Heather Graham was brought up in a traditional Catholic
family of Irish descent. She's since estranged herself
from the Catholic Church she grew up in, saying it is,
"made up of closed-minded men who believe a woman's
s--uality is evil... Why do I have to do what all these
men are saying?" She's practiced transcendental
meditation since 1991.
Her father, Jim, is a retired FBI agent and her mother, Joan, is a noted author of children's books. Graham has a younger sister Aimee Graham, who is also an aspiring actress and writer. Growing up in Virginia, Heather attended North Springfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia. Her family then moved to the Conejo Valley in California where she attended Sumac Elementary School, Lindero Canyon Middle School, and finally, Agoura High School.
Initially, Heather Graham's parents were very supportive of her budding acting career; her mother drove Graham to her auditions. However, her father and mother were adamant that she should not appear in any movie featuring s--.This may have cost her the lead role in Heathers in 1989, the dark high school comedy that made an instant star of Winona Ryder. Graham would appear fully n--- in several scenes in her breakout role in Boogie Nights. Graham is currently estranged from her parents, though they are reportedly seeking a reconciliation. Though her parents still observe the Catholic faith, Graham has publicly discussed her conversion to a new-age eastern-based religion and philosophy.
After high school, Graham enrolled in the University of California at Los Angeles. While pursuing a drama degree at UCLA, Graham met James Woods. Their subsequent romantic involvement led to Graham being cast in Diggstown (1992), which starred Woods. After two years had passed, Graham dropped out of UCLA to pursue acting full time, over her parents' objections. She moved to Hollywood where she worked different jobs while continuing to establish herself as a starlet, for a time romantically involved and living with once famous New Romantic glam-rocker Adam Ant.
As a supporting actress, Graham was cast in a number of parts that brought her critical notice, including Nadine in Drugstore Cowboy 1989. However, her breakthrough role was that of Roller Girl in Boogie Nights (1997), for which she received several award nominations. Her first starring role was in 1999 with her lead role as Felicity Shagwell in Mike Myers' second Austin Powers comedy: The Spy Who Shagged Me. More recently, she starred as Mary Kelly in the film From Hell (2001), based on the story of Jack the Ripper.
Although Heather Graham has been prominently featured in mainstream films, she has also been cast in a number of independent films. Many of those films, like 2002's The Guru, have brought her critical praise.
Heather Graham was named by People Magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World 2001". In addition to her relationship with James Woods, she also has been romantically involved with actor Edward Burns, producer-director Chris Weitz, actor Josh Lucas, actor Heath Ledger, actor Elias Koteas, actor Kyle MacLachlan, and director Stephen Hopkins.
Heather Graham also played her-self on one episode of the hit series s-- and the City. Graham enjoyed special guest-star status on several episodes of NBC-TV's Scrubs during its fourth season (2004-2005), and also appeared in a small role as a teacher in an episode of Fox's Arrested Development. In 2005, Graham became the spokeswoman and TV model for Garnier brand of hair care products. Graham's print ad for Skyy vodka, which was photographed in 1993 (titled "#3, Entourage") is still appearing in national magazines today as well.
Graham's most recent project was starring in the ABC-TV comedy series Emily's Reasons Why Not in 2006. Despite an extensive ad campaign, ABC-TV announced that the show was canceled after its first airing on January 9, 2006. Because they print their covers weeks in advance and did not expect the quick cancellation, Life magazine did a cover story on Graham two weeks later in their January 27, 2006 issue and referred to her as "TVís s--iest star". They conducted an interview with her before the cancellation, and, ironically, Graham discussed how she liked to spend her time off.
Filmography for Heather Graham
- Emily's Reasons Why Not (2006)
- Gray Matters (2005)
- Cake (2005)
- Mary (2005)
- Scrubs (2005)
- Blessed (2004)
- Hope Springs (2003)
- Anger Management (2003)
- Alien Love Triangle (2002)
- The Guru (2002)
- Killing Me Softly (2002)
- From Hell (2001)
- Sidewalks of New York (2001)
- Say It Isn't So (2001)
- Committed (2000)
- Bowfinger (1999)
- Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
- Lost in Space (1998)
- Scream 2 (1997)
- Boogie Nights (1997)
- Two Girls and a Guy (1997)
- Nowhere (1997)
- Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996)
- Swingers (1996)
- Terrified (1996)
- Kiss & Tell (1996)
- Desert Winds (1995)
- Run for Cover (1995)
- Let It Be Me (1995)
- Don't Do It (1994)
- Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994)
- Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
- Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
- The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)
- Diggstown (1992)
- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
- Shout (1991)
- Guilty as Charged (1991)
- I Love You to Death (1990)
- Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
- Twins (1988)
- License to Drive (1988)
- Student Exchange (1987)
- Mrs. Soffel (1984)