Heather Graham at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
|Born||Heather Joan Graham
January 29, 1970
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, producer, writer, fashion model|
|Relatives||Aimee Graham (sister)|
Heather Joan Graham (born January 29, 1970) is an American actress. After starring in various commercials, her first starring role came in 1988 with the teen comedy License to Drive, followed by her breakout role in Gus Van Sant's critically acclaimed 1989 film Drugstore Cowboy.1 She then played a number of supporting roles in films such as Shout (1991), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), Swingers (1996) and in the television series Twin Peaks (1991) and its prequel film Fire Walk with Me (1992) before gaining critical praise as porn starlet Brandi/Rollergirl in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997).2 In 1999, she co-starred in Bowfinger and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
In the 2000s, Graham starred in a number of movies ranging from studio films to major films like Committed (2000), Say It Isn't So (2001), Anger Management (2003), Mary (2005), Gray Matters (2007), The Hangover (2009) and The Hangover Part III (2013). She also had a role in the TV series Scrubs in 2004, before starring as the title character in the short-lived (one episode) Emily's Reasons Why Not in 2006. Widely regarded as a sex symbol, she often appears in magazines' Most Beautiful and Sexiest lists3 Graham is also a public advocate for Children International,4 and supported the climate change campaign Global Cool in 2007.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Activism
- 4 In the media
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Heather Graham was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the oldest of two children. Her family is "three-quarters Irish", with her father's side from County Cork.56 Her younger sister, Aimee Graham, is also an actress, and writer. Their mother, Joan (née Bransfield), is a teacher and author of children's books.7 Their father, James Graham, is a retired FBI agent.8 The girls were raised with traditional Catholic values.910 Her family relocated repeatedly before moving to Agoura Hills, California, when she was 9-years-old.11 She was introduced to acting during a school production of The Wizard of Oz.
After high school, Graham enrolled in extension classes at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and studied English for two years.9 After two years, Graham withdrew from UCLA to pursue acting full-time, despite her parents' objections.12
Graham's first film appearance was an uncredited cameo in Mrs. Soffel (1984).13 Her first credited film appearance was in the television film Student Exchange. In 1986, she appeared on a special "Teen Week" episode of the NBC game show Scrabble. Then she appeared in numerous television commercials, and an episode of the sitcom Growing Pains in 1987. Her first high-profile starring role came in the 1988 Corey Haim/Corey Feldman vehicle License to Drive, as a popular girl named Mercedes Lane, who serves as the love interest of Haim's character. Her efforts won her a Young Artist Award nomination in the Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Fantasy category. Her strict parents forbade her to accept a role in the black comedy Heathers (1988), which had an expletive-rich script.11 The same year she also had an uncredited appearance as Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger's mother in Twins (during the laboratory conception flashback). Graham auditioned for the role of Baby in Dirty Dancing (1987), which went to Jennifer Grey.14
In 1989, Graham was featured in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy as Nadine, a young drug-addicted friend of the two main characters (played by Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch). The performance earned her a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also rejected a steady role in a TV soap opera and a three-picture deal with a major studio because she thought it would be too restrictive.15 After Drugstore Cowboy she appeared in Lawrence Kasdan's dark comedy I Love You to Death (1990), alongside William Hurt and Keanu Reeves and the rock-and-roll coming-of-age film Shout (1991), for which she received her a nomination for the Young Artist Award for Best Actress Starring in a Motion Picture.
