Selma Blair is an American actor and writer who was born on June 23, 1972. Her most prominent filmography includes Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, and the Hellboy series.
Blair appeared in the 2021 documentary Introducing, Selma Blair, which followed her life after being given a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up, her autobiography, was released by Knopf in 2022.
Selma Blair Early life
Blair was the youngest of Molly Ann (née Cooke) and Elliot I. Beitner’s four daughters when she was born in the Detroit neighborhood of Southfield, Michigan. She spent a significant portion of her youth in Philadelphia, where her maternal grandfather, the company’s founder, was born. Her mother passed away in 2020, and both of her parents were attorneys. Her father served as a labor arbitrator and was an active member of the US Democratic Party until his death in 2012. When Blair was 23, her parents got divorced. Blair claimed in her memoir that she did not talk to her father for 12 years after her father’s girlfriend made a concerted effort to ruin her career. Selma and her sister Elizabeth had also legally changed their last names to “Blair.”
Selma and her sisters were raised as Jews, and Selma formally converted to Judaism in the second grade; her Hebrew name is “Bat-Sheva.” Blair’s mother and Scottish maternal grandmother were Anglican; her father and maternal grandfather were both Jews. Blair went to Cranbrook Kingswood in Bloomfield Hills and Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills. She then studied photography for two years (1990–1992) at Kalamazoo College.
Blair relocated to New York City at the age of 21, where she resided with The Salvation Army. She attended New York University (NYU), where she studied acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory, the Column Theater, and Stonestreet Studios with the goal of becoming a photographer. She moved back to Michigan, went from NYU to the University of Michigan, and earned a triple major in photography, psychology, and English in 1994 before graduating with honors. Then, in order to pursue a career in the arts, she went back to New York City.
Selma Blair Career
1990–1998: Career beginnings
Blair participated in a play of T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in 1990 while she was a student at Cranbrook Kingswood. She believed it was a failure, but when her English teacher encouraged her to keep trying, she had her first epiphany that she might be an actress. She was found by an agency in an acting class in 1993 in New York, and Blair signed with her. Blair received her first advertising position—a TV commercial for the Theater of Virginia—after 75 auditions.
In a 1995 episode of the children’s series The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Blair had her first professional part. She received her first leading part in a feature film in 1996’s comedy The Broccoli Theory. She made her debut in the Kevin Kline comedy In & Out in 1997, a popular feature picture. She went through six auditions for the part and spent many weeks on set, however the majority of her sequences weren’t included in the finished movie.
The movie Strong Island Boys featured her in her first leading role. She subsequently received the major role in the fantasy movie Amazon High from 1997. The movie, which was envisioned as a third show based on the myths surrounding Hercules and Xena, was never broadcast, but it was repurposed in part for the Xena: Warrior Princess episode “Lifeblood” in 2000. Katie Holmes was cast in the part of Joey Potter in Dawson’s Creek, which she was up for. She subsequently made appearances in a number of independent and short films, including the Debutante, which won an award.
1999–2004: Breakthrough and mainstream success
In the 1999 coming-of-age drama Cruel Intentions, staring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe, Blair made her debut. It got unfavorable reviews, with Variety stating that “newcomer” Blair “went too broad” and “overdid the clumsiness of her role”. The movie pulled in US$75.9 million overseas and earned Blair and Gellar a joint prize for “Best Kiss” and a nomination for “Best Breakthrough Performance” at the MTV Movie Awards. Since then, Cruel Intentions has gained a cult following.
Blair received a nomination for “TV – Breakout Performance” at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards for her role as Zoe Bean in the television series Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane.[Reference needed] In 2000, Blair won the Young Hollywood Award for “Exciting New Face” for her role in the teen comedy Down to You. Blair was in Vanity Fair’s “Hollywood’s Next Wave of Stars” issues from 2000 and 2002.
