DVD is a digital optical disc storage format invented and developed in 1995. The medium can store any kind of digital data and is used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than compact discs. Prerecorded DVDs are mass-produced using molding machines that physically stamp data onto the DVD; such discs are a form of DVD-ROM because data can only be not written or erased. Blank recordable DVD discs can be recorded once using a DVD recorder and function as a DVD-ROM. Rewritable DVDs can be erased many times. DVDs are used in DVD-Video consumer digital video format and in DVD-Audio consumer digital audio format as well as for authoring DVD discs written in a special AVCHD format to hold high definition material. DVDs containing other types of information may be referred to as DVD data discs; the Oxford English Dictionary comments that, "In 1995 rival manufacturers of the product named digital video disc agreed that, in order to emphasize the flexibility of the format for multimedia applications, the preferred abbreviation DVD would be understood to denote digital versatile disc."
The OED states that in 1995, "The companies said the official name of the format will be DVD. Toshiba had been using the name ‘digital video disc’, but, switched to ‘digital versatile disc’ after computer companies complained that it left out their applications.""Digital versatile disc" is the explanation provided in a DVD Forum Primer from 2000 and in the DVD Forum's mission statement. There were several formats developed for recording video on optical discs before the DVD. Optical recording technology was invented by David Paul Gregg and James Russell in 1958 and first patented in 1961. A consumer optical disc data format known as LaserDisc was developed in the United States, first came to market in Atlanta, Georgia in 1978, it used much larger discs than the formats. Due to the high cost of players and discs, consumer adoption of LaserDisc was low in both North America and Europe, was not used anywhere outside Japan and the more affluent areas of Southeast Asia, such as Hong-Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
CD Video released in 1987 used analog video encoding on optical discs matching the established standard 120 mm size of audio CDs. Video CD became one of the first formats for distributing digitally encoded films in this format, in 1993. In the same year, two new optical disc storage formats were being developed. One was the Multimedia Compact Disc, backed by Philips and Sony, the other was the Super Density disc, supported by Toshiba, Time Warner, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Thomson, JVC. By the time of the press launches for both formats in January 1995, the MMCD nomenclature had been dropped, Philips and Sony were referring to their format as Digital Video Disc. Representatives from the SD camp asked IBM for advice on the file system to use for their disc, sought support for their format for storing computer data. Alan E. Bell, a researcher from IBM's Almaden Research Center, got that request, learned of the MMCD development project. Wary of being caught in a repeat of the costly videotape format war between VHS and Betamax in the 1980s, he convened a group of computer industry experts, including representatives from Apple, Sun Microsystems and many others.
This group was referred to as the Technical Working Group, or TWG. On August 14, 1995, an ad hoc group formed from five computer companies issued a press release stating that they would only accept a single format; the TWG voted to boycott both formats unless the two camps agreed on a converged standard. They recruited president of IBM, to pressure the executives of the warring factions. In one significant compromise, the MMCD and SD groups agreed to adopt proposal SD 9, which specified that both layers of the dual-layered disc be read from the same side—instead of proposal SD 10, which would have created a two-sided disc that users would have to turn over; as a result, the DVD specification provided a storage capacity of 4.7 GB for a single-layered, single-sided disc and 8.5 GB for a dual-layered, single-sided disc. The DVD specification ended up similar to Toshiba and Matsushita's Super Density Disc, except for the dual-layer option and EFMPlus modulation designed by Kees Schouhamer Immink.
Philips and Sony decided that it was in their best interests to end the format war, agreed to unify with companies backing the Super Density Disc to release a single format, with technologies from both. After other compromises between MMCD and SD, the computer companies through TWG won the day, a single format was agreed upon; the TWG collaborated with the Optical Storage Technology Association on the use of their implementation of the ISO-13346 file system for use on the new DVDs. Movie and home entertainment distributors adopted the DVD format to replace the ubiquitous VHS tape as the primary consumer digital video distribution format, they embraced DVD as it produced higher quality video and sound, provided superior data lifespan, could be interactive. Interactivity on LaserDiscs had proven desirable to consumers collectors; when LaserDisc prices dropped from $100 per
Billy Dee Williams
William December "Billy Dee" Williams Jr. is an American actor and singer. Williams is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars film franchise, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. Williams has appeared in critically acclaimed films like Brian's Song, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany and Batman, in which he portrayed Harvey Dent. Williams was born in New York City, the son of Loretta Anne, a West Indian-born elevator operator from Montserrat, William December Williams, Sr. an African-American caretaker from Texas. He has a twin sister and grew up in Harlem, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother while his parents worked at several jobs. Williams graduated from The High School of Music & Art in Manhattan, where he was a classmate of Diahann Carroll, who would play the wife of his character Brady Lloyd on the 1980s prime-time soap opera Dynasty. Williams first appeared on Broadway in 1945 in The Firebrand of Florence, he returned to Broadway as an adult in 1960 in the adaptation of The Cool Word.
