Juliette Lewis

Juliette Lewis is a musician and actress, best known for her roles in 1991’s Cape Fear and 1993’s Natural Born Killers.


Juliette Lewis was born on June 21, 1973, in Woodland Hills, California. She began her acting career at a very young age and gained notoriety in her teens for her four-year relationship with Brad Pitt. She's best known for her roles in 1991's Cape Fear and 1993's Natural Born Killers. In her thirties, Lewis committed to her music career and spent years touring with her band Juliette and the Licks. She has received press for her rowdy stage presence and outspoken defense of Scientology.

Early Life

Juliette Lake Lewis was born in Woodland Hills, California, on June 21, 1973. Her actor father and graphic designer mother divorced when she was 2 years old, but Lewis and her four siblings lived outside of Los Angeles intermittently with both parents, who encouraged artistic sensibilities. Always having a penchant for drama, Lewis decided at the age of 7 that she wanted to act. She got her first gig at the age of 12, and three years later filed for legal emancipation from her parents to sidestep child-labor laws and book more jobs.

Lewis started smoking marijuana at the age of 13 and dropped out of high school at 15. The same year, she was arrested for being underage at a club. Her father later had her mug shot blown up; the framed poster famously hangs in Lewis's living room. She drove without a license until she was pulled over at the age of 21. When she was 16, Lewis began dating Brad Pitt. The couple split four years later, which sent Lewis reeling. She developed a serious drug problem that led to a stint in a Florida Church of Scientology detox center when she was 26.

Acting Career

Lewis's first big acting break came from Martin Scorsese, when the director cast the 18-year-old in Cape Fear. Lewis played Danielle Bowden, a role famous for a scene in which she sucks Robert De Niro's thumb. For her performance, Lewis received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. She later said that working with Scorsese validated her acting instincts and process.

In 1992, Woody Allen hired Lewis for his film Husbands and Wives. She went on to play several high-profile roles, including Johnny Depp's love interest in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. One year later, she landed another career-defining role as a serial killer in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. She also has performed on stage and television, and earned an Emmy nomination for her role in Showtime's My Louisiana Sky. She's well known for her roles in 2003's Old School and the 2009 Drew Barrymore film Whip It. 

Lewis has taken on various roles in television throughout the years, including HBO's Hysterical Blindness in 2003 and in 2012's NBC's short-lived series The Firm. Most recently, she's taken on the role of Detective Andrea Cornell in ABC's Secrets and Lies. 

Music Career

Lewis has always said that music is her primary passion. Bored by filmmaking, Lewis believes that a live music performance is the ultimate thrill. When she was 30, Lewis committed to music full-time, fronting the band Juliette and the Licks. Lewis's stage persona is very aggressive and physical, characterized by punching and stage dives. She is often compared to a female Iggy Pop. The band toured internationally for years before separating in 2009, after which Juliette formed another band, the New Romantiques.

Personal Life

Lewis is an outspoken defender of Scientology. She stands behind the church's stance against psychiatric drugs and is a proponent of Eastern philosophies and natural solutions. Lewis characterizes herself as both politically independent and a Christian, despite her allegiance to Scientology. In 1999, she married professional skateboarder Steve Berra. The couple divorced four years later but remain friends. Lewis resides in Los Angeles.

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