Samantha Mathis (born May 12, 1970) is an American actress. The daughter of actress Bibi Besch, Mathis made her film debut in Pump Up the Volume (1990).
Mathis was born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, the daughter of actress Bibi Besch, and granddaughter of actress Gusti Huber. Her parents divorced when she was 2 years old, and Mathis was raised by her mother. She relocated to Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California at the age of 5. Mathis' mother discouraged her from pursuing acting, but growing up on locations, in theaters, and in acting classes, Mathis knew she wanted to act. She decided to become an actress at the age of 12.
Mathis began acting professionally at the age of sixteen, her first job was a commercial for "Always Slender Pads - Just For Teens". She co-starred in the television series Aaron's Way and Knightwatch from 1988 to 1989. Her first starring role in a feature film was that of Nora in Pump Up the Volume (1990), opposite Christian Slater, whom she briefly dated at the time. Mathis dyed her natural blonde hair black for the role to change her image from sweet and innocent, to strong willed.