Heather Graham was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 29th, 1970. Soon after that, Heather was joined by her baby sister, Aimee, and they attended their very first elementary school in Virginia because her father worked for the FBI and they were forced to relocate quite often. After having been shuffled around again, Heather and her little sister attended Sumac Elementary. A little while after that, they attended a school called Lindero Canyon Middle School. By the time Heather got to Agoura High School, she had a hard time making friends, since she was always moving before she had a chance to develop serious friendships. While studying at Agoura, she was teased because she was a quiet girl and because she wasn't fully developed physically. She was even considered a theater geek by her peers. Not only was Heather considered uncool at school, but her family life became increasingly uncomfortable as she began to follow her dream of becoming an actress. Although her mother would drive her to Hollywood for auditions, the tension began mounting so high between Heather and her family that she eventually stopped communicating with them altogether.
Heather was relieved to have finally graduated from Agoura, even though she was voted most talented by her senior class. Her start as an actress wasn't glamorous, as are most actors' start. Heather went from odd job to odd job, eventually landing various roles and bit parts in movies such as License To Drive and the critically acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy, which starred Matt Dillon. As well, Heather also appeared on the small screen in the popular television drama Twin Peaks.
After some success in Hollywood, Heather decided to enroll in the University of California at Los Angeles. Her major was in English Literature, but unfortunately she dropped out after only two years. She did, however, come away with something positive.
It was at UCLA that Heather first read one of her favorite books by Dostoevsky, entitled The Brothers Karamazov. It was this book that impressed renowned actor James Woods when he first spotted the blonde bombshell. In 1992, Heather landed a small role in Diggstown; a movie that Woods starred in.
In the next few years that followed, Heather went on to play diverse roles in films such as Six Degrees of Separation, which starred Will Smith, Don't Do It and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. While Heather was furthering her acting career, she piqued the interest of filmmakers like James Toback and Jon Favreau. Apparently, Favreau took Heather swing dancing one night, and a year and a half later, she played Lorraine in his nearly legendary movie Swingers. Toback soon after had his opportunity to work with her and cast her in his film entitled Two Girls and A Guy.
But it was in 1997, that Heather got her breakout role and would not soon be forgotten. She played "Rollergirl," a young porn actress who constantly wore roller-skates everywhere she went, in the true story of renowned porn actor John Holmes' life entitled Boogie Nights.
After that, Heather was in high demand and made a cameo appearance in Scream 2, in which she spoofed Drew Barrymore's role as the popcorn popping first victim of the of the original film. She then appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, which had men everywhere drooling over the latest starlet in Hollywood.
Rolling Stone wasn't the only magazine cover that Heather graced, her face, once obscure and unknown to the world, had begun to grace the covers of a multitude of magazine covers.
Along with a modeling contract with Emanuel Ungaro, Heather has starred in some big budget films including Lost In Space, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Bowfinger, which also stars Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin.
We saw more of this swinging sensation in roles like Say It Isn't So, Sidewalks Of New York (in which she co-starred her former boyfriend, Edward Burns), From Hell. She will next be seen reprising her role of Felicity Shagwell in the third installment of Austin Powers -- Goldmember -- as well as Hope Springs, Killing Me Softly, and The Guru.
Actress Graham Says 'Why Not' to ABC
Heather Graham is set to topline the ABC pilot "Emily's Reasons Why Not."
In the comedy she'll play a self-help author who doesn't take her own advice when it comes to dating.
Graham, whose big-screen credits include "Boogie Nights," "Swingers," "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and "The Guru," has a recurring role on the NBC comedy "Scrubs."
Heather Graham: This Ex-Shagster Turns Pro
Heather Graham/From Hell Interview
Whether she's shagging Austin Powers, ex-boyfriend Ed Burns in Sidewalks in New York, or a British-accented Johnny Depp in her newest film, From Hell, Heather Graham is one of Hollywood's hot properties. When talking to Paul Fischer recently, Graham talks Austin Powers 3, ex-boyfriends, and her hellish new movie in which she plays an impoverished prostitute on the run from Jack the Ripper.
Ms Graham, prettily dressed in a lemon outfit, recalls spending a restless night after reading the script for the new Jack The Ripper movie From Hell, in which she plays a prostitute "I was really terrified and I was in my house alone and I was waking up throughout the night just like petrified that someone would come in my room," says Graham, who stars as Mary Kelly, the prostitute believed to be the infamous English serial killer's final victim.
But once on the Prague set last year, cast and crew spent more time laughing like hell, the 31-year-old actress recalls. Despite the subject matter, the working atmosphere was kept light, largely due to the film's co-directors, twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes.
"They showed us all the (prop) bodies and it was just that we were so excited about it. 'Hey, look at this body. Wow, cool.' It was all like a little adventure we were on. It didn't seem so horrific," Graham said. Although some of the butchery is graphically depicted, From Hell is less a horror movie and more of a murder mystery and social study of the terrible poverty of the 19th-century English underclass. "There's definitely gore in there for those people who like horror movies, but it's not like a sit on the edge of your seat 'Ah! Ah!'" said Graham, who was also attracted to the project by the prostitutes' spirit and camaraderie. I think (my character is) actually really brave and strong that (she) could survive in those conditions. The conditions were so bad. It wasn't like as in today's society, someone might choose to be a prostitute to make more money or they might work at Burger King. Women then didn't have those choices." Which is why, if she chose to live in another time, 1888 London would not be her first choice. "I think the furthest back I'd want to go is the seventies," she says laughingly. "It was a great time for women then."
Asked if a graphically violent film such as From Hell, was the right movie to be released at this time, given recent events, Graham skirts the question directly, only insisting that "I think it's a good film and I think maybe there's a place for a good film, even if it's not the timeliest time to release it." From Hell was shot on location in Prague, at the same time A Knight's Tale was in production. It was there that she met ex-boyfriend Heath Ledger. "It was a great time, we all kind of clicked as a group trying to get through our respective jobs in this strange country."
Graham, who has also had high-profile romances with actors James Woods and Ed Burns, is single for now.
"I don't have a new boyfriend. I wish I could give you some interesting gossip but no." Graham will next be seen on screen opposite ex-boyfriend Burns in Sidewalks of New York, the release of which was put on hold after the September 11 attacks. "It was kind of weird seeing that movie after Ed and I broke up, but he was great to work with and he handed me a wonderful role." She's relieved the film will finally see the light of day. "I think it's a good film that deserves to be seen."
Graham also completed work on Kaige Chen's anticipated new film, Killing Me Softly, which will open early next year. "He was amazing to work with. He took the story and made it a lot more interesting than it was originally." Described as an erotic thriller, Graham has some very intimate moments in this film, opposite co-star Joseph Fiennes. "Initially when I was doing it I kept on thinking: I hope this isn't exploitative. But when I saw it I said: Wow, I should have done more, this is good!" she insists laughingly. "He handled it more in the vein of a love story about passion that two people have for each other, more psychological and less sensational." Graham is one of Hollywood's brightest young stars, having done over 30 films, including the somewhat forgettable License to Drive, starring Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. Times have changed, and Heather is all grown up. Now searching for the right vehicle, the beautiful Wisconsin native has hired someone to help her develop the right vehicles. "I hope that gives me the freedom to find the right female-driven vehicle." Yet fiercely unafraid, Graham relishes the challenge. "Obviously I need that and I'm sure I'll meet whatever challenges lay ahead".
Graham is all set to get down and groovy in the next Austin Powers movie-on one condition.
"I said as long as they don't blow me up, I'm interested in showing up again," says the 31-year old actress who played CIA Agent Felicity Shagwell in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
If Austin Powers In Goldmember, to film this year for release next summer, sticks to pattern, Felicity will be sidelined to make room for a new partner for Powers (Mike Myers). "Hopefully I can go out in some flashy fun way," Graham says. "I'm not going to perish. I'm not going back to it if it means perishing." Graham hasn't yet read the script but has heard Goldmember will be set in the 1970s and Power's new love match will be a black woman with a big afro.
