Rose Arianna McGowan is an Italian-born American actress, film producer, director and singer. She is best known for playing Paige Matthews in The WB supernatural drama series Charmed from 2001 to 2006.
She made her film debut in the 1992 comedy Encino Man, where she played a small role. Her performance as Amy Blue in the 1995 dark comedy film The Doom Generation brought her wider attention, and received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. McGowan then appeared in the 1996 hit horror film Scream and starred alongside Ben Affleck in the 1997 coming-of-age feature Going All the Way. Later, she appeared in several Hollywood films, including Devil in the Flesh (1998), Jawbreaker (1999), Ready to Rumble (2000), Monkeybone (2001) and The Black Dahlia (2006). In 2005, McGowan played Ann-Margret alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Elvis Presley in the CBS miniseries Elvis. In 2007, she starred in Planet Terror, part of the double-feature film directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Death Proof. The following year, she starred in the crime thriller film, Fifty Dead Men Walking.
In 1996, McGowan was the cover model for the Henry Mancini tribute album Shots in the Dark; and she was the face of American clothing company Bebe from 1998 to 1999. She has also appeared on numerous magazine covers, including Seventeen, Interview, Maxim, GQ, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.
View the Rose McGowan Gallery.
McGowan, the second-eldest of six children (plus two half-siblings), was born in Certaldo, Italy, the daughter of Terri, a former writer and Microsoft employee, and Daniel McGowan, who worked as a commercial artist. Her parents were American, and she has Irish and French ancestry. Daniel McGowan ran an Italian chapter of the Children of God, to which both he and his wife held membership until 1978. McGowan spent her early childhood amid the group's communes, often traveling through Europe with her parents. When interviewed by Howard Stern in 2001, she stated she had avoided the group's calls for members to become sexually active as children, and stated that she never personally experienced abuse as a child. Through her father's art contacts in Italy, McGowan became a child model and appeared in Vogue Bambini and various other Italian magazines.
Her parents returned to the United States when she was ten years old, settling in Eugene, Oregon.
McGowan had a wayward childhood, living as a teenage runaway in Portland, Oregon and associating with a group of drag queens in the city. After her parents divorced, McGowan lived with her father in Seattle, Washington, attending Roosevelt High School and Nova Alternative High School, and worked at McDonald's. At the age of 15, she officially emancipated herself from her parents and relocated to Los Angeles.
Early work: 1992–2007
McGowan made her first appearance in a Hollywood film with a role in the 1992 Pauly Shore comedy Encino Man. Her role as Amy Blue in the 1995 dark comedy The Doom Generation brought her to the attention of film critics, and she received a nomination for "Best Debut Performance" at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards. McGowan achieved widespread recognition when she was cast as Tatum Riley in the 1996 hit horror film Scream. The film became a huge critical and financial hit, grossing over $100 million in its initial run. She was the cover model for the Henry Mancini tribute album Shots in the Dark, which was released in 1996. She became the face of American clothing company Bebe from 1998–99.
McGowan spent the majority of the 1990s appearing in a variety of independent films, including roles in Southie, Going All the Way, and Lewis & Clark & George. In 1997, she appeared in the short film Seed, directed by San Francisco-born filmmaker Karin Thayer, and played opposite Peter O'Toole in the 1998 film adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel Phantoms. That year, McGowan gained much attention for the revealing fishnet outfit she wore to the 1998 Video Music Awards.
The following year she starred in the 1998 dark comedy Jawbreaker, where she played a popular yet malevolent high school student who tries to cover up her involvement in a classmate's murder. That role earned McGowan a nomination for Best Villain at the 1999 MTV Movie Awards.
In 2001, McGowan was cast as Paige Matthews in the popular WB television series Charmed, as a replacement lead actress after Shannen Doherty departed the show. She was offered to be a producer after the seventh season alongside co-stars Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano, but turned it down. The series ended its run on May 21, 2006.
