Portia de Rossi was born on January 31, 1973 in Melbourne, Australia... or so the official biography claims. Another bio claims her given is actually (drumroll!)...Mandy Rogers!!!....(It even gives an excerpt from an "interview" that has Portia (or "Mandy", whatever) telling the reporter that she changed her name herself... (for a "modeling career" or something... I dunno. I'm confused...)) Oh well, we'll stick to Portia de Rossi for now... Anyway, she grew up in Melbourne, and as a kid (catch this!) wanted to be nothing other than a leagle eagle. As she later said in TV Guide "I wanted to live in L.A. and be an attorney... Now I live in L.A and PLAY an attorney! It's much funner than actually being one...". She was very serious in her childhood... Though her early years are as debated as co-star Calista's age/weight, I'm *pretty* sure the following info is true... (well, I got it from an official book!!!) Some bios also state that her father died when she was nine (believable, but never heard it anywhere else before...), and that by age 14 she was in TV gigs and a "fast-paced modelling career", as another bio puts it... Which really doesn't click with the early lawyer dreams, but oh well... Anyway, I give a 100% for the info following this.... During her childhood, Portia totally abstained from TV... EXCEPT for one series, "L.A.Law", also a product of (coincidence???) Kelley's imagination. She made good on her law school ambitions..to a point. She enrolled in law school in her native Melbourne, but stayed there only a year. Then she heard about an audition from the makers of "Sirens", and she decided to take the call of the execs. Though it was only a bit, it was enough to make her leave law school behind: now she wanted to be a thespian. (Kelley's early ambitions were, btw, almost identical to de Rossi's! Another coincidence??? Yikes!)
As the story goes, life of an actor in the early stages is anything but easy... but Portia was full of determination to pursue acting full-time, and she moved to Hollywood in 1994. Work followed... WEIRD work, to say the least. First came a part in the Fox sitcom "Too something"... though the show lasted only a month (total blow), the execs/producers/whatever at Fox seemed to like this young Aussie... Despite that, new work from Fox didn't follow, but instead she landed another "major" gig on WB's "Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher". This show was another example of a total TV blowout: for it's two-year run it was known as The Show That Nobody Watched... Finally, at long last, some SERIOUS work came: she was cast as sorority sister in the 1997 horror hit Scream 2. It wasn't really that big of a role, but at least it helped her get past what is known as "that period in life"... It also got her past a turn in her career, and she started getting small, but frequent roles in indie movies and stuff like
that. And in the middle of "Ally"'s first season, David Kelley heard about de Rossi and decided to try out her for his icy Nelle Porter. And it worked! As of now, de Rossi lives in Santa Monica, CA (with a temporary flat in L.A.) with her Maltese dog Bean.
PORTIA DE ROSSI: SELECTED CREDITS
*Stigmata - "Jennifer"
*A Breed Apart
*Toby's Story - "Jennifer"
*Girl - "Carla"
*Scream 2 (1997) - "Murphy"
*Sirens (1994) - "Giddy"
*Ally McBeal (1997-?; Portia on since 1998)- "Nelle Porter"
*Veronica's Closet (guest star; 10/30/97) - Carolyn
*Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher (1996; regular) - "Elana Lewis"
*Too Something (1995) - Maria Hunter
See bios: Calista Flockhart -- Gil Bellows -- Courtney Thorne-Smith -- Peter MacNicol -- Portia de Rossi -- Lucy Liu -- Greg Germann -- Lisa Nicole Carson -- Jane Krakowski -- Vonda Shepard