Searching for David's Heart
Actress Danielle Panabaker began her career on television with guest spots in the TV series “Family Affair” (2002), “The Bernie Mac Show,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Guardian” (all 2003), “The Division” (2004) and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2005) before scoring her first series regular role on the CBS drama “Shark” (2006-2008), where she played James Woods' daughter. She took home a Young Artist Award for her work in “The Guardian.” She also appeared in episodes of “Eli Stone” (2008), “Grey's Anatomy” (2009) and “Medium” (2010). Panabaker won her second Young Artist Award for her portrayal of Darcy Deeton in the TV film “Searching for David's Heart” (ABC, 2004). She is also known for starring in Lifetime's “Sex & the Single Mom” (2003) and “Mom at Sixteen” (2005) as well as Disney's “Stuck in the Suburbs” (2004) and “Read It and Weep” (2006, with her sister Kay Panabaker). On the wide screen, the UCLA graduate has acted in several films, including “Sky High” (2005), “Mr. Brooks” (2007) and “Friday the 13th” (2009). Her upcoming movie credits include “The Crazies,” “Weakness,” “The Ward” and “Renaissance Girl (all 2010).
Panabaker currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with her parents and sister Kay. She is best friends with Brenda Strong and Zac Efron. She mentions “The Wonder Years” (1988), “My So-Called Life” (1994), “Everwood” (2002) and “Summerland” (2004) as her favorite TV shows and “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” (1986), “Stepmom” (1998), “Notting Hill” (1999), “Moulin Rouge” (2001), “The Notebook” (2004), “Saved” (2004) and “Mean Girls” (2004) as her favorite movies.
Childhood and Family:
Danielle Nicole Panabaker was born on September 19, 1987, in Augusta, Georgia. She was raised the eldest of two by parents Harold Jerome Panabaker and Donna Marie Mayock. Her younger sister, Stephanie Kay Panabaker (born on May 2, 1990), is also an actress.
When Danielle was a child, her parents enrolled her in a summer camp that had a theater class in it. It was there that she discovered she had a knack for acting and decided to become an actress. Upon her family’s relocation to Naperville, Illinois, she attended Crone Middle School and Neuqua Valley High School, where she was on the speech team. In an attempt to achieve her dreams, she relocated to Los Angeles, California. She graduated from California High School as a valedictorian at age 14 and was accepted to the Scholar's Program at a local Community College. She received her Associate's Degree in 2005 and started her senior year at the University of California in Los Angeles the following year. By June 2007, Danielle had a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA.
Friday the 13th
Danielle Panabaker knew she wanted to be an actress after attending a theater class at a summer camp when she was a child. By age 12, she had performed with a local community theater in the plays “Pinocchio” and “Winnie the Pooh.” She also began appearing in commercials. After moving to Los Angeles in 2002, she made her television guest starring debut in the CBS situation comedy series “Family Affair.” The following year, Panabaker landed notable guest spots in “The Bernie Mac Show” and “Malcolm in the Middle” and appeared in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” She also appeared in the pilot for Fox’s “No Place Like Home.” She made her TV movie debut in Lifetime Television's “Sex and the Single Mom” (2003), where she portrayed the teen daughter of Gail O'Grady, Sara Gradwell. However, the talented young actress did not pick up her first award until she played Samantha Gray in the 2003 episode “The Father-Daughter Dance” of the CBS drama series “The Guardian.” She was handed a 2004 Young Artist for Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress for her performance.
Panabaker gave another memorable performance in an episode of Lifetime's series “The Division” called “As I Was Going to St. Ives...” (2004), where she portrayed Melissa Ringston, before receiving a lead role in the Disney Channel Original Movie “Stuck in the Suburbs” (2004), opposite Brenda Song. Later that same year, she was cast as Darcy Deeton, a young girl coping with the death of her brother, in the ABC television film “Searching for David's Heart,” which was adapted from Cherie Bennett's 1998 young adult novel of the same name. Under the direction of Paul Hoen, Panabaker won a 2005 Young Artist in the category of Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special - Leading Young Actress. The film won the Humanitas Prize for Children's Live-Action Category and was nominated for a Young Artist for Best Family Television Movie or Special. The cast also included Ricky Ullman, Jayne Brook and Billy Aaron Brown.
