Although Pauley Perrette played the role of the quirky, crime-solving forensic scientist Abby Sciuto on NCIS, she might not be that different from her character in real life.
In fact, she has many things in common with Abby, and strives to devote much of her time to helping others.
Today, Perrette has left the world of crime solving on TV – following several horrifying incidents – in order to do more comedy. We think her new look really suits her.
Pauley Perrette has done plenty in her life. She’s a well-educated woman who found herself landing quite abruptly in the world of comedy. Later, she became a huge star on NCIS as brilliant forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, known to millions of people all over the world.
Pauley went from being a good actress to a great one, getting all the acknowledgement that she deserved along the way. However, her 15 years on NCIS were also marred by some negative incidents – not only did she have a stalker for more than 10 years, but she was forced to exit the show in a distasteful way.
No matter what happened, though, Pauley Perrette came out a stronger person. Today, she’s back on the comedy scene, where she loves it the most.
This is her story, from a southern state upbringing to landing a big role in one of TV’s hottest shows.
Pauley Perrette – childhood
It’s tough for Pauley Perrette to say precisely where she grew up. She was born March 27, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana, but lived all over the south during her childhood. She spent time in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, before finally going to high school in Georgia.
Ever since she was a young kid, Perrette’s been interested in crime stories, describing herself as “completely obsessed”. When she grew up, she had dreams of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band, working with animals or becoming an FBI agent.
“I lived in Georgia at the time of the Atlanta child murders, and I was around the same age of those kids, and I lived right off the Chattahoochee River,” Pauley Perrette said of the series of murders that were committed in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981.
“I was very young then, but I was obsessed with that case. Then I got really obsessed with Jonestown. I was way too young to be obsessed with these things, but I would every cut out every article — I really don’t like bad guys.”
And her being drawn to criminals seems to be a subject that’s pretty much defined parts of Perrette’s life.
After high school, she attended the Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, later moving to New York City to continue her studies at the John Jay School of Criminal Science.
“All I did was study and study and study,” she said. “I wanted to make straight As. I loved learning, I have such a love of higher education.”
“Accidental” acting career
To be able to pay for her education, she had to work several jobs at once.
“Not only was I bartending in the club-kids scene, with a bra and combat boots and a white Mohawk,” Pauley Perrette recalled, “but I wore a sandwich board on roller skates passing out fliers for Taco Bell in the Diamond District, and I worked on one of these boats that go around Manhattan, way down in the galley, knee-deep in fish water, cooking food for the rich people upstairs.”
Pauley didn’t really pursue acting as a career, as many did in New York City. For her, it was much more of a right place, right time sort of development.
Perrette was working to be able to finish her Master’s degree, when one day, she overheard a girl saying that she made over $3,000 dollars doing a commercial.
It might have been – what some would call – an “accident” that she started on the path to the top of show business. On the other hand, maybe it was fate?
“I really wanted to make $3,000,” she said.
“There was a director that took a liking to me and put me in a bunch of music videos and commercials. That’s how it started. In my undergrad degree, I studied Sociology, Psychology and Criminal Science. So basically, I was studying human behavior, which ironically has become an outstanding background as an actor as far as creating and understanding characters and how they think, feel and interact.”
Pauley Perrette – NCIS
In the early 90s, Perrette starred in several television series, including Frasier, The Drew Carey Show, and later on That’s Life. In 2000, she also got a role in the classic Almost Famous. It wasn’t long after that she’d land a role that would eclipse them all.
Pauley was cast in NCIS as quirky forensic scientist Abby Sciuto. Alongside actors such as Mark Harmon and Leroy Jethro Gibbs, she appeared in the first ever episode aired in 2003.
The show wasn’t that big of a success when it first aired. But as the seasons went by, Perrette and her colleagues on the show soon found themselves on the No. 1 drama television series in the US.
The show went on to win several ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, as well as being nominated for three Primetime Emmy’s.