Rose Arianna McGowan (born September
5, 1973) is an American actress known for her role as Paige Matthews in WB
Network supernatural drama series Charmed, as well as for her roles in
several major Hollywood films including The Doom Generation, The Black
Dahlia, Scream, Jawbreaker, and Grindhouse. In 2008 she was guest
programmer and co-host of TCM's film-series program, The Essentials. She
played Ann-Margret alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Elvis Presley in the
CBS mini-series Elvis.
McGowan, the second-eldest of six children (plus two half-siblings), was
born in Florence, Italy, the daughter of Terri, an American writer of
French descent, and Daniel McGowan, an artist of Irish descent. Daniel
McGowan ran an Italian chapter of the Children of God to which both he and
his wife held membership until 1978. McGowan spent her early childhood
amid the group's communes, often traveling Europe with her parents.
Through her father's art contacts in Italy, McGowan became a child model
and appeared in Vogue Bambini and various other Italian magazines. Her
parents returned to the United States when she was 10, when they divorced.
She subsequently relocated to Oregon and then to Gig Harbor, Washington,
where she also met childhood friend Rey-Phillip Santos. McGowan did not
speak English until she moved to the U.S.
McGowan's formative years were spent with her father in Seattle,
Washington, attending Roosevelt High School and Nova Alternative High
School. At the age of 15, she officially emancipated herself from her
parents. McGowan pursued a possible career in the film industry during her
late teens, and also enrolled in a beauty school as a back-up.
McGowan made her first appearance in a Hollywood film with a bit role in
the 1992 Pauly Shore comedy Encino Man. Her role in the 1995 dark comedy
The Doom Generation brought her to the attention of film critics, and she
received a nomination for "Best Debut Performance" at the 1996 Independent
Spirit Awards. McGowan was subsequently cast in a supporting role in the
1996 hit horror film Scream.
McGowan spent the majority of the 1990s appearing in a variety of
independent films, including roles in Southie, Going All the Way, and
Lewis & Clark & George. In 1997, she appeared in the critically acclaimed
short Seed, directed by San Francisco-born filmmaker Karin Thayer, and
played opposite Peter O'Toole in the 1998 film adaptation of the Dean
Koontz novel Phantoms. Notably, McGowan also starred in the 1999 comedy
Jawbreaker, where she played a snooty high school student who tries to
cover up a classmate's murder. That role earned McGowan a nomination for
Best Villain at the 1999 MTV Movie Awards.
In 2001, McGowan was cast as Paige Matthews in the popular The WB
television series Charmed, as a replacement lead actress after Shannen
Doherty's departure from the show. She was offered to be a producer after
the seventh season alongside co-stars Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano,
but turned it down. The series ended its run on May 21, 2006.
In May 2005, McGowan portrayed actress/singer Ann-Margret in Elvis, a
Golden Globe-winning CBS mini-series about the life of Elvis Presley. That
same year, she lent her voice to the video game Darkwatch as a femme
fatale named Tala. The game was published by Capcom for PlayStation 2 and
In 2006, McGowan had a brief role in Brian De Palma's Academy
Award-nominated film The Black Dahlia. The following year, she starred in
the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double-feature Grindhouse, released
on April 6, 2007. Cast in utterly divergent roles, McGowan appears in both
portions of the film, as go-go dancing Cherry Darling in Planet Terror,
and as Pam in Death Proof. McGowan attended the 60th Annual Cannes Film
Festival to promote Death Proof along with Robert Rodriguez, Rosario
Dawson, Tracie Thoms, Zoë Bell, and Quentin Tarantino.
According to Variety, McGowan signed on to play B-movie staple Susan Cabot
in the upcoming film Black Oasis. Director Stephan Elliott (Priscilla,
Queen of the Desert) has penned and will direct the film based on a
Premiere article by John H. Richardson. The film has currently been placed
McGowan was a co-host with Robert Osborne on TCM's film-series program The
Essentials, on which a classic Hollywood film is shown every week. McGowan
was on the show for the 2008 season before being replaced by Alec Baldwin.
In 2007, McGowan was cast in Fifty Dead Men Walking. When in production,
the movie was first titled Man on the Run but is now officially called
Fifty Dead Men Walking. Filming began in Northern Ireland later in October
2007 and went on until December 2007. A release is expected for October
Elle Magazine originally reported that Rose McGowan has been signed to
play the title role in the future remake of Barbarella, fending off strong
competition from other actresses including Sienna Miller. The film is to
be directed by Robert Rodriguez and to involve close friend Quentin
Tarantino as a member of the crew. Following rumours suggesting that
Universal Studios had stopped funding the film as they were unconvinced
McGowan could carry such an iconic role, the actress confirmed on MTV that
the comments were untrue and unfounded and that the film was still in
production. On May 5 2009, it was officially confirmed by Robert Rodriguez
on MTV News, that Barbarella would not go into production due to filming
location difficulties, even though a lot of planning had already been
In June 2008, USA Today reported that McGowan had been signed to play the
title role in a third project with Robert Rodriguez (who takes on the role
of the film's producer), known as Red Sonja.
