Katherine Dee "KaDee" Strickland (born December 14, 1975) is an American actress currently known for her role as Charlotte King on the ABC drama Private Practice. Well known in her hometown of Patterson, Georgia, when she was a child, she began acting during high school. Strickland studied the profession in Philadelphia and New York City, where she obtained mostly small roles in film, television and theater projects, among them The Sixth Sense (1999). Her participation in the 2003 Hollywood films Anything Else and Something's Gotta Give led to her receiving significant parts in the horror pictures Anacondas and The Grudge (both 2004). In the period they were released, Strickland was referred to as "the pride of Patterson" and the horror fandom's "newest scream queen", though her performances in both films received mixed critical reviews. In 2005, Strickland garnered positive critical comment for the romantic comedy Fever Pitch, and in 2007, she was a cast regular in the television show The Wedding Bells and subsequently was added to the cast of Private Practice. Strickland has spoken against the emphasis placed on beauty in the Los Angeles acting community, in which she says her Southern U.S. background has helped to distinguish herself from other blonde-haired actors. She has spoken of an affinity for her strong female characters and a desire to avoid sexualizing or sensationalizing her self-presentation as a woman. KaDee Strickland appears in the video by Rascal Flatts "Here comes goodbye".
Strickland was born in Blackshear, Georgia to Susan Strickland, a nurse, and Dee Strickland, a high school football coach, principal and superintendent. KaDee's birthname is Katherine Dee; her parents combined the K in Katherine with her father's name to make KaDee. She was raised in Patterson, Georgia, which she said is a "one-stoplight town", and she had a job picking tobacco on a local farm for eight years. When she was a child, Strickland watched the Woody Allen film Annie Hall (1975) and was, as she put it, "wanting to be in that place, and being completely taken with the energy of those people. I wanted to be in it". During her childhood, she was well known locally as a member of the Strickland family and for her extracurricular activities and achievements (she was the Homecoming Queen in elementary, middle and high school, the student council president and a cheerleader). She never considered a career in the performing arts until her participation in a one-act play performed by students of her high school: "[...] the minute I set foot on stage, that was it. Destiny took over. There were no other options. I felt like I fit my skin, I knew what I was here to do", Strickland said. After graduating from high school, Strickland wanted to study drama at college in New York City, but her parents did not want her to live in such a large city so soon.
Consequently, she applied instead to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. During her studies there, she joined the Screen Actors Guild and considered using her given name, Katherine, as the first part of her stage name, before deciding she was "much too tomboy" for it. Strickland took a part-time waitressing job at a local restaurant and interned at a casting agency, where one of her tasks was to read lines at auditions for small roles in local film and television projects; the job landed Strickland her first film role. After graduating from university with a Fine Arts degree, she was schooled in New York City, and in late 2003, she moved to Los Angeles, California. In 2006, Strickland received the University of the Arts's Silver Star Alumni Award. Strickland's career began in 1999 with a brief appearance as a mourner at a funeral after-party in The Sixth Sense, a two-line part that she received after impressing writer-director M. Night Shyamalan when reading lines for those auditioning for the film. According to Strickland, her role in the film helped her learn to temper her fake crying. The same year, she served as an extra in the independent film The Sterling Chase, and appeared in a small role opposite Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie in James Mangold's drama Girl, Interrupted.
In early 2005, Strickland was cast in the pilot episode for the fact-based ABC television series Laws of Chance. It was based on the career of Kelly Siegler, a highly successful Houston, Texas-based assistant district attorney. Strickland, whose co-stars in the pilot included Frances Fisher and Bruce McGill, said she was "really excited to have the opportunity to portray this phenomenal lady", but the series was dropped from development a few months later. Strickland was also cast in the independently financed 1950s-set film Walker Payne as laid-off stripminer Jason Patric's love interest; in a review of the film at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, Variety wrote that Strickland was "elegant". In late 2005, she joined the cast of The Flock, a crime drama featuring Richard Gere, Claire Danes and singer Avril Lavigne about a federal agent assigned to track down a missing girl and a paroled sex offender (played by Strickland). Strickland said it was important to participate in such a story because she felt members of society need to consider and be responsible for their views on the sex offender counterculture, which she says "[is] actually not counter at all, it's very real, very next door to you." Strickland's first aired television project as a cast regular was the David E. Kelley-produced series The Wedding Bells.
According to her, she wanted to be in the series because "the subject of love and commitment is something to me that I want to walk into every day. It's a lot better than dead bodies." The show began airing on the Fox Network in March 2007, and it was canceled the following month. The Baltimore Sun called it "awful in ways that make the word 'awful' seem inadequate [...] [the cast is] not a bad one at all, but just terrifically ill-served by the material." She joined the cast of the Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, which began airing in September 2007; she plays Charlotte King, chief of staff at the show's local hospital and a doctor specializing in urologic surgery. Strickland has cited Jessica Lange, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton (in Annie Hall), Ione Skye (her Fever Pitch co-star) and Jane Fonda as her inspirations and/or influences; for The Grudge, she mimicked Fonda's performance in Klute (1971) and her "brilliant way in that film of creating tension and fear for the audience just by walking down a hallway and looking over her shoulder." She noted the input of her acting coach, Maggie Flanagan, who instructed Strickland to watch films with the sound turned off to gauge the quality and comprehensibility of a performance, and who Strickland credits as her "Jedi Knight".
Strickland is a self-described "big fashionista" and "very concerned with looks", and she has noted the need for "an element of vanity" in acting, particularly in Los Angeles, where she says she is "continually surrounded by super-human people [...] I've never seen so much beauty." According to her, she has never had to rely on her appearance or felt pressurised to be beautiful—"The truth is I'm not that girl", she said. With regard to sources such as magazines, Strickland said she is "very careful" about the way she wants to be presented as a woman, saying she strives to avoid "sensationalizing or sexualizing" herself. As she put it, she is not accustomed to being considered a "pretty girl" or "attractive by a standard that I've never felt that I was part of". Strickland has a very audible Southern American accent, which she says is an advantage for her because it is "the one thing" that film and casting directors like the sound of and "really gravitate toward", particularly in Los Angeles, which she called "a town full of blondes". According to her, she learned to speak without the accent at university, and because she does not want people to think she has no other skills, she uses it only when it is required or requested. Strickland is experienced in stage combat and said she "like[s] to do physical stuff"; in an interview to discuss Anacondas, she said "if there was a Braveheart for women, I'd be all over it."
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