Marisa Coughlan
Birth Date:
March 17, 1974
Birth Place:
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
Famous for:
Her role as Dawnie Parker on the TV series Wasteland (1999)
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First appearing in the American version of the Japanese manga series "Fist of the North Star" (1995; starring Gary Daniels and Malcolm McDowell), Marisa Coughlan added to her resume significant roles in such films as "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" (1999), "Gossip" (2000), "Super Troopers" (2001), "Freddy Got Fingered" (2001), "New Suit" (2002), "I Love Your Work" (2003), "Bill" (2007), and "Already Dead" (2007). She will next be seen alongside Kathleen Quinlan in an upcoming comedy film called "The Dissection of Thanksgiving."

On the small screen, Coughlan is familiar among TV viewers as Dawnie Parker in the ABC drama series "Wasteland" (1999), Melissa Hughes (2005-2006), James Spader's assistant, in the ABC series "Boston Legal," and Jenny McIntyre, a glossy-magazine photojournalist reassessing her life after her best friend is diagnosed with cancer, in the Lifetime Television one-season dramatic series "Side Order of Life" (2007). She also starred in a string of made-for-television movies, including "Our Son, the Matchmaker" (1996), "The Sleepwalker Killing" (1997), "Kat Plus One" (2004), and "Separated at Worth" (2006). She has also guest starred in TV shows like "Step by Step," "High Society," "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction," "Diagnosis Murder," "The Magnificent Seven," and "The Twilight Zone."

Coughlan is currently single after her breakup with actor Kevin Zegers (born September 19, 1984) in early 2006. About the difficulty of finding true love in Hollywood, Coughlan admitted, “Yeah, I would say so. It's difficult at times to find normalcy and I think it would be good to date someone who wasn't in the industry at all, though it's hard to meet people like that. If I go out, I go to dinner or parties with my friends. I don't really go to bars.”

Accomplished Archer

Childhood and Family:

“I grew up in a big Midwestern family of people with real normal jobs. The concept of not only watching movies, but thinking you can be in them, was very foreign. So yeah, I did not know a soul when I moved out here. I certainly didn't know anyone in the business.” Marisa Coughlan

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 17, 1974, Marisa Christine Coughlan was raised in Minneapolis and St. Paul. She attended Breck School, in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and later enrolled in a BFA program at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where she majored in Theatre and French, and was a founding member of the Trojan Backgammon Society. During her junior year, Marisa studied abroad in Paris.

Marisa is an accomplished archer and won several prizes in high school. She loves to shoot her bow and arrow out back on her ranch. She also enjoys baking.

Marisa now lives in Studio City, California, with her two dogs, Hall and Oates.

Side Order of Life


While still in high school, Marisa Coughlan landed a role in Tony Bill's romantic drama "Untamed Heart" (1993; starring Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei), but her part was cut from the finished film. Two years later, she appeared in the American version of the Japanese manga series, "Fist of the North Star" (1995), starring Gary Daniels and Malcolm McDowell.

The newcomer was next spotted as a guest in an episode of ABC’s sitcom "Step by Step," the short-lived CBS sitcom "High Society," UPN’s one season television drama "The Burning Zone," the USA Network science fiction sitcom based on the John Hughes' 1985 film, "Weird Science," FOX’s anthology television show "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction," CBS’ dramatic television series starring Dick Van Dyke, "Diagnosis Murder," and the Western show based on the 1960 movie, "The Magnificent Seven." She also starred in a failed soap called "The Guilt" (1996) and appeared in the made-for-television movies "Our Son, the Matchmaker" (1996), a CBS drama in which she portrayed the younger version of Ann Jillian's character, and "Sleepwalker Killing: From the Files of 'Unsolved Mysteries'" (1997), an NBC mystery in which she shared the screen with Oscar winner Hilary Swank.

