Six Feet Under
“I think it's such an amazing time of life when you have to accept responsibility for yourself for the first time. You have to look at yourself for the first time. You have to look at your surroundings. I love playing young women coming of age, trying to figure things out, starting to see their lives for what they are.” Lauren Ambrose on her role in “Six Feet Under”
Emmy nominated American actress Lauren Ambrose became a household name playing the youngest daughter, Claire Fisher, on the HBO award winning series “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005), from which she picked up two Emmy nominations and co-won two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Prior to her TV success, Ambrose appeared in guest spots in the popular NBC series “Law & Order” (1992, 1993 and 1998) and had a recurring role in the Fox drama “Party of Five” (1999). She returned to series TV after “Six Feet Under” in Fox's comedy “The Return of Jezebel James” (2008). On the wide screen, the 5' 6” actress is probably best known for playing Denise in the teen comedy “Can't Hardly Wait” (1998) and for her starring roles in the independent films “Swimming” and “Psycho Beach Party” (both 2000), in which she earned a L.A. Outfest Award. Her more recent and upcoming credits include “Diggers” (2006), “Starting Out in the Evening” (2007), “A Dog Year” (2008), “Tonight at Noon” (2009), “Cold Souls” (2009) and “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009).
Ambrose has a young son with her husband of seven years, Sam Handel. When she is not working, the red haired beauty loves cooking and doing household chores with her husband.
Childhood and Family:
Lauren Anne D'Ambruoso, professionally known as Lauren Ambrose, was born on November 20, 1978, in New Haven, Connecticut, to Annie, an interior designer, and Frank, a caterer. She has a younger brother named John. Lauren was educated at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, Wilbur Cross High School, and the High School in the Community and Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven. She studied voice and opera at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute in Massachusetts.
In September 2001, Lauren married Sam Handel, a photographer originally from Boston. They had a son, Orson Handel, on January 16, 2007. They currently live in New York City.
Psycho Beach Party
A classically trained opera singer, Lauren Ambrose became involved with acting via her training as a singer. At age 14, she made her off-Broadway debut in the Vineyard Theater's production of “Soulful Scream of a Chosen Son.” She continued to act on the New York stage with such companies as the Ensemble Studio Theater and Naked Angels. She made the leap to television in 1992 when she landed a guest spot in the NBC hit drama “Law & Order.” A year later, she was invited back to the show, this time playing Maureen McKinnon in the episode “Pride and Joy.”
“I came to L.A. to work and become a better actress, not to be a star.” Lauren Ambrose
Hoping to further her career, Ambrose decided to pack up her stuff and head to Los Angeles in 1996. The following year, she received the small role of Vicky in the comedy “In & Out,” which was directed by Franz Oz and starred Kevin Kline. She then attracted the attention of mainstream audiences with her celebrated role of Denise Fleming in the coming-of-age comedy “Can't Hardly Wait” (1998), which starred Jennifer Love Hewitt. Also in 1998, she portrayed Tami in the short film “Summertime's Calling Me” and returned to the series “Law & Order” to play Valerie Maxwell in the episode “Damaged.”
In 1999, Ambrose starred as Grace Whitmore in the sitcom “Saving Graces” (1999), which soon left the airwaves, and joined the cast of the popular Fox drama “Party of Five” (also 1999) in the recurring role of Myra Wringler. She then appeared in the independent comedy “Psycho Beach Party” (2000), which was based on a play by Charles Busch, and was handed a Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film at the Las Angeles Outfest. She also enjoyed favorable reviews as the tomboy Frankie Wheeler in the independent drama “Swimming” (2000), which was screened at several festivals.
However, Ambrose did not reach stardom status until 2001 when she won the regular role of Claire Fisher on the HBO series “Six Feet Under,” opposite Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy and Mathew St. Patrick. As the youngest child in a family of undertakers, she nabbed Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2002 and 2003, and a 2002 Teen Choice nomination for TV-Choice Actress in a Drama Series. She also jointly received five Screen Actors Guild nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, which they won in 2003 and 2004. She stayed with the successful series until it came to an end in 2005. After the demise of “Six Feet Under,” Ambrose revisited the stage in a revival of Sam Shepard's “Buried Child” at the National Theater in London. She then starred in the Broadway revival of “Awake and Sing” (2006), which marked her Broadway debut. Also in 2006, she played the supporting role of Zoey in the Katherine Dieckmann directed film “Diggers.” She then costarred with Frank Langella in “Starting Out in the Evening” (2007) and teamed up with Jeff Bridges for the movie “A Dog Year” (2008). It was also in 2008 that Ambrose resurfaced on the small screen in the Fox new comedy “The Return of Jezebel James,” which was written and directed by Amy Sherman.
Recently, Ambrose completed filming “Tonight at Noon” (2009), a drama helmed by Michael Almereyda and starring Ethan Hawke. She also portrayed Stephanie in the movie “Cold Souls” (2009, starred Paul Giamatti) and provided the voice of KW in “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009), which was based on the book of the same name by Maurice Sendak.
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, “Six Feet Under,” 2004
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, “Six Feet Under,” 2003
L.A. Outfest: Grand Jury Award - Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film, “Psycho Beach Party,” 2000