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Gabriel Macht


Conan O'Brien


Jason Bateman


Marc Maron


Christopher Meloni


Ed Helms


Eliza Coupe


Zooey Deschanel


Cameron Silver


Matthew O'Leary


Hank Azaria


Zachary Gordon

Rachel Harris Biography


Home > Actresses > H > Harris, Rachel > Biography


Birth Name: Rachel Harris
Born: 01/12/1968
Birth Place: Worthington, Ohio, USA


Born Rachael Elaine Harris on Jan. 12, 1968, this future comedian and actress originally hailed from Worthington, OH. An alumni of Worthington High School, she graduated from Ohio's Otterbein College with a major in theater. Moving to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, Harris hooked up with The Groundlings, soon becoming a member of the main company, where she further honed her skills. A gifted mimic, Harris quickly became an invaluable utility player and eventually stayed on as an instructor. Harris made her screen debut as a guest star on a 1993 episode of the undersea sci-fi adventure, "SeaQuest DSV" (NBC, 1993-96). She then followed up with an appearance on another sci-fi mainstay, "Star Trek: Voyager" (UPN, 1995-2001) and a recurring role as college coed Simone Flosser on the benign family-friendly sitcom, "Sister, Sister" (The WB, 1994-99). Other guest gigs followed, among them "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004), "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006), "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ), "Monk" (USA Network, 2002-09) and "Reno 911" (Comedy Central, 2003-09).

In 2002, Harris landed a breakthrough gig as a correspondent on the Emmy-winning news satire "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 1996- ), a major launching pad for gifted comics. This pseudo-journalistic cred led to Harris becoming a contributor on several of VH1's pop culture countdown specials, including "I Love the 80's Strikes Back" (2003), "I Love the 70s" (2003), "I Love the '90s" (2004) and the weekly series, "Best Week Ever" (2004- ). In 2005, Harris won her milestone role on the quasi-reality comedy series "Fat Actress" (Showtime, 2005-06). And though it did not last long, it was her first legitimate acting gig on a show that received its share of publicity and was the first to single out her impeccably snarky comic timing, even against someone as skilled as Kirstie Alley.

Harris' knack for comedic improvisation also came in handy on the feature front. In 1999, she duly impressed actor-director Christopher Guest, who recruited Harris for three of his acclaimed mockumentaries: "Best in Show"(2000), "A Mighty Wind" (2003) and "For Your Consideration" (2006). Harris also showcased her impressive timing with memorable appearances in the Eddie Murphy vehicle "Daddy Day Care" (2003) and the Ben Stiller-Owen Wilson buddy cop farce, "Starsky & Hutch" (2004). Apart from these commercial pics, however, Harris also found time to appear in smaller, more personal projects, most notably a co-starring turn in the comedy short "I'm Not Gay" (2005), written and directed by her husband, actor Adam Paul.

Returning to the small screen in 2007, Harris scored a key supporting role in the ABC mid-season replacement "Notes from the Underbelly," in which Harris portrayed Cooper, best friend and confidante to newlywed Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt). A romantically jaded divorce attorney, Cooper's penchant for spouting well-intentioned but brutally frank words of discouragement made her character a fast favorite with fans of "Underbelly" - especially those not content to jump on the baby train. After struggling in the ratings throughout its brief run, ABC pulled the plug on "Underbelly" near the end of its second season. Despite the setback, Harris went on to enjoy an exceptionally productive year that included turns opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in the based-on-fact drama "The Soloist" (2009) and as Ed Helms' icy, controlling girlfriend in the hit comedy "The Hangover" (2009). She then joined actresses Cheryl Hines and Megan Mullally for the parental sitcom "In the Motherhood" (ABC, 2009).

The following year, amongst several other appearances, Harris played the well-meaning mom of a smart-aleck sixth grader (Zachary Gordon) in the adaptation of the popular illustrated children's novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (2010), and again in its sequel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" (2011). Then, after 20 years in the business, the actress delivered what would be her breakout performance in the comedy-drama "Natural Selection" (2011). Essaying a sheltered Christian housewife whose world is turned upside down when she discovers that her dying husband (John Diehl) fathered a child out of wedlock via a sperm bank donation decades earlier, Harris' touching portrayal earned her raves on the festival circuit as well as a Best Female Lead nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards.