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Gillian Leigh Anderson, OBE (born August 9, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois) is a film, television, and theatre actress. She is best known to the general public as FBI agent Dana Scully from The X-Files. She also frequently appears in Period Drama pieces. She has also started moving into novels, with the science fiction series The EarthEnd Saga.

She is involved in many charity projects. She is on Twitter and has a very detailed official webpage.


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  • Ability over Appearance: Fox executives wanted somebody "taller, leggier, blonder and breastier" to play Scully (at one point, Pamela Anderson's name got tossed around), but Chris Carter convinced them that the then-unknown petite, redhead (albeit natural blonde) Gillian would be perfect.
  • Actor Shipping: She is extremely aware of the fact that some fans ship her with her former co-star, David Duchovny, and she sometimes enjoys messing with people with vague answers. However, at the end of the day, she and David Duchovny are just colleagues and friends with wonderful chemistry.
  • Adam Westing: In Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, a quasi-mockumentary about filming an adaptation of the novel, Gillian Anderson (as herself) gets the part of the Widow Wadnam because the producer loves her as Scully on The X-Files. Gillian wants to get away from her most famous role, and is later annoyed when her scenes as the widow are cut from the movie. Many, many more layers of meta in this film.
  • Approval of God:
    • Many with the fan reactions to The X-Files, including:
      • Often accepting and/or wearing viewers' merchandise at fan Q&A conventions, even making t-shirts based on fandom slang.
      • She and David Duchovny are aware of the Rule 34 side of the fandom, but she has made the most nods to it. Notably, she made a coy reference to The Airport — a well-known NSFW fanfiction from 2000 in which Mulder and Scully hook up in a Chilli's restaurant — when she promoted a season 11 episode on Twitter, and then admitted at a Q&A she had read it (and enjoyed it) months later. At another convention, she explained that David often sends her "MSR after dark"note  fan art.
      • Has mentioned that she is overwhelmed, intrigued and proud to be part of "The Scully Effect", a notable amount of women in science, medicine and related fields who first became interested in those careers because of Dana Scully.
    • invoked She likes that some fans ship Agent Scully with Detective Gibson and hopes it has a decently sized fanfiction base.
    • The #YoniOfTheDay and #PenisOfTheDay social media postsnote  to promote Sex Education include photos that fans send to her.
  • Beauty Mark: Above her upper lip. Was often covered up by makeup in many roles.
  • Creator Backlash: She was none too happy about Season 11 of The X Files not having a single female writer. This ultimately brought so much negative publicity that two were added.
  • Dye Hard: She is a natural blonde, but Dana Scully was a redhead (of various shades in the long run), and this image of her got stuck (though one character claims that it is not her real hair colornote ).
  • Experimented in College: Married to a man and says she's heterosexual, but also admitted to having several relationships with women in the past.
  • Fake American: Gillian Anderson was born in America to American citizens of English, Irish and German ancestry, but she moved to England when she was two and didn't move back until she was eleven, and by then, her speech patterns had been set. She had to work to lose it when she went into acting, and if you pay attention to the early episodes of The X-Files, it slips through at times. Now that she has moved back to England, she has got the accent back in full force. Her American accent she acquired in her teenage years comes back whenever she is interviewed by an American reporter.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: She was pregnant at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2 of The X-Files. She wore lots of baggy clothes and appeared in unrevealing angles. Her pregnancy influenced the famous Myth Arc of the show.
  • I Am Not Spock: Dana Scully is her most famous role. She moved from the States to Great Britain to defy the trope.
  • LGBT Fanbase:invoked Many fans at Q&As have admitted that she or one of her characters were their LGBT Awakening, especially a remarkable number of women who were nerdy adolescents in the '90s. She embraces it.
    Q: Why do you think women are attracted to you?
    Gillian: Because I've got tits?
  • Older Than They Look: She is fifty, but looks positively gorgeous and definitely better when her looks are compared to her early Scully days. Dana Scully was cute, but a bit mousy and dressed with questionable fashion taste in the early seasons of The X-Files.
  • Promoted Fanboy: She played a parody version of Dana Scully in an episode of ReBoot, as well as fellow Fox series Eek! The Cat.
  • Public Exposure: Has posed naked with a conger eel.
  • Scully Box: She is very petite, and her co-star David Duchovny as Fox Mulder on The X-Files was much taller, so the crew had her stand on a box. She looks tiny and adorable in some scenes without high heels and without the box. Her role is the Trope Namer (while the Production Nickname derived from the actress herself, "Gilly-Board").
  • Speech Impediment:
    • She has a very very slight lisp, if you pay attention, that is. Anderson, who lived in Britain until she was eleven, has said hers is partly the result of trying to drop her accent in high school. If you pay attention, in the earliest episodes of The X-Files, it occasionally slips a bit, especially when she tries to say 'garage'.
    • While it is not quite an outright impediment, on the revival series of The X-Files there are times her voice is so hoarse you would think she needs a cough drop. She has said that it is an artefact of switching back to an American accent, which sometimes puts strain on her voice.
  • Star-Making Role: Dana Scully of The X-Files made her a household name.
  • Underage Casting: She was 24 when she was cast as Dana Scully, a forensic pathologist with a medical degree, FBI training, and teaching at the FBI academy. Her character was in her late twenties, though realistically, Scully would have to be in her mid thirties to achieve the qualifications she has.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Her accent tends to fluctuate. She was born in the US, but lived in England until she was in her early teens, and didn't try to shed the accent until she was out of high school. In the very early episodes of The X-Files, she would slip occasionally. In the 2008 movie, it can get quite noticeable in Scully's emotional scenes, as Anderson moved back to England after the show ended in 2002, and had to relearn her American accent all over again for the film.
  • Written by Cast Member: She wrote and directed "All Things", a Season 7 episode of The X-Files. The reviews from critics were mixed, but fans loved the episode and praised her insight into her character.

 
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