Lisa made her feature film debut as the young 'Julia' in Fred Zinnemann's JULIA sharing the title role with Vanessa Redgrave, her television debut as the ingénue in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of THE COUNTRY GIRL with Jason Robards and Shirley Knight, and her theatrical debut starring as 'Wendla' in SPRING'S AWAKENING with the Circle Repertory Theatre in New York City.
Lisa’s other theatrical films include LIONHEART with Jean-Claude Van Damme, RETURN TO THE BLUE LAGOON, L'HOMME EN COLERE with Lina Ventura, SWING SHIFT with Goldie Hawn, and GHOULIES with Mariska Hargitay. For playing the title role in the film JENNIFER, Lisa received a Best Actress Award from the International Science Fiction & Horror Film Festival. Television movies include PERFECT GENTLEMAN, with Lauren Bacall, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, INTO THE BADLANDS with Bruce Dern, A BUNNY'S TALE with Kirstie Alley, OFF SEASON with Bruce Davison, THE BEST LITTLE GIRL IN THE WORLD with Eva Marie Saint, as well as the miniseries THE LAST CONVERTIBLE, STUDS LONIGAN with Brad Dourif and Mare Winningham, and THE BEST OF FAMILIES with William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver.
Lisa recently was nominated for a 2013 LA Weekly Award for her performance as Dr. Emma Brookner in Larry Kramer's THE NORMAL HEART at The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, a 2012 LA Weekly Award for her performance as Breda in Enda Walsh's THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM at Rogue Machine Theatre Company, and shares the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Lisa's most recent theatrical venture on the New York stage was in the original play, PANACHE, which elicited great critical response, notably from the New York Times. For this role she won an ADA award (Artistic Directors Award) as Best Actress In A Comedy. One reviewer said, “Lisa Pelikan, whose obvious gift for comedy recreates a Judy Holiday mind, couched in the porcelain beauty of Deborah Kerr.”
Lisa’s acting talent ranges from the comedic to the tragic, having also starred in the world premiere of ONLY A BROKEN STRING OF PEARLS, (now titled ZELDA), a one woman play about Zelda Fitzgerald. For her portrayal of the beautiful and tormented Zelda, Lisa won a Drama-Logue Award as well as glowing reviews from the critics. She has starred in many World Premiere stage productions including Arthur Miller’s THE AMERICAN CLOCK, and Jim Leonard's THE DIVINERS. Among her many other theatrical productions are the west coast premiere of Craig Lucas’ and Norman Rene's BLUE WINDOW, Des McAnuff's production of TWELFTH NIGHT, Jessica Kubzansky's production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE, and Simon Levy's production of DAISY IN THE DREAMTIME.
With credits and awards in theater, television and film under her acting belt, it is amazing to learn that it was just a twist of fate that brought Lisa to an acting career in the first place. Although she had been seriously interested in dancing and fine art from an early age, surgery in high school cut short all possibilities of a career in dance. Lisa was leaning toward a career in math or science when, on a dare, she applied to The Juilliard School of Drama. On the basis of her very first audition, she was not only accepted, but offered a full scholarship. The die was cast and it’s been acting for Lisa ever since.
The fourth day after she had moved to New York City, she was spotted by an agent who was taken with her delicate beauty, her auburn hair and porcelain skin. During her first year at school, Lisa was cast in the Hallmark Hall of Fame's production of THE COUNTRY GIRL starring Jason Robards, Shirley Knight and George Grizzard. Juilliard forbids students working before graduation, but the late John Houseman, then school director, became Lisa's biggest supporter and mentor, and allowed Lisa to juggle classes and acting jobs.
Her film debut came when she was cast as the young “Julia” in the acclaimed film, JULIA, sharing the title role with Vanessa Redgrave. On working with the renowned director, Fred Zinnemann, Lisa relates, “That was a magical entry into the world of filmmaking. Mr. Zinnemann took me under his wing when he saw how much I wanted to learn, not only about acting, but about the entire process of filmmaking. He made me feel that my ideas were important, and he actually listened to what I had to say. It was a very special time.”
As a child, Lisa was raised in Italy and Japan where her father was the financial attaché for the US government, and her mother was a prominent psychologist. She endured the trauma of being raised with the name 'Pelikan' which is always misspelled as 'Lisa Pelican', 'Lisa Pelligan', 'Lisa Pelian', 'Lisa Pellikan', or 'Lisa Pellican'; and having curly red hair. Now she enjoys both her red hair and her odd name.
Lisa has always had a natural affinity for the arts, but she never anticipated a career in the performing arts until fate stepped into her life.
© 2012 Lisa Pelikan