Samantha Harris
Birth Date:
November 27, 1973
Birth Place:
5' 4"
TV personality
Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (graduated in 1996 with Bachelor of Science degree in journalism)
Show more

Dancing with the Stars


“I'd never really looked at women's bodies much before doing the show. Now, watching them dance in their sexy costumes with their ripped bodies makes me want to hit the gym even harder.” Samantha Harris (about the female participants on “'Dancing with the Stars”)

Television personality, actress and model Samantha Harris became famous to television reality show fans as a co-hostess on the ABC hit “Dancing with the Stars.” In addition to national attention, she shared two Emmy nominations in the category of Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for her work on the show. She later left “Dancing with the Stars” to concentrate on other projects, including her correspondent duties on the weekend edition of “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insiders.” A journalism graduate from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Harris began her hosting career with TBS' “The Man Made Movie” (2000) and went on to work in the shows “The Next Joe Millionaire” (Fox, 2003), “The View” (ABC) and “Extra” (Syndicated, 2003) before becoming a correspondent with E! Entertainment Television's “E! News” (2005), which she hosted, produced and wrote. Also a red carpet correspondent for the E! Channel, she has worked at the Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards. Harris began her tenure as a substitute host and correspondent on “The Insider” in December 2008. As an actress, she has appeared in several films, including “D3: The Mighty Ducks” (1996), “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (1999), “Beautiful” (2000) and “Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History” (2001, TV) and the series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." On stage, she is perhaps best known for playing Roxie Hart in her Broadway debut “Chicago” (2009). Other theater credits include “Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python” (2000) and “Reefer Madness” (2001). As a model, Harris has appeared on the covers of several magazines and in various ads and commercials.

Harris resides in Los Angeles, California, with her husband Michael Hess and their daughter Josselyn Sydney Hess (born in 2007). She is a skilled salsa, jazz, hip hop and swing dancer. Her favorite sports include swimming, basketball, hiking, kick boxing, rock climbing and horseback riding.


Childhood and Family:

On November 27, 1973, Samantha Harris Shapiro was born in Hopkins, Minnesota, to a Jewish family. Her father, Richard Shapiro, was a rock 'n' roll promoter while her mother, Bonnie Harris Shapiro, was a dancer. Her parents started King Richard's Faire, one of the country's first renaissance festivals, in 1972. Raised in and around the entertainment industry, Harris discovered she had a knack for performing and by age 10, had entered into the beauty pageant circuit. Known by family and close friends by the nicknames Sammy or Sam, Samantha was an honor student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, from which she graduated in 1996 with Bachelor of Science degree in journalism.

Samantha is married to Michael Hess, a financial wholesaler. The couple had a daughter they named Josselyn Sydney Hess on September 23, 2007.

E! News


In 1995, while a student at Northwestern University, Samantha Harris served as a field producer and entertainment news writer and reporter for the UPN owned KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After completing her studies, she tried her hand at acting and landed small roles in “D3: The Mighty Ducks” (1996), a comedy directed by Robert Lieberman that starred Emilio Estevez and Jeffrey Nordling, and “George of the Jungle” (1997), which starred Brendan Fraser. She next worked on the Matt Hill short film “The Paper Boy” (1998), with Sean Michael Allen, Jim Blanchette and Timothy Dowling, and the Michael Patrick Jann directed comedy “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (1999), starring Kirsten Dunst and Ellen Barkin.

In 2000, Harris toured North America with the “Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python” and returned to film when she was featured as Miss Minnesota in Sally Field's drama “Beautiful,” opposite Minnie Driver, Joey Lauren Adams, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Kathleen Turner, Leslie Stefanson, Bridgette Wilson, Kathleen Robertson and Michael McKean. She next portrayed Charlotte in an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” called “Sounds of Silence” (2001) and starred as Dawn Wells in the CBS television film “Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History” (2001), opposite Jon Wellner. She also co-starred in “Reefer Madness” (Original Los Angeles Cast) in 2001.

Harris got her first real break in the world of hosting in 2000 when she was recruited by TBS to co-host “The Man Made Movie” (2000), with Chad Taylor. She followed it up with an anchor stint on “Buzz L.A” on KLSX-FM in 2001. Her hosting gigs increased significantly in 2002 with work in TNN's reality game show “What Are The Odds,” a celebrity interview show on G4 Network called “Players” and “AMC Access,” the short lived spin-off of “Access Hollywood,” on the AMC channel (produced by NBC's “Access Hollywood”).

In 2003, Harris became the host of the reality TV “The Next Joe Millionaire” (Fox), a sequel to the wildly successful “Joe Millionaire.” The same year, she also worked as a guest co-host on the ABC daytime talk show series “The View,” alongside Barbara Walters. She also joined the syndicated news magazine show “Extra” as a weekend co-host.

Following her job on “Extra,” Harris served as the solo anchor for “THS Investigates” (E! Entertainment, 2004-2005), a spin-off series of “E! True Hollywood Stories.” In January 2005, she began working as a correspondent for E! Entertainment Television's “E! News.” Apart from producing, writing and reporting daily for “E! News,” she also served as a red carpet correspondent for the E! Channel's live award show coverage of the Emmys, Golden Globes and Oscars.

Harris' huge breakthrough arrived when she was hired as a co-host on the second season of the popular reality show “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006. With award winning host Tom Bergeron, she interviewed celebrity contestants and their professional dancing partners backstage before and after the couples performed their routines. Although she was on maternity leave in late 2007, Harris returned to the show on October 15, 2007, and would remain until the end of the ninth season. Brooke Burke took over her position as a co-hostess in 2010. Harris has also served as special correspondent on ABC's “Good Morning America.”

In 2009, Harris became a guest host for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The same year, she made her Broadway debut with the long running musical “Chicago,” where she portrayed the role of Roxie Hart. She performed at the Ambassador Theatre from July 6 to August 16, 2009. After her Broadway run, she recreated the role of Roxie in the Greenville, S.C., engagement of the national tour from August 18 to 23 at the Peace Center.

Recently, in 2010, Harris served as a correspondent on the syndication tabloid television news show “The Insider,” a spin-off of “Entertainment Tonight,” and the weekend edition of “Entertainment Tonight.”

Harris is also a model and has graced the covers of “Muscle & Fitness Hers” three times. Her face has also decorated covers of “Pregnancy & Newborn,” “Pilates Style,” “Fit Parent,” “First” and “US Today” and she has appeared in the publications “FHM,” “Self,” “Maxim” and “Shape.” Besides magazines, she has worked in various ads and television commercials. Sharing her secret to beauty, she stated, “I get eight hours of sleep a night, do yoga to relax and take brisk walks to wake me up.”


Show Less