Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and posessing a certain bodacious je ne sais quoi, Heather Graham has had one of the more inspiring career trajectories of the 1990s. After debuting in 1988's License to Drive, which featured the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman) and little else, Graham worked in relative obscurity for years before hitting it big in a string of successful films, including Swingers, Boogie Nights, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Originally hailing from the Midwest, Graham was born in Milwaukee, WI, on January 29, 1970. The elder of two girls (younger sister Aimee is also an actress), Graham led a fairly itinerant childhood thanks to her father's job with the F.B.I. A quiet, unpopular girl, by her own account, Graham became interested in acting at a young age. She had her first role, as Dorothy, in a school production of The Wizard of Oz and remained active in the theater throughout high school, winning the title of Most Talented from her peers. After high school, Graham packed up and headed to Los Angeles, where she discovered that talented as she may have been, it was no guarantee of employment. She worked a variety of odd jobs, including a stint as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl, before making her 1988 film debut in License to Drive as the object of Corey Haim's desire. The following year, Graham's career began to travel in a more auspicious direction when she was cast as a doomed drug addict in Gus Van Sant's critically acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy. Despite winning raves for her performance, stardom eluded Graham, as her subsequent film roles were largely incidental. However, she did win a recurring role on the TV series Twin Peaks in 1990, and the following year, starred in the widely celebrated made-for-TV movie O Pioneers!.