Coughlan received her first big break in 1999 when she snagged the regular role of Dawnie Parker in the ABC drama series "Wasteland," created by Kevin Williamson. Unfortunately, the show that also starred Sasha Alexander, Rebecca Gayheart, Eddie Mills, and Brad Rowe, aired for only three episodes in October 1999 before ABC canceled it. On her character in the show, Coughlan commented, "She has the pure, innocent, idealistic side, but she's got a sense of humor and can get her hands dirty like the rest of them."

During this time, Coughlan appeared in the music video for Southern California rock band Eve 6's single "Tongue Tied." She also returned to the big screen in Kevin Williamson's directorial debut, the dark comedy "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," in which she played Katie Holmes' friend Jo Lynn Jordan.

Entering the new millennium, Coughlan was featured in the ensemble cast of Davis Guggenheim's psychodrama film "Gossip" (2000), with James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, Kate Hudson, and Joshua Jackson. She followed it up with a co-starring role in Jay Chandrasekhar's cult classic comedy film "Super Troopers" (2001), starring the Broken Lizard comedy group (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske).

“I was supposed to hit Josh Jackson in 'Gossip' and connected so hard that his ear was ringing for a day. ‘Super Troopers' was shut down because I smacked someone too hard in the head.” Marisa Coughlan

Coughlan then played the female lead of Betty, an attractive doctor whom Tom Green's character falls for, in the comedy film "Freddy Got Fingered" (2001), which was also directed by Green. When asked how she got the part in the movie, Coughlan recalled, “I was so aggressive in the audition that I was ripping [Tom’s] clothes off. I went further than any of the other girls who tried out.”

Coughlan has appeared in top 100 "hot" lists put out by numerous men's magazines in recent years and graced the cover of Stuff magazine in May 2001. She also won the Movieline Young Hollywood Award in the category One to Watch – Female in 2001 and ranked #34 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" (2002).

“Hollywood is full of men who need wraparound mirrors so that they never have a moment when they can’t check themselves out.” Marisa Coughlan

Coughlan subsequently played the sorority sister of Christina Ricci's character in the Francis Ford Coppola produced dark comedy film, "Pumpkin" (2002), and acted opposite Jordan Bridges in the François Velle directed comedy feature, "New Suit" (2002). The following year, she was cast in writer/director Nolan Lebovitz's comedy "Dr. Benny" and starred in Isaac H. Eaton's romantic comedy "Dry Cycle." She was also reunited with Christina Ricci in Adam Goldberg's dark psychological drama, "I Love Your Work." TV viewers could catch her in the TV movies "Criminology 101" (2003), a drama/mystery in which she co-starred with Busy Philipps, and "Kat Plus One" (2004), in which she played the title role. She also guest starred in an episode of the anthology series "The Twilight Zone."

From 2005 to 2006, Coughlan played Melissa Hughes, James Spader's assistant, in the ABC legal drama comedy series "Boston Legal." During this time, she also appeared with Kip Pardue and Eddie Kaye Thomas in Matt Oates' drama film "Farewell Bender" (2006) and starred in the comedy pilot "Separated at Worth" (2006). She was also spotted as a guest in an episode of ABC’s comedy series "Jake in Progress" and Showtime’s thriller "Masters of Horror"

2007 saw Coughlan starring as Jenny McIntyre, a magazine photojournalist reassessing her life when her best friend (played by Diana-Maria Riva) is diagnosed with cancer, in the Lifetime Television one-season dramatic series "Side Order of Life." Also that year, she supported Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba in Bernie Goldmann and Melisa Wallack's dramatic comedy "Bill” and portrayed Ron Eldard's murdered wife in Joe Otting's thriller, "Already Dead."

“I thought I’d be playing the girl next door. But, no matter how I look, the freak inside me leaks out. They make undergarments for that.” Marisa Coughlan (on the type of parts she plays)

Coughlan is now on set and will soon complete her upcoming film project, "The Dissection of Thanksgiving," a comedy by Rafael Monserrate in which she will co-star with Kathleen Quinlan.


  • Young Hollywood: One to Watch - Female, 2001

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