“Acting was always an innate ambition. It was where I belonged.” Carly Pope
Canadian actress Carly Pope reached stardom while portraying series regular Sam McPherson, a social outcast whose mother becomes engaged to admired cheerleader Brooke’s father, on the WB hit “Popular” (1999-2001). Since her American screen debut in I’ve Been Waiting for You (1998, TV), Pope has toiled in numerous TV film projects, most notable as Mari Ferraez in Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge (1999), Beth in the Susan Seidelman-directed A Cooler Climate (1999, starring Sally Field and Judy Davis) and heroin addict Molly White in Trapped in a Purple Haze (2000). Her more recent TV movie credits include Hemingway vs. Callaghan (2003), 1st to Die (2003), This Time Around (2003), A Tale of Two Wives (2003), The Ranch (2004), 10.5: Apocalypse (2005) and Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005).
On the big screen, the brown-eyed, brown-haired beauty is known by her fans for playing characters in such films as the independent flick Disturbing Behavior (1998), the western Aliens in the Wild, Wild West (1999, opposite Taylor Locke), the children’s comedy Snow Day (2000, with Pam Greer and Chevy Chase), Jeff Probst’s Finder’s Fee (2001), the thriller The Glass House (2001) and the hit comedy Orange County (2001). Pope was also seen in the drama-comedy Various Positions (2002), the romantic comedy Window Theory (2004), The Dave Thomas-directed comedy Intern Academy (2004), Bill Marchant’s Everyone (2004) and the drama Eighteen (2004, with Brendan Fletcher). Recently appearing in the comedy The Hamster Cage (2005), The French Guy (2005), the thriller Two for the Money (2005, starring Al Pacino), Pope will soon play the small role of Vanessa in the Dagen Merrill-helmed thriller Beneath (2006), starring Nora Zehetner and Matthew Settlein.
As for her private life, Pope was once romantically involved with Conan O’Brien.
Childhood and Family:
On August 28, 1980, Carly Pope was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her mother is Italian and her father is of Polish and British descent. The middle child of three siblings, Carly grew up in Vancouver with her two brothers, Alexander (younger) and Kris Pope, (actor, born on May 25, 1976).
As a child, Carly Pope, whose nicknames are Carlita or Lita, was a trained dancer. When she attended Vancouver’s Lord Byng Secondary School, the young girl soon turned her attention to acting. She worked on her craft and appeared in a number of plays. While performing in a stage classic titled ”The Odd Couple,” she was discovered by an agent. After becoming a high school graduate in 1998, she continued her education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, but she only studied there one semester. Carly dropped out of college to concentrate on her career.
Carly speaks Spanish, Italian and French fluently, in addition to English. A Vancouver native, Carly owns a new home in Los Angeles, but frequently returns to her hometown and enjoys time with her family. She loves long walks, writing poems and reading, and hopes to learn how to play the guitar.
A skilled child dancer, Carly Pope switched to drama during high school. It was there she was performing in an all female “Odd Couple,” playing Mickey. Pope’s potential caught the attention of an agent who soon opened doors for her to enter the entertainment industry. Pope received her first exposure in 1996 when she made a short film titled A Girl’s Guide to Kissing and Other Nightmares in Teenland before she embarked on the small screen two years later with unnoticed roles in the made-for-TV films Principal Takes a Holiday (1998, as a student) and I’ve Been Waiting for You (1998, as a cheerleader). Pope’s film debut knocked on her door that same year when she received offers to play the small role of Abbey in the disappointing independent Disturbing Behavior, which starred Katie Holmes and James Marsden.
After playing the unforgettable and significant part of Mari Ferraez, a young woman who opportunistically makes friends with a mentally-challenged rape victim (Heather Matarazzo), in the troubled fact-based television movie Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge (1999), Pope landed her first starring role the western Aliens in the Wild, Wild West (1999), opposite Taylor Locke. She continued with the made-for-cable-TV A Cooler Climate (1999, played Beth), starring Sally Field and Judy Davis. Her fine turn as the daughter of a couple with a troubled marriage in the Susan Seidelman-directed television film helped Pope launch her career to a higher level.
Pope’s career rocketed when she was hired to star on WB’s high school drama “Popular” (1999). Playing the plum role of Samantha ‘Sam’ McPherson, Pope won over youth audience, as well as earned the attention of industry watchers. As the series became a hit, the actress gained popularity. Her pretty face soon decorated pages of teen fashion magazines. Despite praise, “Popular” was canceled in 2001.
“Sam doesn't realize yet just how unique she already is. She's trying too hard. Her actions don't match up to her convictions and that's what she still has to learn.” Carly Pope on her character in the series Popular
While working on Popular, Pope managed to appear in the children’s comedy Snow Day (2000, opposite Pam Greer and Chevy Chase) and was notable as Molly White, a young woman who turns Jonathan Jackson’s Max onto drugs in the ABC movie Trapped in a Purple Haze (2000). Following the show’s cancellation in 2001, Pope was cast as Carla, the unhappy girlfriend of a poker player, in Jeff Probst’s Finder’s Fee (2001), was seen opposite Leelee Sobieski and Diane Lane in the thriller The Glass House (2001), appeared in the hit comedy Orange County (2001) and costarred with Tygh Runyan in the drama-comedy Various Positions (2002). She resurfaced on television in 2003 with the made-for-TV film Hemingway vs. Callaghan and went on to take on roles in such television movies as 1st to Die (2003), This Time Around (2003) and A Tale of Two Wives (2003). The same year, Pope also appeared in the film Nemesis Game (2003), wherein she starred as Sara Novak, under the direction of Jesse Warn.
2004-2005 saw roles in the romantic comedy Window Theory (2004), The Dave Thomas-directed comedy Intern Academy (2004), The Ranch (2004, TV), writer/director Bill Marchant’s Everyone (2004), the drama Eighteen (2004, with Brendan Fletcher), the short film Sandra Gets Dumped (2005), the comedy The Hamster Cage (2005, starring Patricia Dahlquist and Jillian Fargey), Ann Marie Fleming’s The French Guy (2005, opposite Babs Chula and Tygh Runyan), the thriller Two for the Money (2005, starring Al Pacino), the short movies Break a Leg, Rosie (2005) and Sandra Goes to Whistler (2005),10.5: Apocalypse (2005, TV) and Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005, TV). Pope will soon appear with Nora Zehetner and Matthew Settlein in the horror-thriller Beneath (2006) for director Dagen Merrill.