Bearing talent and cool, sophisticated beauty in equal measure, Deborah Kara Unger is one of Canada's most visible actresses. A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, where she was born in 1966, Unger first distinguished herself as the first Canadian-born actress to be accepted to the prestigious Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art. While in Australia, she made her professional debut on the television miniseries Bangkok Hilton (1989), in which she co-starred with Nicole Kidman and Denholm Elliott.
On the screen, Unger, who had been appearing in films since 1990, first made an impression on audiences with her role as a hyper-sexual patient who reveals more than just her neuroses to her psychiatrist (Annabella Sciorra) in Whispers in the Dark (1992). She earned an additional dose of notoriety when she again revealed all in David Cronenberg's controversial Crash (1996), which cast her as the wife of car crash survivor and fetishist James Spader. Roles in such films as David Fincher's psychological thriller The Game (1997) and the made-for-TV The Rat Pack (1998) -- which featured Unger as Ava Gardner -- followed, and in 1999 the actress could be seen in no less than three major motion pictures. In Payback, Unger played Mel Gibson's double-crossing girlfriend; István Szabó's historical epic Sunshine cast her as the wife of a Communist party official, while in Norman Jewison's The Hurricane, Unger starred as a Canadian activist working to free a wrongfully imprisoned championship boxer (Denzel Washington). ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi