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Lauren Helen Graham (born March 16, 1967) is an American actress and producer, best known for her starring role as Lorelai Gilmore on the WB Network dramedy series Gilmore Girls.

Early life

Graham, an Irish American, was born in Honolulu, Hawaiimarker to Donna Grant, a fashion buyer, and Lawrence Graham, a candy industry lobbyist who was the former President for the chocolate and confection industry association. Her parents divorced when she was five, and Graham moved to Washington, D.C.marker, where her father became a congressional staffer. She traveled extensively with her father while growing up.

Graham discovered acting while in elementary school and further honed her talent at Langley High Schoolmarker, where she took part in the drill team. Graham quickly took to acting in community theatre and other small productions. She earned her actor's equity card in 1988 after two years in summer stock at the Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michiganmarker. Graham graduated from Barnard Collegemarker in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. After moving to Texasmarker in 1992, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Acting Performance from Southern Methodist Universitymarker.


After completing her education, Graham moved to New York Citymarker where she became a cocktail waitress and aspiring actress, including her first paid work doing publicity appearances wearing the costume of Striker, the dog mascot of the US-based 1994 FIFA World Cup. In 1995, she relocated to Hollywood, Californiamarker. She appeared in various commercials for products such as Dimetapp and Lean Cuisine and hosted free preview weekends on The Movie Channel.

In addition to her many guest starring and co-starring roles on prime-time television, Graham starred in three failed sitcoms, including Townies (with Molly Ringwald and Jenna Elfman) and the short-lived sitcom Lush Life (with Lori Petty and Karyn Parsons). Between 1996 and 1997 Graham became a regular guest star on several hit NBC shows. She played a graduate student who caught the eye of Dick on 3rd Rock from the Sun, Richard's dim-witted girlfriend on Caroline in the City, and Jerry's speed-dial ranking girlfriend on Seinfeld. She played a Hollywood producer who had a love interest in Rey Curtis in a three-part episode of Law & Order, where she acted opposite Scott Cohen, who would later play one of Graham's love interests, Max Medina, on Gilmore Girls. She also portrayed a highly-inept efficiency expert on Newsradio.

In 2000, Graham landed her breakthrough role as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, the program that would finally launch her to stardom. For her work she received a nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series (Drama) at the 2001 Golden Globe Awards. Beginning with Season 7 episode "To Whom It May Concern" and continuing throughout the rest of the season, Graham served as a producer on Gilmore Girls. TV Guide reported that she received the position in an attempt to persuade her to sign for an eighth season.

Graham returned to her guest-starring roots when she portrayed herself in two episodes of NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Graham has also appeared on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, co-hosted by Dave Foley of Newsradio. After winning her preliminary match, she came in second to another former Newsradio star, Maura Tierney, in the championship game. On June 26, 2002, Graham was the last guest interviewed by Rosie O'Donnell on her daytime talk show.

Graham's film roles encompass several NYUmarker student films and multiple major studio releases, including Sweet November, Bad Santa, The Pacifier, Because I Said So, and Evan Almighty.

Graham has said that she enjoys playing in short films, and acting in the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She has performed in numerous short films, including the 15-minute long Gnome, viewable on YouTube and the iTunes Store. In 2007, Graham signed a seven-figure development deal with NBC in one of the year's richest TV talent pacts.

Graham has also worked as the voiceover announcer in national advertising for Kellogg's various Special K products, and in American Express ads introducing the Plum Card, which is targeted towards small and growing businesses.

Graham made her Broadwaymarker debut as Miss Adelaide in the revival of Guys and Dolls, which began preview performances at the Nederlander Theatre on February 5, 2009 and opened on March 1, 2009. Initial reviews for this performance have been mixed, but generally regard her fresh take on the character as a success. The production closed June 14, playing 113 shows and 28 previews.

It was announced in January 2009 that Graham would star in the comedy pilot, The Bridget Show (previously Let It Go) for ABC playing a talk show host and self-help guru who fails to follow her own advice during a breakup. However, the pilot was not given a series order.

On October 9, 2009, it was announced that Graham will replace Maura Tierney in the upcoming series Parenthood as single mother Sarah Braverman. Tierney left the show to seek treatment for cancer.


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Nightwatch Marie
1998 Confessions of a Sexist Pig Tracy Alternative title: Taste of Love
One True Thing Jules
1999 Dill Scallion Kristie Sue
2001 Sweet November Angelica
2002 The Third Wheel Woman at party Uncredited
2003 Bad Santa Sue
Something More
Executive producer
2004 Seeing Other People Claire
2005 Lucky 13 Abbey
The Life Coach Dr. Sue Pegasus
The Amateurs Peggy Alternative title: The Moguls
The Pacifier Principal Claire Fletcher
Gnome Amanda
2007 Because I Said So Maggie
Evan Almighty Joan Baxter
2008 Birds of America Betty Tanager
Flash of Genius Phyllis Kearns
2009 The Answer Man Elizabeth Alternative title: Arlen Faber
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Fran Lockwood Voice
Year Title Role Notes
1995-1996 Caroline in the City Shelly 5 episodes
1996 Good Company Liz Gibson Unknown episodes
Townies Denise Garibaldi Callahan Unknown episodes
3rd Rock from the Sun Laurie Ives 1 episode
1997 Law & Order Lisa Lundquist 3 episodes
Seinfeld Valerie 1 episode
NewsRadio Andrea 5 episodes
1998 Conrad Bloom Molly Davenport 1 episode
2000 M.Y.O.B. Opal Marie Brown 2 episodes
2000-2007 Gilmore Girls Lorelai Gilmore 154 episodes
2001 Chasing Destiny Jessy James Television movie
2002 Family Guy Mother Maggie (Voice) 1 episode
2006 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Studio 60 Host 2 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Series
2001 Family Television Awards Won Actress Gilmore Girls
(Tied with Jane Kaczmarek for Malcolm in the Middle)
2002 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Gilmore Girls
2005 People's Choice Awards Nominated Favorite Female Television Star
2002 Satellite Award Nominated Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Gilmore Girls
2003 Nominated Gilmore Girls
2004 Nominated Gilmore Girls
2005 Nominated Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Gilmore Girls
Outstanding Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical
2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominated Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Gilmore Girls
2002 Nominated Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Gilmore Girls
2005 Teen Choice Award Won Choice TV Parental Units Gilmore Girls
2006 Won Choice TV Parental Units Gilmore Girls
2002 Television Critics Association Award Nominated Individual Achievement in Drama Gilmore Girls
2006 Nominated Outstanding Individual Achievement in Comedy Gilmore Girls


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