Actress Sarah Steele gained her first break playing the sympathetic daughter, Bernie Clasky, on the film “Spanglish” (2004), opposite Adam Sandler, Téa Leoni and Paz Vega. She took home a Phoenix Film Critics Society Award and a Young Artist nomination for the role. The talented youth has since appeared in the films “The Good Student” (2006, with Tim Daly), “The Lucky Ones” (2008, with Tim Robbins) and “Please Give” (2010, with Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) and in the TV series “Law & Order,” “ Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “ Gossip Girl”(2 episodes, as Kira Abernathy). On stage, she performed in an off Broadway revival of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brody” (2006).
Childhood and Family:
On September 16, 1988, Sarah Jane Steele was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, George, is a doctor specializing in nutrition and diet. She graduated from The Episcopal Academy in Merion Pennsylvania, the same school attended by film director M. Night Shyamalan, in 2006 and went on enroll at Columbia University in the City of New York. She has taken voice lessons, and acting lessons at the Macguffin Theatre and Film with John Rea.
Sarah Steele was a junior at Episcopal when she auditioned and beat over 2,000 young actresses for the role of Bernice 'Bernie' Clasky, Adam Sandler's appealing daughter, on the James L. Brooks comedy/drama “Spanglish” (2004). In her debut performance, she was handed a 2004 Phoenix Film Critics Society for Best Performance by Youth in a Leading or Supporting Role – Female and a 2005 Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress.
In 2006, Steele was cast as Amber Jinxs on David Ostry's comedy film, “The Good Student” (aka. “Mr. Gibb”), starring Tim Daly as Mr. Gibb and Hayden Panettiere as Allyson “Ally” Palmer, and made her television debut playing Katie White in an episode of “Law & Order” called “Cost of Capital.” The same year, she played Monica in The New Group's revival of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brody” off Broadway. The production was directed by Scott Elliott. The cast also included Cynthia Nixon (as the title role), Emily Bicks, Ritchie Coster, Lisa Emery, Betsy Hogg, Zoe Kazan, Caroline Lagerfelt, John Pankow, Caity Quinn, Matthew Rauch, and Halley Wegryn Gross.
In 2008, Steele appeared in the 15 minute drama “Man,” written and directed Myna Joseph, “The Lucky Ones,” a comedy/drama feature starring Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Peña and directed, co-written and co-produced by Neil Burger, and Matthew Shapiro's short film, “Old Days.” Besides, she guest starred as Tessa Nobile in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (also 2008). In 2009, Steele landed the two episode arc of Kira Abernathy on The CW's teen drama, “Gossip Girl,” adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar's book series of the same name. She appeared in the episodes “They Shoot Humphreys, Don't They?” and “The Debarted.”
Recently, in 2010, Steele costarred with Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and Rebecca Hall on writer/director Nicole Holofcener's well received comedy/drama “Please Give,” the forth collaboration between Holofcener and Keener. She played Keener and Platt's teenage daughter, Abby. It was followed by a work in the 10 minute drama “Monkeywrench” (2010), by Chris Teague. She has completed filming “Margaret,” a 2010 drama helmed and penned by Kenneth Lonergan. The film stars Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Matt Damon, Krysten Ritter, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney, Jean Reno, Olivia Thirlby, Kieran Culkin, and Jeannie Berlin.
Steele made her debut as a co-producer with the 2010 short “Winter Fugue,” directed and written by actor Jadrien Steele.
Phoenix Film Critics Society (PFCS): Best Performance by Youth in a Leading or Supporting Role – Female, “Spanglish,” 2004