He appeared in A Taste of Honey in 1961. A 1976 Broadway production, I Have a Dream, was directed by Robert Greenwald and starred Williams as Martin Luther King Jr, his most recent Broadway appearance was in August Wilson's Fences, as a replacement for James Earl Jones in the role of Troy Maxson in 1988. Williams made his film debut in 1959 in The Last Angry Man, opposite Paul Muni, in which he portrayed a delinquent young man, he rose to stardom after starring in the critically lauded blockbuster biographical television movie, Brian's Song, in which he played Chicago Bears star football player Gale Sayers, who stood by his friend Brian Piccolo, during Piccolo's struggle with terminal cancer. The film was so popular. Both Williams and Caan were nominated for Emmy Awards for best actor for their performances. Having broken through, Williams became one of America's most well-known black film actors of the 1970s, after starring in a string of critically acclaimed and popular movies, many of them in the "blaxploitation" genre.
In 1972, he starred as Billie Holiday's husband Louis McKay in Motown Productions' Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. The film was a box office blockbuster, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year and received five Academy Award nominations. Diana Ross starred in Lady Sings the Blues opposite Williams. Beginning in 1980, Williams portrayed Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Calrissian's charm proved to be popular with audiences, he reprised the role when he lent his voice for the character in the 2002 video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, as well as the audio dramatisation of Dark Empire, the National Public Radio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, two productions for the Star Wars: Battlefront series: Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, in two episodes of the animated TV series Star Wars: Rebels and will reprise the role again on the big screen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Between his appearances in the Star Wars films, he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone as a cop in the 1981 thriller Nighthawks.
He co-starred in 1989's Batman as district attorney Harvey Dent, a role, planned to develop into Dent's alter-ego, the villain Two-Face, in sequels. However, that never came to pass; when Joel Schumacher stepped in to direct Batman Forever, where Two-Face was to be a secondary villain, Schumacher decided to hire Tommy Lee Jones for the role. There was a rumor that Schumacher had to pay Williams a fee in order to hire Jones, but Williams said that it was not true: "You only get paid if you do the movie. I had a two-picture deal with Star Wars, they paid me for that, but I only had a one picture deal for Batman." Williams voiced Two-Face in the 2017 film The Lego Batman Movie. After The Walt Disney Company acquired ownership of Lucasfilm in 2012, plans for a sequel trilogy to the Star Wars films were announced. On April 29, 2014, Disney announced a cast list for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set 30 years after Return of the Jedi; some fans were disappointed with Calrissian's absence. However, it was announced in July 2018.
Williams's television work included a recurring guest-starring role on the short-lived show Gideon's Crossing. He is well known for his appearance in advertisements for Colt 45 in the 1980s and early 1990s, for which he received much criticism. Williams responded indifferently to the criticism of his appearances in the liquor commercials; when questioned about his appearances, he replied by saying, "I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I'd appear in a commercial for it."In the 1984–1985 season of Dynasty, he played Brady Lloyd opposite Diahann Carroll. Williams was paired with actress Marla Gibbs on three situation comedies: The Jeffersons. In 1992, he portrayed Berry Gordy in The Jacksons: An American Dream. In 1993, Williams had a guest appearance on the spin-off to The Cosby Show, A Different
Mark Richard Hamill is an American actor, voice actor, writer. Hamill is known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, which won him the Saturn Award for Best Actor twice, he is known for his voice acting in animation and video games for his portrayal of the Joker, beginning with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. Hamill was born in Oakland, California, to Virginia Suzanne and U. S. Navy Captain William Thomas Hamill, he is one of seven children, having two brothers and Patrick, four sisters, Jan and Kim. His father has English, Scottish and Welsh ancestry and his mother was of half Swedish and half English descent, his father's changes of station and attendant family moves led to the Hamill children changing schools often. In his elementary years, he went to Poe Middle School. At age 11, he moved to the 5900 block of Castleton Drive in San Diego, where he attended Hale Junior High School. During his first year at James Madison High School, his family moved to Virginia, Hamill attended Annandale High School.
