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Tricia Helfer Biography


Home > Actresses > H > Helfer, Tricia > Biography


Birth Name: Tricia Helfer
Born: 04/11/1974
Birth Place: Donalda, Alberta, CA


Born Tricia Janine Helfer on Apr. 11, 1974, she was raised on her family's grain farm in Donalda, British Columbia, Canada. At 17, she was discovered by a modeling talent scout while waiting in line for a movie, and was soon dispatched to New York City to make her way in the industry. In 1992, she won the coveted Ford Models' Supermodel of the World contest, which gave her a contract with the agency and a substantial cash prize. She was subsequently signed to the Elite Modeling Agency, and began appearing on the covers of fashion magazines like ELLE and Cosmopolitan, as well as modeling the fashions of designers such as Versace and Christian Dior on catwalks around the world.

Developing an interest in acting while serving as a correspondent for the Canadian television series "Ooh La La Fashion Television" in 1994, Helfer began increasing her on-camera appearances. Cameos as herself in the fashion-oriented documentaries "Unzipped" (1995) and "Catwalk" (1996) preceded a bit part as one of several prospective dates for a single guy on the make in the comedy short, "Eventual Wife" (2000). In 2002, Helfer moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting fulltime, quickly landing a role in the two-part premiere of Showtime's short-lived science fiction series "Jeremiah" (2002-04). This was soon followed by a grisly turn as a self-mutilating model on a 2002 episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ) and the female lead in a low-budget thriller about drug dealing called "White Rush" (2003) opposite Judd Nelson and Louis Mandylor. Helfer also found time to marry her longtime boyfriend, entertainment lawyer Jonathan Marshall.

The year 2003 marked a turn in fortune for Helfer - she was cast as Number Six in the two-part miniseries "Battlestar Galactica," which reimagined the original space adventure series of the same name (ABC, 1978-79), as well as landed the plum role of Farrah Fawcett-Majors in the NBC TV movie, "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels" (2004). The exposure helped place Helfer in several notable men's magazines in the U.S., especially Maxim, which frequently ran photo spreads of Helfer and named her their calendar girl for 2005.

In 2004, "Battlestar Galactica" was picked up as a series by the Sci Fi Channel, giving Helfer the opportunity to reprise her role as Number Six. Originally designed as a spy that would infiltrate human colonies by the series' main villains, the robotic Cylons, Number Six develops feelings of regret for Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis), the scientist she is assigned to seduce for this information. She later sacrifices herself to save him in the ensuing Cylon attack, but is revived in a new body which still retains memories of her relationship with Baltar. She also manifests herself in other forms throughout the series to wreak havoc with the human colonists, though her sympathetic nature causes her to frequently suffer at the hands of others - most notably Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), who enjoys a love affair with Six before discovering her true identity and handing her over to her crew for sexual abuse. As movie and television robots went, Helfer's Number Six was among the most emotionally complex ever created.

The popularity of "Galactica" increased Helfer's profile considerably, and from 2005 on, she was involved in a myriad of projects outside of her work on the series. She starred in a string of independent thrillers and science fiction pictures that were largely released directly to DVD, though one of them - the psychological thriller "Spiral" (2007) - enjoyed a limited theatrical release and positive reviews. Helfer also began hosting the reality series "Canada's Next Top Model," though her commitment to "Galactica" prevented her from repeating her hosting duties for its 2007 sophomore season. And to the delight of her devoted geek-boy fan base, she also continued to model for several major publications; most notably a 2006 layout for Playboy in which she appeared topless.

In 2007, Helfer had major roles in two independent features, "The Green Chain" (about logging protestors) and "Walk All Over Me" (with Leelee Sobieski as a small town girl who takes over her roommate's dominatrix business). Continuing to make her presence known, she contributed a voice to the video game "Command and Conquer 3" for the Xbox 360 system. The following year, "Galactica" producer Ronald D. Moore announced that Helfer would be returning as Six in the show's fourth and final season. Meanwhile, Helfer branched out and joined the cast of "Burn Notice" (USA, 2006- ) for the second season, playing the recurring role of Carla, a mysterious woman who is the only link between former covert operative Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and the people in the intelligence agency who blacklisted him.




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