“(All My Children) was great acting experience because I got to do it all. I hated my mother. I found out my stepfather attacked someone. I was married and divorced. It was really deep stuff. And Julie knew Erica Kane! It’s funny to this day, I’ll be out to dinner or out shopping and someone will yell, ‘It’s Julie from All My Children. When are you coming back to Pine Valley?’” Lauren Holly on her character Julie on “All My Children”
Award-winning American actress Lauren Holly is one of the few performers who can claim justifiable triumph on both the small and wide screen. A recognizable face among television viewers, the ravishingly beautiful, blue-eyed Holly made a name for herself as the adorable, virginal Julie Cortlandt Chandler in the long-running day time soap “All My Children” (1986-89), in which she nabbed a Daytime Emmy nomination, and as the sensitive but sturdy Deputy ’Max’ in David E. Kelley’s series “Picket Fences” (1992-96), where she was handed the 1994 Best Supporting Actress Viewers for Quality Television Award. In more recent programs, she gained additional fame for playing plastic surgeon Dr. Jeremy Hanlon in David E Kelley’s “Chicago Hope” (1999-2000) and won a Bronze Wrangler Award for her bright turn as Mrs. Rebecca Lear Highsmith in the made-for-TV film King of Texas (2002). The actress now stars as the Director Jenny Shepard in the series “Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” (2005-?).
On the silver screen, the doe-eyed beauty who earned her breakout role as the tough and smart wife Linda Lee in the Rob Cohen-helmed shockingly biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993) received major success and worldwide fame with the blockbuster smash hit Dumb and Dumber (1994), playing Jim Carrey’s girlfriend Mary Swanson. Additionally, Holly is known for her impressive turns in films like Sydney Pollack’s Sabrina (1995), Ted Demme’s Beautiful Girls (1996), Edward Burns’ No Looking Back (1998), Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday (1999) and Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt’s What Women Want (2000). The Pennsylvania-born, Geneva-raised actress will play small role Marilyn in the family film Chasing 3000 (2006) for director Gregory J. Lanesey.
Off screen, Holly is most-known for her on-again and off-again relationship with comedian/actor Jim Carrey, whom she met in 1994 while filming the hit Dumb and Dumber and finally got married in 1996. The high-profile relationship eventually came to end in 1998. Her marriage life is also been linked to her first husband, actor Danny Quinn (together from 1991-93) and the investment banker Francis Greco, whom she has been married since 2001. In addition to three marriages, Holly, who becomes the mother of three adopted sons, was once involved with production executive Todd Gustawes (dated October 1998 to summer 1999) and actor/director Edward Burns (reportedly romanced in 1998 during filming of No Looking Back).
Childhood and Family:
On October 28, 1963, Lauren Michael Holly was born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, but raised in upstate Geneva, New York. Her mother is Michael Ann, an art history professor at the University of Rochester, and her father is Grant Holly, a producer, screenwriter, and an English Literature lecturer at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. She has two younger brothers: Nick Holly, a literary agent who was born in 1971, and Alexander Holly, who died in 1992 in home fire.
Growing up in Geneva, Holly went to Geneva High School, where she joined the school cheerleading team and graduated in 1981. She continued her study at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, from which she earned a B.A degree in English literature four years later. With her scholastic resume, Holly was seemed on her way to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Instead, she decided to pursue an acting career. She also took drama classes at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
In 1991, Holly married actor Danny Quinn (born on April 16, 1964), the son of performer Anthony Quinn, but the tie ended in split up in 1993. A year later, she met and fell for the raising star, comedian and actor Jim Carrey and the two subsequently began dating. After a brief separation in 1996, the couple finally got married on September 23, that same year. The roller-coaster ride of Carrey’s celebrity obscured their lives and led to a divorce in 1997. Though attempting to reconcile, Holly and Carrey eventually called it quits in 1998. The failures, however, didn’t prevent Holly from falling in love again. On March 10, 2001, she married her current husband, an investment banker named Francis Greco, with whom she adopted a son named Alexander Joseph Greco (born in May 2001). She also becomes the mother of her two other adopted sons: William and Henry.
Dumb & Dumber
The offspring of college professors, Lauren Holly made the hazardous decision to relocate to Hollywood to become an actress upon receiving a B.A degree in 1985. With little TV experience, including spots on two episodes of “Hill Street Blues” (1984), and an episode of “Spenser: For Hire,” as well as the TV movie Love Lives On (1985), Holly earned her first break when she was invited to join the cast of the ABC daytime soap “All My Children” in 1986 in the regular role of teen heroine Julie Rand Chandler, a role that brought her a 1988 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series. Despite enjoying successful performance with the lovable, virginal turn, Holly departed the show in 1989. Meanwhile, the new performer Holly also tried her hand in film acting. After making her debut with a small part in the comedy Seven Minutes in Heaven (1985), which starred Jennifer Connelly and Byron Thames, she got a larger role as Nikki in the Paul Michael Glaser-directed Band of the Hand (1986), where she shared the screen with her first husband, Danny Quinn.
