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26 February 2007 @ 09:01 am
W Magazine - March 2007

By Bridget Foley

Legendary Balanchine ballerina Maria Tallchief once told me that she became an Ellen DeGeneres fan after watching her on Hollywood Squares. Joseph Kuhn, a gay art-semiotics major at an East Coast university, Tivos DeGeneres every day. And at a recent taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in Los Angeles, I sat next to an elderly woman from Georgia who, during the star's signature bopping-with-the-audience entrance, danced like it was 1959.

These days it seems that everybody loves DeGeneres. Her distinctive hip populism cuts across divergent demographics while alienating no one. She has attained first-name-only status of the coziest sort, her most dedicated fans viewing her not with the awestruck devotion of Oprah Winfrey's faithful but with the familiarity of pals, as if they might go grab a drink with her after work. She just seems so nice and so normal.

But then, nice and normal are what DeGeneres's humor is all about as she riffs on the mundane, often mildly irritating realities of daily life. In her public persona at least, she has managed to retain a believable childlike gee-whiz wonderment at such frustrations as trying to start off a new roll of toilet paper, even though by the time this issue hits newsstands she will have just turned 49.

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14 May 2006 @ 01:24 pm
People Magazine - November 30, 1998

By MICHAEL A. LIPTON

As Ally McBeal's fierce rival, law-schooled Portia de Rossi knows whereof she pleads.

It's 9 o'clock on a Monday evening, and after 12 exhausting hours on the set of FOX's Ally McBeal, Portia de Rossi -- a plate of Thai take-out food in one hand and her white Maltese, Bean, trailing at her heels -- pads into the living room of her two-bedroom Santa Monica home. She plops down on a couch to watch her favorite show, which just happens to be Ally McBeal. "The funny thing is, I'd probably watch it even if I wasn't on the show," says de Rossi, who, as hotshot attorney Nelle Porter, joined Boston's fictional Cage/Fish & Associates this fall. "I was a huge fan. If I couldn't see it, I'd tape it. My friends and I would talk about it. Now that I'm in it, it's kind of surreal."

Given the thespian kiss-off at Geelong Grammar School outside Melbourne, de Rossi aimed for a career in law. That didn't work out either, though it would eventually come to pass. Sort of. The same year she began law school at Melbourne University, de Rossi shed her innocence (and clothes) in the hoity-toity film, Sirens. The character, a green 16-year-old whose on screen sexual awakening became a sure-fire testosterone-jumper for every American male this side of the Pacific Ocean, wasn't far from the truth. "[The director] really did want fresh talent and he really did like working with non-actors. He saw that kind of innocence with me. I'm a fairly private, demure kind of girl."

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14 May 2006 @ 01:22 pm
Melbourne Herald Sun - May 25, 2002

Two years ago she was barely half the woman she is today. Her skeletal appearance as she danced at a ball in Los Angeles led to fears for Portia de Rossi's health. In her sleeveless back dress, the sharp angles of a once curvaceous figure were painfully on show. but the Aly Mcbeal star's days of drastic dieting seem to be over at last. She seemed a picture of health and contentment when she attended an art show in LA this week. Friends put her transforation down to her relationship with Francesca Gregorini, the step-daughter of ex-beatle Ringo Starr. The two women made a glamorous couple at the opening night of an Any Warhol exhibition at the museum of contemporary art.

De Rossi, 29, showed off her glowing good looks in a low-cut flowing black dress, while her 33 year old companion singer and songwriter was sleek in a tight black skirt. Last year Ally McBeal fans were suprised when de Rossi. who plays man-eating lawyer Nelle Porter, was pictured locked in an embrace with Gregorini in a street off Rodeo Drive.

Rumours followed that the pair had 'married' in a secret ceremony. Earlier this year Gregorini, the daughter of Starr's wife Barbara Bach, spoke of her relationship with de Rossi. While she said the couple were 'absolutely not' married, they were 'blissfully happy'.

