Blonde, athletic, and unforgettable, Katheryn Winnick starred as Lagertha on the cable drama series "Vikings" (History 2013- ). Having grown up a self-proclaimed tomboy who spent much of her youth training in the martial arts, she was a natural fit for the character, a fierce warrior and mother who defends her tribe by whatever means necessary. Born in Toronto, Winnick earned her first black belt at age 13, and got her start in show business as a martial arts instructor on movie sets. However, her early acting appearances seemed to hint that there would be less testosterone in her future. Recurring appearances on the Canadian sitcom "Student Bodies" (Fox 1997-99) led to small roles in hit romantic comedy films including "Two Weeks Notice" (2002) and "50 First Dates" (2004). But it was her subsequent television work on the cable hit "Vikings" that gave her the opportunity to do some serious heavy lifting.
Winnick guest-starred on a number of series, including a searing 2007 episode of "House, M.D." (Fox, 2004-2012). In the episode, entitled "Eve," she played a rape victim whose physical and psychic trauma forced Dr. House to confront a painful secret from his past. These appearances paved the way for a season-long stint as Hannah Burley, a globe-trotting journalist on the popular crime procedural "Bones" (Fox, 2005-2017). Intended as a love interest for Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), Winnick said that when she was in discussions to play Hannah, the producers warned her that it would be a controversial role, since the show's many fans would be rooting for the two main leads, Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), to end up together. Hannah ultimately proved no match for Brennan and Booth's chemistry, but Winnick's star continued to rise, and after "Bones," she appeared in an episode of the action drama "Nikita" (CW 2010-14). There she broke out impressive fight movies during a chase sequence aboard a train.
During this time, Winnick continued appearing in movies, emerging relatively unscathed from the poor reception of "Killers" (2010), an action-comedy-romance that was widely considered a terrible example of all three genres. One of the film's few saving graces was a lengthy scene in Winnick, performing all her own stunts, attempted to kill Ashton Kutcher's lead protagonist. Meanwhile, she proved that she was game for anything in the quirky Charlie Sheen vehicle, "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" (2012), at one point showing up alongside a group of scantily-clad women dressed as Native American warriors. But Winnick also appeared in the metaphysical drama "Cold Souls" (2009) and the romantic drama "Love & Other Drugs" (2010), which were better received, relatively speaking. Clearly, the actress was poised for a breakout, and while she did not find it as a supporting character in "Stand Up Guys" (2012), at least the crime comedy gave her a chance to act across such legends as Al Pacino and Alan Arkin.
But in 2013, the ideal role came along in the form of "Vikings." In interviews, Winnick said she was drawn to the character of Lagertha, a bold shieldwoman of Norse legend, because of how ahead of her time she was. The feeling was mutual among the show's growing fan base, as Lagertha became one of the show's more popular characters.
Cast (Feature Film)
Made recurring television debut on "Student Bodies"
Made feature film debut in "Biohazardous"
Was a recurring guest star on "Bones"
Began co-starring on historical drama series "Vikings"
Appeared in the thriller "Geostorm"
Cast as Laurie Chambers in Stephen King adaptation "The Dark Tower"
Co-starred with John Travolta in crime drama "Speed Kills"