Though she was born in Hawaii, actress Lauren Graham spent her childhood traveling with her single father. After earning her Bachelor's degree in English from Barnard College in New York City, she got her Master's in Acting from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She moved to California and landed a guest spot on 3rd Rock From the Sun in 1996. After playing recurring roles on Caroline in the City, Law & Order, and NewsRadio, she made her film debut in the horror thriller Nightwatch. Other film roles followed, including the mainstream sentimental drama One True Thing (starring Meryl Streep) the independent mockumentary Dill Scallion (starring Billy Burke). After starring in a few short-lived TV series, Graham's big breakthrough came in 2000 with the lead role on the WB family drama Gilmore Girls. As Lorelai Gilmore, the 32-year-old single mother of a teenager (Alexis Bledel), Graham earned several award nominations during the first two seasons. While the show itself earned critical acclaim, Graham gained much media exposure for her strong and independent yet conventionally attractive portrayal of a single mom. Even though her persona was that of a "sexy mom," she also (per the material given her by the program's creators) held fast to "PG Material, " and won the Best Actress prize from the Family Television Awards. Lest she be pigeonhold Graham traveled to the opposite extreme for a plum role in Terry Zwigoff's holiday crime comedy Bad Santa; she made many viewers do a double take as a lover of bad boy Billy Bob Thornton who harbors a thoroughly naughty little fetish for Santa caps - a part that justly won her critical raves.
More feature film projects followed, including supporting roles in the romantic comedies Lucky 13 (2004), Seeing Other People (2004), and The Pacifier (2005) (opposite unlikely action hero-turned family star Vin Diesel). By the spring of 2007, Gilmore (which drew repeated rumors of cancellation that persisted for at least a year) finally did wrap, and Graham focused all of her attention and energy on the big screen. Assignments included a supporting part in the Diane Keaton/Mandy Moore mother-daughter comedy Because I Said So (2007) and the wife of funnyman Steve Carell in the Noah's Ark-themed religious comedy Evan Almighty (2007). ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi