The actress whose convincing portrayal of one of Buffalo Bill's potential victims in The Silence of the Lambs had audiences squirming in their seats, Brooke Smith has subsequently built an enduring career with memorable roles in such efforts as Robert Altman's Kansas City (1996) and the searing reality television satire Series 7: The Contenders (2001). Born the daughter of renowned publicist Lois Smith and raised in New York City, Brooke was immersed in show business from the moment she left the womb. A graduate of Tappan Zee High School, Smith is also a professional journalist whose published interviews with such stars as Ed Harris and Steve Buscemi have earned her kudos in the world of entertainment journalism. Smith made her film debut in the 1988 drama The Moderns, and it was only three short years later that her breakthrough role in The Silence of the Lambs would launch a successful career working with some of the most respected names in the business. Directed by everyone from Louis Malle (Vanya on 42nd Street) to Sydney Pollack (Random Hearts), Smith can usually be spotted in minor, albeit sometimes pivotal supporting roles that always serve to elevate any project in which she appears. In 2001 Smith took the lead, to memorable effect, in 2001's Series 7: The Contenders. A film that took the concept of reality television to the next level, Series 7 found Smith cast as an expectant mother who becomes a participant in a deadly television series in which participants are expected to kill or be killed. Smith's performance as the ice-cold participant who seems to derive pleasure from tormenting her opponents gave the film a disturbing edge that left audiences chilled to the core. Subsequently appearing in the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) and Joel Schumacher's big-budget action opus Bad Company, it seemed that Smith might finally be on her way to becoming a recognizable figure in the world of film.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Daughter of famous publicist Lois Smith.
- Played bass in a band during high school.
- Studied at the Actors' Studio.
- Made her film debut in 1988's The Moderns.
- Gained 25 pounds for her role as the kidnapped Catherine Martin in The Silence of the Lambs; had nightmares about the role beforehand, but found all the screaming she did during filming to be therapeutic.
- Is also a successful journalist who has interviewed celebrities such as Ed Harris and Steve Buscemi.
- Role as Dr. Erica Hahn on Grey's Anatomy reunited her with some of her previous costars: Ellen Pompeo (a 1996 episode of Law & Order), Sandra Oh (they played lovers in Stop Kiss, a 1998 play) and Patrick Dempsey (2004's Iron Jawed Angels).