“Look, I love being famous. I’m not one of those people who feels like, ‘Why won’t they leave me alone?’ If I care only about the craft of acting, I’d be doing dinner theater in Iowa. But the attention on you gets to a point where it’s beyond invasive; it’s scary.” Lara Flynn Boyle
Hollywood actress Lara Flynn Boyle gained recognition after playing desperately bitchy celebrity writer Helen Jordan in Todd Solondz’s comedy Happiness (1998), in which she took home a National Board of Review Award. In 1997, she won a Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival Award for her bright portrayal of depressing wife Marianne Byron in the romantic drama Afterglow. She is also remembered for playing roles in such movies as Clint Eastwood’s The Rookie (1990), John Dahl’s Red Rock West (1992), Wayne's World (1992), and The Temp (1993), among others. In a more recent film, Boyle received blockbuster exposure with the 2002 smash hit Men in Black II, in which she was cast as the villainous Serleena.
On the small screen, attractive, freckled brunette Boyle is well associated with her role as the pleasant, but sometimes badly behaved, girl-next-door Donna Hayward in David Lynch’s surreal cult soap opera, “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991). Full television stardom came in 1997 when she landed the role of assistant district attorney Helen Gamble in the Emmy-winning series The Practice. During a six-year stint with the hit show, Boyle received an Emmy and two SAG nominations.
“I’d have a boob job if I could. I can’t, because I’ve been such an advocate against it. I got myself in trouble. Who wouldn’t (want a boob job)?” Lara Flynn Boyle
Off screen, one of People magazine’s “Worst Dressed Celebrities” in 2003, Boyle is deeply disappointed she campaigned against plastic surgery because now she desperately wants to go under the surgeon's knife to get breast enhancements. As for her romantic life, after being dumped by lover Jay Penske because of her high maintenance temperament (2004), ex-wife of Patrick Dee III Boyle is recently rumored to have found a new lover, co-star James Lesure, while on the set of her new TV show Las Vegas. A source said that Boyle seems really happy. During the 1990s, Boyle had a series of highly publicized relationships with Hollywood leading men. Suspected flings with David Spade (dated 1998-1999), Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson (dated 1999-2001) and Bruce Willis, she was also linked with actors Kyle Mac Lachlan and Richard Dean Anderson.
Boyle’s admirers should not ignore her performance in the forthcoming Land of the Blind (2006) and Shades of Black. In 2005, she also joined the cast of the drama Las Vegas, portraying Monica Mancuso, the flamboyant new owner of the Montecito Casino.
Childhood and Family:
A native of Davenport, Iowa, Lara Flynn Boyle was named after actress Julie Christie’s character in Doctor Zhivago. She was born on March 24, 1970, and when she was 6, her parents divorced. After the separation, little Lara moved to Chicago and was raised under the care of her mother, Sally Boyle. Since money was not easy to come by for Lara’s family, her mom was required to work more than one job to raise her daughter.
As a young child, Lara was diagnosed with a learning disability and dyslexia, and was extremely shy. To conquer her problems, she tried out several activities like taking Irish folk dancing and art classes. She also attended an improvisational workshop as a means to develop ways of expressing herself. Lara eventually discovered acting and developed a knack for it. She even won a scholarship to the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago, Illinois. Upon graduation, Lara, with her mother, relocated to Hollywood to give acting a more serious try.
After a relationship with several actors, 26-year-old Lara married John Patrick Dee III on August 11, 1996. However, the couple filed for divorce two years later.
Discovering acting while attending an improvisational workshop, Lara Flynn Boyle later wrote and acted in local Chicago-area Theater productions. Boyle got her first taste in front of the camera during her sophomore year when director Donald Wrye cast her as Robert Urich’s daughter, Jacqueline ‘Jessie’ Bradford, in the ABC miniseries “Amerika” (1987). In the following year, she made her film debut with the supporting role of Donna Gardner in the thriller Poltergeist III (1988), starring Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen and Heather O'Rourke. After graduating from high school, Boyle headed for Los Angeles to pursue a full time acting career.