Asked about the photographs of their passionate public embrace, she said: 'We didn't know they were being taken. They are what they are.' The last episode of Ally McBeal aired in the US this week. De Rossi is now expected to concentrate on a movie career. She is to play a journalist in an Australia film about Frank Sinatra. US Actor John Turrurro will play Sinatra and Melanie Griffith his then-wife Barbara Marx in the comedy-drama The night we called it a Day". The film is based on Sinatra's controversial 1974 tour of Australia when, after calling journalists hookers, Sinatra was besieged by a union blockade.
 
 
14 May 2006 @ 01:19 pm
InStyle - May 2002

By NANCY GRIFFIN

When she's not hovering over southern California in a helicopter, Ally McBeal's Portia de Rossi floats over Hollywood in a 1930's penthouse filled with vibrant decoration and eccentric accents.

"I love living here because I get to see so many birds," says Portia de Rossi, wiping the sleep from her eyes and gazing out of her bedroom window into the Hollywood Hills. "Birds and helicopters just fly by -- it's crazy. Ive flown my helicopter - well my brothers helicopter - 50 feet outside this window, and you can see right through."

The Australian-born actress can't resist lofty places. De Rossi chose this three-story aerie on the seventh floor of a historic building (Marylin Monroe and Rock Hudson once lived here) as her first very own home. So blissed-out is she here that, despite the sunshine pouring onto her bed, she was sleeping when the doorman annouced her visitor. Now having thrown on a pair of black Puma track pants and an Iggy Pop T-shirt, she's nursing a coffee and sitting cross-legged on a funky seventies fur chair. Without make-up adn without her blonde plumage pulled back into a ponytail, she seems naturally easygoing, the opposite of her nasty Ally McBeal character, lawyer Nelle Porter.

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14 May 2006 @ 01:17 pm
InStyle Magazine - September, 2000

As razor-tongued litigator Nelle Porter on Ally McBeal, Portia de Rossi once again debunks the myth that all lawyers are boring: So far, her character has fallen in and out of love with the show’s bleeding – heart nerd, John “the Biscuit” Cage, fulfilled a sexual fantasy of being spanked, and kissed a boy half her age. “ I love Nelle Porter,” says the 27-year-old Australian-born de Rossi. “She’s the kind of woman I aspire to be – intelligent, quick-witted and powerful, but feminine and vulnerable at the same time.”

And though she may not be as aloof as her TV alter ego, de Rossi admires Nelle’s nasty side. “I love it when she gets mean and bitchy, because she gets to say things I would never say in real life but would secretly love to.” If the actress seems particularly well suited (and we don’t just mean those Armani ensembles) to play Nelle Porter, perhaps it has something to do with her background. De Rossi was attending lay school in her hometown of Melbourne when she landed her first role, in the low-budget Australian film Sirens (which starred Hugh Grant).

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Houston Chronicle - Unknown Date

By MIKE MCDANIEL

Her high-horsepower first name and down-to-there blond hair seem to complement the take-no-prisoners toughness Portia de Rossi brings to her role on "Ally McBeal." But it's all an act.

Or is it?

There are some similarities, de Rossi says, between her real life and that of her TV character, Nelle Porter. "For example," she says, "my character loathes frogs, and I discovered from filming the episodes that I do, too."
Ah, yes, the frogs. For those who are not regular viewers of the hit Fox show, John Cage (Peter MacNicol) lost his pet tree frog, Stefan, when it fell into a toilet bowl in the firm's unisex bathroom and was swept away when John inadvertently made use of his remote flusher.

A replacement frog was brought in to assuage John's grief, but Stefan re-emerged on a subsequent episode, startling Nelle and Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith) into an impromptu game of badminton, with frog as shuttlecock.
"All the episodes with the frog were truly horrible for me," de Rossi says, "because when the frog jumped out of the frame, they would replace it with another frog, so by the end of a two-page scene there were six frogs hopping about on the floor. And I had to stand there and deliver my lines, and half the time I was delivering them off-camera because I'd just run out screaming. I got a big-shot nickname after that. I was called Portia de Froggi."
She's really glad that story line is over.