The next year, Panabaker portrayed Carrie Lynn Eldridge in the episode “Intoxicated” of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She then starred as Jacey Jeffries in the Lifetime movie “Mom at Sixteen” and landed a supporting role in the HBO acclaimed miniseries “Empire Falls,” which was based on Richard Russo's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name. In the miniseries, she played Ed Harris' daughter, Christina. In addition to Harris, the show also starred Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joanne Woodward. She next played the recurring role of Faith in The WB's drama “Summerland,” co-created and starring Lori Loughlin, and portrayed Layla Williams in Disney's “Sky High,” helmed by Mike Mitchell. It was followed by a supporting role in the remake “Yours, Mine and Ours,” directed by Raja Gosnel and a starring role in the short “Rule Number One,” which she also produced. Panabake earned a 2006 Young Artist nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast for her work in “Yours, Mine and Ours,” which she shared with costars Drake Bell, Dean Collins, Miranda Cosgrove, Miki Ishikawa, Tyler Patrick Jones, Brecken Palmer and Bridger Palmer.
“I loved being a part of 'Empire Falls' because I worked with an amazing group of talented people, both cast and crew, and Maine was beautiful and I enjoyed getting to know the local people. Working on 'Sky High' was also a blast because I adored everyone who was a part of that project and we always had a lot of fun on set.” Danielle Panabaker
Panabaker was reunited with director Paul Hoen for the 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie “Read It and Weep,” an adaptation of Julia DeVillers' book “How My Private, Personal Journal Became A Bestseller.” In the movie, she played Isabella, the alter ego of Jamie Bartlett, which was portrayed by her real life sister Kay Panabaker. Later that same year, she won a regular role on the legal drama “Shark,” which starred James Woods. The show ran on CBS from September 21, 2006, to May 20, 2008.
Danielle returned to the big screen when she was cast as Kevin Costner's daughter, Jane Brooks, in the thriller “Mr. Brooks” (2007), which was directed by Bruce A. Evans. The film also starred big names like Demi Moore and William Hurt. She stated, “Kevin (Costner) was wonderful to work with. He takes his craft so seriously and just does such an incredible job making movies. Rehearsals are so important and it’s really great to work with him.”
After “Mr. Brooks,” Panabaker teamed up with Haley Joel Osment and Ryan Merriman to star in the sport themed “Home of the Giants,” which was written and directed by Rusty Gorman. The film was shown at the Chicago Film Festival on October 12, 2007, and the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2008. After “Shark” left the airwaves, she made a guest appearance in ABC's series “Eli Stone” (2008). In 2009, she starred with Jared Padalecki, Aaron Yoo, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle and Derek Mears in the horror film “Friday the 13th,” directed by Marcus Nispel. Produced for $19 million, the film grossed over $65 million in the U.S. and over $26 million internationally. The same year, she guest starred as Kelsey Simmons in “Grey's Anatomy.”
Recently, Panabaker played Summer Lowry in an episode of “Medium” called “Psych,” which aired on January 29, 2010. She said, “I enjoy doing guest stars on television because I get the opportunity to work with a large variety of people. However, movies are a great opportunity for me to tell a story and fully develop a character.”
The twenty something actress will soon play Becca Darling in the movie “The Crazies,” opposite Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell and Joe Anderson. A remake of the 1973 film of the same name, the Breck Eisner directed film is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in 2010. Panabaker is also set to play Danielle in Michael Melamedoff's “Weakness” (2010), with June Diane Raphael, Sarah in John Carpenter's “The Ward” (2010), opposite Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer and Jared Harris, and Kimber in “Renaissance Girl” (2010), a comedy directed by David Jackson Willis and also starring Jennifer Tilly and Chris Elliott. “Renaissance Girl” will be released in the U.S. on November 13, 2010.
Young Artist: Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special - Leading Young Actress, “Searching for David's Heart,” 2005
Young Artist: Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress, “The Guardian,” 2004