By his junior year, his father was stationed in Japan, where Hamill attended and was a member of the Drama Club at Nile C. Kinnick High School, from which he graduated in 1969, he enrolled at Los Angeles City College, majoring in drama. Hamill has described his father as a staunch Roman Catholic, "Nixon Republican". Hamill's early career included a recurring role on the soap opera General Hospital, a starring role on the short-lived sitcom The Texas Wheelers, he portrayed the oldest son, David, in the pilot episode of Eight Is Enough, though the role was performed by Grant Goodeve. He had guest appearances on The Bill Cosby Show, The Partridge Family, Room 222 and One Day at a Time, he appeared in multiple television films such as The City, Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. Robert Englund was auditioning for a role in Apocalypse Now when he walked across the hall where auditions were taking place for George Lucas's Star Wars. After watching the auditions for a while, he realized that Hamill, his friend, would be perfect for the role of Luke Skywalker.
He suggested to Hamill. Released in May 1977, Star Wars was an enormous, unexpected success and had a huge effect on the film industry. Hamill appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978 and starred in the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. During the time between the first two films, Hamill was involved in a serious automobile accident, fracturing his nose and left cheekbone. False rumors spread. For both of the sequels, Hamill was honored with the Saturn Award for Best Actor given by the Academy of Science Fiction and Horror Films. Hamill reprised the role of Luke Skywalker for the radio dramatizations of both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. For the Return of the Jedi radio drama, the role was played by a different actor. Editions of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces issued after the release of Star Wars in 1977 used the image of Hamill as Luke Skywalker on the cover. Hamill returned to the Star Wars universe in 2014, when he voiced the ancient Sith Lord Darth Bane, in the final episode of the animated series The Clone Wars.
He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance. With the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, a Disney press release was announced that there would be more Star Wars films starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released on December 18, 2015. Hamill appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Both Disney and Hamill were coy about whether Hamill would be a cast member of The Force Awakens. In September 2013, Englund and long-time friend of Hamill, said that Hamill was working out in the gym. Englund stated, "Mark now – they've got Mark in the gym because Mark's coming back as Luke Skywalker. They've got him doing his sit-ups." It was reported that both Hamill and Fisher had been assigned nutritionists and personal trainers to work with ahead of production. Hamill played Skywalker again in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released on December 15, 2017. Hamill was critical of his own role in The Last Jedi, stating that he and director Rian Johnson had "a fundamental difference" on the characterization of Luke Skywalker.
Hamill is set to reprise his role as Skywalker in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. After the success of Star Wars, Hamill found that audiences identified him closely with the role of Luke Skywalker, after which he became a teen idol and appeared on teen magazine covers such as Tiger Beat and others, he attempted to avoid typecasting by appearing in the 1978 film Corvette Summer and the better-known 1980 World War II film The Big Red One. In 1980, he made a guest appearance on The Muppet Show, both as himself and as Luke Skywalker in The Stars of Star Wars. Other film appearances around this time include The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia in 1981 and Britannia Hospital in 1982. To further distance himself from his early blockbuster role, Hamill started acting on Broadway, starring in plays such as The Elephant Man in 1979, Amadeus in 1983, Harrigan'N Hart in 1985, Room Service in 1986 and The Nerd in 1987–88; when Amadeus was adapted to film in 1984, Hamill auditioned to reprise the role for the big screen but lost the part to Tom Hulce.
A studio executive told the producers of the film, "I don't want Luke Skywalker in this film". He made television
Kristin Dawn Chenoweth is an American actress and singer, with credits in musical theatre and television. In 1999, she won a Tony Award for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown on Broadway. In 2003, she received wide notice for originating the role of Glinda in the musical Wicked, including a nomination for another Tony, her television roles have included Annabeth Schott in NBC's The West Wing and Olive Snook on the ABC comedy-drama Pushing Daisies, for which she won a 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Chenoweth starred in the ABC TV series GCB in 2012. Chenoweth sang gospel music as a child in Oklahoma and studied opera before deciding to pursue a career in musical theatre. In 1997, she made her Broadway debut in Steel Pier. Besides You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wicked, Chenoweth's stage work includes five City Center Encores! productions, Broadway's The Apple Tree in 2006, Promises in 2010 and On the Twentieth Century in 2015, as well as Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions.
