Erika Christensen
Birth Date:
August 19, 1982
Birth Place:
Seattle, Washington, USA
5' 5''
Famous for:
Her role as Caroline in 'Traffic' (2000)
Home schooled
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“To be entirely honest, I am an extremely confident person and I don't think I would have gotten into this business if I felt that I wasn't going to succeed and I intend to be in this business for the rest of my life.” Erika Christensen

American actress Erika Christensen acquired widespread praise after portraying heroin addict Caroline Wakefield in Steven Soderbergh's highly acclaimed film “Traffic” (2000), where she took home a MTV Movie Award, a Young Hollywood Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Teen Choice nomination. Commenting about her role in the film, she said, “I'm a goody two-shoes who's never taken anything stronger than Tylenol, so I played her like a bored girl blessed with everything except parents actually involved in her life.”

After her success in “Traffic,” the gifted thespian, who made her film debut in “Leave It to Beaver” (1997), has landed roles in a number of movies, such as “Swimfan” (2002), “The Perfect Score” (2004), “Riding the Bullet” (2004), “The Upside of Anger” (2005), “Flightplan” (2005), “Gardener of Eden” (2007), “How to Rob a Bank” (2007) and “Veronika Decides to Die” (2009). Starting her professional career in a commercial for McDonald's, Christensen has also collected many credits on television. She had regular roles in the short lived series “Thanks” (1999) and “Six Degrees” (2006) and a recurring role in “The Geena Davis Show” (2001). She currently portrays Julia Braverman-Graham in the series “Parenthood.” Christensen has also appeared in episodes of “Nothing Sacred,” “The Practice,” “Frasier,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “That '70s Show” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Christensen has her own production company called Endless Entertainment.

The blue eyed beauty was included in People Magazine’s list of “Breakthrough Stars of 2001.” The following year, she ranked No. 68 in Maxim's “Hot 100 List of 2002.” In May 2007, she posed for the book “Nudes” by photographer Marc Baptiste.

Christensen and her parents are members of the Church of Scientology. Along with Church officials, she helped start The Scientology Life Improvement Center in Plant City, Florida, in May 2007. She has been active in various charity organizations and events, such as the Ronald McDonald House for children, Narconon, Save the Music Foundation, Mothers Against Violence in America, Students Against Violence, and Kids on Stage for a Better World. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, going to the gym, traveling, dancing and singing.


Childhood and Family:

Born Erika Jane Christensen on August 19, 1982, in Seattle, Washington, Erika was raised in Los Angeles, California, by human resource executive and insurance staff member Steven Christensen and a construction manager mother named Kathy Christensen. She has younger twin brothers, Brando and Dane (born on June 2, 1986), and an older half brother, Nick (born in 1974). She attended Delphi Academy, a private primary and secondary school in Los Angeles, California, for a while before continuing her education at home or on set because of her acting career.

As a child, Erika was trained in singing, acting and dance and became involved with the theater groups Serendipity Theatre Company and Pasadena Dance Theatre.



“At about twelve, I just knew. Something clicked and I knew I wanted to be an actor and my parents, to their credit, granted this 12 year old girl a chance to give it a try.” Erika Christensen

As a child, Erika performed in several local theater productions throughout the San Fernando area of Southern California. Her theatrical credits include “Ramona Quimby,” “The Nutcracker,” “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “Kids on Stage” and “A Night on Broadway.” Her first professional job arrived when she landed a spot in a national commercial for McDonald's in 1995. Shortly after, she appeared in the Michael Jackson music video for his single “Childhood” (also 1995) and provided backup vocals to Neil Diamond's “Christmas Album II.”

In 1997, Christensen made her feature acting debut in “Leave It to Beaver,” a remake of the television series of the same name starring Christopher McDonald and Janine Turner. In the movie, she portrayed Wally Cleaver's girlfriend. The same year, she debuted on primetime television in an episode of the short lived series “Nothing Sacred” and was nominated for a 1998 YoungStar for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama TV Series for the role. It was followed by appearances in popular TV series like “The Practice” (1 episode, 1998), “Frasier” (1 episode, 1998) and “3rd Rock from the Sun” (1 episode, 1998) before she landed the reoccurring role of Abigail Winthrop on the short lived CBS sitcom “Thanks” (1999), opposite Tim Dutton, Kirsten Nelson, Cloris Leachman and Jim Rash. 1999 also saw the young thespian star in the Disney Channel Original Movie “Can of Worms,” alongside Michael Shulman and Adam Wylie. After the cancellation of “Thanks,” she appeared as Ivy in an episode of “Touched by an Angel” called “Voices of an Angel.”