Heather Graham Talks About "The Guru"
Hitting on the message that true love conquers all, "The Guru" mixes Bollywood and Hollywood and comes up with a romantic comedy with a twist.
Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer describes "The Guru" as "a movie about other movies. We definitely have fun with the romantic comedy genre, and the audience is in on the joke all the way through." von Scherler Mayer adds, "We hit the traditional marks, like rushing to the church to break up the wedding and all that, but we re-invent them in fresh and funny ways."
As the American love interest of Ramu (Jimi Mistry), Heather Graham portrays a romantic young woman who takes Ramu by surprise and teaches him valuable life lessons.
Were you concerned about playing another porn star?
Basically, I only want to play porn stars. I want to see if I can [go] my entire career and only play that role. It'll be fun (joking).
I read ["The Guru"] and I thought, "Oh, I love it, but I don't know if I can do it because everyone's going to ask me why did you do that?" Then I just thought, "Who cares? I think it's really good and funny, and I like my character a lot." I could relate to a lot of things with my character. I thought it was a really unique story, a story that I'd never seen before in a movie.
What did you relate to?
Well, because I was in porn movies…no (laughing). Basically, I could relate to the new age kind of healing stuff that my character talks about. I liked the idea that I had these things to say that were wise and interesting, but that actually no one would take me seriously. But, if someone else said them, then they sounded really good and everyone thought it was genius.
I liked the love story about a girl, basically a person who feels like if they really are themselves, they won't be accepted. I think a lot of people feel that way. I like that I created this whole other personality in this guy to make him like me, but then I learned that actually someone will like me even if I am myself. I just think that's a cool story.
Could you identify with your character?
To be honest, I kind of identify with all the characters in a way. I identify with Jimi [Mistry] because I wanted to be an actor. I watched movies and thought, "I want to be in movies," and wanted to be an actor. And then thinking somebody will make you happy and maybe he doesn't, and [instead] something else makes you happy.
I identify with Marisa [Tomei's] character in that sometimes I find that I want to find answers from someone. I want somebody to be like, "I know the answers and they are this." You look to someone else and you're like, "Tell me the answers." Even if they don't know anything, and in fact you know more, you just want to feel like someone knows the answers. You believe somehow they do and then you actually realize that they don't, that you're better off following your own judgment.
I guess I like my character because I feel that I have wisdom that I don't give myself credit for. I feel that, like I learned in the movie, someone can actually like me for who I am. I don't need to try so hard to be someone else.
Did you enjoy dancing in "The Guru?"
It was really fun. There are so many different kinds of ways that you're supposed to train in dance, so we just tried to pick up as much as we could.
Do you think it's still difficult to tell movies from a woman's point of view?
I guess you just feel like there's a whole story that's not being told in movies. You're only seeing the macho guy version of a story that from the woman's side, may be completely different. I just think it's funny because I've been trying to develop things. There are less opportunities for women. We were selling this idea that's a little bit "Sex and the City"-ish and they said, "Oh, you know what? 'Sex and the City' has already done this. A lot of people watch 'Sex and the City,' and it's a movie that would make over 100 million dollars basically, but 'Sex and the City' has already done it." I laughed and I was thinking, "That's not enough. Like, one show? It's not like you do 'The Terminator' and say let's not do 'XXX.'" People think, "Well, you've done one 'woman' show, it's done." But no one thinks about every single action movie that's exactly the same. I went to see some trailers and it's like, "He's a trained killer. He's a trained killer."
Are male executives more closed-minded than female executives?
I don't know. I think women can be like that, too. Basically, we have this sex comedy idea and they're like, "Well, 'The Sweetest Thing' didn't make money so female sex comedies don't make money." And I'm like, "Well, 'Bridget Jones' made money." I'm just seeing [that] it's harder for women, and any kind of minority. Have you thought of a movie that has an Indian lead? Like an Indian man lead? You can't really think of any other than maybe "Gandhi," and he's a historical figure. I just think if we have more of that, it's good for all of us. It's fun to see movies about people from different backgrounds and to appreciate people from different cultures. It'd be nice if there was less racism in the world and maybe we should all be open to different kinds of movies.
