Actress Lori Petty first made an impression to moviegoers as Keanu Reeves' instructor on “Point Break” (1991) after having a memorable role on the comedy “Cadillac Man” (1990). She attained additional notice with her supporting performances in such films as the box office hit “A League of Their Own” (1992), “Free Willy” (1993), John Singleton's “Poetic Justice” (1993), the Pauly Shore comedy “In the Army Now” (1994) and the thriller “The Glass Shield” (1994) before emerging as a cult icon in the disastrous comic book adaptation “Tank Girl” (1995). Petty has since acted in several B-level thrillers, including “Countdown” (1996), “The Arrangement” (1999), “Firetrap” and “Route 666” (both 2001) and appeared in the musical “Prey for Rock & Roll” (2003), the comedy “The Karate Dog” (2004), “Broken Arrows” (2007) and the sport themed “Chasing 3000” (2008). She sat in the director's chair for the 2001film “Horrible Accident,” which she also co-wrote and starred in.
On the small screen since the mid 1980s, Petty has appeared as a guest star in a number of TV series, including “The Twilight Zone,” “Miami Vice,” “Profiler” “Star Trek: Voyager,” “ER” and “CSI: NY.” For her role of Joyce Bradovich in an episode of “NYPD Blue” (2003), she picked up a Prism nomination. She also had regular roles in such short lived series as “The Thorns” (1988), “Booker” (1989-1990), “Lush Life” (1996) and “Brimstone” (1998-1999) and voiced the super villain Livewire on “Superman: The Animated Series” (1997) and “Batman: The Animated Series” (1998). In 2009, she appeared in episodes of “House M.D.,” “Prison Break” and “The Cleaner.”
A former graphic designer, Petty is a skilled artist and a creator of the alternative clothing line Lawd Knows. She also designs a line called Positive Clothing.
Childhood and Family:
Lori Lee Petty was born on October 14, 1963, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The daughter of a Pentecostal pastor, she spent her early years traveling the Unites States with her religious father. She attended North High School in Sioux City, Iowa, and graduated in 1981. While there, she became the first female editor of the high school newspaper, worked on the yearbook and participated on the debate team. Lori worked as a graphic designer in Omaha, Nebraska, for several years before switching her focus to acting. She moved to New York City to take acting classes and later to Los Angeles to get more opportunities.
An active high school student, Lori Petty decided to pursue an acting career after spending several years in Omaha where she worked as a graphic designer. Making her professional debut as a hooker in a 1985 episode of “The Equalizer,” she went on to land guest starring roles in “The Twilight Zone” (1986), “Stingray” (1987) and “Miami Vice” (1988). She landed a recurring role in “Head of the Class” (1987) before graduating to a regular role in the short lived comedy “The Thorns” (1988), opposite Adam Biesk and Kelly Bishop. Her television movie debut was in Richard Rothstein's “Bates Motel” (1987), where she was cast as Willie, a teenage runaway. The horror movie was slackly adapted from the Alfred Hitchcock “Psycho” series. She spent the rest of the decade working in such TV projects as the films “Police Story: Monster Manor” (1988) and “Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder” (1989), episodes of the series “Freddy's Nightmares” (1988) and “Alien Nation” (1989) and appeared in the Fox drama series “Booker” (1989-1990), starring Richard Grieco.
Apart from her performance in “Booker,” Petty was largely ignored until the early 1990s. Following the unforgettable supporting role of Lila in the Robin Williams and Tim Robbins comedy “Cadillac Man” (1990), she rose to fame playing Tyler Ann Endicott, the surfer girlfriend of Keanu Reeves, in the Kathryn Bigelow directed action thriller “Point Break” (1991), which also starred Patrick Swayze. Her next big screen role was in the Penny Marshall blockbuster hit “A League of Their Own” (1992), opposite Geena Davis and Madonna.
Petty's popularity grew when she landed the role of sympathetic animal trainer Rae Lindley on the highly successful family film “Free Willy” (1993), which was about the friendship between a 3 ton orca whale and a 12 year old boy. A small part in another high profile movie, “Poetic Justice” (1993), which was directed by John Singleton, helped her fan base. She was then cast with Pauly Shore in the comedy “In the Army Now” (1994).
After giving a strong dramatic performance as a lonesome female cop in the little seen thriller “The Glass Shield” (1994), Petty starred in the movie “Tank Girl” (1995). She followed it up with a costarring role opposite Yuki Amami in the crime flop “Countdown” (1996), but soon rebounded with the role of Georgia Sanders on the sitcom “Lush Life” (1996), opposite Karyn Parsons. The show, however, was canceled after four episodes.
Next up, Petty played Robin Poole in two episodes of the series “Profiler” (1997), provided the voice of Livewire for “Superman: The Animated Series” (2 episodes, 1997) and “The New Batman Adventures” (1 episode, 1998) and appeared as Noss in an episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” (1999). She also had a regular role on the short lived horror series “Brimstone” (1998-1999) and supporting roles in the independent film “Clubland” (1999), for director Mary Lambert, and the thriller “The Arrangement” (1999).
2001 saw Petty make her directorial debut with “Horrible Accident,” which she co-wrote with Mitch Hara. She also starred in the film. The same year, she supported Thomas Jefferson Byrd and Brandon Quintin Adams in the independent drama “MacArthur Park” and acted in such unsuccessful thrillers as “Firetrap” and “Route 666.” She also appeared as Shane in an episode of the popular NBC medical series “ER” (2002) and was nominated for a Prism in the category of Best Performance in a Drama Series Episode for her guest role of Joyce Bradovich on “NYPD Blue” (2003). In the musical drama “Prey for Rock & Roll” (2003), she costarred with Gina Gershon and Drea de Matteo.
2004-2006 found Petty in “The Karate Dog,” a comedy starring Jon Voight, Simon Rex and Jaime Pressly, and the horror film “Cryptid,” in which she starred as Dr. Lean Carlin. In addition, she made guest appearances in the series “Line of Fire,” “CSI: NY” and “Masters of Horror.” More recently, she costarred as Erin in the Reid Gershbein drama “Broken Arrows” (2007), was featured in the Scott Anderson adaptation of William Shakespeare's “Richard III” (2008) and portrayed Deputy Fryman on “Chasing 3000” (2008), which starred Ray Liotta and Jay Karnes. In 2009, she appeared in episodes of “House M.D.,” “Prison Break” and “The Cleaner.”