American model and actress Heather Graham received recognition after portraying Mercedes in the teen comedy License to Drive (1988), in which she was presented with a Young Artist award for her performance. That same year, she also gained notice when she was cast as drug addict Nadine in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy (1988), which brought her an Independent Spirit award. She drew even more attention with her second Young Artist award after playing character Sara Benedict in the 1950s set musical Shout (1991), featuring superstar John Travolta and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
In 1997, Graham was widely recognized for her significant portrayal as Brandy in Paul Thomas Anderson's celebrated Boogie Nights (1997). She was awarded with a MTV Movie award for her work in the film. As a result, she graced the covers of several successful magazines including Rolling Stone, and soon became the model of Emanuel Ungaro. Graham's modeling gigs helped catapult her acting career.
Adding to her popularity, Graham was seen in such movies as Lost in Space (1998), Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999, with Mike Myers and Elizabeth Hurley) and Bowfinger (1999, starring Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin). In 1999, Graham added two awards to her resume, the Sho West Female Star of Tomorrow and the VHI-Vogue Best Female Celebrity Style.
Aside from her acting career, Graham was recently the spokeswoman and TV model for Garnier brand hair care products. Her pose for Sky Vodka ads, taken in 1993, still appears in national magazines today.
Graham was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001 and ranked number 4 in Stuff magazine's 102 Sexiest Women in the World in 2002. As for her romantic life, she has been involved with actors Kyle MacLachlan (dated 1990-92), James Woods (dated in 1992-93), Adam Ant (dated in 1994), Jon Favreau (dated in 1995), Elias Koteas (dated in 1997), Edward Burns (dated and cohabited 1998-99, briefly engaged), Heath Ledger (dated in 2000-01), Benicio Del Toro (dated in 2001), Elijah Blue Allman (Cher's son, dated in 2001-02), and Matthew Perry (dated in 2003). She was also linked to directors Stephen Hopkins (dated in 1998) and Chris Weitz (dated 2003-04). Graham is currently single after splitting with new love Josh Lucas (dated 2004-2005).
Childhood and Family:
Of Irish Catholic descendant, Heather Joan Graham was born on January 29, 1970, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Along with her younger sister Aimee Graham (actress; born on September 20, 1975), she grew up under the direction of her authoritarian father, FBI agent Jim, and mother Joan, a Children's book author.
During her childhood, Heather was forced to move quite often because of her father's job. At age four, Heather's family relocated to Virginia where she attended Sumac Elementary school. Nine-year-old Heather next was taken to Southern California where she studied at Lindero Canyon Middle School and finally Agoura High School, in which she shared the same high school with Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson of Linkin Park, and Shane Stanley. Heather was shy and quiet and her peers labeled her a theater geek.
Heather discovered her interest lay with acting when she was young. While at school, Heather was voted Most Talented by her high school senior class. However, her rising love for acting created different opinions among her family, who had formerly given so much support. In fact, Heather stopped communicating with them and headed to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
Having difficulties finding prominent roles on television and in films during her early years in LA, Heather decided to go back to school by attending the University of California in Los Angeles where she majored in English Literature. After two years of study, she left school to pursue acting again.
In her free time, 5' 8" inch tall Heather enjoys practicing yoga and cooking.
Emily's Reasons Why Not
Heather Graham displayed her mounting love for acting at a young age. After being seen on local stages, she was voted "Most Talented" upon her high school graduation. Graham, who once worked at Toys R'Us, modeled for television commercials for Ivory and Mountain Dew.
Film work knocked on her door in 1984 when she had an unaccredited part as a factory girl in Mrs. Soffel, along side Diane Keaton and Mel Gibson. After disappearing for three years, Graham made her return to the screen in 1987. She debuted on the TV movie Student Exchange (1987), playing Dorrie and appeared in two episodes of Growing Pains (1987).
In 1988, Graham eventually landed a starring role as Mercedes in the teen comedy License to Drive, in which she was honored with her first Young Artist award at age eighteen. After appearing in Twins (1988), she delivered an impressive performance in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy (1988). In the film, Graham was cast as a drug addict named Nadine, for which she won an Independent Spirit award.