Blair played a preppy, snooty legal student with Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 smash comedy Legally Blonde; The Hollywood Reporter called her a “strong presence” in the part. The movie earned US$141.7 million globally and US$96.5 million in North America, dominating the box office in the US during its first weekend. She then co-starred with Leo Fitzpatrick in the independent drama Storytelling from 2001 as a college student having an affair with her professor. Blair and Fitzpatrick were praised by SPLICEDwire for their “painfully authentic performances as an emotionally insecure coed and her cerebral palsy-stricken dorm neighbor and lover” when the movie made its debut at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
View Auckland stated in its review that “the acting, throughout, is excellent, with Selma Blair giving a mature performance that suggests better roles await her than those she’s had so far.” The comedy The Sweetest Thing from 2002 had Christina Applegate and Cameron Diaz as Blair’s co-stars. Despite receiving mainly negative reviews, the movie made US$68.6 million worldwide. The Rolling Stone cover featured all three actresses, and Blair received a nomination for the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress – Comedy.
Blair played Liz Sherman, a despondent pyrokinetic superhero, in Guillermo del Toro’s hugely successful fantasy movie Hellboy, which also starred Ron Perlman, in 2004. The New York Times wrote about the movie, which was based on Mike Mignola’s well-known comic book series: “Blair’s heavy-lidded eyes look to be at half mast from some wonderful naughty fantasy. She is an excellent counterpoint to Mr. Perlman’s blunt swagger with her sleepy carnality and dry, delayed timing. In its first weekend, Hellboy was the highest-grossing movie in the United States and Canada, earning a total of US$99.3 million.
Blair co-starred with Tracey Ullman in John Waters’ satirical sex comedy A Dirty Shame in 2004 as an exhibitionist dancer. A.V. Club gave the movie a mixed review, calling it a “proud retreat back into the sandbox of sexual juvenilia” and a “potty-mouthed manifesto from an elder statesman of shock,” but also praising Blair and Ullman for “throwing themselves headfirst into the insanity, reveling in the forfeiture of dignity, self-respect, and self-consciousness their roles demand.” Additionally, Blair worked as a producer on the social project The 1 Second Film and was named one of “The 100 Sexiest Women of 2004” by FHM.
2005–2011: Independent films and The Diary of Anne Frank
Blair starred in a number of independent films between 2005 and 2007. She returned to the role of Liz Sherman in Hellboy II: The Golden Army in 2008, when her character played a bigger part than in the first film. The movie received mainly favorable reviews from reviewers and had a worldwide gross of US$160 million. Blair received a Scream Award nomination for Best Actress in a Fantasy Film or TV Series.
Blair featured in Lori Petty’s independent drama The Poker House in 2008 as the drug- and alcohol-dependent mother of Jennifer Lawrence and Chloe Grace Moretz. Critics gave it largely positive feedback, with The Hollywood Reporter citing Blair’s performance as one of her best.
Blair agreed to play the show’s lead character in the NBC comedy Kath & Kim in 2008. After one season, the sitcom, which was based on the Australian television program of the same name, was cancelled.
Blair made a comeback to the stage in 2009 when she played Kayleen, the title character in Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries. The Definitive Edition of The Diary of a Young Girl, which was penned by Holocaust survivor Anne Frank, was narrated by Blair she in 2010. In 2011, her performance was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.
2012–present: film and television
Blair made a comeback to television in 2012 with the debut of FX’s Anger Management, which also starred Charlie Sheen. She played Dr. Kate Wales, Sheen’s neurotic therapist and love interest, in 53 episodes. Despite receiving conflicting reviews from critics, the series smashed ratings records with 5.74 million viewers in its premiere, making it the most watched comedy launch in cable history. In June 2013, while the second season was in production, Blair departed the program due to differences with Sheen, who dismissed her through text message.
Blair narrated Xfinity TV advertisements in 2012, including those for the London Olympics. In 2014, she was cast as Joanna in the Amazon comedy pilot Really, landing her first television role since Anger Management. Blair co-starred in the FX miniseries American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson in February 2016, however the pilot was not picked up.
Another Life, a Netflix science-fiction drama series that aired from 2019 to 2021 before being canceled, cast Blair in a recurring role in 2018.
Blair signed up to compete for Dancing with the Stars season 31 in September 2022, however she withdrew after the fifth week due to her poor health.
Selma Blair Fashion
Blair is renowned for her cutting-edge sense of style and her propensity for making extreme haircut changes. She collaborated with several different fashion designers, including Karen Zambos, Martin Margiela, Isaac Mizrahi, Reinaldo Herrera, and Stella McCartney. She gave her image to the Marc Jacobs-Brian Bowen Smith apparel line.
She was depicted in the 2002 Pirelli Calendar and in the 2005 exhibition “The Selma Blair Witch Project: Fall’s Dark Silhouettes Have a Way of Creeping Up on You” at the Palau Robert in Barcelona, which won a photography prize from The New York Times Magazine.
In addition, Blair sang “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Rainn Wilson for the 2008 Gap winter commercial campaign, and she was named one of Glamour’s 50 Most Glamorous Women of 2008.
In 2010, Blair appeared in a Harper’s Bazaar magazine spread alongside Demi Moore and Amanda De Cadenet. She was the first actress to feature in the “Get Real For Kids” campaign and served as its ambassador in 2012. She introduced SB, a collection of handbags and wallets that she designed, in the spring of that year.
She has been featured on magazine covers and photo spreads, including CR Fashion Book in February 2016. She made her debut in Seventeen in 1999, and went on to feature in Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Vogue, Glamour, Rolling Stone, The Lab Magazine, Interview, Dazed & Confused, Hunger, and Elle in the following years. She served as the spokesperson for the fashion labels Chanel, Miu Miu, and GAP. During New York Fashion Week 2018, she showcased a portion of Christian Siriano’s collection for a celebration of his 10th stage anniversary in Masonic Hall. She participated as a judge on a Project Runway special in 2020.
Selma Blair Personal life
Blair wed writer and producer Ahmet Zappa on January 24, 2004, at Carrie Fisher’s home in Beverly Hills, California. They paid $1.35 million for a house from the 1920s and resided there in Los Angeles. On June 21, 2006, she announced that she and Zappa were divorcing due to “irreconcilable differences.” In December 2006, the divorce was legally finalized.
In addition to dating her Kath and Kim co-star Mikey Day from 2008 to 2010, Blair has dated actors Jason Schwartzman and David Lyons.
Blair started dating fashion designer Jason Bleick in 2010, and their son, Arthur Saint Bleick, was born in July of that same year. They made their divorce announcement in September 2012.
Blair and her ex-boyfriend, writer Ron Carlson, who she had been seeing since 2017, filed for temporary restraining orders in 2022, alleging physical abuse from the other. Both parties rejected the order requests.
Selma Blair Health
Blair disclosed in October 2018 that she had received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in August of that same year. In a 2023 interview with British Vogue, Blair claimed that her undiagnosed MS had caused brain damage and that her symptoms had started to appear when she was a little child. She was extensively medicated, became alcoholic and tried suicide when the disease got worse.
In order to express her gratitude to Allisa Swanson, her costume designer, who had taken on the position of her unofficial “dresser” for her appearance in the Netflix series Another Life, she decided to share the news. She claimed that Swanson “gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, (and) buttons my coats.” In May 2022, Blair released her memoir, Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up, in which she discussed her experiences with multiple sclerosis.
Blair attended the National Memorial Day Concert at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 27, 2012, as a special guest. She shared the saga of Brigette Cain, a war widow who perished in Afghanistan together with her husband, Pfc. Norman L. Cain III.
Blair portrayed Mitt Romney’s campaign pledges in the political satire sketch The Woman for Romney, which aired in October 2012 and was the previous Republican Party candidate’s platform. In the 2014 congressional elections, she additionally backed Marianne Williamson.
Marc Jacobs’ Skin Cancer Awareness Campaign, H&M’s Fashion Against AIDS 2011 Campaign, and other charitable endeavors are just a few of Blair’s causes.Children’s Action NetworkAmFAR AIDS Research 2011, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, No Kid Hungry, the Staying Alive Foundation, the Bulgari-Save the Children 2012 Ad Campaign, and the Lange Foundation (committed to protecting homeless and abandoned animals). She was presented with the Universal Smile Award on October 2, 2015, at THE SMILE GALA LA 2015, which benefited kids with cleft lip and palate. She was one of the Silence Breakers chosen as the Time Person of the Year for 2017. Michelle Pfeiffer gave Blair the Equity in Entertainment Award during the Power 100 Women celebration in December 2021.
Blair was appointed chief creative officer of Guide Beauty in June 2022. This company makes cosmetics for people with mobility issues. She was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 women in December 2022.
Selma Blair Trivia
walks with a cane because they have multiple sclerosis.
(20 October 2018) was given a multiple sclerosis diagnosis on August 16 of this year. Before being identified, she most likely battled this illness for at least 15 years.
(26 February 2019) a voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia.
Her sister worked as a police officer for 11 years, and her mother was a judge.
She went by Blair throughout high school since she detested her first name.
wore a light pink wedding dress and had a black version of the same garment manufactured for the reception.
grew to dread sharks and the water after seeing the 1975 film Jaws.
At Carrie Fisher’s Beverly Hills estate, she married Ahmet Zappa.
contested for the role of Buffy on the 1997 television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which ultimately went to Sarah Michelle Gellar, with whom she starred in the 1999 film Cruel Intentions.
graduated with a BFA in photography from the University of Michigan in 1994.
Wink, her one-eyed dog, belongs to her.
was romantically linked to Jason Bleick between 2010 and 2012. Together, they have a son named Arthur Saint Bleick, who was born on July 25, 2011, 21 days late and weighing 7 lbs. 12 oz.
come to New York first to pursue photography. However, her goals quickly changed when she found herself studying at the Column Theater and Stella Adler Conservatory.
Her maternal grandfather came from a Jewish family in Ukraine/Russia, while her paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia. Her maternal grandparents was from Warwickshire, England, and Lanarkshire, Scotland. Selma grew up as a Jew.
cites Judy Davis, Julie Hagerty, and Sissy Spacek as her influences.
auditioned for the role of Joey in the 1998 film Dawson’s Creek.
She made an appearance as a guest star on the fifth season of Xena Warrior Princess’ “Lifeblood” episode by having sequences and the plot from the unfinished TV movie/pilot “Amazon High” (produced by the Xena team) used in flashbacks to advance the plot of the episode.
commenced filming for Anger Management (2012) eight months after giving birth to her son Arthur.
played a stripper in John Waters’ 2004 film A Dirty Shame while sporting an extremely huge pair of artificial breasts.
At the time she wrapped up filming for Dark Horse (2011), she was five months pregnant with her son Arthur.
Former in-law of Diva Zappa, Moon Unit Zappa, and Dweezil Zappa.
was a candidate to play Susan Johnson in the 2011 film Arthur, but Jennifer Garner was chosen.
accompanied Elizabeth Berkley while they were both students at Bloomfield, Michigan’s Cranbrook Kingswood School. Jaime Ray Newman was a different graduate.
Prior to moving to New York, spent her first year (1990–1991) performing in “The Little Theater of the Green Goose” and studying photography at Kalamazoo College.
went to camp at the girls’ equestrian riding program at Black River Farm and Ranch.
Getting Personal (1998) was going to have him as a regular, but he got dismissed after the pilot.
Ahmet Zappa’s engagement as of October 2003 by Caesarean section delivered.
How old was Selma Blair when she was diagnosed with MS?
She was diagnosed with optic neuritis at the age of 22, which is a typical MS symptom. Blair visited neurologists for her persistent headaches and fevers, but she never thought she might have a neurological condition. Blair didn’t get an official MS diagnosis until she was in her 40s.
What happened to Selma Blair now?
Blair underwent a hematopoietic stem cell transplant in 2019 following her diagnosis, and her MS has been in remission since 2021. However, dealing with the illness is still quite difficult. When I can relax, I overdo it and all the hunger comes in, she added. “Sometimes I can’t eat for days.
What is Selma Blair best known for?
Perhaps Blair’s most well-known role is that of “Vivian Kesington” in Reese Witherspoon and MGM’s smash romantic comedy Legally Blonde. The movie received a Golden Globe nomination in 2002 for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
How did Selma Blair become famous?
Her breakthrough part didn’t come until 1999’s Cruel Intentions, when she and Sarah Michelle Gellar famously kissed and ignited a generation’s sexual awakening. She was similarly cast as the dark-haired supporting figure to the consistently blonde leading females in Legally Blonde and The Sweetest Thing.