Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan Biography

Actress (1973–)
Rose McGowan in an American actress known for her role on the TV series 'Charmed' and activism on behalf of women subjected to sexual harassment.

Who Is Rose McGowan?

Actress Rose McGowan was born to American parents in Florence, Italy, on September 5, 1973. Her vampish, pinup looks and bad-girl demeanor were showcased in films such as Scream and Jawbreaker in the 1990s, and she later starred on the television series Charmed from 2001 to 2006. In 2017, following revelations of sexual harassment allegations against powerful producer Harvey Weinstein, McGowan emerged at the forefront of the backlash against predatory behavior in Hollywood and beyond.

Child of God

Rose Arianna McGowan was born on September 5, 1973, to American parents living in Florence, Italy. Her father, Daniel (an artist), and mother, Terry (a writer), were involved in a religious cult called Children of God, which gave McGowan and her five siblings an unusual upbringing.

When McGowan was 10 years old, her family moved to the United States and her parents divorced. She spent the rest of her childhood with her mother in Oregon and Washington, and attended high school in Seattle. She legally emancipated herself when she was 15 years old and supported herself by working odd jobs.

Early Film Roles

McGowan did some modeling as a child in Italy and had an early interest in acting. After drifting from place to place in her later teens, she settled in Los Angeles and made her film debut in the comedy Encino Man in 1992. A few years later, independent film director Gregg Araki met her by chance and cast her as amoral teen temptress Ivy Blue in his film The Doom Generation. When the film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995, McGowan's performance caught the attention of many industry professionals.

Big Screen Starlet

McGowan rose to fame in the mid- to late '90s with appearances in several popular movies. Her vampish good looks and bad-girl demeanor were showcased in Wes Craven's slasher hit Scream in 1996, the 1950s-era coming-of-age story Going All the Way in 1997 and the high-school comedy Jawbreaker in 1999. 

The actress gained further exposure when she dated the provocative rocker Marilyn Manson from 1997 to 2001. In one of the couple's most notorious public appearances, at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1998, McGowan wore a revealing dress made almost entirely from strings of black beads.

'Charmed' and 'Grindhouse'

McGowan landed a major television role in the new millennium, playing Paige Matthews in the series Charmed, a fantasy-comedy about a family of witches. She appeared on Charmed from 2001 to 2006, in the meantime also taking roles in motion pictures like Monkeybone (2001) and the neo-noir crime thriller The Black Dahlia (2006), as well as the biographical miniseries Elvis (2005).

In early 2007 McGowan was injured in an automobile accident and underwent plastic surgery for damage to her face. She was back on the big screen a few months later in the Robert Rodriguez-Quentin Tarantino double feature Grindhouse: For the Rodriguez-directed section, the zombie-themed Planet Terror, she starred as stripper Cherry Darling, who sports a machine gun as a prosthetic leg; she had a smaller role in Tarantino's contribution, Death Proof, as the victim of a psychotic stuntman. McGowan and Rodriguez also became romantically involved after working together.

McGowan continued to act in film and television, though she had a difficult time landing plum roles. Her later movie projects ranged from the crime thriller Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008) to a remake of Conan the Barbarian (2011), and she was seen in guest roles on the TV series Nip/Tuck and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. McGowan also twice appeared as young Cora on the fantasy series Once Upon a Time, and had a featured role in Season 3 of Chosen, in 2014. In what she claimed would be her final big screen performance, McGowan starred in the 2017 supernatural thriller The Sound, alongside Christopher Lloyd.

Harvey Weinstein Accusations and #RoseArmy

Growing increasingly disillusioned with Hollywood, McGowan devoted more of her attention to creating art and began work on a memoir, Brave. She also found an outlet for her frustrations on social media: In 2015 she shared a casting note for an Adam Sandler film, in which she was encouraged to wear a top that "shows off cleavage." McGowan was soon dropped by her talent agency, a move she believed was in retaliation for speaking out about sexism in the industry.

It turned out to be just the start of McGowan's reemergence as a leading voice of a cultural movement. In October 2017, after The New York Times released a bombshell report of a string of sexual harassment settlements involving studio boss Harvey Weinstein, McGowan revealed that she had been raped by Weinstein in 1997. She continued to apply pressure in the following days, accusing Ben Affleck of lying for his insistence that he was unaware of Weinstein's actions, and posting old emails as evidence that others knew, as well.

McGowan's Twitter onslaught became particularly notable when it suddenly stopped on October 12. After she announced that her account had been locked— reportedly because she had posted someone's private phone number—other celebrities took to social media in her defense, sparking a boycott of Twitter the following day.

On October 27, 2017, McGowan was one of the featured speakers at the Women's Convention in Detroit, Michigan. In an impassioned speech, she said, "I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I’ve been maligned. And you know what? I’m just like you. Because what happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society and that cannot stand and it will not stand.”

The speech coincided with the launch of RoseArmy.com, a website that calls on men and women to "shine a light on darkness" and become an "army of truth," concluding with: "Be a thorn. Enlist!"

McGowan's star turn as an activist brought additional complications: On October 30, news surfaced that an arrest warrant had been issued for the actress, related to narcotics found in her personal belongings left at Washington Dulles International Airport back in January. McGowan responded in her usual outspoken manner, decrying the charges with the tweet: "Are they trying to silence me?"

After turning herself in to authorities on November 14, McGowan was booked for felony possession of a controlled substance and released on a $5,000 bond. She later offered up more details of the story to The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow, explaining that she had left behind her wallet while going to the bathroom, and suggested that cocaine was planted while it was out of her possession.

Of her pending arraignment, she said, “I will clearly plead not guilty."

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