Family & Companions
Despite having been in the spotlight for most of her life, actress Monica Potter struggled to make a name for herself in a variety of film and television projects. Potter had her official start with a short stay on the daytime soap opera "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1973- ), while appearing in high-profile features like "Con Air" (1997) and "Patch Adams" (1998) - none of which gave her an opportunity to display her true talents. Though she had her chance to shine in "Without Limits" (1998), the film's low profile and limited release dampened the effects of a solid performance. Undeterred, she plugged away for a few years in romantic comedies like "Head Over Heels" (2001) and "I'm With Lucy" (2002) until she found her stride not on the big screen, but on television. For two seasons, she delivered a fine performance as an upstanding attorney surrounded by more ethically-challenged counsel on the award-winning dramedy "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08), an opportunity that opened the doors for a prominent career on the small screen, including co-starring stints on the popular dramedy "Parenthood" (NBC 2010-15) and short-lived procedural drama "Wisdom of the Crowd" (CBS 2017).
Born on June 30, 1971 in Cleveland, OH, Monica Potter was raised the second oldest of four daughters by her father, Paul Brokaw, an inventor who created the first fire-retardant car wax, and her mother, Nancy, a former cleaning woman and secretary. From a very early age, Potter knew that she wanted to be an actress. Her parents were immediately supportive; even submitting photos of their daughter to a local talent agent. When she was 12, Potter began landing regular work in commercials, including one for shoe shine spray. Meanwhile, she grew up like any other American kid, attending the Catholic Villa Angela High School for girls before graduating from the public Euclid High School. After high school, she went to Chicago, then Miami in pursuit of her dream, modeling and appearing in television commercials along the way. In 1994, she moved to Los Angeles with her first husband, Tom Potter, where she began the usual rounds of auditions and taking acting classes.
Eventually, Potter appeared in a chewing gum commercial directed by acclaimed French filmmaker Luc Besson. Credited as her first major breakthrough, Potter landed representation at a top talent agency, which led to a regular stint on the long-running soap opera, "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1973- ), briefly playing Sharon Abbott for a couple of months. Soon she made her feature film debut as a biker girl in "Bulletproof" (1996), which she followed with a small role as the wife of Nicolas Cage in the action thriller "Con Air" (1997). She had a larger part in "Heaven or Vegas" (1997), playing the younger sister of an exotic dancer and prostitute (Yasmine Bleeth) struggling for a way out of her dead-end existence. In the hit "Patch Adams" (1998), she was a young medical student who attracts the amorous attention of an unorthodox physician (Robin Williams) who heals patients with laughter. Potter's first meaty role came with writer-director Robert Towne's "Without Limits" (1998), in which she played the college love interest of Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup), the legendary Olympic long-distance runner who died in a car accident while at the peak of his talent.
After playing an American woman who catches the eye of three British men (Joseph Fiennes, Tom Hollander and Rufus Sewell) in "Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence" (1998), Potter landed another substantial starring role in "A Cool Dry Place" (1999), playing the estranged wife of a Dallas lawyer (Vince Vaughn) who tries to reintegrate herself into their son's life. She next starred opposite Freddie Prinze, Jr. in "Head Over Heels" (2001), in which she played a so-called normal girl with four supermodel roommates who is dating a man she suspects of harboring a dark secret. Meanwhile, Potter was tapped to join Morgan Freeman for the crime thriller "Along Came a Spider" (2001), the second film featuring him as forensic psychologist Alex Cross. Potter played a Secret Service agent who pushes her way into Cross' investigation of a politician's kidnapped daughter after failing to keep the girl safe.
Potter took a turn into romantic comedy territory with "I'm With Lucy" (2002), playing a woman about to be married who recounts for her best friend her experiences with five blind dates, one of whom ultimately becomes her groom. Although her film career did not seem to be delivering on Potter's early potential, she nonetheless remained a regular face in features, playing Cary Elwes' estranged, suspicious wife in the brutal horror film, "Saw" (2004). Meanwhile, she established herself on television, co-starring in David E. Kelly's snarky lawyer series "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08) as Lori Colson, a principled, slightly unconfident attorney working alongside more ethically-challenged colleagues. After playing a prosecuting attorney in "Scott Turnow's Reversible Errors" (CBS, 2004), a legal thriller about a defense lawyer (William H. Macy) trying to get an innocent, mentally challenged man (Glenn Plummer) off death row, Potter continued her role on "Boston Legal" in a recurring fashion.
Returning to film, she co-starred in "Lower Learning" (2008), then starred in a new series, "Trust Me" (TNT, 2009), a drama that focused on the happenings at a Chicago advertising agency. She next played a concerned mother who hatches a plan to avenge her teenage daughter's brutal rape in "The Last House on the Left" (2009), before returning to television on the acclaimed comedy-drama "Parenthood" (NBC 2010-15), on which she co-starred as Kristina Braverman. After that series went off the air, Potter starred in a home renovations series, "Welcome Back Potter" (HGTV 2016), in which she oversaw the renovation of her own childhood home. Potter next joined the cast of procedural drama "Wisdom of the Crowd" (CBS 2017), but the underperforming series was pulled from the schedule after only a few episodes aired, following revelations of sexual misconduct charges against star Jeremy Piven.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Was cast as Sharon Newman on CBS daytime serial "The Young and the Restless"
Made her feature acting debut in "Bulletproof"
Played the wife of Nicolas Cage in action movie "Con Air"
Portrayed the love interest of doomed distance runner Steve Prefontaine in Robert Towne's "Without Limits"
Was cast opposite Robin Williams in "Patch Adams"
Snagged coveted female lead in British comedy "Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Lawrence" (released in U.S. under the title "The Very Thought of You")
Played Vince Vaughn's wife in John N. Smith's "A Cool, Dry Place"
Was cast as a Secret Service agent in "Along Came a Spider"
Delivered a comic turn as an art restorer who falls in love with her neighbor (Freddie Prinze Jr.) in "Head Over Heels"
Played the title role in "I'm With Lucy"
Co-starred in black comedy "Eulogy," which followed a dysfunctional family who comes together for the funeral of the patriarch
Played the role of Alison Gordon in the first "Saw" film
Starred on CBS miniseries "Reversible Errors" opposite Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy
Joined the cast of ABCs "Boston Legal" as Lori Colson, a junior partner
Cast in TNT drama "Trust Me" as Sarah Krajicek-Hunter, the new ad copywriter
Co-starred in horror remake "The Last House on the Left"
Was cast as Kristina Braverman, Peter Krause's wife, on NBC's series adaptation of the 1989 feature "Parenthood"
Co-starred on the crime drama "Wisdom of the Crowd"