Having already achieved television and film exposure while still in high school, Boyle quickly received casting calls after she moved to Hollywood. She played Laura Taggart in the made-for-TV movie Terror on Highway 91 (1989), costarred as Jessica Kailo in the comedy-romance How I Got Into College (1989), had the supporting role of Ginny Danburry in Dead Poets Society (1989 and portrayed homicide victim Jennifer Levin in the TV film The Preppie Murder (1989). It was the cult drama “Twin Peaks” (1990), however, that spring-boarded the young actress’ career to another level. Helmed by David Lynch, Boyle got her first break as the girl-next-door with a naughty side, Donna Hayward. She continued with the role until 1991.
After Twin Peaks, Boyle’s career took off and roles in movies began to roll in. She appeared as Clint Eastwood’s girlfriend Sarah in the thriller The Rookie (1990), was featured as Mara Motes in the history film Mobsters (1991, starring Christian Slater), played Sandra Gladstone in Eye of the Storm (1991) and Cammie in May Wine (1991). In 1992, Boyle received positive reviews for her good portrayal of conniving femme fatale, and the target of a hit man, Suzanne Brown in John Dahl’s neo-noir Red Rock West, and had the supporting role of Mike Myers’ former girlfriend Stacy in the hit Wayne's World (1992). She continued to pick up roles in such films as Where the Day Takes You (1992), Alan Rudolph’s drama Equinox (1992, opposite Matthew Modine), the thriller The Temp (1993, portrayed lithe femme fatale Kris Bolin), Threesome (1994) and Past Tense (1994, TV).
Additionally, Boyle’s early career met with some box-office failures. The Dark Backward (1991, with Judd Nelson), The Road to Wellville (1994) and Baby's Day Out (1994) were all considered flops. The 1997 Farmer & Chase was even worse as it became the lowest grossing movie of 1997. It raked in a whopping $1,323.
A string of disappointing movies didn’t put an end to Boyle’s career. In 1997, Boyle rebounded with Alan Rudolph’s romantic drama Afterglow (1997), in which she starred as gloomy wife Marianne Byron. She won overwhelmingly positive reviews for her performance in the film, convincing critics and audiences alike that she was back in the saddle again. Moreover, Boyle netted a Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast.
While on the small screen, Boyle delivered her next breakthrough when she costarred as assistant district lawyer Helen Gamble in the acclaimed series The Practice (1997). The show was an immediate hit and garnered the 1999 Emmy for Best Drama. As for Boyle, she earned nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild in 1999 and in 2000. In 2003, a year after receiving an Emmy nomination, Boyle left the legal-themed television series.
In 1998, Boyle once more turned critics’ heads with her portrayal of hopelessly bitchy celebrity writer Helen Jordan in Todd Solondz’s dark comedy Happiness. Due to Boyle’s outstanding acting, she was handed a 1998 National Board of Review for Ensemble Performance. The same year, she could also be seen as Betty Johnson in Susan's Plan (1998).
Boyle went back to film in the new millennium when she teamed up with Steve Zahn, Salma Hayek and Jeff Goldblum for directors Pontus Löwenhielm/Patrick von Krusenstjerna’s Chain of Fools (2000), and in the following year, she had a spot in the comedy/romance Speaking of Sex (2001). Boyle stepped into blockbuster territory in 2002 when she was asked to replace Famke Janssen to play the chief villainess, Serleena, in the hit Men in Black II.
2004-2005 saw Boyle return to TV in the reoccurring role of manic-depressive patient Melody Coatar in the Showtime drama “Huff.” Also in 2005, the 35-year-old actress joined the cast of NBC’s drama Las Vegas, where she was cast as the flamboyant new owner of the Montecito Casino, Monica Mancuso. Boyle is set to star with Henry Breitrose and Ian Chorao in the upcoming drama Land of the Blind (2006). Additionally, she is set to play Barbara Amiel Black in forthcoming CTV Original Movie Shades of Black. The film also stars Canadian stage and screen actor Albert Schultz and ex-Friends star Jason Priestley.
- National Board of Review: Ensemble Performance, Happiness, 1998
- Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: Best Ensemble Cast, Afterglow, 1997