Born with show business in her blood Illeana is the granddaughter of screen legend Melvyn Douglas and his first wife artist Rosalind Hightower. She is the step granddaughter of Melvin Douglas' second wife, actress and politician Helen Gahagan Douglas. Illeana began studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. As a teenager, she acted in many plays and dabbled in stand-up comedy. In 1988, working for a publicist in New York led to her first movie role. Illeana appeared in several Martin Scorsese films in small roles, but she learned from actors and directors, all the while developing her talents.In 1993, Illeana directed and starred in a comedy short The Perfect Woman (1993) which won best short film at the Aspen Film Festival. This success was a turning point, and led to larger parts, like a starring role in the commercially successful movie To Die For (1995) with big-name stars, and over 20 TV and movie projects. Illeana has developed quite an impressive resume ; of work. She provides great entertainment for her fans.