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Laura Elena Harring

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Also Known As: Laura Martinez Harring, Laura Harring Died:
Born: March 3, 1964 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mexico Profession: actor, cashier, sales clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Exuding an old school sexuality a la Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth, actress Laura Elena Harring launched her career by making history as the first Latina to be crowned Miss USA in 1985. A year after her reign, the striking brunette married a German count and swiftly began her acting career playing Raul Julia's wife in the NBC TV-movie "The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory" (1987). After clashing with her husband over her desire to pursue an acting career, Harring obtained a divorce and landed the lead in "The Forbidden Dance" (1990), as well as a one-year stint on the daytime serial, "General Hospital" (ABC, 1963- ). Her career officially took off, however, after she landed one of the leads in the David Lynch TV pilot, "Mulholland Dr." in 1999. When ABC passed on the project, Lynch received funding from producer Alain Sarde and StudioCanal to expand the material into a feature film, which was released to glowing reviews in 2001. From there, Harring was able to secure bigger and better projects, ever increasing her profile as an up-and-coming actress with an exquisite look and unique, sexy style.Herring was born on March 3, 1964 and raised in Los Mochis, Mexico. After her parents' divorce and mother's...

Exuding an old school sexuality a la Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth, actress Laura Elena Harring launched her career by making history as the first Latina to be crowned Miss USA in 1985. A year after her reign, the striking brunette married a German count and swiftly began her acting career playing Raul Julia's wife in the NBC TV-movie "The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory" (1987). After clashing with her husband over her desire to pursue an acting career, Harring obtained a divorce and landed the lead in "The Forbidden Dance" (1990), as well as a one-year stint on the daytime serial, "General Hospital" (ABC, 1963- ). Her career officially took off, however, after she landed one of the leads in the David Lynch TV pilot, "Mulholland Dr." in 1999. When ABC passed on the project, Lynch received funding from producer Alain Sarde and StudioCanal to expand the material into a feature film, which was released to glowing reviews in 2001. From there, Harring was able to secure bigger and better projects, ever increasing her profile as an up-and-coming actress with an exquisite look and unique, sexy style.

Herring was born on March 3, 1964 and raised in Los Mochis, Mexico. After her parents' divorce and mother's remarriage, her family relocated to Texas. Shortly after settling in San Antonio, Harring was the victim of a drive-by shooting when she was 12, suffering a head wound. Following her recovery, she was educated at boarding schools in Texas and at Aiglon College Villars in Switzerland, before winding up at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She eventually traveled the world, and while working as a restaurant cashier in the Philippines, was briefly detained by her love-smitten boss who had confiscated her passport. It was returned to her after her mother intervened. Returning to the United States, Harring found employment as a sales clerk in a clothing store. On a dare, she entered a local beauty pageant and won. One pageant led to another and she eventually represented Texas in the Miss USA contest.

When she was called upon to crown her successor, a sharp-eyed produced noticed her charisma and beauty and offered her a chance to act in a TV-movie. Harring made her feature acting debut in the forgettable horror sequel, "Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!" (1989), and followed it up with the role of a Brazilian woman out to introduce the Lambada to American audiences in the cheesy "Dirty Dancing" (1987) rip-off, "The Forbidden Dance." After her stint on "General Hospital," she was still relegated to less than stellar fare, like the direct-to-video release, "Dead Women in Lingerie" (1990). Garry Marshall tapped her to play a sultry tour guide of the titular sexual haven in "Exit to Eden" (1994) and she briefly returned to the world of daytime when she joined the NBC serial "Sunset Beach" in 1997, starring as policewoman Paula Stevens. Unhappy with the development of her character's storyline, she opted out of the daytime world.

In 1999, Harring was on to bigger and better things, landing what she had hoped would be her breakthrough - the part of a mysterious amnesiac who is befriended by a perky aspiring actress in Lynch's proposed TV series, "Mulholland Dr." While she had to bide her time until the project found its ultimate form as a typical Lynchian film, Harring eventually earned a career-making payoff. As Rita - who takes her name from Rita Hayworth - Harring delivered a terrific, dreamlike and sensual turn, nicely playing off co-star Naomi Watts. Even when the film ventured into oddball territory, she managed to hold the audience's attention. Between the re-shoots and the film's ultimate premiere at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, the actress continued to remain busy, scoring a supporting role in the Adam Sandler comedy "Little Nicky" (2000) and a turn as the mother who fled Cuba with her son in the Fox docudrama, "The Elian Gonzalez Story" (2000). Following her work as the femme fatale in "Mulholland Dr.," Harring was cast - in her words - as a "trashy, suburban character" in the big screen action drama "John Q" (2002).