Did you visit India?
I did. I went to India as part of this magazine article and it was really fun to see Bollywood. It was really cool, but I had an experience a little bit like the movie where you think something's one thing but it's actually not. When I went, I thought, "I'm going to have this deep spiritual epiphany here and my life's going to make sense," and it didn't. I just thought, "Wow, it's really hard getting around." It's just a lot more difficult living there, for me, because I'm used to living in America. There were amazing moments, but I found myself missing all my materialistic comforts. It was amazing and the pictures look amazing.
How was your "Anger Management" experience?
It was really so fun. I loved working with Adam Sandler and it was just a really fun part. It was really like, "Get in and get out, but make the most of the moment, [during] the time you're there." And it was just fun. I played a psycho girl and [Adam Sandler] was just really charming. He's got this great group of guys around him that make you feel like you're one of the guys. They gave me a cigar and [I] went fishing, and they're the most supportive people. You'll do one line, like, "I'll see you later." They're like, "That was great!"
Does Sandler yell at you in the movie?
No. I'm way crazier than him - in the movie.
More fun stuff about Heather Graham
Is a single woman once again after parting ways with her producer beau Chris Weitz. (November 6, 2004)
Sissy Spacek, Alan Cumming and Heather Graham will team up to star in romantic comedy GRAY MATTERS, which has been placed on the production slate of the newly launched El Camino Pictures. (July 24, 2003)
Graham has struck up a romance with ABOUT A BOY co-director Chris Weitz – Weitz said he was so nervous about his first date with the beauty that he took her to a really bad restaurant. (January 25, 2003)
Will cameo in the AUSTIN POWERS sequel.
Urge fans to keep filling the movie theatres - because it's an important distraction from the awful world news.
Has had so many onset love affairs she's had to ban herself from falling for her co-stars.
Likes gross humor.
Refused to wear a modesty pouch while filming steamy sex scenes with Joseph Fiennes in a movie.
Was worried about playing an English prostitute for her part in Jack The Ripper flick FROM HELL.
Has slammed Hollywood for its double- standards when it comes to portraying sex.
Coincidence: a Heather Graham (II) played the part of Marie Robinson in the TV series SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1972) which is often attributed as the basis of LOST IN SPACE . (LOST IN SPACE (1998))
SWINGERS (1996): Lorraine says she is from Wisconsin; Heather Graham, who plays Lorraine is actually from Wisconsin.
Originally offered Shannon Elizabeth's role, but she turned it down because she couldn't figure out why her character would fall in love with Jay. (JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (2001))
Babe Heather's new role
HOLLYWOOD babe Heather Graham has a new action role - as the voice of a computer-animated heroine.
Boogie Nights star Heather was approached to play Antonia Bayle in new video game Everquest II, and now admits that she's hooked.
Stunning Heather, 34, said: "I didn't even know the game when they approached me, but then I played the first one, and it was amazing.
"I'd always wished I had the chance to play Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, but I never had friends who were into it.
"Now I've got friends who are super-obsessed with EverQuest, and they fear for me once I start getting into the sequel."
Heather Graham Thrilled To Be A Videogame Star
BOOGIE NIGHTS star HEATHER GRAHAM has taken on a new action role - as the voice of a computer-animated heroine.
Graham was approached to play ANTONIA BAYLE, the ruler of fictitious Qeynos (corr), in new videogame EVERQUEST II and she admits she's hooked.
She says, "I didn't even know the game when they approached me, but then I played the first one , and it was amazing.
"I'd always wished I had the chance to play DUNGEONS + DRAGONS as a kid, but I never had friends who were into it.
"Now I've got friends who are super-obsessed with EverQuest, and they fear for me once I start getting into the sequel."