Chenoweth had her own sitcom, Kristin, in 2001, has guest-starred on many shows, including Sesame Street and Glee, for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards in 2010 and 2011. In films, she has played character roles, such as in Bewitched, The Pink Panther and RV, she has played roles such as Descendants. Chenoweth penned a 2009 memoir, A Little Bit Wicked. Chenoweth was adopted when she was five days old by Junie Smith Chenoweth and Jerry Morris Chenoweth, both chemical engineers from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, named Kristi Dawn Chenoweth, she has stated. At an early age, she performed gospel songs for local churches. A performing highlight of her childhood was a solo appearance at the Southern Baptist Convention national conference at the age of 12, where she performed the Evie song "Four Feet Eleven"; the chorus begins, "I'm only 4 feet 11, but I'm going to Heaven". After graduating from Broken Arrow Senior High School, where she participated in school plays, Chenoweth attended Oklahoma City University, where she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority.
She earned a bachelor's degree in musical theatre in 1990 and a master's degree in opera performance in 1992, studying under voice instructor and mentor, Florence Birdwell. While at OCU, Chenoweth competed in beauty pageants, winning the title of "Miss OCU" and was the second runner-up in the Miss Oklahoma pageant in 1991. In 1992, Chenoweth participated in a studio recording of The Most Happy Fella. While she was in college and working towards her masters, Chenoweth performed at the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City, among other regional theatres, in roles like June in Gypsy, Liesl in The Sound of Music, Fran in Promises and Tuptim in The King and I; as she completed her master's degree, Chenoweth participated in a number of vocal competitions and was named "most promising up-and-coming singer" in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, which came with a full scholarship to Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts. Two weeks before school started, she went to New York City to help a friend move.
While there, she auditioned for the 1993 Paper Mill Playhouse production of the musical Animal Crackers and got the role of Arabella Rittenhouse. She turned down the scholarship and moved to New York to do the show and pursue a career in musical theatre. After Animal Crackers, Chenoweth continued to appear in regional theatre productions, such as Babes in Arms at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Phantom taking roles in Off-Broadway productions like Luisa in The Fantasticks, Kristy in Box Office of the Damned. In 1997, she appeared as Hyacinth in the Roundabout Theater Company production of Moliere's farcical Scapin, earning her first New York Times review, with Ben Brantley writing "Kristin Chenoweth's sob-prone ingenue... delightful". She made her Broadway debut in the spring of 1997 as Precious McGuire in the musical Steel Pier by Kander and Ebb, for which she won a Theatre World Award. In 1998 she appeared in the City Center Encores! Staged concert of the George and Ira Gershwin musical Strike up the Band as Anne Draper and created roles in the original Lincoln Center Theater production of William Finn's A New Brain.
Ben Rimalower, in Playbill, wrote: "It's unlikely anyone will equal Kristin Chenoweth in the role of'Nancy D. the waitress.'" In 1999, Chenoweth performed in the Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown as the title character's little sister, Sally, a character, not present in the original production. She won the Drama Desk awards for Best Featured Actress in a Musical; that year, she starred on Broadway in the short-lived comic play Epic Proportions, followed by starring as Daisy Gamble in the "Encores!" production of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever in February 2000. After this, Chenoweth split her time between stage and TV or film roles and released her first solo album, Let Yourself Go. In 2002, she performed in the City Center Encores! 10th Anniversary Bash. In October 2003, she returned to Broadway in Wicked, the musical about the early years of the witches of Oz
Robot Chicken (season 4)
The fourth season of the stop-motion television series Robot Chicken aired in the United States on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim. Season four began on December 7, 2008, on Adult Swim, with "Help Me", ended with "Dear Consumer" on December 6, 2009, with a total of twenty episodes; the fourth season was released on the Season Four: Uncensored DVD on December 15, 2009 in Region 1, August 30, 2010 in Region 2 and December 2, 2009 in Region 4. The fourth season of Robot Chicken includes many TV, movie, TV commercial, pop culture parodies, non-sequitur blackouts, all acted out by dolls and action figures, including parody's like, Tila Tequila reveals a deadly secret, which ends up being that she's a robot, A contractor builds temples for the Indiana Jones movies, Dick Cheney becomes Tony Stark's unexpected ally, the creators imagine a deleted scene from Daredevil, Joey Fatone pitches his idea for a sketch, Strawberry Shortcake solves a robbery, O. J. searches for his ex-wife's killer, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is shown as an opera, the creators imagine what happens when Punky Brewster hits puberty, Criss Angel delivers the Ultimate Mind Freak at Hogwarts, the Creature from the Black Lagoon creates the newest monster-based cereal, Kermit the Frog introduces everyone to his cousin, Annie Warbucks has her Sweet 16, transients begin to wear Clark Kent's clothing, Gyro-Robo add some depth to D&D, Transformers mourn a fallen hero, Batman gets a new look at Two-Face, John Connor gets his first Terminator, the new Bachelor is a beast, a new spin on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.
Many celebrities have guest. They include Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Katee Sackhoff, Tila Tequila, Joss Whedon, Ronald D. Moore, Sebastian Bach, Alex Borstein, Milo Ventimiglia, Eden Espinosa, Rachael Leigh Cook, Stuart Townsend, Kevin Shinick, Christian Slater, Zac Efron, Donald Faison, Joey Fatone, Rashida Jones, Ron Perlman, Billy Dee Williams, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Amy Smart, Skeet Ulrich, David Faustino, Jim Cummings, Lee Majors, Jon Favreau, Scott Porter, Mark Hamill, Hulk Hogan, Jamie Kaler, Soleil Moon Frye, Nathan Fillion, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adrianne Palicki, David Hasselhoff, Neil Patrick Harris, Monica Keena, Abraham Benrubi, Simon Pegg, T-Pain, Chace Crawford, Sandra Oh, Spencer Grammer, Joel McHale, Clark Duke, Vanessa Hudgens, James Marsden and Greg Grunberg
Robot Chicken (season 2)
The second season of the stop-motion television series Robot Chicken aired in the United States on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim. Season Two began on April 2, 2006 on Adult Swim, with "Suck It", ended with "Book of Corrine" on November 19, 2006, with a total of twenty episodes; the second season was released on the Season Two: Uncensored DVD on September 4, 2007 in Region 1, September 28, 2009 in Region 2 and November 11, 2007 in Region 4. The second season of Robot Chicken includes many TV, movie, TV commercial, pop culture parodies, non-sequitur blackouts, all acted out by dolls and action figures, including parodies such as: Mexico builds its greatest hero in "The Six Million Peso Man", a time-traveler wreaks havoc on history in "Dicks with Time Machines", Fred and Barney brawl over a box of Fruity Pebbles, Lindsay Lohan enters the world of Highlander and battles teen starlet foes, such as Amanda Bynes and Hilary Duff, a cleaning woman finds the Batcave the hard way, popular board games from Chutes and Ladders to Hungry Hungry Hippos get turned into action-packed feature films, A checkers champion goes on the adventure of a lifetime, the Senior Mutant Ninja Turtles rock the nursing home, monkeys explore outer space on a budget, the Care Bears care a lot...about ethnic cleansing, the Fantanas visit the Middle East peace Process, the legendary Krakken sea monster learns freedom isn't all it's "krak-ed" up to be, young Indiana Jones finds treasure in his elementary school, the classic movie The Beastmaster takes Broadway by storm, the Library of Heaven yields answers God doesn't want you to know, Orlando Bloom must help his fellow passengers survive after a plane crash, Snow Job finds his specialized skills aren't in high demand with G.
I. Joe and Luigi stumble into the violent world of "Grand Theft Auto", Stretch Armstrong needs a corn syrup transplant, the cast of Sesame Street deals with a viral outbreak when Big Bird catches the bird flu. Many celebrities have guest starred in Robot Chicken season two they include, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mila Kunis, Rachael Leigh Cook, Christian Slater, Corey Feldman, Macaulay Culkin, Jimmy Kimmel, Emma Caulfield, Michelle Trachtenberg, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Paul Rudd, Jamie Kaler, Corey Haim, Phyllis Diller, Ginnifer Goodwin, Abraham Benrubi, Bruce Campbell, Hal Sparks, Scott Adsit, Miguel Ferrer, Michael Ian Black, Rick Schroeder, James Van Der Beek, Hulk Hogan, Melanie Griffith, Cree Summer, Wayne Brady, Nick Simmons, Sarah Silverman, Kelly Hu, Josh Cooke, Gene Simmons, Alfonso Freeman, David Hasselhoff, Scarlett Johansson, Alan Cumming, Elijah Wood, Bridget Marquardt, Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner, Eugene Byrd, Candace Bailey, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Charlize Theron
Rosario Isabel Dawson is an American actress, singer, comic book writer, political activist. She made her feature film debut in the 1995 independent drama Kids, her subsequent film roles include He Got Game and the Pussycats, Men in Black II, 25th Hour, Sin City, Clerks II, Death Proof, Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Top Five. Dawson has provided voice-over work for Disney and DC Comics. For her role in Rent, Dawson won the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture. Dawson is known for having several roles in comic book adaptations including Gail in Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, providing the voices of Diana Prince / Wonder Woman in the DC Animated Movie Universe and Barbara Gordon / Batgirl in The Lego Batman Movie, as well as her portrayal of Claire Temple in five of the Marvel/Netflix series: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. Dawson was born on May 1979, in New York City, her mother, Isabel Celeste, is a singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban ancestry.
