In the realm of Hollywood, stories of rising stars and their eventual fall from grace are not uncommon. However, few tales are as intriguing and enigmatic as that of Leelee Sobieski. She was a talented actress who seemingly shot to fame overnight. However, she stepped away from the spotlight as her career was poised for a meteoric rise. This article delves into Sobieski’s remarkable journey from a young acting prodigy to her unexpected retirement, exploring the factors that shaped her decisions and the legacy she left behind.
Leelee Sobieski’s Rise to Fame
Many movies from the 90s era have been ingrained into our minds as classics. From horrors to romcoms, there is no shortage of entertainment from this decade. The same goes for various actors and actresses. Many of their faces are seen as distant family members. They are so familiar, yet still strangers. Leelee Sobieski is one of them. You might remember her from the popular TV show, “Joan of Arc.” Or movies like, “Never Been Kissed,” where she acted alongside Drew Barrymore. Or maybe even the epic thriller, “The Glass House.” She even landed a role with the infamous Tom Cruise in “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Born Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski on June 10, 1983, in New York City, Leelee Sobieski exhibited her acting prowess at an early age. Her distinctive beauty and innate talent caught the attention of agents and casting directors. Subsequently, this led her to make her acting debut in the TV movie “Reunion” at just 12 years old. The opportunity seemed to fall into her lap, and many would agree it would’ve been a waste not to try it. Following that, she managed to land some pretty big roles in movies. This promised the start of a great career, but Leelee had other ideas for her future – and acting wasn’t one of them.
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Leelee Hated How the Industry Sexualized Her
Leelee Sobieski was not excited about how the industry sexualized her image. She opened up about how she felt every time she had to kiss someone on screen. Bear in mind she was still a teenager for most of her roles. “It’s kind of a gross industry – well, they all are, when you examine them – but in acting, you’re selling your appearance so much. I would cry every time I had to kiss somebody, I couldn’t stomach it. I would think ‘I like this person, so I don’t think they should pay me to kiss them,’ or ‘I don’t like this person, so I don’t want to kiss them’. ‘Why is my kiss for sale?’ It made me feel really cheap.”
Moreover, she disliked how her parents allowed it to happen. ”My mother will let me wear a miniskirt and a blouse with my nipples showing,” she said at 16 years old. ‘‘And once there was this black dress that had the sides cut out, and my father said in his accent, ‘Zat lukes gret, rilly sexy.’ And I had to say, ‘No, it’s too sophisticated for me.”’
These Days She is a Painter
About 12 years ago, Leelee Sobieski decided enough was enough. She wanted to quit her acting career and focus her attention on what made her happy. “A lot of the time when you work, it’s a money project basically. I started paying the rent on our house when I was 15, so I had a lot of pressure and things got complicated for me… So when I could, I stopped,” she explained.
Thus, her artistic talents were discovered to be more diverse than acting. She introduced herself as a painter, and her work was received very well. This may not have surprised some, seeing as she had studied at Brown University, majoring in Visual Art. At first, Leelee was apprehensive about sharing her work. “I thought that because of my past, my work would be judged harshly,” she said. “I had to make sure that if everybody really hated them, I would still feel good about it. This is really what’s inside of me, and I’m not trying to be anybody else.… It was almost like coming out of the closet or something!” she added.
Leelee Sobieski is Now a Kimmel
These days, you can purchase one of her works of art at Sotheby’s for about $37,500 or more. At least, this is according to a 2018 MutualArt article. Or, you can view her passionate gallery displays in Aspen or Paris. “Painting was always my goal,” said Leelee.
Leelee is satisfied with her life now that she has left the world of painting. She is now known as Leelee Kimmel, after marrying Adam Kimmel. The two have to children together, Louisianna and Martin.
- “Leelee Sobieski’s new life: The actress co-starred with Tom Cruise, Josh Harnett and Paul Walker before leaving Hollywood to paint… and now she has an exhibition in Shanghai.” Dailymail. Heidi Parker. June 3, 2022.
- “Leelee Sobieski Admitted There’s One Thing She Really Disliked About Acting (And Doesn’t Miss Today) VICE. Ashley Spencer. October 29, 2019.