Dallas’ and Booker T’s Elizabeth Mitchell continues to thrive, this time on Revolution on NBC
When you do this job, you meet a lot of celebrities, not all of whom make you want to root for them. A notable exception is Elizabeth Mitchell, who’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and one of the most talented.
Her career recently took another turn up, when she was cast as the female lead in Revolution, the NBC series produced by J.J. Abrams of Lost fame. As you may remember, Mitchell starred in Lost, which was wildly popular on ABC.
She grew up in Texas, which she told me in 2008 helped her play Juliet on Lost.
“Texas women are insanely strong,” Mitchell said during that interview.
She grew up in Highland Park and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts years before landing the part of a lifetime on Lost. “On the outside,” she said, “Texas women are incredibly gracious. But you don’t want to be iced by a Texas woman … I’ve drawn on that quite a bit, actually.”
Mitchell is the oldest of three daughters, whose parents are real estate and tax attorneys. Joe and Josephine Mitchell live in the same house where their now-famous child grew up. Mitchell has been acting for more than 30 years, having made her debut as a 7-year-old at the Dallas Theater Center.
In 1998, she appeared in the HBO movie Gia alongside Angelina Jolie, which people still ask about when they stop her on the street. In 2000, she appeared with Dennis Quaid and James Caviezel in Frequency. And, having appeared in ER from 2000 to 2001, she continues to get stares over that one: “Say, weren’t you the woman on ER who…?”
But being an icy blonde who swings from hero to villain and back again on Lost generated far more media attention and hellos from strangers than she ever thought possible.
“It’s really nice. It’s sweet,” she told me back then. “You know, I’m a real tall, big woman, so I never feel particularly nervous about things. It’s easy to spot me and easy to see me, and people are very kind. They’re very polite in Texas and polite here in Seattle and Hawaii as well.” (Lost was filmed in Hawaii.)
She grew up, in her words, “a dorky, nerdy kid” who attributes her success to her “honest lawyer” parents. Texas helped hone a relentless work ethic, for which her parents were the ultimate models.
“They have an insane work ethic and an insane strength,” she says, “which I believe is very much a Texas thing.”
For her, growing up in Highland Park was not unlike being an athlete who devotes every sweat-stained second “to striving and doing your best – for the love of the game. I definitely got that from Texas. For me, it was almost a football mentality.”
Her mother remembered a girl who “has always acted. At home, she would always put on shows with her friends in the neighborhood. It’s the one thing she loved, the one thing she wanted to do.”
During Elizabeth’s days as a grade-school girl working at the Dallas Theater Center, she called her mom at work one day to say hi. “She said, ‘Mom, Mom, I’ve been cast in a show!’” Josephine Mitchell recalls. “And I said, ‘That’s wonderful! Which show?’ And she said, ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass.’
“And I thought, oh, that’s great, she’s going to play a little bunny or somebody like that. And I said, ‘Oh, what are you playing, honey?’ And she said, ‘Alice.’”
As for her current storm of success, her mother said, “I’m very glad that she still remains the wonderful person that she is.” As for her playing a villain, Mom adds, “Her dad loves it, because it’s so opposite of who she is.”
Her parents worked “really, really long hours and still managed to create this great home life,” the actress says. “My father was a coach for our sports teams, and they never missed a performance. They’re those kinds of parents. They never even went on their own vacations.”
The good parenting extended to having them send her to Booker T., which she calls “maybe the best experience I’ve ever had. It’s one incredible school. There was an art wing, and the guy sitting next to me in class was the most talented painter you could possibly imagine. And then you have people playing cello in the hallway. It was more helpful than I ever could have imagined.”
She earned a fine arts degree at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and moved on to the British American Drama Academy in London, which focused her career even more.
Her new series appears to be gaining traction. Revolution debuted in the fall as a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama, created by Eric Kripke. It’s about people having to adapt to a world without electricity.
Source: Dallas News