an entirely new series and hope it catches on.
While Abby may be the "eccentric" one on NCIS, the character has earned praise from critics for being a hyper-competent, capable female role model, contrasting the trend towards damaged, edgy anti-heroes with various addictions and so many character flaws that you wonder how they're able to even do their job.
If you're wondering what Pauley Perrette is going to do with herself once NCIS ends, the answer may be: we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. To date, Pauley has portrayed Abby Sciuto on four different series, JAG, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles (2009), and twice the spinoff-of-a-spinoff that would take her back to the city of her birth, NCIS: New Orleans (2014, 2016). She has also appeared on the series When We Rise (2017) and will be a lead in the series Broke (2020), and has taken some voice work on movies like Superman vs. The Elite (2012) and Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery (2015), but by and large her career since landing a lead role on NCIS has been playing Abby Sciuto.
You wouldn't know it if nobody told you, but Pauley Perrette actually turned fifty on March 27, 2019. With her teen-friendly goth outfits and quirky personality, she doesn't look or seem any bit her age. While many stars land their big starring role at a young age, and then have their ups and downs in the years following, Perrette was already in her thirties by the time she landed the part of Abby Sciuto, turning her from a working actress to a bonafide TV star almost overnight. You can't say this of just any celebrities in their fifties, but it does seem as if Pauley's best years are still in front of her.
"In many ways, acting is really like a science to me to figure out the human behavior of any character that I'm playing."