Family & Companions
Actress Kelly Rutherford became something of a regular fixture on television screens starting in the 1990s. With a sultry blond edge straight out of '40s film noir, the Kentucky-born actress dove into a steady string of network series, until hitting her stride as Megan Lewis, a resident on Fox's primetime soap drama "Melrose Place" (1992-99).
Kelly Rutherford Deane was born on Nov. 6, 1968 in Elizabethtown, KY. Her parents divorced when she was three, but her mother, Ann Edwards, who was a model, raised her and her younger brother on her own. The trio uprooted itself several times to neighborhoods in New York, Florida, and Arizona before landing in Newport Beach, CA by the time Rutherford was ready to attend high school. With a dream of acting professionally, Rutherford made a beeline for New York following her graduation and quickly began supporting herself as a commercial actress, working in spots with the likes of future "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004) sitcom star Matt LeBlanc.
Rutherford's first television series work came in 1987 in the form of the ABC soap "Loving (1983-1995). That October, she also nabbed a small part as a TV watcher in the action drama feature "Shakedown" (1988). She opted to return to California in 1989 for a greater shot at showbiz success and settled in Los Angeles, studying acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. While strengthening her acting chops, her teachers also encouraged her to amplify her sexuality, advice that came in handy when she returned to soap acting with the role of Sam Whitmore on NBC's brief offering, "Generations" (1989-1991).
Despite the short-lived shows, Rutherford was beginning to appear on bigger casting radars. ABC hired her to fill out the ensemble of a primetime drama called "Homefront" (1991-93), a period piece about American life after World War II. She served up a memorable portrayal of Judy Owen, a baseball-loving bartender, but the show was cancelled after barely two seasons - despite its critical acclaim and cult following. Rutherford made no haste, though, and by January of 1992, was back on television screens in CBS' movie of the week "Breaking the Silence" (1992).
In August of 1993, Rutherford was back doing series work with Fox's western comedy "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." (1993-94), as the Old West stunner Dixie Cousins. The next year, she nabbed the role of Kim in her first big studio feature, the Julia Roberts vehicle "I Love Trouble" (1994). In 1995, Rutherford was private investigator Frankie Collett, a regular on Fox's legal drama "The Great Defender" (1995-96), but, sadly, the show's trajectory was even shorter than her previous ones, reassigned to a summer slot after a shaky debut. After the inevitable cancellation, she was back on the primetime lineup that September with another legal drama, CBS' "Courthouse" (1995), portraying Christine Lunden.
Following her turns in the fictional legal system, Rutherford ran with true vampires as Caitlyn Byrne, a reporter romanced by a charismatic vampire leader on Fox's "Kindred: The Embrace" (1996-97). After a month on the air, the show tanked, but Rutherford would spend her summer getting acquainted with her biggest audience to date - as a regular addition to the cast of Fox's high-rated "Melrose Place." Rutherford played Megan Lewis, a sweet-natured hooker who married scheming surgeon Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro) in one of its many over-the-top storylines. She stayed on the immensely popular series until its finale in May of 1999.
From that point on, Rutherford continued to focus mostly on small screen work, with a varying degree of success. "Sherman Oaks," a CBS soap opera pilot for the 1999-2000 season, failed to make the cut and, in between, she took on another series remake role as Helen Kimble, the murdered wife in "The Fugitive" (2000-01), also for CBS. She capped out 1999 on the network's detective series "Nash Bridges" (1996-2001) and in a multi-episode role on the Fox comedy "Get Real" (1999-2000). In 2000, Rutherford chose to diversify a bit, returning to the studio film world in her first big budget film since "I Love Trouble," playing Christine in the popular "Scream 3" (2000), before dipping into small-screen colonial America as Lady Marisa Cosway in CBS TV movie, "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal" (2000).
At the turn of the millennium, Rutherford was consistently courted for television series and "movies-of-the-week." Beyond her status as a network staple, her personal life was in full swing, following her marriage to banker Carlos Tarajano in June 2001. Though CBS' pilot for "Eastwick," which followed the events of the feature film "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987) saw Rutherford playing a witch, the show again failed to develop. Feeling the strain, in January of 2001, Rutherford called her marriage quits, months after Tarajano was diagnosed with a heart condition and just a week before a television special produced by In Style magazine was to tout their celebrity wedding.
Despite the demise of her marriage, Rutherford continued working through her personal dramas. Ably cast over the years in tough-minded procedurals, she jumped from the CBS family over to ABC for its terrorist drama, "Threat Matrix" (2003-04). Her role as Special Agent Frankie Ellroy Kilmer barely lasted one season, as the series folded at the start of 2004. Without losing the intensity, Rutherford stayed in political mode, as NBC snatched her up to play another government agent, Sonny" Liston, on NBC's Pentagon drama, "E-Ring" (2005-06). Taking some time off from a hectic career, Rutherford again found love, this time with Daniel Giersch, a businessman whom she wed in August 2006 and with whom she had a son, Hermés Gustaf Daniel, two months later.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Had a recurring role on the ABC daytime drama "Loving"
Film debut in bit role in "Shakedown"
First regular television role in the NBC daytime soap "Generations"
TV-movie debut, "Breaking the Silence" (CBS)
Played Judy Owen, a baseball-loving bartender on the critically-acclaimed series "Homefront" (ABC)
Had recurring role on the FOX series "The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr"
Appeared as a regular on the short-lived FOX drama "Kindred: The Embraced"
Joined the fifth season of the FOX drama "Melrose Place" playing the role of gold-hearted prostitute Megan Lewis
Joined an ensemble cast in Wes Craven's "Scream 3"
Co-starred in the family drama, "Swimming Upstream"
Had a recurring role on "The District" (CBS) as Deputy Mayor Melinda Lockhart
Cast in the ABC series "Threat Matrix," as Special Agent Frankie Ellroy Kilmer
Cast in the short-lived NBC drama "E-Ring" as military staffer Samantha Liston
Played Lily van der Woodsen, the ex-ballerine turned socialite mother of Serena (Blake Lively) on the CW series "Gossip Girl"