“I don’t pick roles based on how famous they are going to make me; I pick roles based on how they’re going to inspire me intellectually.” Erin Daniels on choosing roles
A stunning and intelligent actress who is not afraid to speak her mind, Erin Daniels has cemented her reputation as one of the most appealing young actresses working today with her elected role choices over the years. The recipient of the 2002 St. Louis International Film Festival Emerging Actor Award, Daniels, has acted in such movies as the Cuba Gooding Jr. vehicle Chill Factor (1999), One Hour Photo (2002), Wheelman (2002) and Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses (2003). She also has guest starred in such television shows as “Law & Order” (1996), “The Outer Limits” (1999), “Boomtown” (2003), and more recently “Justice” (2006), but her most well-known role to date is as Dana Fairbanks on the controversial Showtime drama “The L Word” (2004-2006).
“Everyone goes through their 20s trying to figure out who they are. Sexuality included. Whether you’re gay or straight or wherever you fall on the Kinsey scale.” Erin Daniels on why “The L Word” is a hit show
Off screen, the 5-foot-6½-inch tall beauty currently resides in Los Angeles with her two dogs. She was romantically involved with actor Erik Lively, her costar in “The L Word.”
St. Louis’ Daughter
Childhood and Family:
Erin Daniels was born Erin Cohen on October 9, 1973, to an architect father. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, she was educated at Clayton High School and, after graduating, she attended the prominent New York-based Vassar College, where she achieving a degree in Architecture and Art History. After college, the aspiring performer relocated to New York to launch a career in acting. Later, she headed to Hollywood to further her career.
One Hour Photo
At a very young age, Erin Daniels knew that she wanted to become an actress although her architect father always expected she would follow in his footsteps. It was in college that the future star first started to explore the prospect of chasing a career in acting. Upon graduating, she decided to dedicate herself full time to her fledgling acting career and relocated to New York City.
Daniels began picking roles on tiny off-Broadway productions and worked attentively at sharpening her talents as a versatile performer. In 1996, she finally scored a guest spot in the New York-based television series “Law and Order,” where she appeared as Miss Stadler. This was followed by a string of small roles in such TV projects as Chuck Bowman’s USMA West Point (1998) and “The Outer Limits” (1999), and in the feature Chill Factor (1999), an action/thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Skeet Ulrich. It was not until 1999, however, that Daniels got a regular gig. She was cast as Jenny on the acclaimed Fox comedy “Action.” Though short-lived, the show helped launch a whole new set of doors for Daniels.
After relocating to Los Angeles, Daniels continued to appear in episodes of “V.I.P.” (2000), “Jack & Jill” (2001) and “Philly” (2001), and have supporting roles in The Disciples (2000), an action television film starring Ice-T, and Wheelmen (2002), a comedy feature directed by Dirk Hagen. 2002’s drama/thriller One Hour Photo saw the actress heat up the screen as the mistress of Michael Vartan. Directed and penned by Mark Romanek, the film also starred Robin Williams and Connie Nielsen. In 2003, Daniels found herself landing a role in another next high profile movie, House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie’s highly anticipated and controversial homage to classic Horror films of the 70’s. The same year, she also played Officer Karen Crane, a recurring role belonged to the critically acclaimed NBC drama “Boomtown.”
Daniels’ huge breakthrough arrived a year later when she successfully won the pivotal role of Dana Fairbanks on the controversial series “The L Word” on Showtime. With her role as a self-doubting lesbian, for the first time in her career, the actress found herself at the center of a critically applauded show that was also well-liked among audiences. She remained with the hit show until 2006.
After her departure from “The L Word,” Daniels filmed a Fox comedy pilot named “Julie Reno, Bounty Hunter” (2006), chronicling the life of a struggling single mother who finds work as a bounty hunter. She also made guest appearances in the comedy series “Love Monkey” and the crime/drama show “Dexter” (both 2006), and more recently, she had a three-episodic role in the Fox new drama series “Justice” (2006), as Betsy Harrison.
- St. Louis International Film Festival: Emerging Actor, 2002