A Unique Character on and off the Screen
One character stands out in the vast world of NCIS: the strange investigator Abby Sciuto, played by the incredible Pauley Perrette.
But did you know that Perrette and Abby share more than just a position? In real life, Perrette exhibits many of the same characteristics and spends significant time giving back to her community.
Now, after leaving the world of crime-solving on television, she has found her place in comedy, and it suits her perfectly.
A Remarkable Life
Pauley Perrette’s journey in life has been nothing short of remarkable. She surprised the world by entering the comedy profession and rose to prominence as the smart forensic scientist Abby Sciuto on NCIS, earning international praise and acclaim.
Her 15-year stint on NCIS was not without its hardships. Perrette faced a decade-long stalker ordeal and ultimately left the program under less than flattering circumstances.
But despite these difficulties, she returned more vital than ever, finding solace in her return to the comedy scene, where she feels most at ease.
From Humble Beginnings
Let’s dive into Pauley Perrette’s life, from her humble beginnings in a small southern town to her significant role in one of television’s most recognized shows. Describing her background may be difficult for Perrette herself.
She was born on March 27, 1969, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and spent her childhood traveling throughout the Southern states. From North Carolina to South Carolina and then to Tennessee, before finally landing in Georgia for high school.
Pauley Perrette admits to being “completely obsessed” with crime fiction since childhood. As a child, she dreamt of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band, working with animals, or joining the FBI.
The Atlanta child murders, which occurred between 1979 and 1981, had a significant impact on Perrette. She was about the same age as the victims and lived near the Chattahoochee River in Georgia.
“I became captivated by that case at a young age,” Perrette says. “After that, I became obsessed with Jonestown.” I would absorb any material I could get my hands on, even if it was intense for someone my age.
Furthermore, Perrette’s fascination with the world of criminals appears to have been a recurring theme throughout her life. She attended Valdosta State University in Georgia before moving to New York City to study at the prestigious John Jay School of Criminal Science.
“All I did was study, study, study,” she says. “I wanted to get straight A’s. I am very interested in higher education and love the learning process.” Working multiple jobs simultaneously to support her schooling became a requirement for Perrette.
“I worked on one of those Manhattan boats, knee-deep in fish water in the galley, cooking meals for the affluent patrons above,” she recalls. “I was a bartender in the lively club-kids scene, wearing a bra, combat boots, and a white mohawk. And while gracefully gliding on roller skates, I carried a sandwich board and distributed Taco Bell leaflets around the Diamond District.”
While many people in New York City aggressively pursued traditional professions, Perrette took a different path. It was simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time for her.
Some call it luck. Perrette overheard a woman bragging about earning over $3,000 from a single commercial, all while working to pay for her Master’s degree.
Inadvertently, she found herself on the path to stardom. “I wanted to make $3,000,” she confesses. “A filmmaker liked me and cast me in several music videos and commercials.”
That’s how it all started. During her undergraduate studies, she majored in sociology, psychology, and criminal science. It was discovered that researching human behavior provided a reasonable basis for performers, assisting in the development and understanding of characters, their emotions, and relationships.
Perrette appeared in various television sitcoms in the early 1990s, including Frasier, The Drew Carey Show, and later That’s Life. But her big break came in 2000 when she landed a part in the classic film Almost Famous. Little did she know an even bigger opportunity awaited her.
The Rise of Abby Sciuto
Pauley Perrette brought the character of the classic investigator Abby Sciuto to life on NCIS. She made her television debut in 2003, alongside talented performers such as Mark Harmon and Leroy Jethro Gibbs, in the pilot episode.
The show wasn’t an instant success, but as the seasons went on, Perrette and her co-stars found themselves at the summit of American drama television. NCIS garnered multiple Primetime Emmy Awards nominations and various ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards. It was a pivotal point in Perrette’s career.
It was her first major role, catapulting her to prominence. And true to her personality, Perrette wholeheartedly devoted herself to the role of Abby.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Perrette emphasized her deep affection for the show and its cast and crew. “We genuinely love our jobs here,” she said. “Our show has an extremely devoted fan base.”
Being at the top is fantastic. NCIS has the highest scripted program rating in the world. But what truly matters to the cast is that they continue doing what they love.
Pauley Perrette starred as the lead lady of NCIS in 354 episodes. She also made appearances in four episodes each of NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans, expanding her presence in the NCIS universe.
However, life is rarely without its difficulties. Despite her intense love for her work on NCIS, not every part of Perrette’s life was perfect. Her marriage to Canadian musician and actor Coyote Shivers ended in divorce in 2000.
Perrette encountered friction with her co-star Mark Harmon during a dog bite incident on set, which strained their relationship and affected the show’s generally peaceful tone.
Perrette bid a tearful farewell to the character she portrayed for almost a decade on Twitter. She urged everyone to appreciate and embrace “EVERYTHING ABBY” for the rest of the season, recognizing the character’s profound affection, joy, and inspiration in their lives. “I cherish her just as much as you do,” she said.
Perrette found it challenging to say goodbye to a role she had played for almost ten years. In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, she honestly expressed her sadness at departing the iconic show.
Her heart grew heavy at the thought of a world without Abby. “I’m still in grief. Every day is different, and it’s a sad experience. I frequently cry in the car on my way to work and on the way home. But I take a deep breath and say, ‘Okay.’”
In 2019, Perrette took to Twitter to declare that she would “never go back to NCIS,” expressing concern about her co-star Mark Harmon. However, despite her difficulties, she remained appreciative of the opportunity the show provided and the growth it brought to her life.
“This show restored my faith in people and this industry,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am SO GRATEFUL to have worked with such an incredible cast and team. They are the best coworkers I have ever had. They healed me. They changed my life. They restored my faith. So thankful.”
Pauley Perrette is not only a remarkable actress but also a kind person who wants to make a difference in the lives of others. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and eagerly await her return to primetime television.
Please share this heartwarming story with your family and friends. Let us celebrate Pauley Perrette’s journey and her impact on the entertainment industry and beyond.