• Vinessa Shaw is a 46-year-old actress and model of very mixed ancestry
• She was born in Los Angeles, California in 1976 and raised in Topanga Canyon
• Her acting career began in 1981 and her breakthrough came in 1993 with her performance in “Hocus Pocus”
• She is married to graphic designer Kristopher Gifford and has one son with him
• Her overall net worth is estimated to be around $1 million
Who is Vinessa Shaw?
Born Vinessa Elizabeth Shaw under the sign of Cancer on 19 July 1976, in Los Angeles, California USA, Vinessa is a 46-year-old Caucasian actress and model of very mixed Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Irish, French, German, Swedish, Russian, English and Dutch descent, with Buddhist beliefs. She is easily recognizable around the planet thanks to portraying various well known characters, perhaps most famously Allison in the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus.” She has also had other successes since the beginning of her frequently lucrative acting career in 1981.
Early life: An amalgamation of ancestry
Biologically, it could be said that Vinessa is from almost everywhere. Her paternal grandfather was Russian-Jewish, and her maternal grandfather was Italian, from Calabria and Naples, Italy, while her grandmothers add ancestry already mentioned to the mix. She was raised in Topanga Canyon, California, alongside her younger sister and now fellow actress Natalie Shaw, by her father Larry Shaw, and her mother, actress Susan Damante. Her paternal grandfather was an adjunct professor of psychology at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio, whose original surname was Schwartz. Her first name is spelled with an ‘I’ instead of the common ‘A’ in homage to her maternal grandfather Vincent. Thanks to her mother, she grew up with a strong interest in acting, performing in a UCLA acting camp short film as early as age 10, and later touring with singer Peter Alsopp at age 11. She attended an unspecified high school, matriculating in 1994, then enrolled into the liberal arts and sciences Pitzer College in Clairmont, California, but eventually dropped out to focus on her work.
Career: Earlier than most
Vinessa debuted in Hollywood as early as five years of age, playing Angel Bradely in “Home Sweet Home” in 1981. After that, she was signed on as a model by Elite Models agency in 1989, at age 13. She performed various modeling jobs, and showed up in a few commercials before hitting the big screen again. Her uninterrupted film career finally started in 1991, with the role of Clara Tarpin in “Long Road Home.” She made her TV series debut in 1992, as Meredith Reed in an episode of “The Torkelsons”, and later that year as Carolyn in two episodes of “Great Scott!”
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Her great breakthrough came in 1993, when she landed the prestigious part of Allison in Disney’s fantasy family comedy by Kenny Ortega entitled “Hocus Pocus,” which she’s still most famous for even three decades later. She played Teen Covergirl in an episode of “New York Undercover” in 1995, and another in 1996. She took a break for a year, and then appeared as Barbara in “L.A. Without a Map” in 1998. Aside from playing Cordelia in “Wayward Son” in 1999, she realized one of her most important roles as well –as Domino in Stanley Kubrick’s world renowned “Eyes Wide Shut,” starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
With 15 acting credits behind her, Vinessa entered the year 2000 as Eileen Wells in “The ‘70s”, and Anethe Christenson in “The Weight of Water.” She played six other roles up to 2006, when she famously portrayed Lynn in the well-known horror film by Alexandre Aja, entitled “The Hills Have Eyes.” The next year she obtained the coveted role of Emma Nelson in the award winning action crime drama by James Mangold entitled “3:10 to Yuma”, with the legendary Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster. After three roles in 2008, she made an appearance as Dr. Kelly Benedict in “House” in 2010, followed by two more parts in 2011.
The next year saw her as Jennifer Walsh in an episode of “CSI: NY”, and more importantly, that same year she landed the part of Laura Savino in seven episodes of “Vegas,” her first multi-episode TV series performance. Her second and thus far last multi-portrayal was of Kate McPherson in 10 episodes of “Ray Donovan” from 2014. After four recurring roles and a two-year break past 2018, she came back in 2021 in three titles, most notably as Juanita Russell in “12 Mighty Orphans,” which marks her 51st and most recent acting credit as of mid-2022.
Does she have any awards?
While she is yet to win one, Vinessa has been nominated for six awards. Her first nomination was for the 1993 Young Artist Award in three categories: Best Young Actress Co-starring in a Motion picture (for “Ladybugs” from 1992), Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture (also for “Ladybugs”), and Best Young Actress Recurring in a Television Series (for “Great Scott!” from 1992; she was nominated for the same award in 1994 and 1995. She was nominated for a CDFCA Award at 2008’s Central Ohio Film Critics Association awards, in the Best Ensemble category alongside Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Russell Crowe and Peter Fonda, for their performance in “3:10 to Yuma”. In 2009, she was nominated for a VVFP Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in “Two Lovers”.
Love life: Does she have a husband?
Vinessa’s only known relationship is that with graphic designer Kristopher Gifford, whom she met and started dating in 2008. They married in 2017, around the same time she became pregnant with their only child, a son named Jack, born on 20 February 2018. They live together, in Los Angeles.
What is Vinessa Shaw’s net worth?
Vinessa overall accumulated wealth is estimated by most reputable sources at close to $1 million, owing this to more than 30 years of an acting career, over which she’s appeared in several high grossing titles, most prominently Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.”
As of mid-2022, Vinessa Shaw has light blond hair and dark green eyes. She is 5ft 8ins (173cms) tall, and weighs 121lbs (55kgs), with vital statistics of 34-25-35, bra size 32B, dress size 4 (US), and shoe size 9 (US).