Christensen's breakthrough screen role came when she was cast as Caroline, the drug addicted teenage daughter of Robert Wakefield, in the successful movie “Traffic” (2000), which was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Stephen Gaghan. As a fledgling actress, Christensen was able to showcase her potential alongside Hollywood's elite Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas and Dennis Quaid, to name a few, and received a 2001 MTV Movie award for Breakthrough Female Performance, a Young Hollywood for Standout Performance - Female, a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture and a Teen Choice nomination for Film - Choice Breakout Performance for her good acting.

Christensen remained busy on the small screen by guest starring in “Time of Your Life,” “Movie Stars,” “The Pretender” and “FreakyLinks” (all 2000) and “That '70s Show” (2001). She also had a recurring role as Isabel in the ABC sitcom “The Geena Davis Show” (3 episodes, 2001). Back to the big screen, Christensen starred with Busy Philipps and Victor Garber in the independent drama “Home Room,” which premiered at the Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival on April 12, 2002. She then delivered a memorable performance as a high school student obsessed with a star swimmer, Madison Bell, in the thriller “Swimfan” (2002), opposite Jesse Bradford, Shiri Appleby, Clayne Crawford and Jason Ritter, and was cast as Susan Sarandon's daughter, Hannah, in Bob Dolman's comedy “The Banger Sisters” (2002), starring Sarandon, Goldie Hawn and Geoffrey Rush.

Following a starring role as Kate in a modern day television movie adaptation of Emily Bronte's “Wuthering Heights” (2003), where she performed several songs, including “Prelude: The Future Ain't What It Used To Be” and “The Future Ain't What It Used To Be,” Christensen starred with Chris Evans, Bryan Greenberg, Scarlett Johansson, Darius Miles and Leonardo Nam in Brian Robbin's “The Perfect Score” (2004), played Jonathan Jackson's girlfriend in the thriller “Riding the Bullet” (2004), based on a novella of the same name by Stephen King, portrayed one of Joan Allen's daughters, Andi, in Mike Binder's “The Upside of Anger” (2005), starred with Maria Bello and Mary Stuart Masterson in Arthur Allan Seidelman's “The Sisters” (2005) and co-starred with Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard and Sean Bean in Robert Schwentke's thriller “Flightplan” (2005).

In September 2006, Christensen returned to series television as a regular with the ABC short lived drama “Six Degrees.” In the series, she starred as Mae Anderson. After the cancellation of the show, she worked in a television series pilot called “I'm in Hell,” with Jason Biggs and Jimmy Dean Carlson. 2007 also found her playing Mona Huxley in Kevin Connolly's “Gardener of Eden” (also starred Lukas Haas and Giovanni Ribisi) and Jessica in Andrew Jenkins' “How to Rob a Bank” (with Nick Stahl). Christensen next appeared as FBI Special Agent Lauren Cooper in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” called “Signature” (2008), appeared in the award winning short “Struck” (2008), and portrayed Claire in the dramatic feature “Veronika Decides to Die” (2009), which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Veronika Deklava. In 2009, she guest starred in Fox's “Lie To Me” and NBC's “Mercy.”

Recently, in 2010, Christensen was cast as Julia Braverman-Graham in the comedy series “Parenthood,” which was adapted from the 1989 movie of the same name. The series premiered on NBC in 2010. She has also completed filming “The Tortured,” an American-Canadian horror film directed by Robert Lieberman that was written by Marek Posival, and a short film titled “Melon” (2010).


  • MTV Movie: Breakthrough Female Performance, “Traffic,” 2001

  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture, “Traffic,” 2001

  • Young Hollywood: Standout Performance - Female, “Traffic,” 2001

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