Pauley Perrette Goth
December 12, 2011 by staff
On the job in her high-tech lair, Abby is an information magnet and a bloodhound for clues to help crack the latest case with a link to the Navy or Marine Corps. And in the process, she’s brainy, beautiful, charmingly quirky and totally gung-ho — which is to say, a lot like Pauley Perrette.
In its ninth season, “NCIS” (which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST) remains a smash hit, averaging 20 million viewers a week. And even among its crazy-popular ensemble (including Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray, David McCallum and Rocky Carroll), Perrette is a standout, having landed at the top of a recent Q Score roster measuring TV stars’ fame and likability among viewers.
But in person, as herself, Perrette can even upstage her performance as Abby. Hear her jazzed accounts of a life that led from her Atlanta upbringing to a role on one of TV’s hottest shows:
She describes her early-on aspirations: “to work with animals, be in a rock ‘n’ roll band or be an FBI agent.”
She recounts her scramble in New York, where she moved to study at John Jay School of Criminal Science but worked several jobs at once to make ends meet: “Not only was I bartending in the club-kids scene, with a bra and combat boots and a white Mohawk, 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.”
She thinks back on the days of her own hard partying and substance abuse: “I’ve done everything. Everything! I can’t believe I survived it.”
And she reports how, along the way, the bartender broke into show biz: “A kid in coat-check told me, ‘I know this director who would really like you.’ I started booking commercials like craaazy.”
Then she moved to Los Angeles, landing roles in shows such as “Murder One,” ”Frasier,” ”Time of Your Life” and “JAG,” where a guest shot led to “NCIS” with its premiere in 2003.
Perrette is an unapologetic cheerleader for her show — and her character.
“I’m the biggest Abby Sciuto fan on planet Earth,” she announces. “I mean, I didn’t invent her. I just have the honor of playing her. She fascinates me.”
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