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Poppy Montgomery

Donnie Wahlberg

Julianna Margulies

Kevin Spacey

Jonny Lee Miller

Gbenga Akinnagbe

Joanne Kelly

Richard Gere

Denis Leary

Wendy Davis

Mariska Hargitay

Cole Hauser

Tawny Cypress Biography

Home > Actresses > C > Cypress, Tawny > Biography

Birth Name: Tawny Cypress

Born in Point Pleasant, N.J. on Aug. 8, 1976, Cypress was the second child of an African-American/Native American father and a Hungarian/German mother. As a child, Cypress grew up on a steady diet of "late night monster movies and early morning cartoons," according to her older brother, accomplished comic book artist-creator, Toby Cypress (best known for his 2006 graphic novel, The Tourist). A diligent student, Cypress studied at Boston University and later, at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, before finally winning a spot at Rutgers University's prestigious Mason Gross School of the Arts. There, Cypress met Barbara Marchant, a respected acting teacher and future mentor. Under Marchant's tutelage, Cypress continued her training at one of America's foremost professional actor training institutes - the William Esper Studio in New York City, NY.

After graduation, Cypress made the rounds auditioning for stage plays and small television roles. In 1999, Cypress made her film debut in the short, "Stalker Guilt Syndrome," directed by Jonah Kaplan. A 2000 guest appearance on "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) led to Cypress' first major film, actress Joan Chen's directorial debut, the critical misfire, "Autumn in New York," starring an ill-matched Richard Gere and Winona Ryder.

However, Cypress continued to find her greatest success on the small screen. In 2001, Cypress landed her first regular series role as Cassandra Rodriguez in Sidney Lumet's gritty courtroom drama, "100 Centre Street" (A&E, 2001-02). After that show's demise, Cypress played a semi-recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Sharon Burns on the Emmy-winning series, "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005). The first half of the new millennium saw Cypress paying the bills with a string of guest-star roles on such high-profile skeins as "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001- ) and the short-lived urban crime drama, "Hack" (CBS, 2002-04), before securing a regular role on the short-lived cult fave, "Jonny Zero" (Fox, 2005). Well-received, but ratings-challenged, "Jonny Zero" won the dubious honor of being Fox's least watched original drama of 2005.

Fortunately, the following year proved pivotal for the actress' career. In addition to a small role in director Oliver Stone's drama, "World Trade Center" (2006), Cypress landed her most noteworthy role to date in the most talked-about new show of 2006 - the action-packed comic book serial, "Heroes." In it, Cypress played art dealer Simone Deveaux, the girlfriend of the precognitive painter Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera). While viewers were saddened to see their relationship crumble as a result of Isaac's drug dependence, Simone appeared to be on the rebound by mid-season, when in a moment of emotional distress, she had an affair with her dying father's caretaker, male nurse Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia).