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Jennifer Westfeldt

Poppy Montgomery Biography


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Birth Name: Poppy Montgomery
Born: 06/19/1975
Birth Place: Australia


Born Poppy Petal Emma Elizabeth Devereaux Donahue on June 19, 1975, this native of New South Wales, Australia grew up in Sydney. The daughter of a restaurateur and market researcher, Montgomery and her four sisters were all named after flowers. A lifelong fan of Hollywood, Montgomery recalled that she and her siblings spent an inordinate amount of their childhood playing "dress up," pretending to be Marilyn Monroe-like movie stars. Arriving in Los Angeles in the early 1990 and quaintly carrying a copy of Wendy Hyland's book, How to Make It in Hollywood, Montgomery reportedly tracked down Julia Roberts' personal manager to inform him that she was available. While Roberts' people passed, this gutsy move did eventually lead Montgomery to her first representation. In 1995, Montgomery made her feature film debut in director Carl Franklin's underrated thriller "Devil in a Blue Dress." Her small role in the film led to a handful of television guest roles on such mainstays as "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) and "Party of Five" (Fox, 1995-96).

Soon after, Montgomery landed her first regular series role, playing Kimberly Williams' younger sister, Jennifer Lukens, on the short-lived romantic drama, "Relativity" (ABC, 1996-97). Critically adored, but abysmally rated, ABC pulled the plug on after just 17 episodes. Fortunately by this point, Montgomery was already on a roll with casting directors. In 1998, Montgomery scored the female lead role in the MTV-produced comedy, "Dead Man on Campus" (1998), starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tom Everett Scott. Reviews of the film were far from glowing, but it was one more project to add to her growing CV. In 2001, Montgomery landed her dream role when she was cast as childhood idol Marilyn Monroe in the CBS miniseries, "Blonde" (2001). Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Joyce Carol Oates, "Blonde" was a fictionalized account of the iconic bombshell's life, as seen through her own eyes. To better look the part, the small-framed Montgomery put on 12 pounds and worked tirelessly with a dialect coach in order to master Monroe's wispy-voiced delivery. Aired over two nights during May sweeps, "Blonde" performed respectably in terms of ratings, but reviews were mixed on both the show and Montgomery's portrayal.

Still searching for her breakthrough vehicle, Montgomery came close to landing it when she was cast on the short-lived mystery series "Glory Days" (The WB, 2002) - the brainchild of "Dawson's Creek" creator, Kevin Williamson. Unfortunately, "Glory Days" failed to catch on and died less than halfway through its first season. Montgomery's patience was rewarded later that year when she landed the role of Special Agent Samantha Spade on the crime series, "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09). Unlike Montgomery's previous series, "Without a Trace" proved to be a ratings winner straight out of the gate - providing the actress with a welcome departure from what had become the career norm. She took full advantage of her success by taking on projects like the indie romantic drama "How to Lose Your Lover" (2004) with Paul Schneider during breaks from the production of her hit series. Other work included a turn as a determined New York lawyer searching for her missing sister in the back alleys of Tijuana in the psychological thriller "Between" (Lifetime, 2005). She played a far less heroic character in the based-on-fact murder-mystery "Murder in the Hamptons' (Lifetime, 2005), as a wealthy socialite whose husband dies under mysterious circumstances in the midst of their divorce proceedings.

Despite hitting a ratings-high during the fourth season, viewership of the show had begun to slip and after seven seasons, "Without a Trace" was cancelled. As she looked for her next role, Montgomery took on more made-for-TV roles with the Lifetime network. She played a frumpy magazine editor whose anonymous online advice column brings about unexpected changes in "Lying to be Perfect" (Lifetime, 2010), then essayed one of the most successful novelists of all time in the literary biopic "Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story" (Lifetime, 2011). It seemed as if lightening might strike twice for Montgomery when she nabbed the lead role on the police procedural "Unforgettable" (CBS, 2011- ) as Carrie Wells, a New York City police detective who uses her unique ability to visually recall any event witnessed in her life in the solving of crimes. Initially a ratings winner, "Unforgettable" garnered mixed reviews and finished in the middle of the Nielsen pack by the end of its first season. Although CBS announced it was canceling the show in spring 2012, the network did an about-face and announced it would be giving a somewhat reduced second season order of 13 episodes.




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