Such is the nature of David E. Kelley's quirky and popular television series that a conversation with a beautiful actress about leaping frogs and remote-controlled toilets is Topic A. "Nelle Porter is really a dream role," says de Rossi, on the phone from her home in Los Angeles. Her Maltese, Bean, barks in the background.

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14 May 2006 @ 01:10 pm
Girlfriends Magazine - 2002

by CANDACE MOORE

Portia de Rossi's story may be typical of all super-feminine actresses with a queer second life. You didn't hear it from them, though; Candace Moore tells us why.

"A tight butt works wonders, wouldn'tcha say? Proving that Hollywood cliché was former Ally McBeal 'torney with 'tude' Portia de Rossi, walking her two black-and-white doggies‹with her gorgeous gal-pal, Francesca Gregorini (stepdaughter of Ringo Starr), by her side‹along the cool streets of Silverlake on an earlyish Sunday morn. Pretty Portia looked down to earth in army-green pants and a similarly colored tank top. The g-p went for the twin look in orange trousers and a skin-baring tank. Holding hands, with their hair loose and flowing, the two babes headed down the street toward a coffee kind of destination..." -Ted Casablanca, May, 30, 2002.

This spoonful of E! gossip reads like runway voice-over meets lesbian soft-core, although it describes a moment so ordinary and mundane, the sort we live out every day, semi-privately with our girlfriends. But it's hard to not be dazzled by the concept of Portia de Rossi (the vampy blonde who portrayed man-eater lawyer Nelle Porter on David E. Kelly's kooky, recently-canceled courtroom sitcom Ally McBeal) taking an openly loving Sunday stroll with her equally beautiful rocker girlfriend, Francesca.

And dazzled we are. The Star, World Entertainment News, the New York Post, The Daily Star and every other tabloid press and gossip columnist have been hot on the high heels of the long-haired lovers since snapshots of them enthusiastically groping each other in a West Hollywood back alley surfaced last November. When Portia and Francesca attended this May¹s opening night of the Andy Warhol retrospective at Los Angeles¹s Museum of Contemporary Art, the television actress was so badgered by a hack reporter as to who her ³friend² was, the couple decided to cut their visit short.

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Dark Horizons - 1999

by PAUL FISCHER

Once upon a time back in Melbourne Australia, there was a would-be law student called Mandy Rogers. Years later, Mandy is an actress, changed her name to the classier Portia, and is PLAYING a lawyer on TV's Ally McBeal. Discovered on film in Sirens, Portia de Rossi is now a bona fide star who lives in LA, drives a Porsche and her Aussie accent is no more. The 28-year old popped into the wintry Sundance Film Festival to flog her Indie film, Women in Film, a curious little oddity about three women surviving in cutthroat Hollywood. Squatting comfortably in a hotel bedroom in Utah's Park City, the beautiful Aussie talked to Paul Fischer about her career, Ally McBeal and that vexing of all questions: Why DID she change her name?
Portia de Rossi is curled up on a chair in a hotel room. We're in Park City, Utah, miles from sunny Los Angeles. Sporting red boots, khaki cargo pants and red T-shirt, with her trademark blonde locks draped over her shoulders, the beautiful Aussie actress was attending the prestigious Sundance Film Festival to chat about a strange little film called Women in Film. De Rossi plays on-edge Gina, an actress and professional masseuse who "steals" energy from her celebrity clients. Gina is obsessed with the delusion that Darren Starr stole her ideas for his hit TV shows 90210 and Sex in the City, and is determined to draw him "into my web" for retribution. Curious a film as it is, the film explores, appropriately, three women's journeys into Hollywood. An ironic proposition, given that Portia's own journey was unique, "simply because I didn't grow up with a burning desire to be an actress, De Rossi says smilingly, with her Californian accent in place.

