February 07, 2000 12:00 PM

When Lisa Zane shot the CBS TV movie Missing Pieces in usually temperate Santa Barbara, Calif., last March, she got a cold dose of reality: Winds blowing off the Pacific left temperatures in the low 50s. “I despise the cold,” says Zane, 38, who costars with James Coburn as his late son’s ex-girlfriend in the Feb. 6 mystery (see review on page 30), “and I was the one who suffered the most because I had these skimpy little dresses on.” Even so, “there was no bitching about anything from Lisa,” says Coburn. “She’s a groovy chick.”

In more ways than one. Since 1997, Zane, who’s single, has been moonlighting as a lounge singer in the Hollywood hot spot Les Deux. Music is a lifelong passion. “When we were little,” says her brother, Titanic bad guy Billy Zane, 33, “she was always singing preposterously sophisticated songs for a 12-year-old.” Encouraged by their parents, Billy Sr. and Thalia, both 69—medical-technician instructors and amateur actors in Chicago—both sibs pursued acting careers. In 1988, after studying drama at Vassar, Lisa followed Billy to L.A. at his urging (“I missed her madly,” he says) and landed roles in 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and on TV (L.A. Law, ER).

Her next movie, Monkeybone, a comedy due out next fall, also has her singing—as the mythical Medusa. Her serpentine tresses required five puppeteers, plus a guy, she says, “who lifted the cables for me so my neck wouldn’t break.” She had to make twice-weekly visits to a chiropractor. Maybe freezing to death isn’t so bad after all.

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