“I am incredibly ambitious. I want to sink my teeth into a part and show what I can do, and I want it to happen now.” Rebecca Gayheart
American former model and actress of Irish, Italian, German and Cherokee descent Rebecca Gayheart was famous for her appearances in a series of commercials for Noxzema skin cream (early 1990s) and won notice as Luke Perry’s bride in the syndicated series “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1995). She is also known for playing roles in such movies as Scream 2 (1997), Nothing to Lose (1997), Urban Legend (1998) and Jawbreaker (1999). Gayheart currently stars as Judy Nash in the television series “Vanished” (2006).
Off screen, an ex-model, Gayheart has measurements 34B-25-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine). In June 2001, the blue-eyed beauty accidentally struck and killed the 9-year-old Jorge Cruz Jr. with her car while he was home from school and jaywalked across the street. The parents of the victim filed a wrongful-death claim against her two months later that forced Gayheart to pay for Cruz’s hospital and funeral expenses. In addition, Gayheart was sentenced to three years trial, a single year postponement of her driver’s license, was regulated to pay a $2,800 fine, did 750 hours of community service as well as ordered to make a public-service statement. On more private note, the dark-blonde actress was formerly engaged to director Brett Ratner (dated in 1989, spilt up as of 1999) before marrying actor Eric Dane in 2004.
$300 Trip to New York
Childhood and Family:
In Hazard, Kentucky, Rebecca Gayheart was born on August 12, 1972. She was raised in Pinetop, Kentucky as one of four children to a cool miner and a cosmetics salesperson. Rebecca was educated in Knott County Central High School in Hindman, Kentucky, but later transferred to Professional Children’s School in New York. She also studied acting with the Lee Strasberg Institute. At age 15, she left home with $300 in her pocket to pursue modeling and acting career in New York.
As for her private life, 5’ 8” actress was married to actor Eric Dane on October 29, 2004. Her hobby is rollerblading and listening to rap music. She keeps a maltese named Teacup as her pet.
Kentucky-born and raised Rebecca Gayheart left home for New York City at age 15 after becoming the winner of a modeling competition that assured a career in the big city. Starting out modeling underwear in JC Penney and Sears catalogues, Gayheart had landed her foremost gig as the Noxzema Girl by year 1991 and became nationally recognized for her performances in a string of this skin cream commercials.
When she trained at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute, Gayheart began to get herself bit parts and extra work on such soaps as “One Life to Live” and “All My Children,” as well as on the sitcom “The Cosby Show.” Her first regular came in 1992 when she was cast as Hannah Mayberry, a college student obsessed with her professor, on the ABC daytime series “Loving.” Though her role lasted in 1993, it opened Gayherth’s doors to subsequent TV works, including as Clair Armstrong in some installments of the syndicated TV-movies Vanishing Son (1994) and the wife of a craven government agent in the soon-cancelled sci-fi series “Earth 2” (1994-95). Still in 1995, she memorably played Toni Marchette McKay, the hopeless bride of Dylan (Luke Perry), in the worldwide hit series “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
After a guest spot in an episode of “Sliders” (1996), Gayheart, who already had a film exposure with the Brett Ratner-helmed short What Ever Happened to Mason Reese? (1990), hit the silver screen movie for the first time when Martin Donovan cast her in the supporting turn of girlfriend Lilli in the Gabriel Byrne vehicle Somebody Is Waiting (1996). She continued with roles in television film Robin Cook’s Invasion (1997, as Luke Perry’s lover) and in the action movie Nothing to Lose (1997, starred Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins), but it was Wes Craven’s Scream 2 (1997) that won Gayheart attention. As sorority sister Lois, Gayheart’s part was small, but it provided enough space for her to display her capability opposite such young stars as David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
The milky-skinned actress then was additionally featured in director-actor Dean Paras’ Hairshirt (1998), a comedy-romance co-produced by and starring Neve Campbell, landed a costarring role opposite Jared Leto and Alicia Witt in popular horror film Urban Legend (1998), headlined the unsatisfactory action Puppet (1999) for director Felix R. Limardo and had a second lead in the black comedy Jawbreaker, opposite Rose McGowan. Gayheart revisited the small screen by starring as Samantha ‘Sam’ Price in the ABC drama “Wasteland” (1999). The Kevin Williamson-created show, however, was axed immediately after its airings.
Gayheart continued to pursue her film career in the next years with performances in the disappointing horror movie From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (2000), which soon hit the video store, the thriller Shadow Hours (2000, also starred Balthazar Getty and Peter Weller), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000, made an uncredited cameo as nurse Brenda Bates), the short Doppelganger (2001) and the James Toback comedy Harvard Man (2001), reuniting with Sarah Michelle Gellar and costarring Eric Stolz.
Following a 2001 car accident that killed a 9-year-old boy, Gayheart got the termination of her advertising campaigns on both TV and magazines. Additionally, she lost all recent and future deals with companies whom were planning to recruit her as their poster woman. As for film, she only made one project, Pipe Dream (2002), where she shared the screen with Jill Hennessy and Mary-Louise Parker.
During 2003-2004, Gayheart focused on the small screen by undertaking one episode role as Dana in “What I Like About You” (2003), as well as recurring turns as Betty Rhomer in the Showtime “Dead Like Me” (2003), Suzanne Richland in three episodes of “The Division” (2004) and Natasha Charles in “Nip/Tuck” (2004). In 2005, she appeared on Broadway with the Shelby role (Julia Roberts role in the movie) in “Steel Magnolias,” re-embarked on the feature film as Gwen Mason in David Steiman’s Santa’s Slay and starred as Meghan in the made-for-TV film The Christmas Blessing.
Gayheart recently had a feature role in the comedy Love, Fear and Rabbits, starring Joey Lauren Adams and Laz Alonso, and starred in the title role opposite Kristen Dalton and Michael Duvert in the telepic Scarlett. She also guest starred in “Medium” (2006) and is now starring as Judy Nash in the drama series “Vanished” (2006).