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Why Claire Gibbs From CSI: Miami Looks So Familiar

Like all forensic teams in the "CSI" franchise, the operatives of "CSI: Miami" have dealt with their share of cases where an apparent victim is a perpetrator they were looking for. In the world of "CSI," the science and the evidence don't lie, but there is no real shortage of criminals who either don't think about the science or think they can outsmart it.

That's precisely how things transpire in the Season 5 episode "Burned." As the title suggests, this case concerns the arson of a home and the charred corpses found in the wreckage. A survivor, Claire Gibbs (Rebecca Gayheart), evidently lost her fiancé in the blaze and suspected her obsessive ex-boyfriend Anthony (Ron Reznik) was behind it. But when it is discovered that the dead bodies recovered from the burned house are found to have already been autopsied, and therefore could not have died in the fire, it becomes clear that Claire is involved in a set-up. Sure enough, her fiancé Brett (Rib Hillis) is alive and well, and the two attempt to set Anthony up. 

Like most apprehended perps on "CSI: Miami," we never see Claire Gibbs again. But we know the actor who played her from plenty of other places.

Rebecca Gayheart was in Scream 2

When slasher flicks made a comeback in the 1990s, Rebecca Gayheart was there. She was, in fact, part of the movie that gave the genre a new lease on life. Or at least she played a small role in the first sequel. "Scream 2," released in 1997, just one year after the original, helped cement Wes Craven's meta-horror franchise as an enduring part of the pop culture landscape. Even Roger Ebert said it was about as good as the original. 

Unlike the original film, "Scream 2" takes place not in a small town but on a college campus, where Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is studying and where the killer Ghostface has followed her. This naturally makes for many stock college characters, including various jocks, nerds, frat brothers, and sorority sisters. Lois, played by Rebecca Gayheart, and her best friend Murphy (Portia de Rossi) are part of the Delta Lambda Zeta sorority and spend much of the movie engaged in somewhat stereotypical Greek life behavior: partying, judging outsiders, and opportunistically soliciting potential pledges (including Sidney).

Though Lois is her only appearance in the "Scream" universe, Gayheart did have a lead role in another youth-oriented, college-based slasher flick. Released in 1998, "Urban Legends" is about a series of killings that occur among a group of students in a college class on urban legends, who are killed in a fashion remarkably similar to the stories they're studying in the course. Gayheart, who starred alongside Alicia Witt and Jared Leto, played Brenda, who is revealed to be the killer in the movie's final minutes.

She played Julie in Jawbreaker

If films like "Scream 2" and "Urban Legends" lambasted both their genre and generalized youth anxieties, albeit in their way, then "Jawbreaker" did something similar, though with a somewhat different approach. This 1999 dark comedy violently skewered high school comedies that had been popular during the decade, like "Clueless," "She's All That," and "Can't Hardly Wait." Starting with a cruel prank that goes gruesomely wrong, popular girls Julie (Rebecca Gayheart), Courtney (Rose McGowan), and Marcie (Julie Benz) kidnap the fourth member of their clique Liz (Charlotte Ayanna), tying her up, stuffing a jawbreaker in her mouth, and tossing her in the trunk of a car. But when they arrive at a diner where they had planned to reveal it was all a joke, the three open the trunk to discover that Liz has choked to death on the jawbreaker.

Julie is the only one with enough integrity to insist they do the right thing and confess what happened to the authorities. In response, Courtney and Marcie socially ostracize her. The bulk of the film's comedy naturally comes from the absurdity of the whole situation, as Courtney goes to greater and greater lengths to cover up the truth about Liz's death merely to keep her popularity intact. Though "Jawbreaker" bombed at the box office, it has since gained a cult following. 

She was Betty in Dead Like Me

In 2003, Rebecca Gayheart returned to dark comedy when she was cast in a supporting role in the first season of Showtime's "Dead Like Me." It's hard not to feel like "Dead Like Me" was just a bit ahead of its time, coming just before the age of "prestige TV" and before audiences were used to quirky, somewhat morbid premises in their premium cable comedies. The story of a motley band of dead people whose spirits are recruited into escorting other souls into the afterlife seems like the kind of thing modern audiences would rush to stream. Unfortunately, "Dead Like Me" was just a bit too outside the box for its time, and creator Bryan Fuller found himself constantly at loggerheads with studio honchos. He departed after five episodes, after which the show struggled to find direction, and was canceled by Showtime after two seasons, much to the disappointment of the show's small but loyal following. 

Someone else who departed after five episodes was Rebecca Gayheart, though in her case, it was because her character had been written as finally ascending to the afterlife.

She played Natasha Charles in Nip/Tuck

Between 2004 and 2006, Rebecca Gayheart made three appearances in Ryan Murphy's medical drama "Nip/Tuck." This is a show that, as fans will remember, waded into all manner of dark and tawdry subject matters surrounding the world of plastic surgery and, in many ways, was well ahead of its time. Gayheart shows up in Season 2 as Natasha Charles, a blind woman who employs the services of Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) to conduct a procedure on her eyes that will make her not appear blind. He performs the procedure and, true to his slimy, amoral character, swoops in on her while she is on a date.

Natasha makes two more appearances in "Nip/Tuck." The first comes just a few episodes later when Christian callously ends their relationship. The third and final came briefly in Season 4 when Christian, second-guessing his marriage proposal to Michelle (Sanaa Lathan), imagines her and many of his other past exes questioning how faithful he can ultimately prove to be.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rebecca Gayheart's most recent film appearance is in probably one of the most recognizable films from the past several years, Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." This love letter to a tinsel town long in the rearview of last century stirred plenty of discussions, some centering on the film's controversies but much of it on its Oscar-nominated performances and homages to Hollywood's past. Gayheart is not on screen long, but as it turns out, she plays a pivotal role in the life of one of the film's main characters. 

Appearing only in a flashback, Gayheart plays Billie Booth, wife of Brad Pitt's down-on-his-luck stuntman Cliff Booth. One of the possible reasons behind Cliff's struggling career is the rumor that he killed Billie several years prior on a boat. It's a direct reference to the 1981 drowning death of Natalie Wood, which was surrounded by similar innuendo and scandal, and in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," though, it is never directly answered whether Cliff killed Billie. 

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Gayheart spoke on the subject of the movie's big unanswered question. "Obviously, we have an answer to that, but I don't want to spoil it," she told EW. "I think the beauty of that question is that it's a question that lingers, and it colors how you feel about Cliff and the whole movie because is he the good guy that you think he is, or isn't he? And that was intentional."