Fangirl Fridays - Lauren Graham

Lorelei Gilmore was one of the most iconic TV mothers in history (at least from my perspective). Lorelei would not have been such an iconic role with just anyone portraying her. Lauren Graham gave that character a life and personality that few could have accomplished. That role is the one that introduced most of us to Lauren Graham. And, I for one, am forever grateful. Lauren Graham is an amazing actress and woman. She's someone I aspire to be when I grow up, regardless of the fact that I just turned 30. So, for my turn on Fangirl Friday, right after the jump, I'll be flailing about Ms. Graham and hopefully convincing you to love her too! I mean really, who wouldn't?





Personal Life and Early Career
Lauren Graham High School Yearbook Photo
Source
First some background info! Lauren Graham was born on March 16th, 1967, in Hawaii. She moved to the Washington, D.C., area when she was five because her father's job as a lobbyist required him to be in Washington. Growing up, she rode horses competitively and was on the drill team in high school. She lived with her father in Washington after her parents' divorce. They both remarried and she has three half siblings from her parents' second marriages. Lauren attended Barnard College, which is adjacent to Columbia University and one of the Seven Sisters schools. She then achieved a masters in acting performance from Southern Methodist University. She started out making commercials and doing odd jobs in the industry, like being a mascot and hosting movie previews for The Movie Channel. She also used her higher education to teach SAT prep courses while auditioning for various roles. 

Before her first starring role as Lorelei Gilmore, Lauren had guest starring roles on a number of TV shows. She had a three episode arc on Law & Order. She was Jerry's speed-dial ranking girlfriend on Seinfeld and had recurring roles on Caroline in the City, Newsradio and 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Gilmore Girls
After four failed pilots, Lauren hit the jackpot with Gilmore Girls and Lorelei Gilmore. In case you aren't familiar, Gilmore Girls is a show about a young mother and her teenage daughter and their small town life. Lorelei was a teenage mother from a very wealthy background. At the start of the show, she is 32 and the manager of an inn, with a 16 year old brainiac daughter named Rory. Unlike most mothers and teenage daughters, they are best friends and their conversations are rapid fire and filled with pop culture references and jokes. Which is where the show gets its tag line: Life's short, talk fast. Their world is filled with the residents of their quirky small town and some members of the upper crust via Lorelei's estranged parents and Rory's classmates at Chilton, the private school she attends. The show follows the Gilmore girls' life through Rory's graduation from Yale University.

Lorelei Gilmore is an amazing character. But, she wouldn't have been nearly as beloved without Lauren Graham's terrific performance. Lorelei needed the right kind of actress to keep the character from becoming an over the top caricature. Lauren Graham was exactly the person for the job. She brings such sincerity to the role. But, she also brings a vibrancy and charm that was absolutely necessary for Lorelei. Lorelei is the heart of the show and Graham's portrayal made what could have been a mediocre show a hit. Gilmore Girls could have crashed and burned horribly with its quirky sense of humor and fast paced dialog. But, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel and the rest of the cast brought it down to earth and made it accessible and beloved. Even though the show had seven seasons and ended in a really good place, I still dream of a reunion show or movie just to get a fix of Lorelei and Rory. The reruns I tape every day on ABC Family just aren't enough.

Parenthood
Source
In 2010, Lauren Graham, once again, struck television gold. After Maura Tierney had to drop out of a project, they asked Ms. Graham to take her place. The show was Parenthood. It centers around a California family, the Bravermans, and their trials and tribulations. Lauren plays Sarah, a 40 something divorced mom of two. In the pilot, she and the kids are forced to move back in with Sarah's parents after some tough financial times. The show was a sleeper hit and is now in it's fifth season. It is a unique combination of comedy and heartbreak, sometimes all in one episode. And, once again, Lauren brings a character to life with her charisma and charm. The show has been critically acclaimed for their work and ratings continue to rise. In my opinion, Lauren's character, Sarah, hasn't been getting the best story lines, but nonetheless, Lauren brings such life to her characters that it doesn't matter that much. If you haven't seen Parenthood, I highly recommend it. But, be prepared for some tears. It's a rare episode that doesn't have me misty eyed over something.

Film and TV Career
While on hiatus from her various shows and in between Gilmore Girls ending and Parenthood, Lauren has made several movies as well. Most notably, playing Steve Carrell's wife in Evan Almighty. She also co-starred in Bad Santa, Because I Said So, The Pacifier, and It's Kind of a Funny Story. She's also done voice over work for several things, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and an episode of Family Guy (one of my personal favorite episodes, Road to Europe). In addition to a healthy film career, Lauren has been a guest star in nearly every major TV show throughout her early career and continues to do a number of commercials and has been a spokeswoman for several companies. She's never lacked for work and is also spoken very highly of by her co-stars.

Broadway
Ms. Graham spent her early acting career on stage. In 2009, she got the chance to return, this time making her Broadway debut in a revival of Guys and Dolls. The show, as a whole, received mixed reviews, but Lauren's performance was well spoken of overall. Critics praised her fresh take on the pivotal role of Miss Adelaide. So, not only can Lauren act, but she can sing and dance too! She's a true triple threat, which wins over this theatre nerd's heart in an instant. Here's a clip of her performing one of the songs from the show at a Tony Awards event:

Author
On April 30th, 2013, Ms. Graham's debut novel was released. It's called Someday, Someday, Maybe. It is a fictionalization of her early years as an actress in New York. It made the New York Times Best Seller List and was mostly well reviewed. The Washington Post review says the book succeeds largely because of Ms. Graham's confidence and ceaseless wit. Shortly after being released, Lauren signed a deal with Warner Brothers and Ellen DeGeneres' production company to turn the book into a pilot. Lauren herself was asked to write the script, which, if picked up, will air on the CW. Until I started writing this piece, I was unaware of both the book and the forthcoming TV show. Needless to say, I became an even larger fan of Ms. Graham. I'd love to write a book someday, but I'm not terribly good at dialog. In any case, she's added another book to my ever-growing To Be Read list and I can't wait to have some time to read this one!

Fun Facts
  • She can't leave home without a book to read in case things get boring.
  • She also taught herself to read and skipped kindergarten.
  • She does not own a microwave.
  • She has a fear of karaoke.
  • In college, she was in an a cappella group called the Metrotones.
  • Her dream role is Lady Cora's sister on Downton Abbey.
  •  Her first paying acting job was as a pregnant teen in a Planned Parenthood training film.
  • She made it to the championship game in Season 2 of Celebrity Poker Showdown.
  • She is dating her Parenthood co-star Peter Krause, who plays her older brother on the show.
  • She dated Matthew Perry while working on Gilmore Girls and Perry was still working on Friends. So, Lorelei and Chandler used to date!
  • On a personal note, I was once told that I reminded someone of Lauren Graham and it was one of the best compliments I've ever received.
There's also this gem of a story from an appearance on The Ellen Show:
Still not won over? Take a look at these hilarious clips from interviews given throughout the years. I defy you to not fall in love with this charming, adorable and hilarious woman.

So, Saucy readers? What do you think of Lauren Graham now? I hope I've convinced you to love her as much as I do. If not, more for me to love! Let me know in the comments!

Comments

  1. Love the Gilmore Girls! Love Lauren Graham as Lorelei. Love your post Anne.

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