She was born into a show business family, but actress Jordan Ladd resisted the easy path to a thriving acting career, paving her own way in small-budgeted films before finding her niche in the works of popular genre filmmakers Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino. As the sadistic pleasures of Roth's "Cabin Fever" (2003) and "Hostel: Part II" (2007) and Tarantino's "Grindhouse" (2007) unfolded, Ladd had clearly taken up residence in projects far from the relatively sedate offerings from her famous clan - mother, Cheryl Ladd of "Charlie's Angels" fame and grandfather, big screen tough guy, Alan Ladd.
Born and raised in Hollywood, CA, Jordan Elizabeth Ladd was born on Jan. 14, 1975. The Ladd family came from well-tended show business stock, with her grandfather the famed actor Alan Ladd, best known for his role in "Shane" (1953), her father, David Ladd, an actor and producer with MGM Pictures; and her mother, blond beauty and 1970s icon, Cheryl Ladd. As a baby, Ladd traveled with her mother to auditions, thus getting a feel for the family business from the get-go, appearing in commercial spots for Polaroid cameras that featured her soon-to-be-famous mom. When Ladd turned two, her mother's career skyrocketed when she was hired to replace pin-up girl Farrah Fawcett on "Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981). At age four, Ladd kept it in the family, even playing a childhood version of her mother's character, private detective Kris Munr .
Although Ladd's parents divorced in 1980, they collectively shielded their daughter from the tough realities of show business. Luckily, she tended to be engaged with more normal childhood activities and less intrigued by the history of her pedigree. In the midst of her tenure at Southern Methodist University at University Park, TX, however, Ladd realized she had little interest in finishing up her studies. Dropping out, she resolved to start acting professionally, and after returning to Los Angeles, made a cameo in one her mother's made-for-television movies, "Broken Promises: Taking Emily Back" (1993). Still, the young Ladd had no intention of riding on her mother's coattails or her family name. Though a difficult task initially, it was not long before she began landing work on her own merits.
Ladd's path into the heart of show business began by sticking her t in the burgeoning world of independent cinema. In 1994, she filmed the erotically-charged vampire thriller "Embrace of the Vampire" (1995) followed by working alongside acclaimed writer-director Gregg Araki on the film "Nowhere" (1997). She was scheduled to appear in Araki's previous film "The Doom Generation" (1995), but her mother thought the content was too racy and nixed the idea. At the end of 1996, she had segued into network television, shooting the HBO comedy drama "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (1997). She also had a budding love life offscreen, having met and fallen for local L.A. musician Conor O'Neill. Between 1996-97, Ladd saw two potential Fox network pilots - the comedy "Youth in Revolt" and the mystery drama "Soul Mates" - derail. Despite the disappointing setbacks, television continued to beckon, so she moved to primetime series guest work when she appeared on an episode of Steven Bochco's short-lived drama "Total Security" (ABC, 1997).
She initially decided against working with her mother onscreen, wanting to establish herself first, but Ladd auditioned for the television movie "Netnapped," after which director Bill Norton recruited Cheryl Ladd to play her mother. The timing seemed right. The on-air result - retitled "Every Mother's Worst Fear" (1998) - would tackle the timely dangers of teenagers lured by online sexual predators. That same year, Ladd learned the ways of studio filmmaking with "Never Been Kissed" (1999), playing the tormentor of the comedy's lead, Drew Barrymore. She capped off 1998 in the independent feature comedy "The Specials" (2000), playing the neurotic superheroine, Nightbird.
By the time the new decade arrived, Ladd was mixing things in up in a slew of different projects, big and small. Telefims for the likes of cable networks Lifetime and E! were alternated with further forays into big screen ventures. Ladd took on the intense role of the junkie Niki in the filmed adaptation of "Junked" (2000). In 2001, she would plumb the depths of "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05) as guest star, before beginning a fruitful working relationship with budding horror director Eli Roth, who cast her in his film "Cabin Fever" (2002). Ladd played Karen, one of five friends who go on a mountain retreat and are faced with a deadly, body-eating virus. The outcome was much happier for Ladd and longtime boyfriend O'Neill, who tied the knot that year.
Lightening things up, Ladd tried indulging her funny bone a bit into 2002. She took a more comically horrific onscreen vacation to "Broken Lizard's Club Dread" (2004), an island paradise resort stalked by a madman. Ladd got a big boost when "Cabin Fever" became a breakout hit in 2003, but jumped back into comedy when she landed a role in the low-budget service industry satire, "Waiting " (2005), starring Ryan Reynolds. Deftly alternating between laughs and thrills, she segued from the cabin to a mental institution as an intern at the "Madhouse" (2004).
In 2006, Ladd seemed to fully embrace her emerging status as a minor modern horror queen. Based out of New York City with O'Neill, she was cast by Quentin Tarantino in the role of Shanna, one of a handful of Stuntman Mike's female victims in the "Death Proof" segment of "Grindhouse" (2007). Eli Roth even earmarked her for a role in one of the double bill's mock-horror trailers, as well, entitled "Thanksgiving." After "Death Proof" filming commenced, Ladd was off a month later to the Italy and Prague shoots of Roth's entertainingly gruesome "Hostel: Part II" (2007).
Cast (Feature Film)
Starred in "Death Proof," Quentin Tarantino's half of the goretastic double feature "Grind House" a collaboration with Robert Rodriguez