A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Missy Crider began her journey to the arts at an early age. She took a job as a singer and violinist in musical stage shows, when she was awarded Young Entertainer of the Year by the OMA Stage Awards Association in 1986 in Branson, Missouri. A trip to record a Christmas album in Nashville was stopped short due to a car accident, and the album was never recorded. Although she has yet to sing on country music stages again, she performed and produced two songs, “Endless Sleep” and “Can’t Show the World”, that appear on the soundtracks in two of her films: “Girls in Prison” (1994) and “A Boy Called Hate” (1995).
She started her Hollywood career at a young age (12) and for six years, alternated between making films in Hollywood and doing musical stage work in New York City and Branson Missouri while doubling her education, managing to graduate with a 3.98 GPA ranked 3rd in her class. She spent seven years working in musical theater and doing local plays while flying back and forth to Hollywood and New York. She made a permanent move to Los Angeles in October of 1992, after having filmed six movies and miniseries for television that secured her Screen Actors Guild membership, including the award-winning original, “Lonesome Dove” (1989), starring Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Duvall, Anjelica Huston and Diane Lane, for which she was cast by New York-based casting director Lynn Kressel. Through Crider’s final high school years in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Kressel cast her in three projects before she made the permanent move to Los Angeles. After playing Anjelica Huston’s lovesick daughter, “Sally Allen”, in “Lonesome Dove” (1989), Lorimar Productions immediately signed Missy to a one-year holding contract. She celebrated her graduation from high school with a starring role opposite Ossie Davis and Morris Chestnut in NBC’s The Ernest Green Story (1993) (TV), which showed the 1950s struggle to integrate the school system in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Shortly after her relocation to Los Angeles, director Glenn Jordan cast her opposite James Woods and Anne Archer in the prestigious Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Jane’s House (1994) (TV). Shortly thereafter, Crider portrayed the beleaguered daughter of Lesley Ann Warren in ABC’s A Mother’s Revenge (1993) (TV), opposite Shirley Knight and Bruce Davison and, soon afterward, director John McNaughton cast her as an aspiring singer who lands a record deal. McNaughton asked Crider to sing the vocal tracks for the film in Showtime’s campy remake classic, Girls in Prison (1994) (TV), co-starring Anne Heche and Ione Skye. Crider received a 1994-95 Emmy nomination for her leading role opposite Tom Everett Scott in the ABC drama about fear of sex in the 1990s: “CBS Schoolbreak Special: Love in the Dark Ages (#11.3)” (1994). She made the transition to film when writer/director Mitch Marcus cast her as the female lead, “Cindy Wells”, opposite Scott Caan, James Caan and Elliott Gould, in A Boy Called Hate (1995). The gritty road movie captivated filmgoers and critics alike, winning The Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival. She followed this role by being cast as a Southern woman caught in a cycle of small-town violence with a sensitive portrayal of a student who finds compassion for fellow empath, Sean Patrick Flanery in Disney’s feature film, Powder (1995), co-starring Jeff Goldblum and Mary Steenburgen.
It was this winsome portrayal that brought her to the attention of renowned television producer Steven Bochco, who cast her opposite Anthony LaPaglia and Mary McCormack, as inscrutable murder defendant “Sharon Rooney” for a nine-episode run in the second season of his highly-acclaimed ABC series, “Murder One” (1995).
It was during this period that Crider filmed Paramount’s Sins of the Mind (1997) (TV), in the starring role of “Michelle Widener”, opposite Louise Fletcher and Jill Clayburgh. This telefilm was based on the true story of a talented and traditional young woman who slips into a coma following a car accident and awakens with psychologically disturbing and uncharacteristic emotional behavior, swinging mercurially from childlike behaviors to that of a young woman as she healed. That winter, she went on to show more colors with Nick Cassavetes and Paul Johansson, as a neglected date at the end of her rope in the short film, Conversations in Limbo (1998).
Other credits for the actress include a Los Angeles theatrical production, “Pot Mom”, directed by Justin Tanner; Peter Benchley’s eight-hour miniseries for NBC, The Beast (1996) (TV), opposite William Petersen; Stephen King’s Quicksilver Highway (1997) (TV) for ABC, opposite Christopher Lloyd, and the independent film, Stand-ins (1997), in which Crider drones in low German octave when playing Marlene Dietrich’s savvy, wise-cracking double, in 1930s banter with fellow stand-ins Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Mae West, Rita Hayworth and Greta Garbo. In Christian Otjen’s drama/suspense indie ensemble, Reeseville (2003), she was cast as “Athee”, a quirky small-town girl who works at the local stop-and-shop and proves pivotal in a murder mystery, opposite Majandra Delfino, Brad Hunt, Brian Wimmer, Mark Hamill and Sally Struthers.