Sexy Heather Graham is all woman
Rent Boogie Nights, and fast-forward to the part where she first appears on-screen. Then you might want to rent Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me. If you haven't seen either of these movies, you wouldn't understand why we chose her. As mentioned above, Heather starred in some great movies like Lost In Space, Bowfinger and of course Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Heather Graham has been on most men's radars after her performance in Boogie Nights as Roller Girl. She recently starred in Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and in the recent Lenny Kravitz video for American Woman, as a very, very, very sexy dancer. She's all woman.
Heather needs to realize that although you can become the "It" girl fairly quickly (as Entertainment Weekly named her), you can just as easily lose that star on Hollywood Boulevard.
Undeniably sexy. She has that innocent face that seems to be hiding a wild woman inside.
One minute Heather is hot, as leading entertainment media refer to her. In the next instant, she is cold because nothing she has done has really set her apart from her contemporaries. Either way, her career is still in its initial stages, and she has a long way to go before we can give her high marks for lifetime achievement. Heather boasts a baby face look. Her innocent face is charming, yet seductively deceptive. She loves to wear thin spaghetti-strap dresses.
Heather Graham: Naturally drown to unusual
She has acted in some twenty seven films over the last ten years, and Heather Graham has portrayed a wide range of interesting female roles, from Nadine, the drug addict teenage drifter who overdoses in "Drug Store Cowboy" to nun Annie Blackburn in "Twin Peaks" to Cowgirl Heather in "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and Lorraine in "Swingers". Currently in "Boogie Nights" Graham will be seen next year in "Lost in Space" and "Scream: The Sequel."
Graham says playing those characters is something she is "naturally drawn to." "And that I go after, and hopefully can do more," she adds. "Those kind of unusual roles are one reason I've been more involved in independent productions rather than major studio movies."
She finds that now is a good time for her career: "I'm getting offered more things than before, but I come out of doing a lot of independent films, and haven't been offered tons of studio movies. Sometimes when you don't have the passion for something, it translates. But it's not like all studio movies are bad. Certain ones that are formulaic are boring, but other ones I really like."
Graham appreciated the chance to do one of her earliest recognition roles, as Annie in "Twin Peaks": "I just loved the show so much, and it was really exciting to think of being on it. And David Lynch was a nice person, as well as an interesting director. He makes you feel really welcome. A lot of directors are not as friendly to the actors as he is, so it's nice being around someone that friendly."
In her current film "Boogie Nights" she is Rollergirl, so named because she never takes her skates off. It's a story about an extended "family" that includes Burt Reynolds as director Jack Horner, Julianne Moore as his wife Amber Waves, who's also a featured actress in his films, Mark Wahlberg as actor Eddie, who's renamed himself Dirk Diggler, and Graham, whose character Rollergirl is always on her skates, and finds a home within this supportive group of filmmakers. It just happens the films they make are hardcore.
With its subject being the 1970s porn scene in Los Angeles, Wahlberg and Graham do have a sex scene together, but she keeps her roller skates on even then.
Graham has generally avoided nudity in her work, and says "Sometimes I watch movies and [the nudity] seems not necessary, and sort of stuck in there and slightly exploitive. I don't think it's wrong, but I don't particularly respond to it, because I feel like I'm being manipulated into watching something that's supposed to be titillating, but isn't part of the story at all.
"So when I read a script, I look a little more carefully when there's nudity to see if I'll be comfortable doing it. And then I have to look at the director a little more carefully and think how he's going to be, because I'm going to feel vulnerable in the situation, and will he make me feel safe?"
Heather Graham: Ready to Rock
WHAT HEATHER'S BOYFRIEND, EDWARD BURNS, SAID ABOUT HER NEXT FILM, COMMITTED: "[The performance] feels, for me, closer to who Heather really is than anything she's played before. You can tell she's a sexy woman, but she's not playing the sexpot."
"YOU GOTTA LIVE LIFE, RIGHT?": Heather's response to Esquire writer Bill Zehme's revelation that a sister of a friend of his had recently witnessed Heather and Ed Burns disappear into the first-class lavatory of an American Airlines jet for 45 minutes.
