The lithe and attractive brunette American actress Jorja Fox entered the public eye in the late ’90s and early 2000s, given her involvement as a recurrent cast member in three consecutive, top-ranked U.S. television series: ER (1994), The West Wing (1999), and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000). Fox is perhaps most familiar to fans of CSI, appearing in well over 150 episodes and numerous seasons.
Born Jorja-An Fox on July 7, 1968, in New York, NY, but raised in Melbourne Beach, FL, Fox moved back to Manhattan in her teens and began a modeling career after winning a local modeling contest, then subsequently enrolled as a drama student at the Lee Strasberg Institute, where she studied acting under the aegis of legendary actor William Hickey (Prizzi’s Honor, Forget Paris). Fox’s early roles were minor and somewhat forgettable, though she debuted onscreen under the tutelage one of the finest American indie filmmakers — Maggie Greenwald — in that director’s well-received film noir debut The Kill-Off (1991). She followed it up with an equally dark turn, as Fate 3 (alongside future West Wing co-star Allison Janney), in John Feldman’s little-seen black comedy thriller Dead Funny (1995), and joined mentor Hickey and Alan Arkin for the best-forgotten Jerky Boys (1995) — a loud, rude and obnoxious farce about a couple of prank phone callers. The film bombed with critics and the public, and disappeared instantly.
Fox joined the cast of the blockbuster series ER in 1996, during its third season on the air. She played Maggie Doyle, a lesbian intern at County General Hospital who launches a sexual harassment suit against a seemingly invincible administrator. The role lasted for three seasons, wrapping in 1999; that same year, Fox signed for a supporting role on The West Wing, mega-producer Aaron Sorkin’s blockbuster series drama about life in the Oval Office. In that series, Fox played Gina Toscano, the Secret Service agent hired to protect first daughter Zoey Bartlet (Elisabeth Moss) during the first and second seasons (1999-2001).
Fox’s prominence rose with her comparatively higher billing in the hit CBS-Alliance-Atlantis series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She joined the cast of that series from its inception, as Sara Sidle, a maverick investigator who specializes in materials and elements analysis. As the series opened, team leader Gil Grissom (William Petersen) called Sidle in from her post at the San Francisco coroner’s office to investigate the death of former CSI team member Holly Gribbs. After the unit solved that case, Grissom, impressed with her work, invited her to stay on board and solve additional cases. Series writers imparted an added dimension to Sidle’s character by revealing a backstory that involved the spousal abuse of her father, her mother’s decision to commit mariticide, and her own entry into foster care.