Elizabeth Reaser

Esme Cullen of the “Twilight” saga is one of the many larger-than-life fictional characters who’s managed to eclipse the actor (or in this case actress) playing them. Elizabeth Reaser began acting professionally in her early 20s, but it would take her a decade to make it big in Hollywood, with her portrayal of the Cullen matriarch. Since then, she’s excelled in “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “The Good Wife”, and other shows and movies; nevertheless, her most memorable role will perhaps always be that of Esme.

Elizabeth was born on 2nd July 1975, in Bloomfield Hills, one of the most affluent suburbs in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Her parents, John Reaser and Karen Davidson, divorced sometime during their middle daughter’s adolescent years; Karen went on to marry the billionaire businessman William Davidson of Guardian Industries, one of the world’s largest glass manufacturers.

After attending the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Elizabeth matriculated from Avondale High School in 1993, and studied at Oakland University before dropping out to attend the Juilliard School’s Drama Division, and in 1999, the actress graduated from the prestigious institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Notable Roles

Elizabeth’s first credited TV role was in 1998, when she guest-starred in an episode of “Sports Theater with Shaquille O’Neal”. Three years later, she enjoyed her first film role playing Miriam in the Henry Bean drama “The Believer”.

In October 2004, the Michigan native was listed in a “14 to Be” feature of emerging creatives who appeared in Interview magazine. The following year, the brunette began preparing for a leading role in the medical drama “Saved” by spending time in an emergency room and observing the staff. For 13 episodes, Elizabeth’s co-stars included the likes of Omari Hardwick, Angela de la Cruz and Tom Everett; however, the series was cancelled after just one season. ´

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Even so, Elizabeth’s hard work paid off when she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the Best Female Lead category for her work in “Sweet Land”, an independent period drama written and directed by Ali Selim that premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival, and earned a Jury Award.

Elizabeth’s character in the movie, Inge, was a German immigrant with no papers who was sent to live in a farming village in Minnesota and marry Olaf, a fellow immigrant whose parents met Inge in Norway. Against the odds, Inge and Olaf would fall in love, and deal with the rest of the townsfolk ostracizing them after they began co-habitating with each other out of wedlock.

Throughout 2007 and 2008, Elizabeth played Rebecca Pope in “Grey’s Anatomy”. Rebecca was brought to Seattle Grace Hospital after a ferry-related accident which left her with no memory; despite only appearing in 18 episodes of the show, she became a fan favorite after overcoming a series of traumatic events such as a brain bleed, an almost-miscarriage, and countless surgical operations.

In the end, Rebecca had to be transferred to a psychiatrist unit after a botched suicide attempt. Even if viewers were disappointed at her lack of happy ending, Elizabeth’s outstanding performance saw her nominated for her first Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category.

From 2008 to 2012, Elizabeth played Esme Cullen in the “Twilight” saga. Many longtime fans of the actress argue that Esme, a somewhat dull and one-dimensional character, didn’t allow for Elizabeth to showcase her talents. Even so, the matriarch of the Olympic vampire coven was revered by fans of the franchise, and is generally one of the favorite characters of any “Twilight” viewer.

Concurrently, in October 2010, Elizabeth also joined the cast of the CBS legal drama “The Good Wife” as Tammy Linnata, who briefly dated Will Gardner, one of the leading characters, but avoided a serious relationship due to Will’s romantic history with her sister. Eventually, Tammy tired of Will having no time for her due to the busy nature of his work, informing him that she would be seeing other people, and asking him for a “cooling-off period”.

It’s unclear what the showrunners intended to happen next, but in any case, “The Good Wife” viewers hated the relationship between Tammy and Will so much that Elizabeth’s character was written out of the series after a handful of appearances. Instead of being killed off or mysteriously disappearing, Tammy was offered a promotion that would require her to move to London; Will, instead of begging her to stay, wished her well, and “The Good Wife” viewers breathed a sigh of relief.

Since then, Elizabeth has had a handful of recurring roles in “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”, “Manhunt: Unabomber”, and “The Haunting of Hill House” amongst other shows.

Meanwhile, her latest movie projects include a role as Donna Shephard in the upcoming movie “Dark Harvest”, which we don’t know much about for now, but the fantasy horror film is apparently based on the Norman Partridge novel of the same name. The movie was reportedly scheduled for release in September 2021, but was pulled at the last minute due to the COVID-19 pandemic (which many considered a feeble excuse). It was then rescheduled for release in September 2022, but once again postponed, with no explanation.

For the time being, Elizabeth has yet to announce any other upcoming shows or movies.

Personal Life

Although Elizabeth was dating the writer and director Gavin Wiesen way back in June 2011, she hasn’t been linked to anyone in well over a decade. If the actress does have a partner, she’s hiding it well; her Instagram, which boasts over 370,000 followers, is full of work-related and personal posts, but no signs of a love interest.

Recently, Elizabeth and her close friend Sarah Paulson of “American Horror Story” fame, have been actively participating in the SAG-AFTRA and Writers’ Guild strike. Elizabeth and Sarah share an incredibly close bond, as the Golden Globe winner features heavily on the “Twilight” alum’s page. Elizabeth also frequently shares photos of her nephews and other family members.

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