"It takes a lot of guts to get up on top of a bar and dance." Piper Perabo Portuguese and Norwegian descendant actress Piper Perabo is most recognized for starring as aspiring songwriter Violet Sanford in David McNally's romantic Coyote Ugly (2000). She also played lead roles in such films as The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000), Lost and Delirious (2001), Slap Her... She's French (2002, a.k.a. She Gets What She Wants), The I Inside (2003) and Cheaper by the Dozen (2003).
Recently starring in the films Perception, George and the Dragon and A Piece of My Heart (a.k.a. Perfect Opposites), Perabo will soon be seen in the upcoming movies Edison, The Cave, Click, 10th & Wolf, First Snow, and will reprise her role of Nora Baker in Cheaper by the Dozen 2.
On a more personal note, the 5' 7" tall actress has dated Brandon Emerson since college.
Childhood and Family:
"I'm really kind of a lightweight when it comes to drinking. But I'm not one of those pink or blue-Hawaiian-tropical-drink girls. A cold can of Schaefer is." Piper Perabo
On October 31, 1977, Piper Lisa Perabo was born in Toms River, New Jersey, to a Portuguese father and a Norwegian mother. The eldest of three siblings, Piper has three younger brothers.
Piper attended Toms River High School North in New Jersey where her friends described her as "a sweetheart who was very kind and caring." While in high school, she was the president of the National Honor Society, the editor of the school literary magazine Polaris, as well as a member of the football team's Marinerettes. After finishing high school in 1994, Piper enrolled at the Ohio University and majored in Acting. A daughter of an English professor, Piper graduated summa cum laude with a BFA degree in 1998.
She Gets What She Wants
Having performed in high school yearly musicals like "Meet Me In St. Louis," "Mame," "Me and My Girl" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," Piper Perabo packed for New York to pursue an acting career. She took her first job as a waitress at an upscale restaurant while honing in on her acting talent at the LaMama Theater.
Piper then performed in such stage productions as "Arms and the Man," "Trinity," "Antigone," "Fool for Love," "Kindertransport," and "Our Town," and appeared on television in a commercial for Skittles candies.
Perabo landed roles in two of Todd Rohal's small-budget independent films: Single Spaced (as Giant Squid) in 1998 and Knuckleface Jones in 1999. She made her feature debut as Sara, the girlfriend of a hip-hop obsessed farm boy, in Marc Levin's drama comedy "Whiteboys" (1999, alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg). Next, she was cast as rookie FBI agent Karen Symphony in Des McAnuff's family comedy The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000, with Jason Alexander, Rene Russo and Robert De Niro).
Violet Sanford, an aspiring singer turned sexy bartender, in David McNally's edgy chick flick Coyote Ugly (2000) was Perabo's breakout role. She took guitar, piano, dance and bartending lessons to prepare for her character. The film, which also starred Maria Bello and Tyra Banks, received warm reviews and handed Perabo a MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Performance. Commenting on the film's choreography, Perabo said, "The choreography was specific to be moves any girl could pull off just jumping up on the bar."
After appearing in Jonathan M. Flicker's Indy film Followers (2000), Perabo became Jessica Paré's lover, the voraciously poetry reading, unapologetic, closeted lesbian Paulie Oster, in Lost and Delirious (2001, also starring Mischa Barton). The film, set in a posh, private boarding school, was directed by Lea Pool and based on the novel "The Wives of Bath" by Susan Swan. Perabo then starred as a French foreign exchange student, Genevieve Le Plouff, in Melanie Mayron's teen comedy Slap Her, She's French (2002, a.k.a. She Gets What She Wants), opposite Jane McGregor.
Perabo costarred as Robert Sean Leonard's wife in Roland Suso Richter's adaptation of Michael Cooney's play, The I Inside (2003, starring Ryan Phillippe). In that same year, she played the eldest daughter of Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt's twelve children, in Shawn Levy's family comedy film inspired by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey's novel, Cheaper by the Dozen (2003).
Costarring with Martin Henderson, Perabo was seen as a college graduate sweetheart in Matt Cooper's romantic drama A Piece of My Heart (2004, a.k.a. Perfect Opposites). Afterward, Perabo was cast as Princess Lunna in Tom Reeve's fantasy comedy George and the Dragon (2004, opposite James Purefoy) and recently starred in Irving Schwartz's drama movie Perception (2005).
Perabo will continue to entertain moviegoers. She will be seen in the upcoming drama Edison (starring Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman and Justin Timberlake) and Bruce Hunt's action thriller The Cave (with Cole Hauser and Morris Chestnut). Piper also nabbed roles in Ol Parker's comedy Click, Robert Moresco's crime drama 10th & Wolf (opposite James Marsden and Giovanni Ribisi), Mark Fergus' drama First Snow (with Portia Dawson and Rick Gonzalez) and will reprise her role as the eldest daughter of the Bakers in Cheaper by the Dozen 2, helmed by Adam Shankman.
- MTV Movie Awards: Best Musical Performance, Coyote Ugly, 2001