Compared to her work on "Lost in Space" Graham found acting in "Boogie Nights" was totally different in terms of subject matter: "It was stuff you could imagine more easily than thinking you're flying through space. So it was really fun working on it."
But she also enjoyed "Lost in Space", and joining a cast that includes Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Lacey Chabert and Jack Johnson. Heather, as Judy Robinson, is for the first time playing a scientist or someone involved with technology, and she liked that aspect of it: "This is the first job I've really done where I got to play science fiction, technology, all that stuff. It was cool playing a doctor, because I'm really fascinated by that."
As Judy, Graham points out she gets to "create these cryo-sleep tubes that freeze us for ten years." She says cryonics is "very interesting" but probably not a choice for a career: "I'd be more interested in general medicine than in that. And that's an area where no one has figured it out yet. It's cool just thinking of the power of the human mind to create."
She appreciated the others in the cast: "It was great working with experienced actors like Gary Oldman and William Hurt, and I've admired their work for so long. And I really liked the director; he was a very interesting person and had cool ideas. And it was fun working with little kids, like Jack, who's ten and Lacey, who's fourteen. Kids are people who just go and do it. It's amazing how good some little kids are; you wonder how they got this good."
The film uses hundreds of visual effects using computer-generated imagery (CGI), nearly twice as many as in "Jurassic Park". Graham had not worked with CGI before, and found it challenging to react to objects that weren't actually visible, but were to be added later:
"It's very hard, just imagining these things that weren't there, and flying around in a space ship, and not seeing the things you're supposed to be seeing, and you'd have to make them up with your mind. And all the action and everything that adds in later that seems real when you watch it [onscreen] but isn't there when you're doing it. You have to sort of simulate it for yourself."
She credits the director with providing a lot of help to do that: "There's this character in the movie who sometimes wouldn't be there, and we'd have to pretend to be holding him. The director would have these puppeteers come in and we would do [the action] once with the puppets, so we would see sort of what the animal would look like and wouldn't have to completely think it up, which is cool.
"Being in London on the set and having all these amazing effects was so different than just shooting in L.A. with a bunch of people who were sort of friends and really liked each other, which is what 'Boogie Nights' was like."
Playing Judy Robinson was "really fun" she says, "because it's kind of a setup where Matt LeBlanc and I are sort of unattached and stuck in space together. And my reactions to him are completely unpredictable, and I just give him a really hard time and constantly attack him. So it was fun to go against that whole romantic thing where the woman's like 'so in love with him because he's the pilot.' I get to be just like 'Oh, get over yourself.'"
Another of her 1998 films will be "Scream: The Sequel", a part she took because of her response to the original: "Just watching the first movie, I thought it was very clever, and sort of turned horror movies on their head, and it was just funny. I really liked Drew Barrymore. That was so scary, that sequence." Like a number of other actors who has worked with him, she found famed horror director Wes Craven "very nice, a very easy-going person, and fun to be around."
Life as an actor can be very demanding physically, emotionally and psychologically, and Graham has been following a spiritual practice that helps her keep strong as an actor and a person: TM or Transcendental Meditation.
She notes, "I'm not really religious, but feel I have spirituality. I meditate twice a day for twenty minutes. I've been doing it for six years, and I've gotten into the habit of finding the time for it. Sometimes it's hard. But it definitely pays off for me."
Other things that help her keep growing as an actor, Graham says, include "having good friends. They're always supportive and encouraging." She also appreciates the value of going to therapy: "I have this amazing lady who's my therapist, and I just find her brilliant, and she has been so incredibly helpful."
Graham admits to being a little unsure about talking about such a personal thing: "At first, I wasn't going to say anything, but then, who cares? Lots of people go. In some ways it helps more than acting class. You realize why you operate in certain ways."
Through all her very different films Graham manages to keep a quality of grace and sweetness that inspires a sympathetic appreciation for her characters.
For a recent magazine photo, Graham wore a black T-shirt that said "Ready to Rock" -- obviously, that's true.