After co-starring with Benicio Del Toro in a Calvin Klein commercial directed by David Lynch, the director cast her as former nun Annie Blackburn in his television series Twin Peaks. Following the cancellation of the series, Graham reprised the role of Blackburn in the 1992 prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Regarding her casting process she said: "He's just one of those people — he doesn't really make you audition. He just meets you, and he just thinks you're interesting, and he just sticks you in there [...] I remember him telling me that he was doing this art project in his backyard. And that he was putting turkey, and laying it out and having ants crawling on it, and then he was going to, like, I don't know, I think take pictures of it", and stated she was "very excited" to work with Lynch.16
She was also cast in Scorchers (1991), but was fired.17 Later on she featured in Diggstown (1992), alongside James Woods; the well-received Six Degrees of Separation (1993), alongside Will Smith and The Ballad of Little Jo (1993), alongside Ian McKellen before re-teaming with Gus Van Sant for the critically panned film adaption of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, alongside Uma Thurman.18 The same year she co-starred as Mary Kennedy Parker in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. In 1995 she starred as Jackie in the poorly received Desert Winds and guest-starred in an episode of the television series Fallen Angels. She had a small but important role in Swingers (1996), where she played Lorraine, Jon Favreau's love interest. A popular rumor is that Graham received the role of Lorraine after Favreau took her swing dancing.14
Graham also auditioned for the Sarah Jessica Parker role in L.A. Story (1991) and the Angelina Jolie role in Hackers (1995).17 She was also considered by Gus Van Sant for the Nicole Kidman role in To Die For.19
Graham's popularity significantly increased after she appeared as a young porn star named Brandi, nicknamed Rollergirl because she never takes her rollerskates off, in Paul Thomas Anderson's critically acclaimed, award-winning20 Boogie Nights (1997). She had initially auditioned for the role of Maggie/Amber Waves, which went to Julianne Moore.14 The cast received a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The same year she also starred in the Gregg Araki film Nowhere, and had a cameo in the horror hit Scream 2, too. She was subsequently cast in Two Girls and a Guy (1998), a film mainly based upon dialogue between the characters which was shot in 11 days,21 which co-starred Robert Downey Jr. and Natasha Gregson; and the sci-fi film Lost in Space, which was met with mostly negative reviews and bombed at the box-office, making only $69,117,629 when its production budget was of $80million. The cast was signed on for sequels that have not yet been made.222324
She starred as Felicity Shagwell in the 1999 sequel Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which was a box-office hit. Shagwell is one of her best-known roles and became a fan favorite.25 Her turn as Shagwell also earned her a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Actress. She appeared in the music video for Lenny Kravitz's cover of "American Woman". Also in 1999, Graham co-starred as Daisy in the movie Bowfinger opposite Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. Regarding the film, she commented: "it’s about these losers in Hollywood who want to make a movie, and I’m this naive, innocent girl who wants to be an actress. I’m willing to stop at nothing".26
The 2000 film Committed was her first starring vehicle. She played Joline, devoted-beyond-reason young wife looking for the husband who left her. While the film itself received mixed-to-negative reviews, critics felt that "Graham shows she can play a central character" but noted "she's not enough to make Committed successful".27 The following year she co-starred as Annie Matthews, an unhappily married woman, in Edward Burns' Sidewalks of New York In 2003 she starred opposite Joseph Fiennes in Chen Kaige's English-language debut film Killing Me Softly, which received overwhelmingly negative response from critics and a 0% at Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus being: "Respected director Chen Kaige's first English-language film is a spectacularly misguided erotic thriller, with ludicrous plot twists and cringe-worthy dialogue".28 In 2009, the site also rated it #12 on the countdown of the worst films over the last 10 years.
Graham's other appearances in mainstream roles include playing Mary Kelly in the 2001 film From Hell, based on the story of Jack the Ripper, Anger Management (2003), opposite Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, the Farrelly Brothers comedy Say It Isn't So (2001), opposite Sally Field, Guru, TheThe Guru (2002), opposite Jimi Mistry and Hope Springs (2003) opposite Colin Firth.
She had to turn down the role of the female lead in Rounders (1998), which went to Gretchen Mol, due to scheduling conflicts. She also turned down the Teri Polo role in Meet the Parents (2000) and the Shannon Elizabeth role in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back(2001).17 She was attached to the Kim Dickens role in Things Behind The Sun, but ultimately backed out. She was also considered for the Cameron Diaz role in Gangs of New York and the Renée Zellweger role in Chicago (both 2002).
During this period, Graham starred in the independent films Gray Matters, Broken, Adrift in Manhattan (all 2007) and Miss Conception (2008), which received negative-to-mixed reviews and most of them went mostly unnoticed at the box-office.2930313233343536 Her 2005 film Mary holds a 63% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the first since Bowfinger.37 The film premiered at the 2005 Venice Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize as well as three smaller awards. The film also played at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival and San Sebastián International Film Festival and co-starred Juliette Binoche, Forest Whitaker, Marion Cotillard and Matthew Modine. In 2006 she co-starred in Bobby as Angela, and the cast was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
During this period Graham also spoke about developing a comedy film titled The Accidental Virgin which would've focused on "female sexual confusion", telling the story of a woman who hasn't had sex in a year. The film has not been made. She also stated she would be interested in directing in the future if there is "something that, its burning in my mind that I need to do".8
On television, Graham played herself on one episode of the TV series Sex and the City. She was given special guest-star status on nine episodes of NBC-TV's Scrubs during its fourth season (2004–2005), and also appeared as George Michael Bluth's ethics teacher in an episode of Fox's television series, Arrested Development in 2004. She played Emily Sanders in Emily's Reasons Why Not, however, the sitcom was canceled after airing only one episode.
Graham was considered for the role of opportunistic trophy wife Kendall Casablancas in the cult television series Veronica Mars, but since she was already busy working on Emily, Charisma Carpenter was cast instead.
In 2009, Graham played the stripper with a heart of gold (technically an escort), Jade, in The Hangover, which was released to critical and box office success. She won the role after Lindsay Lohan turned it down.383940 Though she did not return for the sequel The Hangover Part II, she reprised her role in the final installment of the trilogy, The Hangover Part III. On her character's story arc, she has said: "Something good happens to Jade".41 In 2010, she starred in Boogie Woogie, followed by roles in the unsuccessful films Father of Invention, 5 Days of War, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (all 2011) and About Cherry (2012).42434445
She played Meredith Crown in At Any Price, which stars Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron and was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, and later screened as an official selection at both the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival.48 Upcoming roles include mob lawyer Annette Stratton-Osborne in Behaving Badly and short story writer Mary Bellanova in My Dead Boyfriend (both 2014). She wrote a comedy screenplay called Half Magic, which she stated she wants to direct. She said the story focuses on "these female friends and sexuality and about people having a sense of shame about sexuality and learning how to have a healthier attitude about it [...] It also deals with male/female relationships and sexism".
In 2014, she will star in the second adaption of V. C. Andrews novel Flowers in the Attic on the Lifetime network; she will play the character of Corrine Dollanganger.50 Graham will also appear in the final season of Californication as the mother of David Duchovny's long-lost son.51
Besides her acting work, Graham is also an activist who serves as a public advocate for Children International.4 She stated that what she likes about Children International is that "you are helping a child have a better life. It's great for that child to know that someone who lives in another country cares about them".52 Graham works with the Cambodian Children's Fund which provides supplies, education and campaigns to stop slavery. She commented on the situation in Cambodia and the Children's Fund saying: "There's a lot of human trafficking in Cambodia. Women are dying because they don't have $15 to give birth in a hospital. The fund provides free education, clean water and healthcare for communities. The idea is that we're creating future leaders who will be able to help themselves".453 In 2007 she supported the climate change campaign Global Cool and appeared in Shekhar Kapur's short film Global Cool alongside Sienna Miller.54
Graham is considered a sex symbol: she was ranked at number 40 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World list in 2000, number 95 in 2001 list, number 97 in the 2002 list, number #74 in the 2005 list and at number #98 in 2006 list. In 2001 she was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People. In 2003, she also posed for a photoshoot by photographer Sam Jones, during which she was levitated several feet into the air by a magician, who later also sawed her in half.55 Also in 2003, Graham appeared on the cover of Time magazine for an article titled "The Science of Meditation".175657 To promote Emily's Reasons Why Not, she had posed for a Life Magazine cover story, printed weeks in advance of the assumed series schedule, referring to her as "TV's sexiest star" which appeared in the January 27, 2006 issue.5859
Graham is often cast in sexual roles including those of Felicity Shagwell (Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me), porn stars Rollergirl (Boogie Nights) and Sharonna (The Guru), prostitute Mary Kelly (From Hell), porn director Margaret (About Cherry) and stripper Jade (The Hangover and The Hangover, Part III). She stated she finds these types of roles and the issue of sexuality fascinating, and believes that "our culture sends out mixed messages to women about sex. Are women supposed to be sexually alive people, or are we supposed to be 'good' mothers who would never do those things?" and that she likes "the fact some of my roles maybe help people open their minds about the way they think about sex". Due to her portrayals of sexual characters and nudity in films she has been described as "completely up for it".6061
In 2005, Graham became the spokeswoman and TV model for the Garnier brand of hair care products.
