“I believe the (lesbian) scenes were needed in the film to show the obsession between the two characters, but I was terrified at first, a little watery eyed before doing the scene. David made it very comfortable. It wasn’t technical. He just let the cameras roll. There was a lot of respect on the set.” Laura Harring on Mulholland Drive
One of Hollywood’s hottest stars Laura Harring got her start as a beauty queen before establishing a prolific career in acting. The international Herald Tribune has contrasted her to Ava Gardner and film critics Philip Lopate and Roger Ebert linked her to Rita Hayworth. Although very talented, the striking brunette hasn’t got the opportunity to fully develop her potential that would make her really shine. Since making her movie debut in the forgettable Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989), the Mexican beauty is most well-known for portraying amnesiac Rita in the critically-acclaimed David Lynch film Mulholland Drive (2001), where she won an ALMA award. Her film credits include John Q (2002), Derailed (2002), Willard (2003), Mi Casa, Su Casa (2003), The Punisher (2004) and The King (2005).
Recently appearing in FX’s critically acclaimed hit series “The Shield” (2006) and HBO’s hit Walkout (2006), the true chameleon will be seen playing roles in the upcoming Ghost Son (2006), Nancy Drew (2007) and David Lynch’s highly anticipated Inland Empire.
Off screen, 5’ 6” tall Harring wears a size 7.5 shoe and measures 33-23-34 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine). She was once voted one of Time Magazine’s “Top U.S. immigrants” and “100 Most Interesting Faces in the World.” In 2002, while attending the Oscar, the former Miss USA reportedly wore a $25,000,000 dollar necklace and $1,000,000 dollar shoes and was surrounded by four bodyguards. As for her private life, ex-wife of German Count Carl Edward Von Bismark, Herring is currently single. The professional tango dancer now resides in Los Angeles and likes spending her off time by dancing the tango and practicing yoga.
Childhood and Family:
Born Laura Elena Martinez Herring, on March 3, 1964, in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Laura Harring is the middle daughter of a German descent father, Raymond Herring, and a Mexican mother, Maria Martinez. Her parents split up when she was 7, and her mother later married Cuban-born stepfather Gaston Lima. Laura has a younger sister named Rita Herring (born in 1967) and is a granddaughter to the 1954 Mexican Equestrian and Fencing champion Isauro Cairo.
Growing up in Mexico, 11-year-old Laura moved with her family to San Antonio, Texas, where at age 12, she became the victim of a drive-by shooting suffering a head wound. After her recovery, Laura attended a boarding house in Texas before flying to Switzerland to study at one of the top schools called Aiglon College when she was 16. Upon receiving an academic diploma, Laura began her journey throughout Asia and Europe, and at age 18, she was a social worker in India. A restaurant cashier in Philippine, Laura was briefly apprehended by her love-smitten boss who had taken away her passport. She then made her way back to America and settled down in El Paso, Texas, where she began entering the beauty pageant circuits and finally took home the title of Miss USA in 1985.
During a second trip to Europe, Laura met and fell for a German Count, Carl Edward von Bismarck, who was the brother of her roommate Claudia. In 1986, the couple became engaged and got married a year later. The countess decided to end up her marriage in 1990 after conflicting with her husband over her desire to pursue a career in acting. She studied drama at the London Academy of Performing Arts, specializing in the French style of Commedia dell’Arte.
Returning to the USA after a traveling life throughout Asia and Europe, Mexico-born Laura Harring found employment as a clothing store’s sales clerk before entering the world of beauty pageants. With her attractiveness, Harring soon became a jury favorite and picked up the title of Miss El Paso. Shortly after, she took home the Miss Texas crown and created a history at age 21 when she became the first Hispanic beauty to win Miss USA title.
Spotted by an agent for her charm and good looks while crowning her successor, Harring made her TV acting debut in 1987 with a minor role as Raul Julia’s wife in NBC’s film The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory, and moved to silver screen film two years later by taking the supporting turn of Jeri in the unremarkable horror installment Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!. Harring became highly involved in showbiz after her separation with her husband in 1990. She starred as Nisa, a Brazilian woman who introduces the Lambada to the American in the equally corny The Forbidden Dance (1990) and had a one-year stint as Carla Greco in the long-running daytime soap “General Hospital” (1990-91).
After her contract with General Hospital ended, she had small role in the direct-to-video release Dead Women in Lingerie (1991), guest starred in “Baywatch” and “Blossom” (both 1993), supported Kenny Rogers, Naomi Judd and Travis Tritt in TV film Rio Diablo (1993) and was featured as M.C. Kindra, a hot tour guide of the titular sexual haven in Garry Marshall’s Exit to Eden (1994). Next up, she costarred with Henry Darrow, Carol Mayo Jenkins and J. Downing, as Gabriella Cochrane, in the series “Empire” (1995), had a three-episodic turn as Garcia in the family drama serial “Flipper” (1995-96) as well as appeared as Babette the Mayor’s Girl in the Joan Severance action vehicle Black Scorpion II: Aftershock (1997). Also in 1997, Herring made a brief comeback to a daytime series when she teamed up with the renowned Aaron Spelling for his drama “Sunset Beach,” playing sexy cop Paula Stevens. Discontented with the development of her character’s storyline, Harring soon left the show to find more work.
The subsequent years saw her have guest appearances in “Frasier” (1998), “Silk Stalkings” (1999) as well as in the sci-fi series “Black Scorpion” (2001), play Marisleysis Gonzalez, an escaped mother in the Fox docudrama A Family in Crisis: The Elian Gonzales Story (2000) and act opposite Adam Sandler in the comedy Little Nicky (2000). However, it wasn’t until her starring turn opposite Naomi Watts in the David Lynch- award-winning Mulholland Dr. (2001) that she gained acclaimed from both audiences and critics alike. As Rita, the mysterious amnesiac and Watts’ lesbian lover, Harring offered a terrific, dreamlike and sensual turn that brought her an ALMA for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. Aside from her breakthrough role in the Cannes-screened film, she also had supporting parts in the action movie Final Payback and Kevin Jordan’s short Feather Pimento, that same year.
Harring’s film career took flight after the success. She was cast opposite Denzel Washington in the action drama John Q (2002), costarred with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Thomas Arana in director Bob Misiorowski’s Derailed (2002), found herself acting along side Crispin Glover and R. Lee Ermey in the rat-themed horror remake Willard (2003) for director Glen Morgan, before headlining the Bryan Lewis-helmed comedy Mi Casa, Su Casa (2003, with Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie fame) and costarring in the thriller The Poet (2003). After a small part in the 2004 film Return to Babylon, opposite fellow beauty Maria Conchita Alonso, the appealing actress offered a strong portrayal as John Travolta’s infamous spouse Livia Saint in Jonathan Hensleigh’s thriller The Punisher (2004), while in 2005, she joined Marisa Ramirez, Nichole Hiltz and Laz Alonso for Jeremy Kasten’s horror All Souls Day: Dia de los Muertos and portrayed self-conscious and grief-stricken Twyla in Milo Addica’s The King, along side William Hurt and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Recently, versatile Harring returned to TV with the recurring role of Becca Doyle in the FX critically acclaimed hit series “The Shield” and played supporting role Francis Crisostomo in the HBO original hit movie Walkout, which starred Alexa Vega. She will costar opposite John Hannah in director/writer Lamberto Bava’s thriller film Ghost Son (2006) and be featured in the Andrew Fleming-helmed Nancy Drew, a thriller for a 2007 release. She is also set to play a role in the David Lynch new and highly anticipated film Inland Empire.
- ALMA: Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, Mulholland Drive, 2002