Isabel was 16 years old. Harris; when Rosario was a year old, her mother married Greg Dawson, a construction worker, who "loved and raised Rosario as his own daughter". Dawson stated, "He's always been my dad." Dawson has a half-brother, four years younger. At age 21, Isabel moved the family into an abandoned building, a squat on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where she and her husband renovated an apartment and installed the plumbing and electrical wiring for the building, creating affordable housing where Rosario and Clay would grow up. Dawson has cited this part of her history when explaining how she learned that, "If you wanted something better, you had to do it all yourself." As a child, Dawson made a brief appearance on Sesame Street. At the age of 15, she was subsequently discovered on her front-porch step by photographer Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, where Korine lauded her as being perfect for a part he had written in his screenplay that would become the controversial 1995 film Kids.
She went on to star in varied roles, ranging from independent films to big budget blockbusters including Rent, He Got Game and Men in Black II. In 1998, Dawson teamed up with Prince for the re-release of his 1980s hit "1999"; the new remixed version featured the actress in an introductory voice over, offering commentary on the state of the world in the year before the new millennium. The following year, she appeared in The Chemical Brothers' video for the song "Out of Control" from the album Surrender, she is featured on the track "She Lives In My Lap" from the second disc of the OutKast album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in which she speaks the intro and a brief interlude towards the end. In 2001, she appeared in the movie and the Pussycats as band member Valerie Brown. Dawson starred as Naturelle Rivera, the love interest of a convicted drug dealer played by Edward Norton, in the 2002 Spike Lee film drama, 25th Hour. In the 2004 Oliver Stone film Alexander, she played the bride of Alexander the Great.
In the autumn of 2005, Dawson appeared on stage as Julia in the Public Theater's "Shakespeare in the Park" revival of Two Gentlemen of Verona. It was her first appearance on stage. In the film adaptation of the popular musical Rent in 2005, she played the exotic dancer Mimi Marquez, replacing Daphne Rubin-Vega, pregnant and unable to play the part, she appeared in the adaptation of the graphic novel Sin City, co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, portraying Gail, a prostitute-dominatrix. In that year, she appeared in a graphically violent scene in the Rob Zombie film The Devil's Rejects. Though the scene was cut from the final film, it is available in the deleted scenes on the DVD release, she starred as Becky in 2006's Clerks II, mentioned in Back to the Well, the making-of documentary, that the donkey show sequence was what made her decide to take the role. In May of the same year, Dawson, an avid comic book fan, co-created and co-wrote the comic book miniseries Occult Crimes Taskforce.
She was at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con to promote the comic. She co-starred with former Rent alum Tracie Thoms in the Quentin Tarantino throwback movie Death Proof in 2007, part of the Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse, she teamed up with friend Talia Lugacy, whom she met at the Lee Strasberg Academy, to produce and star in Descent. On July 7, 2007, Dawson presented at the American leg of Live Earth. In 2008, Dawson starred with Will Smith in Seven Pounds and in Eagle Eye, produced by Steven Spielberg. Beginning in August, she starred in an online science fiction series. In the computer animated series Afterworld, she voiced the character Officer Delondre Baines. On January 17, 2009, Dawson hosted Saturday Night Live. In the year, she voiced Artemis of Bana-Mighdall in the animated film Wonder Woman. In 2009, Dawson performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
In 2009, Dawson voiced the character of Velvet Von Black in Rob Zombie's animated feature, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. For the Kasabian album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, she is featured singing on the track "West Ryder Silver Bullet". In 2010, she starred in the movies Percy Jackson & the Olympian