Graham has dated UK musician/actor Adam Ant, actors James Woods, whom she first met while studying at UCLA, Kyle McLachlan and Heath Ledger, whom she met in Prague while filming From Hell, and directors Stephen Hopkins, Edward Burns and Yaniv Raz.6062636465 In 2011 she was dating Jason Silva.66
Graham is estranged from her family. Regarding the media's perception of her relationship with her family, she stated: "I don't really like to talk about my parents. Because I just feel that it gets misinterpreted in the press, and stuff...".6467
She stated she enjoys playing poker and going to yoga retreats in Mexico. She has been practicing transcendental meditation since 1991 after being introduced to it by David Lynch. She also expressed dislike towards reality television, stating in a 2007 interview: "I think some of it, it seems strange – why do we all want to watch people be so miserable? Other people’s pain and misery – it seems kind of sad".68
On September 11, 2001 Graham was due to move into an apartment she had bought in Manhattan. Speaking about that day she said: "I was flying into New York that morning from the Toronto Film Festival. I'd bought an apartment in Manhattan and I was due to move in that day. We were flying towards New York when I could see this huge black cloud over the city. The first plane had hit the Twin Towers but nobody knew what was happening at that stage. We landed and I was in the baggage-claim area when the second plane hit the towers. There was general panic. After going through something like that, you never take anything for granted again."566970
|1984||Mrs. Soffel||Factory Girl||Uncredited|
|1987||Growing Pains||Cindy/Samantha||TV series; 2 episodes|
|Student Exchange||Dorrie Ryder|
|1988||License to Drive||Mercedes Lane||Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Actress Starring in a Motion Picture Comedy or Fantasy|
|Twins||Young Mary Ann Benedict||Uncredited|
|1989||Drugstore Cowboy||Nadine||Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1990||I Love You to Death||Bridget|
|1991||Guilty as Charged||Kimberly|
|Shout||Sara Benedict||Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Actress Starring in a Motion Picture|
|Twin Peaks||Annie Blackburn||TV series; 6 episodes|
|1992||Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me|
|O Pioneers!||Young Alexandra Bergson|
|1993||Ballad of Little Jo, TheThe Ballad of Little Jo||Mary Addie|
|Even Cowgirls Get the Blues||Cowgirl Heather|
|Six Degrees of Separation||Elizabeth|
|1994||Don't Do It||Suzanna|
|Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle||Mary Kennedy Taylor|
|Let It Be Me||Perfumery Salesgirl|
|Fallen Angels||Carol Whalen||TV series, 1 episode|
|1996||Kiss & Tell||Susan Pretsel|
|Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story||Maggie Bowen|
|Bullet Hearts||Carlene Prue|
|Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits||Alicia||TV series; 1 episode|
|Boogie Nights||Brandy 'Rollergirl'||Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|Scream 2||Herself/'Stab' Casey||Cameo Appearance|
|1998||Lost in Space||Dr. Judy Robinson|
|Two Girls and a Guy||Carla Bennett|
|Fantasy Island||Jackie||TV series; 1 episode|
|1999||Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me||Felicity Shagwell||Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Actress in a Comedy
ShoWest Award for Female Star of Tomorrow
Nominated—Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Couple
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
|Bowfinger||Daisy||Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress in a Comedy|
|Alien Love Triangle||Elizabeth||short|
|2001||Say It Isn't So||Josephine Wingfield|
|Sidewalks of New York||Annie Matthews|
|From Hell||Mary Kelly|
|2002||Killing Me Softly||Alice Tallis|
|Guru, TheThe Guru||Sharonna|
|Arrested Development||Beth Baerly||TV series; 1 episode|
|Scrubs||Dr. Molly Clock||TV series; 9 episodes|
|2006||Oh in Ohio, TheThe Oh in Ohio||Justine||uncredited|
|Emily's Reasons Why Not||Emily Sanders||TV series; 7 episodes (6 unaired)|
|Bobby||Angela||Hollywood Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|Gray Matters||Gray Baldwin|
|2007||Adrift in Manhattan||Rose Phipps|
|2008||Miss Conception||Georgina Salt|
|Have Dreams, Will Travel||Cassie's Aunt|
|Baby on Board||Angela|
|2009||Boogie Woogie||Beth Freemantle|
|Hangover, TheThe Hangover||Jade||Detroit Film Critics Society for Best Ensemble|
|Father of Invention||Phoebe|
|2011||Scream 4||'Stab' Casey||Cameo appearance (archival footage)|
|5 Days of War||Miriam|
|Portlandia (TV series)||Heather/Herself||Cameo appearance|
|Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer||Aunt Opal|
|Son of Morning||Josephine Tuttle|
|Flying Machine, TheThe Flying Machine||Georgie|
|At Any Price||Meredith Crown|
|The Hangover Part III||Jade|
|2014||Flowers in the Attic||Corinne Dollanganger||TV film|
|My Dead Boyfriend||Mary Bellanova|
|Behaving Badly||Annette Stratton-Osborne|
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- Applebaum, Stephen. "Stephen Hopkins The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
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- "The more risks, the more rewards". USA Weekend Magazine. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Heather Graham.|
- Heather Graham on Twitter
- Heather Graham - Rotten Tomatoes
- Heather Graham at the Internet Movie Database
- "Close Up" on Heather Graham from The Observer