“It's come around to where it's not a bad thing anymore to have that (Melrose) association.” Laura Leighton
American actress Laura Leighton is famous to television audiences for playing Sydney Andrews on the Fox popular series “Melrose Place,” a role she played from 1993 to 1997. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe Award in 1995 for her performance. More recently, she recreated the role of Sydney in the 2009 series of the same name. Leighton also played a regular role in the short lived series “Eyes” (ABC, 2005), recurring roles in “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1998), “Skin” (2003) and “Boston Legal” (2006) and one episode roles in “Early Edition,” “CSI: Miami” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” among other shows. She has starred in several TV films, including “We'll Meet Again” (2002), “Daniel's Daughter” (2008) and “Mending Fences” (2009). On the big screen, Leighton played roles in the films “Angels, Baby,” “Clean and Narrow” and “Seven Girlfriends” (all 1999), “The Sky Is Falling” (2000) and “The Burrowers” (2008).
Leighton is married to actor Doug Savant. In addition to “Melrose Place,” her husband has acted in the TV series “Knots Landing” (7 episodes, 1986-1987), “24” (4 episodes, 2004) and “Desperate Housewives” (122 episodes, 2004-2010). The happy couple has two kids and Savant's two daughters from a former relationship.
One of People Magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (1996), Leighton dated actor Grant Show, who was also a costar on “Melrose Place,” from 1993 to 1996 before marrying her husband in 1998.
Childhood and Family:
Born Laura Miller on July 24, 1968, in Iowa City, Iowa, Laura Leighton adopted her grandfather's name in 1988. An active girl, she kept busy throughout junior high by taking dance classes, playing sports and joining the choir. When she was older, she danced and sang with the traveling singing troupe the Young Americans. She graduated from West High School in Iowa City in 1986 and then moved to Los Angeles, where she studied business at California State University in Long Beach, California.
Laura married actor and fellow “Melrose Place” costar Doug Savant (born on June 21, 1964) in May 1998. She gave birth to the couple's first child, son Jack Douglas Savant, on October 10, 2000. Five years later, the family welcomed a baby girl named Lucy Jane Leighton Savant, into the world on June 9, 2005. Laura also has two stepdaughters, Arianna Josephine Savant (born on January 17, 1992) and Madeline Marie Savant (born on July 20, 1993), from Savant's first marriage to Dawn Dunkin (together from 1983 to 1997).
Pretty Little Liars
After touring with The Young Americans, Laura Leighton headed to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting. As a struggling actress in L.A., she worked as a waitress and took commercial jobs, which included appearing in Pizza Hut and Dep Hair Gel ads.
Leighton's big break arrived in 1993 when she landed the role of Sydney Andrews, the troublemaking and spoiled younger sister of Jane Mancini (played by Josie Bissett), in the prime time drama “Melrose Place.” Leighton was working in a casting office when she heard about the role of Sydney and decided to audition for the part after encouragement from a friend. She had to try out several times before eventually catching the attention of executive producer Aaron Spelling. With his help, she received the role and made her first appearance on the Darren Star created show in the January 6, 1993, episode “Single White Sister.” Originally designed to be a two episode stint in season one, the role of Sydney became a recurring character in season two and was upgraded to a series regular the next season. She left the show in 1997 after what was believed to be a salary disagreement. Apart from celebrity status, the role brought Leighton a 1995 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.
While on the series, Leighton had some projects outside of “Melrose Place.” In November 1993, she was featured as a travel agent in the NBC TV film “Victim of Love: The Shannon Mohr Story,” a spin-off from “Unsolved Mysteries” (1987). She then contributed her voice to the 30 minute animated Christmas special “Life with Louie: A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman” (1994), which was directed by Matthew O’Callaghan, played Carolyn in the CBS TV movie “The Other Woman” (1995), opposite Monica Parker, Lindsay Parker, James Read and Lloyd Bridges, and starred as Laurette Wilder in the HBO TV film “In the Name of Love: A Texas Tragedy” (1995), directed by Bill D'Elia and written by Danielle Hill. She also hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live” (1995), voiced Ditzi in an episode of the Emmy nominated cartoon series “Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man” (1997) and appeared in an episode of the HBO sitcom “The Larry Sanders Show” (1997). In March 1997, she was a guest of “The Rosie O'Donnell Show.”
After leaving “Melrose Place,” Leighton played the recurring role of wannabe actress Sophie Burns on the Fox series “Beverly Hills, 90210,” a role created by Spelling especially for her. She was on the show for six episodes from September to November 1998. Later that same year, in December, she costarred with Scott Glenn and Courtney B. Vance in the Showtime television thriller “Naked City: A Killer Christmas” (1998), which was directed by Peter Bogdavonich. In 1999, Leighton made her big screen acting debut in the independent movie “Angels, Baby.” The film, however, only earned a small limited release. She followed it up with roles in the independent drama “Clean and Narrow” (1999), directed by William Katt and co-written by Katt and Kermit Christman, and the Paul Lazarus romantic comedy “Seven Girlfriends” (1999, also starring Tim Daly and Olivia d'Abo).
In the new millennium, Leighton portrayed Amber Lee in the film “The Sky Is Falling” (2000), which was written and directed by first timer Florrie Laurence and produced by Brad Hall and David Parks. “The Sky Is Falling” received positive reviews from critics. The same year, she also made guest appearances in “The Outer Limits” and “Early Edition” before going on hiatus to have a baby. She briefly returned to the small screen in November 2002 when she played Fran Simmons, an investigate reporter who helps ex-convict Molly Lasch prove her innocence, in the film “We'll Meet Again,” adapted from Mary Higgins Clark's novel of the same title. In October 2003, she appeared in the Fox soon-canceled drama “Skin.” Five months later, she portrayed Jordan Davies in the episode “Daddy's Girl” of the Fox short lived science fiction series “Tru Calling,” which starred Eliza Dushku, Zach Galifianakis, Shawn Reaves, A.J. Cook, Jessica Collins, Benjamín Benítez, Matthew Bomer and Jason Priestley.
After portraying Joanne Sanders in the thriller “A Deadly Encounter” (2004), Leighton returned to series TV as a regular on the ABC drama “Eyes” (2005), playing Leslie Town. 12 episodes were produced, but ABC only aired five episodes before the show was canceled. All episodes of the series were later broadcasted by DirecTV. During 2006 to 2007, Leighton landed guest spots in the prime time shows “CSI: Miami,” “Boston Legal,” “Shark” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She then starred as Nora Flannery in the Lifetime movie “Love Notes” (2007), alongside Antonio Cupo, Ellie Harvie, Lorena Gale, Aaron Pearl and Deanna Milligan.
2008 saw Leighton play Catherine Madighan in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie “Daniel's Daughter.” Despite a mixed reception, the film was a hit among audiences. She revisited the motion picture industry with the role of Gertrude Spacks in the thriller “The Burrowers” (also 2008), which was written and directed by J.T. Petty. Costars of the film included Clancy Brown, William Mapother, Sean Patrick Thomas and Robert Richard. She next starred with Angie Dickinson in the Hallmark Channel movie “Mending Fences” (2009).
It was also in 2009 that Leighton reprised her popular role of Sydney Andrews on an updated version of the 1990s Fox show “Melrose Place.” The show debuted on The CW Television Network on September 8, 2009, with Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer serving as show runners, and received mixed reviews from critics. Leighton will portray Ashley Marin in the new ABC series “Pretty Little Liars,” based on Sara Shepard's series of young adult novels of the same name. Ten episodes are scheduled to air in 2010.