A gifted character actress-musician, Taryn Manning channeled her real-life traumatic childhood into a series of powerfully realized roles as troubled young women in "crazy/beautiful" (2001), "Crossroads" (2002), "White Oleander" (2002), "8 Mile" (2002) and "Cold Mountain" (2003). Manning broke through with an impressive supporting role as a hard-luck hooker loyal to her pimp (Terrence Howard) in the Oscar-winning "Hustle & Flow" (2005), which sparked serious award talk for the actress. Besides running her own clothing line, Born Uniqorn, she also teamed with her brother Kellin to form the electro-duo Boomkat, who topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts with "The Wreckoning." Settling into character work, she impressed with recurring roles on "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 2008-14) and "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS, 2010- ) and recorded her first solo album, Freedom City, in 2012. Although she was most frequently cast as desperate, damaged women, Taryn Manning proved herself to be an entertainer of depth and range both musically as well as dramatically.
Born Nov. 6, 1978 in Tucson, AZ, Taryn Manning grew up immersed in singing, dancing and karate lessons that helped offset the more traumatic issues of her childhood, including her abusive father committing suicide. Demonstrating a charisma and verve well beyond her years, Manning and her mother moved to California so that the young girl could pursue an entertainment career. Making her debut in an episode of the children's comedy sketch show "All That" (Nickelodeon, 1994-2005), Manning went on to notch small roles in "Speedway Junky" (1999), "Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story" (ABC, 1999) and on "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004). Her breakthrough, however, came with a recurring role on the sitcom "Get Real" (Fox, 1999-2000), which featured such future stars as Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. Manning came into her own onscreen, however, when she played the drug-addicted best friend of Kirsten Dunst's troubled high school student in the acclaimed romantic drama "crazy/beautiful" (2001).
Her ability to give powerful life to damaged, hard-luck characters helped her stand out among her peers, and Manning continued to impress as a pregnant teen in the otherwise fluffy Britney Spears vehicle "Crossroads" (2002), a drug-addicted foster child in the searing Michelle Pfeiffer drama "White Oleander" (2002), and the desperately unhappy ex-girlfriend of Eminem's aspiring rapper in "8 Mile" (2002). After an impressive cameo as one of the Siren stand-ins in Anthony Minghella's Greek mythology-inspired Civil War epic "Cold Mountain" (2003), Manning delivered her star-making performance as Nola, a hard-edged but loyal Tennessee prostitute who successfully fights to jump start the music career of her incarcerated pimp (Terrence Howard), in the Oscar-winning drama "Hustle & Flow" (2005). For her work in the film, Manning was nominated for Best Breakthrough Performance by the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, and shared nominations with her co-stars for the ensemble acting by the Screen Actors Guild as well as the Black Reel Awards.
Manning also moonlighted as a designer with the clothing line Born Uniqorn, as well as a musician, most notably as one-half of the electronica duo Boomkat, which also included her brother, Kellin Manning. The band made their major label debut with 2003's Boomkatalog.One, which yielded a No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance Club Play hit, "The Wreckoning." They contributed to several film soundtracks, including those of "The Italian Job" (2003) and "Mean Girls" (2004), and released an EP, 2008's Runaway as well as a follow-up studio album, 2009's A Million Trillion Stars on their own label, Little Vanilla Records. After a role on the short-lived racing adventure "Drive" (Fox, 2007), Manning found herself relegated to mostly lower-profile projects, including roles in "Jack and Jill vs. the World" (2008), "The Devil's Tomb" (2009) and "Heaven's Rain" (2010). She came back in a major way, however, with two juicy recurring roles, including fugitive biker mama Cherry on "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 2008- ) and Mary Ann, the errant sister of Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), on "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS, 2010- ). She made headlines of the wrong kind when, in late 2012, she was charged with assaulting her personal assistant, although the victim later claimed it was a misunderstanding and Manning was given one day of community service. That same year, Manning released the single "Send Me Your Love," which was billed as the hype track for her first solo album, Freedom City.
By Jonathan Riggs
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Appeared in the drama feature "Speedway Junky"
Cast in recurring role on short-lived Fox series "Get Real"
Appeared as a groupie in "Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story" (ABC)
Acted in the Fox TV-movie drama "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"
Portrayed Kirsten Dunst's drug-addled best friend in the teen drama "Crazy/Beautiful"
Guest starred on episodes of "Boston Public" (Fox) and "NYPD Blue" (ABC)
Played rapper Eminem's former girlfriend in his semi-autobiographical feature acting debut "8 Mile"
Starred opposite Britney Spears in the coming-of-age road trip drama "Crossroads"
Formed electro-pop duo Boomkat with brother Kellin
Appeared in Anthony Minghella's war epic "Cold Mountian"
Boomkat released debut album <i>Boomkatalog.One</i>
Cast opposite Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet in the romantic comedy "A Lot Like Love"
Starred in Craig Brewer's "Hustle & Flow" opposite Terrence Dashon Howard
Starred in the Allan Moyle directed "Weirdsville" with Wes Bentley and Scott Speedman
Appeared on FX drama "Sons of Anarchy"
Co-starred opposite Helen Mirren in "Love Ranch," based on the true story of a married couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada
Landed recurring role on CBS' "Hawaii Five-O" reboot
Nabbed a part in the TV movie "Zombie Apocalypse"
Played the lead role of Cindy in "All American Christmas"
Landed the recurring role of Tiffany 'Pennsatucky' Doggett on the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black"
Appeared as a supporting character in "Experimenter"
Appeared in crime comedy "The Vault," alongside James Franco
Appeared in crime drama "The Brawler"