In 1990, Holly took the recurring role of Alison Novack in the two episodes of NBC’s sitcom “My Two Dads,” had her first starring role as Betty Cooper in television film Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, opposite Christopher Rich, as well as supported Andrew Dice Clay in the action movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, and in the next years, she was seen costarring with David Andrews in the CBS short-lived series “The Antagonists” (1991) and played Suzie Bryant in the made for television movie Fugitive Among Us (1992).
However, it wasn’t until Holly teamed up with creator David E. Kelley in the CBS drama series “Picket Fences” (1992-96). Portraying the perceptive but tough Deputy Maxine ’Max’ Stewart, the actress gained a huge popularity that finally helped her achieve a household name. With the role, she also successfully took home a 1994 Viewers for Quality Television for Best Supporting Actress.
A year after starting her four-year successful turn in the show, Holly delivered her film breakthrough with her first feature lead role, as the steely and quick-witted Linda Lee, in Rob Cohen’s surprisingly romantic biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993). Starring opposite Jason Scott Lee who was cast in the title character, Holly turned in a convincing and touching performance as the Swedish-American spouse of the besieged Chinese actor/martial artist. Her movie career even elevated higher when she was cast opposite future husband Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in the Peter Farrelly-helmed Dumb and Dumber (1994). As Mary Swanson, Carrey’s love interest, Holly scored a massive hit as the aptly titled comedy became a box office smash with the earning of $200 million worldwide. Also with Carrey, she won a MTV Movie for Best Kiss in 1995. Aside from on screen victory, the actress also brought home the upstart Canadian comic Carrey as her real romantic interest.
It appears as if Carrey was Holly’s good luck charm. While they were dating, Holly landed excellent opportunities to play roles in two critically successful films: the Sydney Pollack remake of Sabrina (1995) and Ted Demme’s Beautiful Girls (1996). The first film, which starred Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond, saw her as the fiancé of playboy Greg Kinnear, with whom she later rejoined for the romantic comedy A Smile Like Yours (1997), and the second, she was cast opposite Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich and Annabeth Gish, as good-looking Darian Smalls. By the late 1996, as the couple’s marriage life began to fell off, Holly had to deal with failure with such disappointments as Down Periscope (1996) and Turbulence (1997).
After her marriage with Carrey came to end in 1998, Holly bounced back by giving perhaps her best performance to date as Claudia in director-actor Edward Burns’ No Looking Back (1998), a role that allowed her to draw from her experience as a waitress in her hometown and portray against her sexy, starlet typecast. She followed that up with roles in the Cinemax-premiered Vig (1998, opposite Peter Falk and Timothy Hutton) and the Phil Joanou autobiographical Entropy (1999, with Stephen Dorff). Also in 1999, Holly found success by undertaking the supporting part as Dennis Quaid’s wife Cindy Rooney in a drama film by Oliver Stone, Any Given Sunday. Among her costars were Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, James Woods and Jamie Foxx. The actress rounded out the decade by rejoining David E Kelley for the long-running series “Chicago Hope,” in which she played regular plastic surgeon Dr. Jeremy Hanlon for 1999-2000 seasons.
Back to film acting, Holly was additionally featured as an aspiring actress in the Cannes-screened The Last Producer (2000, aired on USA Network in 2001) for director Burt Reynolds, and scored a victory with the Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt starring vehicle What Women Want (2000). Next up for Holly, she had starring roles in films like Changing Hearts and the thriller Pavement (both 2002), as well as appeared in such TV films as Destiny (2001), Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot (2001), Living with the Dead (2002) and Santa, Jr. (2002). But, it was her portrayal as Mrs. Rebecca Lear Highsmith, opposite Patrick Stewart and Marcia Gay Harden, in the TNT film King of Texas (2002) that won Holly a Bronze Wrangler from Western Heritage Award.
2003-2004, Holly could be seen acting in several films like Raising Flagg (2003), Just Desserts (2004, TV), In Enemy Hands (2004) and Caught in the Act (2004, TV), while in 2005 alone, she had five different projects under her belt. She first played supporting role Tess in the TV film Bounty Hunters, then headlined the thriller movie The Pleasure Drivers, before costarring with Jamie Bell, Camilla Belle, Justin Chatwin and Glenn Close in Arie Posin’s ensemble The Chumscrubber, a darkly satiric story about life breakdown in the midst of a seemingly idyllic suburbia. She also starred opposite Greg Germann in Eric Hendershot’s comedy Down and Derby (2005) and with Pete Schwaba and Lance Barber in The Godfather of Green Bay (2005). As for TV series, also in 2005, she joined the cast of “Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” (2005-?) in the regular role of Jenny Shepard, the head of the NCIS unit.
The 43-year-old actress recently worked with Lacey Chabert and John Doman for a drama/thriller by John Carter, Fatwa (2006). Holly is scheduled to appear as Marilyn in the upcoming family film Chasing 3000 (2006). Directed by Gregory J. Lanesey, the film will star Ray Liotta as Adult Mickey, Rory Culkin as Roger, Trevor Morgan as Mickey and Tania Raymonde as Kelly.
- Western Heritage: Bronze Wrangler - Television Feature Film, King of Texas, 2003
- MTV Movie: Best Kiss, Dumb and Dumber, shared with Jim Carrey, 1995
- Viewers for Quality Television: Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series, Picket Fences, 1994