During and after Charmed, McGowan tackled a variety of different roles. She portrayed actress/singer Ann-Margret in Elvis, a Golden Globe-winning CBS mini-series about the life of Elvis Presley, and also appeared in Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia.
Later work: 2007–present
In 2007, McGowan headlined the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double-feature Grindhouse, released on April 6, 2007. McGowan appears in both portions of the film, as go-go dancing Cherry Darling in Planet Terror, and as Pam in Death Proof. She followed up the project with a role in the IRA thriller Fifty Dead Men Walking and a recurring role as a con artist on the acclaimed drama series Nip/Tuck. After Fifty Dead Men Walking concluded filming, McGowan sparked controversy in the UK in September 2008 when she stated that she would have joined the IRA had she lived in Belfast during the Troubles and that her "heart just broke for the cause".
After a brief hiatus from film, McGowan shot a cameo in the Robert Rodriguez thriller Machete, a role ultimately cut but included on the DVD release, and played a semi-homeless junkie in the fantasy drama Dead Awake. Her name was attached to several recent films which ended up being unmade. Following the release of Grindhouse, she signed to play B-movie staple Susan Cabot in Black Oasis, to be directed by Stephan Elliott. However, the film was affected by the writers' strike and ultimately put on indefinite hold. Another project, a proposed film adaptation of the Sylvia Plath novel The Bell Jar alongside Julia Stiles, also never came to fruition. She was attached to three projects to be produced by her partner Robert Rodriguez, a remake of the science fiction cult classic Barbarella, a proposed television series titled Women in Chains!, and a big-screen update of the Red Sonja comic books. After several years of development, Rodriguez announced in 2009 that Barbarella had been canceled due to location difficulties.
In addition to film and television, McGowan lent her voice to the video games Darkwatch, playing a femme fatale named Tala, and Terminator Salvation, as a troubled soldier named Angie Salter. She also co-hosted the TCM's film-series program The Essentials alongside Robert Osbourne in 2008, discussing classic Hollywood film.
In 2010, McGowan confirmed that Red Sonja had been postponed to fit Conan continuity, and that the project may resurface depending on the success of Conan the Barbarian. In 2011, she appears as an evil half-human/half-witch in the comic book adaptation Conan the Barbarian and guest starred in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a grifter who targets New York sex clubs. McGowan headlined the psychological thriller Rosewood Lane from director Victor Salva, while she appeared in the lead role in the TV movie The Pastor's Wife alongside Michael Shanks. McGowan stars in the feature film The Tell-Tale Heart (2014 film), an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story, which was released in 2014.
In 2013, she played young Cora in a flashback in the show Once Upon A Time. In January 2014, she was cast as Josie Acosta for Chosen, a TV series airing via Crackle. Her role became a main one in season 3 of the series, which premiered later in 2014. Her movie, Rise of the Lonestar Ranger was released on March 6, 2014. Also in 2014, her directorial debut Dawn — a short — premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In January 2015, Tangerine Entertainment acquired McGowan as director for The Pines. The thriller will be her feature-film directorial debut.
In June 2015, McGowan sparked controversy with a Twitter post saying "casting note that came w/script I got today. For real. name of male star rhymes with Madam Panhandler hahahaha I die" attached to a casting note for an Adam Sandler film script. The note read "Please make sure to read the attached script before coming in so you understand the context of the scenes, Wardrobe note: Black (or dark) form-fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push-up bras encouraged). And formfitting leggings or jeans. Nothing white." McGowan later said, "It was just so dumb. I was offended by the stupidity more than anything. I was offended by the fact that went through so many people's hands and nobody red flagged it. This is normal to so many people. It was probably even a girl that had to type it up. It's institutionally OK." This reportedly led to McGowan being fired by her agent. She later clarified that talent agent Sheila Wenzel was not responsible for “firing” her after she took a stand against sexism in Hollywood. "I'm interested in making the industry better so that women following in my footsteps know that they don't have to take abuse just because she wants be creative", the actress told People magazine regarding alleged misogyny in the film industry.