While dating Marilyn Manson, McGowan appeared in a music video for the
song "Coma White", and also performed backing vocals on the song
"Posthuman." Both of these songs are available on the album Mechanical
McGowan appeared on a BT track called "Superfabulous" from his album
Emotional Technology, which was also featured on the final Charmed
soundtrack, The Final Chapter. The song has been featured in several
films, including Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and Raising Helen. She wrote
and recorded a song titled "Protection," which was featured in her 2001
film Strange Hearts. McGowan has also appeared in the Imperial Teen music
video for "Yoo Hoo", which was featured on the Jawbreaker soundtrack.
McGowan has expressed interest in recording an album of her own. During an
interview with Living TV, she said, "I was actually thinking of going back
and doing more soulful tunes and older tunes...and I would love to, when I
have a little bit more time." In the Charmed episode "Sense and Sense
Ability," McGowan performed, in character, a cover of the Peggy Lee
classic "Fever." In 2007, it was announced that McGowan would be
performing three songs from the Planet Terror portion of Grindhouse. These
songs were released on the soundtrack by the Varese Sarabande label. The
songs are entitled "You Belong to Me" (a Dean Martin/Jo Stafford cover),
"Useless Talent #32" and "Two Against the World."
McGowan was the face of American clothing company Bebe from 1998 to 1999.
She was also the cover model for the Henry Mancini tribute album Shots in
the Dark, which was released in 1996. In addition to clothing
endorsements, McGowan has appeared on numerous magazine covers, including
Seventeen, Interview, Maxim, GQ, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.
She has also frequently been featured on Maxim, FHM and Stuff magazine's
sexiest women lists.
In 1996, McGowan was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her
role in The Doom Generation. A few years later, at the 1999 MTV Movie
Awards, she was nominated for "Best Villain" for her role in Jawbreaker.
In 2005, McGowan won "Best Sister" at the Family TV Awards, for her role
on Charmed. In 2006, Blender included her on their list of the sexiest
women of TV and film. The most recent award won by McGowan was under the
category Femme Fatale for the 2007 Spike TV Guys' Choice Awards, which
aired June 13, 2007. The award was for the role of Cherry in Grindhouse.
McGowan was nominated for "Scream Queen" at the 2007 Scream Awards on
Spike TV for her performance in Grindhouse.
McGowan lived in Seattle, Washington, but currently resides in Los
Angeles, California. She was in a very public 3 ½-year relationship with
rock musician Marilyn Manson. After a formal engagement lasting two years,
McGowan ended the relationship over "lifestyle differences". Prior to the
release of Grindhouse, there was speculation that McGowan was dating
director Robert Rodriguez. In May 2007, it was reported that they
confirmed their relationship while appearing hand-in-hand at the Cannes
Film Festival. On October 12, 2007 it was announced by Zap2it.com that
McGowan was engaged to Rodriguez. They planned to wed in 2009, but
reportedly split on October 2, 2009.
McGowan has admitted to sleepwalking as a child. "The weirdest spot I ever
woke up was a snow bank in Montreal. Now I just speak Italian in my
sleep." McGowan also suffers from agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder.
McGowan is known as an activist for Boston Terriers. She herself has two,
Bug and Fester, and has personally donated to various Boston rescues.
McGowan reportedly encouraged friends to donate to Boston Terrier Rescue
Net, and according to BTRN: "Having fallen in love with Bug and Fester,
her friends donated generously. It amounted to a considerable
contribution, which will go a long way in helping BTRN and the needy
volunteers who selflessly give to deserving Bostons."
According to an article in the New York Post, McGowan suffered serious
injuries in a car accident early in 2007. Riding as a passenger, her car
was struck by another vehicle and the force of the impact drove her
eyeglasses into her face. McGowan is quoted as saying, "I didn't realize I
was hurt until I put my hand to my face and felt the flap of skin. My
glasses had sliced me under my eye." After obtaining the services of a
plastic surgeon, McGowan is reported to be suffering no long-lasting
consequences from the incident.
Of her acting method, McGowan said "I'm not really one of those people who
goes and writes some big backstory and agonizes over characters...For me
personally, it's just kind of more instinctive. But I don't have kind of
an acting background. I fell into it accidentally."