After her performance with Kevin Kline in I Love You to Death (1990) and Guilty as Charged (1991), Graham was involved in the 1950s set musical Shout (1991, played Sara Benedict), featuring superstar John Travolta and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. She earned her second Young Artist for her work in the film.
Returning to TV, Graham received her first regular role in the 1990 ABC's series "Twin Peaks." In the show, she played character Annie Blackburn, a former sexy nun involved with Kyle MacLachlan's Agent Cooper. After leaving the show, Graham was seen as a young version of Jessica Lange's character Alexandra Bergson in the made-for-TV-movie O Pioneers! (1992). She also reprised the role of Annie Blackburn in the feature Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992).
Capturing the attention of renowned actor James Woods while she was at UCLA, Graham received a costarring role in Diggstown (1992, starring James Woods, Louis Gossett Jr. and Bruce Dern).
The following years saw Graham in such films as The Ballad of Little Jo (1993), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993, rejoined Van Sant), Six Degrees of Separation (1993, starring Will Smith), Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994), Don't Do It (1994), the independent drama Desert Winds (1995), Let It Be Me (1995), Kiss & Tell (1996), the direct-to-video release Terrified (1996) and Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996). She was also seen as the dream girl of Jon Favreau in the film Swingers (1996). Filmmaker Toback next cast her as Carla Bennett, opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Natasha Gregson Wagner, in Two Girls and a Guy (1997) soon after Graham finished Nowhere (1997).
"It was the timing in my life. I got a lot out of doing Roller girl. I've gotten a lot from every director, but, psychologically, that role gave me a lot of confidence." Heather Graham on her role in Boogie Nights.
In 1997, her break out role arrived as roller girl Brandy in Paul Thomas Anderson's celebrated Boogie Nights (1997). In the film she portrayed a teenaged porn actress who always wore roller-skates. Due to her performance, Graham was awarded with a MTV Movie award for Best Breakthrough Performance in 1998. She was also seen on the covers of such successful magazines as Rolling Stone. Additionally, she signed a modeling contract with Emanuel Ungaro.
Graham's appearance in magazines helped catapult her name toward the spotlight. She was in high demand and subsequently made a cameo appearance in Scream 2. Heather then costarred with actors William Hurt and Mimi Rogers in director Stephen Hopkins' Sci-Fi adventure Lost in Space (1998).
By the end of decade, Graham was well remembered for her portrayal as Felicity Shagwell, the 1960's CIA agent, in the blockbuster film Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999, starring Mike Myers). She was also cast as the ambitious Daisy in 1999's Bowfinger, starring Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin. For her work in film, Graham took home two awards, the ShoWest Female Star of Tomorrow and the VHI-Vogue Best Female Celebrity Style (1999).
Starring as Joline, a forsaken wife on a mission to discover and rescue her husband, in the movie Committed, was Graham's opening film project in the new millennium. She next portrayed dizzy blonde Josephine Winfield in the comedy Say It Isn't So (2001). Graham starred with former boyfriend Edward Burns in 2001's Sidewalks of New York, then played the character of Mary Kelly, an Irish prostitute, opposite Johnny Depp in From Hell (2001).
Graham continued to be seen in such movies as Alien Love Triangle (2002), the erotically charged romance Killing Me Softly (2002, opposite Joseph Fiennes), the romantic comedy The Guru (2002), Anger Management (2003), Hope Springs (2003) and Blessed (2004). She also provided her voice for Ever Quest II (2004).
Graham recently played character Emily Sanders in the TV series Emily's Reasons Why Not (2005) and will be seen in Abel Ferrara's drama Mary (2005), the movie Cake (2005) and Gray Matters (2005).
- ShoWest Female Star of Tomorrow: 1999
- VHI-Vogue: Best Female Celebrity Style, 1999
- MTV Movie: Best Breakthrough Performance, Boogie Nights, 1998
- Young Artist: Shout, 1991
- Independent Spirit: Drugstore Cowboy, 1989
- Young Artist: License to Drive, 1988