She won the role of “Janine Haywood” in the premiere episode of the second season of CBS’ hit series, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000), playing a Las Vegas dancer with a decidedly Jersey accent who is suspected of murdering her lover, the owner of a successful chain of casinos, due to her insisting she is in his will and owns “half” of his mansion. Next, Crider played opposite Simon Baker in CBS’ series, “The Guardian” (2001), as “Minette”, his ex-girlfriend, an actress from his less sober days in New York, who shows up in his Pittsburgh office, after five years, in hopes of picking up where they left off. She then accepted the offer of a lead role in Showtime’s futuristic series, “Jeremiah” (2002). She played “Claire”, a brave young lady making her way in a new and hopeful post-apocalyptic time, siphoning gasoline to fuel her late father’s sailboat in order to travel to the other side of the world to see if human life still exists. Claire’s mysterious way and curious behavior of siphoning scarce gasoline is luring to Jeremiah. They fall in love as she reveals that she has been storing what gas she could find a little at a time over the span of ten years to fuel her late father’s boat and the promise to live out his dream of sailing the sea to discover if human life remains in other parts of the world.
In the fall of 1999, Crider’s manager received a phone call from Steven Spielberg. He said he had recently seen her work on ABC’s “Strange World” (1999) and wanted to write a leading role, specifically, for her in his NBC one-hour drama, “The Others” (2000). The role had originally been written as an elderly Indian woman and was rewritten for Crider to play “Satori”, a gifted psychic, opposite fellow telepaths Bill Cobbs, Julianne Nicholson, John Billingsley, Kevin J. O’Connor and Gabriel Macht. The series aired for 14 episodes on Saturday nights in 2000. Proving equally adept with humor, Crider completed a co-starring role in producer/director Mike Binder’s award-winning feature film comedy, The Sex Monster (1999), joining an ensemble cast that included Mariel Hemingway, Kevin Pollak and Stephen Baldwin. In this bedroom farce, which won Best Picture at the 1999 Aspen Comedy Festival, Crider plays “Diva”, a beautiful young secretary who becomes the unwitting object of both her employer’s and his wife’s affections.
In 2001, Bill Paxton met Crider at a screening of “The Sex Monster”. He cast her in his feature-film directorial debut, set in rural Texas, Frailty (2001), playing a cameo as Matthew McConaughey’s wife, “Becky Meiks”. Soon after, she was offered the leading role in the indie film, Instinct to Kill (2001), the film version of the book, “The Perfect Husband”, playing “Tess”, a young woman who discovers that her husband is a serial killer and has stalked her since she was a child.
Crider landed a coveted role in David Lynch’s ABC pilot-turned-feature film, Mulholland Dr. (2001), as “Diane/Betty”, a smart, hip, mysterious waitress who dreams of becoming an actress and served as the projection of Naomi Watts’ character’s fragile identity. Writer/director Andrew Bowen offered Crider the female lead in his independent film, Along the Way (2007), a coming-of-age tale about four young men whose lives seem destined for tragedy. Crider plays “Jordan”, a photojournalist whose relationship with one of the friends becomes the catalyst that forces him to come to terms with his life.
Crider joined an all-star cast, including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken in Revolution Studios’ romantic comedy, Gigli (2003), written and directed by Martin Brest. Director Gregory Hatanaka offered her the lead role of “Mina” in his ensemble independent film, Until the Night (2004), in which she plays the girlfriend of hopeful cinematographer Norman Reedus, an actress who battles with them growing in different directions in Hollywood. The ensemble also costars Sean Young, Kathleen Robertson, Michael T. Weiss and Aimee Graham. Crider was offered the female lead in an original Hallmark Channel television film, Out of the Woods (2005) (TV), opposite Jason London and Edward Asner, directed by Stephen Bridgewater. She completed the premiere episode of the 2004 fall season of “CSI: Miami” (2002), as the lead guest star, “Tawny Williams”, the wife of a wealthy man and stepmother of his child, who is suspected of his murder.
In 2006, she appeared in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Bedfellows (#6.5)” (2006) as Charlene Copeland and in “Huff” (2004) as Natalie for two episodes. In 2007, she appeared in four episodes of Fox’s highly acclaimed hit show, “24” (2001) as Rita Brady and was in “Without a Trace: One and Only (#5.22)” (2007) as Mia. In 2009, she was in CW’s “90210” (2008). In 2013, she returned to TV as Leanne Tipton in “Criminal Minds: Pay It Forward (#8.19)” (2013).
Crider has starred in several indie films such as Until the Night (2004) opposite Norman Reedus, Kathleen Robertson, Michael T. Weiss, and Sean Young, Butterfly Dreaming (2008) opposite Andrew Bowen, and co-stars opposite John Savage and Dee Wallace Stone in The Cry of the Butterfly (2014). After ten years of doubling residency between California and Northwest Arkansas, in the spring of 2013, Crider made a permanent move to Los Angeles after the sale of her circa 1885 bed & breakfast in the South when working on ABC’s hit show, Criminal Minds.
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