Starting out on stage, Saturn Award winning American actress Amy Acker quickly hit the big time with her portrayals of Winifred “Fred” Burkle and Illyria on The WB's fantasy series “Angel” (2001-2004). She was nominated for four Saturn Awards, which she won one in 2004, for her work on the series.
Acker also earned recognition as Kelly Peyton in the final season of “Alias” (2005-2006) and for playing Dr. Claire Saunders in the Fox thriller series “Dollhouse” (2009), which was from the creator of “Angel” Joss Whedon. She has also guest starred in the television series “Supernatural,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Private Practice” and acted in the TV films “Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt” (2003), “A Near Death Experience” (2008), and “Fire & Ice” (2008). Also a movie actress, Acker is perhaps best recognized as Miggy in Steven Spielberg's hit “Catch Me If You Can” (2002).
A former model, Acker appeared in J.Crew's 1998 spring catalogue and has posed for major publications such as “Maxim,” “FHM” and “Femme Fatales.”
Childhood and Family:
Amy Louise Acker was born on December 5, 1976, in Dallas, Texas, to a lawyer and a homemaker. She is the oldest of four siblings. Amy studied ballet, modern and jazz dancing throughout her childhood and hoped someday she would be a ballerina. However, her ambition was cut short after she received a spider bite and had to undergo knee surgery in high school. She recalled, “While growing up, I was pretty shy and dance was a great way to express things without having to talk in front of people.”
Amy took up acting in her sophomore year. After graduating from Lake Highlands High School in 1995, she attended Southern Methodist University. She graduated with a B.F.A. degree in 1999.
On April 25, 2003, Amy married actor James Carpinello (born on August 13, 1975). She gave birth to her first child, son Jackson James Carpinello, on January 22, 2005. Her second child, daughter Ava Grace Carpinello, was born on September 1, 2006, in Los Angeles.
Amy enjoys reading, traveling and yoga in her spare time. She also loves golf, skiing and horseback riding. She cites Ian McEwan's “Enduring Love” as her favorite book and the New York Yankees as her favorite baseball team. She is a fan of the TV series “The West Wing” and the movie “Moulin Rouge.”
Amy Acker did some modeling in high school and was represented by the Campbell Agency. She went on to have a brief modeling gig for the J. Crew clothing catalog while a junior in college. An acting major at Southern Methodist University, Acker participated in several school theater productions and in 1999 received a Leon Rabin nomination in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Actress in A Lead Role for her performance in the play “Therese Raquin” (1998). After graduating, she worked in Wisconsin and New York before making the move to Los Angeles.
Acker made her television debut in the Emmy Award winning children's series “Wishbone” in 1998, where she played various characters. The next year, she appeared in the NBC thriller “To Serve and Protect” (1999), starring Craig T. Nelson, Richard Crenna, Amanda Detmer, Joanna Cassidy, John Corbett and James Franco. Her big breakthrough arrived when she joined the cast of the supernatural series “Angel,” a spin off of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in 2001. Cast as Winifred “Fred” Burkle, she began as a recurring guest in season 2 before progressing to a series regular cast member. She later also played the character of Illyria, which she played for part of the show's fifth and final season. For her acting job, Acker was handed a 2004 Saturn in the category of Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series, two additional Saturn nominations in the same category (2003, 2005), a nomination for Cinescape’s Genre Face of the Future Award, and a 2004 Golden Satellite nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Drama.
During her time on “Angel,” Acker made her feature film debut opposite Sarah Clarke in the John Fletcher written and directed movie “The Accident” (2001), guest starred in the short lived series “Special Unit 2” (2002), costarred with William Shatner and Dan Gauthier in the forgettable science fiction film “Groom Lake” (2002), which was directed by Shatner, and played Mrs. Burt Ward in CBS television movie “Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt” (2003). During this period, Acker gained an additional boost when she landed the small, but important, role of Miggy in the Steven Spielberg successful drama “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen and Nathalie Baye.
After “Angel” left the airwaves, Acker returned to series TV in the J.J. Abrams created series “Alias,” where she portrayed the villainous Kelly Peyton. She was on the show from October 2005 to May 2006. Acker also appeared in episodes of “Supernatural” (2005, as Andrea Barr) and “How I Met Your Mother” (2006, as Penelope), had the voice role of Huntress in four episodes of the animated series “Justice League” (2005-2006) and costarred with Oliver Hudson and Katharine Towne in the 12 minute comedy “Mr. Dramatic” (2005), written and helmed by John Stalberg. In the drama film “The Novice” (2006), which was written and directed by Murray Robinson, she was cast alongside Alan Arkin and Frank Langella.
2007 saw Acker play Kathryn, the wife of Alex Tully, in Fox's short lived series “Drive” and Leslie LeZard in an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” called “Smile.” She also appeared as Tessa in the episode “Weight of What Was” of Jennifer Love Hewiit's supernatural series “Ghost Whisperer.” Next, she starred in the television films “A Near Death Experience” (2008) and “Fire & Ice” (2008), where she played Ellie Daly and Princess Luisa, respectively. The same year, she also appeared in two episodes of ABC's dramatic series “October Road” and played Molly Madison in an episode of the medical series “Private Practice,” a spin off of the series “Grey's Anatomy.”
In early 2009, Acker rejoined Joss Whedon, the creator of “Angel,” in his series “Dollhouse,” which premiered on February 13, 2009. She has also completed filming “21 and “Wake-Up” (2009), where she will star as Caitlin Murphy. Her costars in the film include Faye Dunaway, Danica McKellar and Ed Begley Jr. She will play Lin in the upcoming horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” (2011), directed by Drew Goddard and co-written by Whedon and Drew Goddard, and is rumored to be starring with Lesley Ann Warren in the upcoming comedy “The Last Time I Made Straight A's” (2010). On the small screen, she will play Rachel Conroy in the drama series “Happy Town,” which is scheduled to make its debut on ABC in 2010. The cast of the show also includes Geoff Stults, Lauren German and Steven Weber.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn Award, Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series, “Angel,” 2004