A cool, confident-looking blonde with evocative, glamorous eyes and a clefted, jutting chin, Karen Sillas began a collaboration with filmmaker Hal Hartley when she performed in his student thesis film...
First feature lead, "What Happened Was..."; first created the role on stage; also provided some of the film's financing
Appeared in the John Hughes-scripted drama "Reach the Rock"
Made cameo appearance in Hartley's feature "Flirt"
Feature debut in a small role in Hartley's "Trust"
Filmed pilot, "The Repair Shop" (CBS), executive produced by Mark Frost, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal and directed by Philip Noyce
Acted in director Hal Hartley's short film, "Kid", the thesis film he made at SUNY Purchase; first collaboration with Hartley
Played the part of Joan in Larry David's balck comedy "Sour Grapes"
Co-starred with Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan in "Female Perversions"
Moved to NYC and began a career in the theater, supporting herself for a time as a children's speech coach
Portrayed Dr Hannah Garrison in CBS miniseries "Night Sins"; featured alongside Hartley regular Martin Donovan
Selected to join the Actors Studio in New York; performed in such Studio productions as "Rasputin", "Miss Julie" and "The Cherry Orchard"
First prominent role in a feature film, "Simple Men", directed by Hartley; billed third, Silas received an Indepent Spirit Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress
First TV series as a regular, "Under Suspicion", a CBS police detective drama, with Sillas in the leading role of Rose 'Phil' Phillips
Earliest TV appearances include a guest spot on the NBC police drama series "True Blue"
Starred opposite William Petersen in NBC miniseries "Peter Benchley's 'The Beast'"
Acted for a time on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live"
Acted opposite Gary Cole in the ABC movie "Lies He Told"
A cool, confident-looking blonde with evocative, glamorous eyes and a clefted, jutting chin, Karen Sillas began a collaboration with filmmaker Hal Hartley when she performed in his student thesis film, "Kid" (1985), while the two attended SUNY-Purchase. Moving to New York City, she studied at the Actors Studio and appeared in such Studio productions as "Miss Julie", "The Cherry Orchard" and "Rasputin" before making her feature debut in a small role as the no-nonsense Nurse Paine in Hartley's striking "Trust" (1990). Sillas continued her affiliation with the director, playing a more prominent part as a lonely cafe owner who becomes involved with two very different brothers in his intriguing "Simple Men" (1992), and made a cameo appearance in Hartley's feature version of "Flirt" (1994). Her search for offbeat parts to spotlight her pensive seriousness and skill at conveying an edgy toughness tinged with vulnerability led her to portray a struggling artist in Dierdre Fishel's "Risk" (1993).
Sillas was a well-kept secret of the independent film community until Tom Noonan's "What Happened Was . . ." (1993) blew her anonymity. The head of CBS casting saw the intense two-character film about a first date at the 1994 Sundance Festival (where it won the Grand Jury Prize) and immediately wanted her as the star of the network's new cop series "Under Suspicion" (1994-95). Sillas was right at home, comparing the atmosphere of the Oregon-based "Suspicion" to that of an independent film, and though it lasted only a season, she drew nothing but raves for her tight-lipped, tight-skirted detective Rose Phillips. Since then she has starred in two miniseries, "Peter Benchley's 'The Beast'" (NBC, 1996) and "Night Sins" (CBS, 1997), acted opposite Gary Cole in the ABC movie "Lies He Told" (also 1997). On the big screen, Sillas essayed a lesbian psychiatrist in "Female Perversions" (1996) and attempted a change of pace breezy turn as Steven Weber's no-nonsense girlfriend in Larry David's uneven black comedy "Sour Grapes" (1998).
About landing her role in "Under Suspicion": "They'd tried for a long time to find 'Phil' [her character in the show]. Then the head of CBS casting went to Sundance and [said], 'We've got to get this woman.' It was only the second time I'd ever been to L.A., and I went down there to do an audition with just this small bag, and I did the audition and got the role, and we started shooting the pilot right away, and I never went back to Brooklyn." --Karen Sillas, PARADE MAGAZINE, April 2, 1995