UB Distinguished Speakers Series: Selma Blair

Actress, “Legally Blonde” & "People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story" | Author of "Mean Baby" | Disability Rights Advocate

portrait of selma blair.

March 15, 2023
7 p.m.

Center for the Arts
Mainstage Theatre

Tickets: $50.00 - $70.00

Throughout her diverse career, Selma Blair has been one of the most versatile and exciting actresses on screen. Blair’s longstanding career began with her comedic roles in pop culture classics in the early 2000s. Blair has worked with an array of acclaimed directors including Guillermo del Toro and Todd Solodnz, to name a few. Additionally, Blair was named one of Time Magazine’s People of The Year” in 2017 as one of their Silence Breakers.

Blair released her first memoir titled “Mean Baby” in which she tells the captivating story about growing up and finding her truth. Over the course of the beautiful and, at times, devastating memoir, she lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is brutal violence, passionate love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood, and, finally, the surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. “Mean Baby” hit stands in May 2022.

Blair can be seen as the subject of the documentary, “Introducing, Selma Blair, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2021 SXSW Festival, where the feature won the Special Jury Recognition for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling. The film also won the New York Women in Film & Television Documentary Award at the Hamptons Film Festival and received three Critics Choice Documentary Award nominations, including Best Documentary Feature. The documentary, which reveals Blair’s intimate and raw journey with multiple sclerosis, opened in theaters in fall 2021. It was subsequently released on Discovery+ and is currently streaming on the platform.

Previously, Blair starred in the comedy/horror thriller “Mom and Dad,” alongside Nicolas Cage. The film, which follows a teenage girl and her younger brother as they must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origin causes parents to turn violently on their own kids. The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and later screened at the 2017 Sitges Film Festival and the 2017 Molins Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Jury Prize for Best Film and the Audience Award for Best Films. VARIETY critic Dennis Harvey wrote “She [Blair] covers a gamut from bittersweet sympathy to farce to monstrousness, running amok like a cat on piano keys, yet hitting each note perfectly. “Mom & Dad” isn’t the kind of movie they give acting awards to — but in a just world, it would be.”

On television, Blair was seen co-starring as Kris Jenner in FX’s “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” for director Ryan Murphy.

Blair also starred in Todd Solodnz’s “Dark Horse” in 2011 as Miranda (formerly Vi), alongside Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival and was later released by Virgil Films & Entertainment. Blair also starred in Todd Solodnz’s “Storytelling” in 2001.

In 2008, Blair reprised her role as Liz Sherman in Guillermo del Toro’s “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” after starring in the original “Hellboy” in 2004 (also directed by del Toro).

Blair is perhaps best known for her scene-stealing performance as Vivian Kensington in MGM’s hit romantic comedy “Legally Blonde,” alongside Reese Witherspoon. The film was nominated in 2002 for a Golden Globe Award in the category of Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

In 1999, Blair played the role of Cecile Caldwell in “Cruel Intentions,” alongside Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe. Columbia Pictures released the film, which was directed by Roger Kumble.

Other film credits include the YA film “After” (2019) and its sequel, “After We Collided” (2020), based on the popular romance novels of the same name. Blair also starred in Robert Benton’s “Feast of Love” in 2007, and John Water’s “A Dirty Shame” in 2004. In 2002, Blair reconnected with her “Cruel Intentions” director Roger Kumble in “The Sweetest Thing” for Columbia Pictures, alongside Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Jason Bateman.

Blair also starred on television as Kim on “Kath & Kim” for NBC from 2008-2009, opposite Molly Shannon. Blair has made memorable guest star appearances including “Friends,” “Another Life,” “Heathers,” “Portlandia” and “Web Therapy.” 

On stage, Blair starred in the World Premiere production of Rajiv Joseph’s “Gruesome Playground Injuries at The Alley Theater” and was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Spoken Word Recording” for her reading of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Blair currently resides in Los Angeles.