A talented and charming actress once poised to join the ranks of Hollywood's most sought after leading ladies, Samantha Mathis found her early career nearly overshadowed by highly publicized romantic relationships with two of her leading men. A third generation performer, Mathis began acting in her early teens, landing early roles on television before the age of 20. Her breakout role in "Pump Up the Volume" (1990) also led to a brief, intense involvement with the film's star, Christian Slater. A later project, the romantic drama "This Thing Called Love" (1993) introduced her to River Phoenix, with who she would also enter into a relationship. Her personal life became even more public when she witnessed infamously Phoenix die of a sudden drug overdose on the streets of Hollywood in October of that year. Mathis attempted to drown her sorrows in work over the next few years with projects such as "Little Woman" (1994) and "Broken Arrow" (1996), until her mother's death from lung cancer prompted her to take a year-long sabbatical. Her eventual return found her turning up in supporting roles in a mix of film projects like "American Psycho" (2000), television events such as "Salem's Lot" (TNT, 2004), as well as stage performances on Broadway. Having witnessed first hand the potential pitfalls of sudden stardom, Mathis chose to focus on professional craft and personal fulfillment, rather than the short-sighted pursuit of celebrity.