The following year, she was cast in the rat-themed horror remake "Willard," which starred Crispin Glover as the title character. In "The Punisher" (2004) - the second big-screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' gun-toting anti-hero - Harring was again a lovely vision onscreen and displayed a provocative and simmering chemistry with co-star John Travolta while playing his villainous character's wife, Livia Saint. Indeed, the film initially seemed to promise that Harring would end up as evil, or worse, as Travolta, but the script ultimately did not deliver. After a turn opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in "The King" (2005), she joined the cast of FX's gritty police drama, "The Shield" in a recurring role as a defense attorney for wrongly-accused Detective Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky (Kenneth Johnson), who constantly clashes with Strike Team leader Vic Macky (Michael Chiklis) over his lies and deceptions. Meanwhile, she made a return to features with "Nancy Drew" (2007), playing a murdered actress whose death is investigated by a quirky tweener detective (Emma Roberts) newly relocated to cliquey Hollywood High.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Sex Ed (2014)
2.
 Ice Scream (2013)
3.
 Taco Shop (2012)
4.
 As Good As Dead (2010)
5.
 Drool (2009)
6.
 Caller, The (2008)
7.
 Ghost Son (2008)
8.
10.
 Nancy Drew (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Mexico
:
At age 11, moved with family from Mexico to Texas
1976:
Was the victim of a drive-by shooting at age 12 while living in San Antonio, Texas; suffered wound to the head
1982:
Stranded in the Philippines for eight months when the owner of the restaurant at which she was working as a cashier confiscated her passport because he was infatuated with her
:
Returned to USA and lived in El Paso, Texas; entered local beauty pageant in 1984
1985:
Won the title of Miss USA, becoming first (and to date only) Latina to hold that honor
1987:
TV-movie debut in "The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory" (NBC)
1989:
Feature film debut in "Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!"
1990:
Had lead role as a Brazilian woman who introduces the Lambada to the USA in "The Forbidden Dance"
1990:
Appeared as Carla Greco on the ABC daytime serial "General Hospital"
1994:
Had featured role in "Exit to Eden"
1996:
Appeared in the film "Black Scorpion II: Aftershock"; aired on Showtime
1997:
Portrayed policewoman Paula Stevens on the NBC daytime drama "Sunset Beach"
2000:
Cast as Marisleysis Gonzalez in the Fox docudrama "The Elian Gonzalez Story"
2000:
Appeared in "Little Nicky"
2001:
Made guest appearance on the Sci-Fi series "Black Scorpion"
2001:
Starred as a mysterious amnesiac in David Lynch's halucinatory "Mulholland Dr." (originally shot as a 1999 pilot for a potential ABC series; when the network passed, Lynch received funding to turn material into a feature film)
2002:
Appeared in the feature "John Q"
2003:
Cast as Cathryn in the thriller "Willard"
2004:
Played John Travolta's wife in "The Punisher"
2006:
Co-starred with Gael García Bernal in "The King," a low-budget American film by the British documentary-maker James Marsh
2007:
Cast in the big-screen adaptation of "Nancy Drew"
2007:
Had a supporting role in Gabriel Garcia Márquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Aiglon College: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

On working with David Lynch, Laura Harring told the New York Post (October 4, 2001): "He directed me in metaphors and similes, which was a new experience for me. Just hearing him talk, you jump into a new era. He uses phrases like, 'I'll be ding-danged' or 'Holy jumping George'."

"I've had to learn the hard way. You can't always get the ideal film, so you get what will offer employment." --Harring on her career choices to the London Times, December 9, 2001.

"I think that beauty pageants, if it's your choice, can be a wonderful experience. If you're shy it gets you out of your shell, it gives you confidence if you're insecure, but it's not going to help you in acting, that I found out." --Laura Harring quoted in Ritmo Beat, 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Carl Edward von Bismarck. German count; Harring had been roommates with his sister Claudia; became engaged in 1986; married in 1987; divorced c. 1990.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Raymond Herring. Farmer. Of German descent; divorced from Harring's mother in 1971.
mother:
Maria Martinez. Psychotherapist, former secretary. Mexican; divorced from Harring's father in 1971; remarried; moved Harring and her sisters to USA.
step-father:
Gaston Lima. Lawyer and doctor. Cuban; married Harring's mother; moved family to Texas; paid for Harring's schooling at private schools in Texas and Switzerland.
sister:
Rita Herring. Born c. 1967.
step-sister:
Ana Maria Lima. Murdered at age 24 in 1985.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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