1990s TV star Shannen Doherty attracted public attention for her portrayal as the twin sister of Jason Priestley, Brenda Walsh, in the hit teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-1994). The role caused her to become a tabloid favorite and she turned out to be the girl everyone loved to hate. She also gained notice when she was cast as one of the sexy sisterly trio of witches in WB's successful Charmed (1998-2001). On the silver screen, the best friend of actress Sarah Michelle Gellar could be seen in the notable films Night Shift (1982), Mallrats (1995), Nowhere (1997), Striking Poses (1999) and The Rendering (2002).
Off screen, 5' 3" inch tall Shannen, who posed for Playboy in 1993 and 2003, had dated many men. Her romantic life has been linked to photo studio owner Dean Factor, real-estate developer Chris Foufas, actor Judd Nelson, actor Rob Weiss and actor Andrew Levitas. She was once married to Ashley Hamilton and producer Richard Solomon. Recently, she became headlines due to her relationship with Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.
Childhood and Family:
In Memphis, Tennessee, Shannen Maria Doherty was born on April 12, 1971. She is the second child of a bank worker (Tom Doherty) and the owner of beauty parlor (Rosa Doherty). With older brother Sean Doherty (born in 1967), Shannen, whose nickname is Shando, was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. However, at the age of seven, her family moved to Los Angeles to begin the west coast branch of a family transportation business. When her father had a stroke following the bankruptcy of his trucking company, young Shannen became the primary source of income for her family.
During her school years, young Shannen was an attractive and talented child. She was self-assured, took part in school performances, and a hard working student. On the other hand, Shannen enjoyed her privacy and preferred to be alone rather than be with a crowd of people. Commenting about her behavior, she shared, "I had more fun playing by myself than with anybody else. I guess I was born that way. But at the same time, I was outgoing. I did all these plays, and when I was in Tennessee, I was active in the church. But I never really had sleepovers. I always wanted my time away from others."
Shannen, who has four horses and three dogs, currently lives on a horse ranch in Ventura County, California.
Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Shannen Doherty relocated to Los Angeles when her family started a new business. When she was seven, Shannen discovered she had an interest in acting and wanted to pursue acting professionally. When she was ten, Shannen appeared as a guest in the series Father Murphy. She then provided her voice as Teresa in The Secret of NIMH (1982) before being cast as Bluebird in the comedy film Night Shift (1982).
Actor/Director Michael Landon cast Shannen as Jenny Wilder in the last season of Little House on the Prairie (1982-1983). She next reprised her role in three made-for-TV Little House movies: Little House: Look Back to Yesterday (1983), Little House: The Last Farewell (1984) and Little House: Bless All the Dear Children (1984).
She continued to play roles on such small screen projects as CBS' miniseries Robert Kennedy & His Times (1985), played Alson Fielding in The Other Lover (1985,TV), was seen in Outlaws (1986) and played Wilford Brimley's granddaughter Kris Witherspoon in Our House (1986). She also played characters on the wide screen like Maggie Malene in Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985, together with Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt) and Heather Duke in Heathers (1989, opposite Winona Ryder).
In 1990, Shannen experienced a breakthrough when she was cast as the twin sister of Jason Priestley in FOX TV's Beverly Hills 90210 (seasons 1-4). She drew the attention of the media and the series became hit. Though Shannen gained celebrity status, she left the show in 1994 due to disagreements with the producers. Being asked about her departure, she said, "Let me start by saying it wasn't like I walked out one day and said, 'I quit.' It was a very long process of quitting the show. Aaron got as fed up with me as I was with the show, and I think it was because the notoriety was too much. People were hating the character and I couldn't take the abuse that came with that. People couldn't separate me from her and I got sick of people assuming that I was as naughty and bad as Brenda was. It was all very hurtful."
While working on Beverly Hills 90210, Shannen appeared in several TV movies including Forever Young (1991), The Secret of Lost Creek (1992), Freeze Frame (1992), Obsessed (1992), Blindfold: Acts of Obsession (1994), and A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story (1994).
After leaving 90210, Shannen decided to take a break from the public eye. During that time she was only seen in Almost Dead (1994) and Mallrats (1995). Shannen then decided to reach for celebrity status once more and appeared in Gone in the Night (1996), Sleeping with the Devil (1997, TV), Friends 'Til the End (1997, TV), Nowhere (1997) and The Ticket (1997, TV).
Shannen's next big break came when she was cast as Prue Halliwell in the WB successful series Charmed (1998). Starring with Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs, Shannen was one of a three-witch trio and her name once again became familiar. However, she left the show in 2001 due to a quarrel with Alyssa Milano. Finishing the decade, Shannen played the role of Gage Sullivan in Striking Poses (1999).
Entering the new millennium, popular Beverly Hills 90210 actress Shannen was seen on the tube in such films as Satan's School for Girls (2000), Another Day (2001), Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay (2002) and Nightlight (2003). She was also cast as Sarah in The Rendering (2002) and hosted the sci-fi game show Scare Tactics (2002). In 2004, she had a recurring role in the drama series North Shore. Recently, Shannen reprised her role in North Shore in two episodes: Shark, and The Ex-Games. She is also scheduled to play a role in the series Love, Inc. (2005).