Portia recalls having studied law at Melbourne uni when she heard of the audition for the movie Sirens. "I just thought it would be really fun, to have that in my life and be in a movie. That at least was the plan". Plans go awry, and this was no exception. .Naturally I fall madly in love with acting during the making of Sirens and realised I couldn't do anything else with my life than that". But acting presented an added interest for her. "I discovered, as an actress, you have MORE of a voice and you're able to express more YOUR philosophy, opinions and moral views and have more people listen to it, than politicians or the lawmakers. So it's kinda interesting, that with the characters I play, I try and stay true to my beliefs of how I want women to be represented".

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Daily Mail - 2002

By BETH HALE

Two years ago she was barely half the woman she is today. Her skeletal appearance as she danced at a ball in Los Angeles led to fears for Portia de Rossi's health. In her sleeveless back dress, the sharp angles of a once curvaceous figure were painfully on show. but the Aly Mcbeal star's days of drastic dieting seem to be over at last. She seemed a picture of health and contentment when she attended an art show in LA this week. Friends put her transforation down to her relationship with Francesca Gregorini, the step-daughter of ex-beatle Ringo Starr. The two women made a glamorous couple at the opening night of an Any Warhol exhibition at the museum of contemporary art.

Miss de Rossi, 29, showed off her glowing good looks in a low-cut flowing black dress, while her 33 year old companion singer and songwriter was sleek in a tight black skirt. Last year Ally McBeal fans were suprised when Miss de Rossi. who plays man-eating lawyer Nelle Porter, was pictured locked in an embrace with Miss Gregorini in a street off Rodeo Drive.

Rumours followed that the pair had 'married' in a secret ceremony. Earlier this year Miss Gregorini, the daughter of Starr's wife Barbara Bach, spoke of her relationship with Miss de Rossi. While she said the couple were 'absolutely not' married, they were 'blissfully happy'.

Asked about the photographs of their passionate public embrace, she said: 'We didn't know they were being taken. They are what they are.'

The last episode of Ally McBeal aired in the US this week. Miss de Rossi is now expected to concentrate on a movie career.
 
 
Cox News - September 14, 1998

by PHIL KLOER

A competent lawyer on "Ally McBeal"? What's this show coming to?

But that's how Portia de Rossi, who joins the firm of Cage, Fish and Associates when "Ally" returns for its second season tonight, describes her character, lawyer Nell Porter.

"She's good at her job. She's a competent, strong woman," says de Rossi, who had a bit part in "Scream 2" -- and survived all the slashings as ditsy sorority babe Murphy. "Fish ('Ally's' founding law partner, superbly played by Greg Germann), being as greedy as he is, wants to enhance the possibility of making a lot of money, so he brings her in."

The actress is the first new regular added to Fox's breakout hit since it made its debut last season and became one of the most talked-about shows on TV. Cast members have warned de Rossi that her life is about to change enormously as she goes from being little-known to watched, somewhat obsessively, by millions. She says they told her: "It's nuts out there. Lock your doors. Don't even go outside."

De Rossi says she still doesn't know much about her character, including what quirks the show's creator, David E. Kelley, will saddle her with. She says the cast told her Kelley likes to watch the actors and then pick up and magnify their tics.
"Greg Germann said the other day: 'Maybe you'll be blind. Maybe you'll have really thick glasses.' I said, 'Maybe I won't.' "

One reason Kelley may have hired her, though, is her height. She's 5-foot-8, easily 5-foot-10 in high heels. Star Calista Flockhart and most of the other cast members are considerably shorter, and de Rossi's height may be used to intimidate them. Or, knowing "Ally," to cut Nell Porter down to size.

De Rossi was born in Australia but has lived in Los Angeles for four years and has no trace of an Australian accent. In addition to "Scream 2" ("There may be some possibility of doing 'Scream 3,' she says), she had a small role in the 1994 film "Sirens" with Hugh Grant.

Although actors frequently say they don't have time to watch much television, de Rossi says she was a huge fan of "Ally" last season. It was amazing," she says of her first week of filming, "to have these characters that I love so much right in front of me."