If there's one thing that's true about actors the world over, it's that they all have to start somewhere. Well, one Westworld star just posted their screen debut online, and it's adorable. Actress Shannon Woodward, who portrays Elsie on the HBO hit Westworld, recently found her first professional acting gig, on an episode of Clarissa Explains It All, online and decided to post it for all to see. Head to right before the 15 minute mark on the video and take a look.
See? Absolutely adorable. Shannon Woodward made her professional acting debut on the fifth episode of Season 5 of Clarissa Explains It All titled "Alter Ego." Part of that episode, which aired in December of 1993, included a 7-year-old Woodward appearing as the owner of a lost cat that the Darling family had taken in, a cat that Clarissa's brother Ferguson was actually looking forward to keeping. Ferguson would like to find a good excuse to hold on to the cat, but in giving Woodward's character, Missy, the third degree, he realizes that the girl's father had given the pet to her before going off to do missionary work in Calcutta, and that Missy spends her days waiting for her mom to get done with her fast food job by eating stale chips and sitting on the playground with her cat. So, yeah, only a monster would keep this kid away from her cat.
I have to say, I'm not surprised that little Shannon Woodward managed to walk away with the role of Missy on this episode of Clarissa Explains It All. She was cute, obviously, but more than that, she was actually pretty good. She makes you feel for Missy, with her one parent home life, daily stale chip eating and my-only-friend-is-a-cat-named-Bubblegum tale of woe. And yet, you can still see a hint of childlike joy that can only be had with a life like this when you're too young to know how crappy things are. I mean, come on, the girl's dad left her mom with a sad taco shack gig so he could go off and be a missionary. Geez.
Even though she made for a solid child actor, Shannon Woodward's work has grown a lot on screen. She's appeared in several TV shows since her time on Clarissa Explains It All, including The Drew Carey Show, Malcolm in the Middle, Without a Trace, The Riches and Raising Hope. Her most recognizable role now, though, is as Elsie on Westworld. Woodward has imbued the character with a down to Earth forthrightness, professional drive and natural curiosity that, as of the end of the first season, had gotten her into quite a bit of hot water.
It's always fun to get to know an actor in a few roles and then watch them in something from early in their career. So, it's great that Shannon Woodward was able to find her very first credited acting role and put it on Twitter for everyone to see. She's clearly proud of it, or, at the very least, where the part helped her eventually get in her career, and she should be.