Family & Companions
A striking and intelligent leading lady, Lauren Holly found success as an actress in both television and film. Known first as the tough but sensitive Deputy Maxine Stewart on the Emmy Award-winning "Picket Fences" (CBS, 1992-96), Holly garnered critical acclaim for her refined performance in "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (1993) and drew raves for her comedic prowess opposite the then new comedy giant, Jim Carrey in the less-than-sophisticated hit, "Dumb & Dumber" (1994). Their relationship off screen propelled her to heretofore undreamed of heights, with the tabloids following their every move throughout their tempestuous romance and marriage in the mid 1990s. The spotlight was so firmly fixated on the Carrey connection or what hair color Holly would debut next, that it was often forgotten that the actress was a smart and charismatic leading and supporting player. In 2006, she returned to her television roots as NCIS Director Jenny Shepard on the CBS series "NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ), putting to rest any doubts that her past onscreen success, both on the big and small screen, was a fluke.
Born Lauren Michael Holly on Oct. 28, 1963 in Bristol, PA to parents Grant Holly and Michael Ann, Holly grew up in Geneva, NY. The child of two professors, Holly grew up in an academic household, with her father teaching English Literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, while her mother taught art history at the University of Rochester and served as chair of the department. After graduating from Geneva High School in 1981 - where she had been a cheerleader and active student - Holly went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, graduating in1985 with a BA in English Literature. Rather than follow in her parents academic footsteps, Holly moved to Los Angeles upon graduation, to pursue her dream of acting.
Only a year after moving to LA, Holly landed a breaking role on the popular daytime soap "All My Children" (ABC, 1970-2013). Portraying the sweet, virginal Julie Rand Chandler on the series, Holly quickly gained a bit of a soap-world following and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1987. Next, Holly appeared in a recurring role on "My Two Dads" (NBC), before landing her first starring role portraying Betty Cooper in the TV movie "Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again" (1990). Hoping to find success on the big screen, Holly appeared opposite Andrew Dice Clay in the misguided and misogynistic "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" (1990). Though the film was not a huge box office success, it helped lead Holly to her breakout role on the small screen.
Cast as Deputy Maxine Stewart on the critically acclaimed David E. Kelly drama "Picket Fences" (CBS, 1992-1996), Holly quickly became a household name - so much so, that she landed her first leading feature role soon after making a splash on "Picket Fences." In the biopic "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (1993) opposite Jason Scott Lee, Holly gave an affecting and nuanced performance as Linda Lee, wife of the infamous, ill-fated martial artist. Well received by critics, this performance helped launch Holly's big screen career.
Though Holly had previously turned down the Courteney Cox role in "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective" (1994) due to scheduling conflicts with "Fences," she was soon offered another chance to work with rising star Jim Carrey in the comedy "Dumb and Dumber" (1994). A box office smash, "Dumber" grossed more than $200 million worldwide. In Holly's personal life, the film sparked a romance between the actress and Carrey; the pair wed in 1996. Like many Hollywood marriages, however, Carrey's celebrity complicated the couple's relationship leading them to divorce a year later.
Holly went on to find work in a number of films - she portrayed the fiancée of playboy Greg Kinnear in the 1995 remake of "Sabrina," directed by Sydney Pollack; appeared in the ensemble Ted Demme drama "Beautiful Girls" (1996), and starred opposite Kelsey Grammer in the misguided comedy "Down Periscope" (1996). Holly re-teamed with her "Sabrina" co-star Kinnear once more in 1997 to portray a couple trying to conceive a child in the romantic comedy "A Smile Like Yours" (1997). Playing against type in Edward Burns' "No Looking Back" (1998), Holly drew from her experience as a waitress growing up to portray the character of Claudia, a small town, working-class waitress.
Holly landed a number of supporting roles next; appearing in the Oliver Stone sports drama "Any Given Sunday" (1999), in Nancy Meyers' "What Women Want" (2000), and joined the cast of "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) in a recurring role during the series' final season. By this time, however, the roles Holly was being offered were decidedly less in terms of quantity and quality, so Holly split Hollywood. Marrying investment banker Francis Greco in 2001, the actress relocated to Forrest Park, IL in order to raise a family. She continued to work, starring in the TV movies "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot" (2001), and "King of Texas," (2002) a western adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" opposite Patrick Stewart. Holly also appeared in the independent film "The Chumscrubber" (2005) and the political thriller "Fatwa" (2006). Returning to series television in 2006, Holly joined the cast of the CBS crime drama "Navy NCIS," as NCIS Director Jenny Shepard.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
TV acting debut, a guest appearance in an episode of "Spenser: For Hire"
Feature acting debut, "Band of the Hand"; appeared opposite first husband Daniele Quinn
Portrayed teen heroine Julie Chandler on the ABC daytime soap, "All My Children"
Had recurring role on the NBC sitcom "My Two Dads"
Had female lead opposite Andrew Dice Clay in "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane"
TV-movie debut, as Betty in "Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again" (NBC)
Co-starred in the short-lived series, "The Antagonists" (CBS)
First feature lead role, "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story"; played Lee's wife Linda
Acted with future husband Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber"
Played Greg Kinnear's fiance in "Sabrina"
Acted in Ted Demme's "Beautiful Girls"
Reteamed with Kinnear for the romantic comedy "A Smile Like Yours"
Starred opposite Ed Burns in Burns' "No Looking Back"
Had role alongside Stephen Dorff in Phil Joanou's autobiographical "Entropy"; released direct-to-video in 2000
Played Dennis Quaid's wife in "Any Given Sunday", directed by Oliver Stone
Returned to series TV playing a plastic surgeon on "Chicago Hope", overseen by David E Kelley
Appeared with Peter Falk and Timothy Hutton in "VIG"; film premiered on Cinemax
Cast as an aspiring actress in "The Last Producer"; screened at Cannes; aired on USA Network in 2001
Joined the cast of "NCIS," (CBS) as Jenny Shepard, the head of the NCIS unit
Co-starred in Arie Posin's ensemble "The Chumscrubber," a darkly satiric story about life crumbling in the midst of a seemingly idyllic suburbia
Cast opposite Alan Arkin in director Neal Miller's character-driven comedy drama, "Raising Flagg"