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Laurie Holden Biography


Home > Actresses > H > Holden, Laurie > Biography


Birth Name: Laurie Holden
Born: 12/17/1972
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA


Heather Laurie Holden was born in Los Angeles on Dec.17, 1972. Her father, Larry Holden, and mother, Adrienne Ellis, were television actors who divorced when she was three years old. In 1977, Ellis remarried British film director Michael Anderson, who brought to the blended family his adult children, actor Michael Anderson, Jr. and producer David Anderson. Holden and a younger brother were raised in their mother's native Vancouver. At age six, she made her acting debut in three episodes of Anderson's "The Martian Chronicles" (1980) miniseries, as the young daughter of star Rock Hudson. As a teenager, Holden won The Casablancas Modeling Agency's "Look of the Year" contest in Toronto and was given a minor role as a babysitter in Anderson's comedy "Separate Vacations" (1986). In 1988, she appeared as a human minion of the cyborg super-villain Lord Dread in an episode of the Canadian kiddie show "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future" (1987-88), coproduced by Mattel Toys. What would have been for many other actresses an embarrassing early credit remained somewhat prophetic for Holden, anticipating her later intensely physical roles in gritty genre fare.

After graduating from Toronto's Bishop Strachan High School, Holden rejected the promise of a modeling career to study economics and philosophy at Montreal's McGill University. After her first year, she transferred to the University of California-Los Angeles to pursue a degree in theatre arts. Studying with Robert Reed, former patriarch of "The Brady Bunch" (CBS, 1969-1974), Holden received the prestigious Natalie Wood Acting Award, given annually to a sophomore or junior who showed exceptional promise. During this period, she shared screen time with Burt Reynolds in Michael Crichton's Toronto-shot "Physical Evidence" (1989) and had a sizeable role as an aristocratic confidant of Julia Ormond's "Young Catherine" (TNT, 1991), directed by Michael Anderson. Dividing her time between Toronto and Hollywood, Holden spent the next several years in guest roles on Canadian television. In 1996, she received a Gemini Award nomination for playing a sexy physiotherapist who partners with rehabilitating constable Paul Gross in a 1995 episode of "Due South" (1994-99), created by Canada's CTV network and broadcast for a portion of its run by CBS in the United States.

Holden's few cinematic outings during this period included the virtual reality adventure "Expect No Mercy" (1995), which put her in the high-kicking company of martial arts star Billy Banks, as well as the sci-fi thriller "Past Perfect" (1996), in which she played the partner of rogue cop Eric Roberts. On the small screen, "The X-Files" subjected Holden to a crash course in Russian for her recurring role as duplicitous United Nations attaché Marita Covarrubias from 1996 to 2000. Etched initially as a cold-eyed Mata Hari type, Covarrubias enjoyed a surprisingly complicated character arc over the course of four years, which included a sidebar romance with Nicholas Lea's villainous Alex Kryczek. Holden was a semi-regular on "The Magnificent Seven" (CBS, 1998-2000), playing independent-minded frontier newspaper editor Mary Travis. While performing in a Hollywood workshop production of Frank Gilroy's 1968 stage play "The Only Game in Town," Holden was asked to test for a role in Frank Darabont's McCarthy era romance, "The Majestic" (2001). Weathering an audition process lasting several months, Holden beat out a number of A-list actresses for the role of Adele Stanton, love interest to Jim Carrey's blacklisted Hollywood writer.

Singled out for praise by Roger Ebert but panned by the majority of critics, "The Majestic" was an unsuccessful change-of-pace vehicle for Carrey and its failure pushed Holden back into character parts. She returned to Toronto to play an animal rights activist and single mother in "Bailey's Billion$" (2005), a mash-up of "101 Dalmatians" (1961) and "Look Who's Talking" (1989), in which a golden retriever (voiced by Jon Lovitz) inherits a billion dollar estate. She contributed a minor role to "The Fantastic Four" (2005), 20th Century Fox's adaptation of the classic Marvel comic, as the fiancée of Michael Chiklis' The Thing. Holden had more to do in "Silent Hill" (2006), Christophe Gans' feature film adaptation of the Japanese horror-themed survival video game. Gans had been impressed by Holden's elegant performance in "The Majestic," but took her character, West Virginia State Police trooper Cybil Bennett, another way, shearing Holden's blonde hair to a spiky butch cut and etching Cybil as a courageous, no-nonsense woman of action. Although the character's sexual preference never became a plot point in "Silent Hill," the butch Trooper Bennett became a minor gay icon and was considered by many a positive lesbian role model.

Holden reunited with writer-director Frank Darabont and several of her castmates from "The Majestic" in "The Mist" (2007), Darabont's well-received expansion of the 1980 story by Stephen King about a plague of monsters who lay siege to a town in coastal Maine. Dressed down in the loose layers of a New England schoolteacher, Holden brought a disarming sensuality to her role as an ally of imperiled father Thomas Jane and a surrogate mother to Jane's onscreen son Nathan Gamble. The film's downbeat conclusion, in which the protagonists take their own lives to avoid falling prey to the spidery invaders from another dimension, split audiences and critics alike; nonetheless, the film emerged as a popular hit with average moviegoers and both fans of horror in general and Stephen King in particular. Holden returned to the small screen for a recurring role towards the end of the run of the acclaimed police drama "The Shield" (FX, 2002-08), as Olivia Murphy, a determined federal agent who is at first allied with but ultimately brings to justice corrupt LAPD cop Vin Mackey (Michael Chiklis).

When Frank Darabont brought the Image Comics graphic novel The Walking Dead to the cable television channel AMC in October 2010, he chose Holden for a key role among the miniseries' principal players. Andrea, a civil rights attorney and survivor of a global zombie plague, was thinly-drawn in early episodes, particularized entirely through her relationship with younger sister Amy (Emma Bell). Holden's facility with the physical rigors of action roles allowed her to deftly communicate Andrea's maturation following Amy's death, transforming Andrea from an upright, non-violent citizen to a steel-eyed woman of action, allowing a female character to take point in a scenario dominated through its first season by men. Older than the character as conceived by creators Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, Holden's Andrea was a refreshingly mature TV heroine, whose grief in later episodes was partly alleviated through an unlikely romance with fellow survivor Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn). The initial six-episode run of "The Walking Dead" proved to be the highest rated of any AMC original program, prompting the announcement early on of a guaranteed second 13-episode season, and guaranteeing Laurie Holden long-overdue recognition.