Perabo at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con
Piper Lisa Perabo
October 31, 1976
Stephen Kay (m. 2014)
Piper Lisa Perabo (// (listen); born October 31, 1976) is an American film and television actress. Since her breakthrough role in Coyote Ugly (2000), her films have included Lost and Delirious (2001), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), The Prestige (2006), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) and Looper (2012). She portrayed CIA Agent Annie Walker, the lead role on the USA Network spy drama series Covert Affairs (2010–14), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
Perabo was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Mary Charlotte (née Ulland), a physical therapist, and George William Perabo, a lecturer in poetry at Ocean County College. She is of English, German, and Irish (father) and Norwegian (mother) descent; her surname is sometimes mistakenly described as Portuguese. She grew up in Toms River, New Jersey.
Perabo's parents named her after actress Piper Laurie. She is the eldest of three children with two brothers, Noah (born 1979) and Adam (born 1981). She graduated from Toms River High School North in 1994, and earned a bachelor's degree in theater from Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in 1998. In 1996, she attended the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Program. She also studied Latin, physics, and poetry in her final year.
Perabo was first noticed a year before she graduated from college. She was in New York City, visiting her then-boyfriend, and accompanied him to an audition. Casting director Denise Fitzgerald spotted her and asked her to read for a part. She was not cast, but when Fitzgerald found out that she did not have any representation, she made phone calls on Perabo's behalf and found her an agent.
After graduating, Perabo moved to New York, where she worked as a waitress. She also studied acting at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and had roles in various plays. She was cast in her first feature film just a month after moving to the city, Marc Levin's comedy Whiteboyz. In 2000, she was cast in the romantic musical comedy-drama film Coyote Ugly as Violet "Jersey" Sanford, for which she won an MTV Movie Award for Best Music Moment for "One Way or Another". Despite the film's mixed response from critics, it was a box office success, grossing over $113 million worldwide. She also appeared in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as Everyone's Favorite FBI agent Karen Sympathy.
After the success of Coyote Ugly, Perabo decided to focus on independent films. In 2001, she starred in an independent Canadian drama called Lost and Delirious, playing a boarding school student who falls in love with a female classmate (played by Jessica Paré). The film was met with mixed reviews, but the performances of Perabo, Paré and co-star Mischa Barton were, however, widely praised. Perabo's performance in particular received critical acclaim, which Loren King of the Chicago Tribune remarked was her "breakout performance". Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman called her "an actress of glittering ferocity" and her performance "a geyser of emotion". Jim Lane of the Sacramento News & Review said that "Perabo is a revelation, wild and fiery — it's a breakthrough performance, astonishing in its fervency" and Roger Ebert praised her performance for its sincerity and "wonderful abandon and conviction".
The next year she starred as a French exchange student in the independent comedy Slap Her... She's French, which was shelved in North America for two years, then released under the new title She Gets What She Wants. The film was released under its original title in Europe. She had a role as the eldest Baker child, Nora, in Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), a role she reprised in the film's 2005 sequel. Her other films include The I Inside (2003), Perfect Opposites (2004), George and the Dragon (2004), The Cave (2005), Imagine Me & You (2005), Edison (2005), The Prestige (2006), and Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008). She appeared as a nutritionist on the Fox show House, in an episode entitled "Resignation".
In 2008, Perabo made her off-Broadway debut in the Neil LaBute play Reasons to Be Pretty. As the play's run was coming to an end, she read the script for the USA Network television spy series Covert Affairs: "I was reading movie scripts and I wasn't finding anything that was really speaking to me and my agent suggested that I read [the Covert Affairs script]. And I hadn't thought about doing television, but when I read it, it kind of changed everything for me. She's such a powerful character, she's so smart, the action is so intense, and I really thought it would be fun to do." The following year, she was cast as CIA field agent Annie Walker, the lead character in Covert Affairs. For her work on Covert Affairs, she received a nomination for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. The series ran for five seasons, from 2010 to 2014.
In September 2012, Perabo had a supporting role in the time travel thriller Looper. In December 2012, she was cast as a recurring character on the sitcom Go On. Her character, Simone, is a former member of Matthew Perry's character's support group, returning to the group and becoming his love interest. Perabo was originally scheduled to appear in three episodes, but this was increased to four. Perabo next had a starring role in the thriller Into the Grizzly Maze. She starred as Julia George in the ABC TV series Notorious in 2016. In June 2018, it was announced that Perabo was cast as Sara in the Netflix comedy series, Turn Up Charlie.
In 2013, Perabo became engaged to Stephen Kay, director and writer of film and television. On July 26, 2014, Perabo married Stephen Kay in New York City, New York. The two have no children, but Perabo is stepmother to Kay's daughter.
Perabo has been close friends with actress Lena Headey since they starred together in the 2005 films The Cave and Imagine Me & You. She speaks fluent French and is an advocate for LGBT rights and women's political leadership and serves on the Advisory Board of VoteRunLead. She is the part-owner of the prohibition-themed bar, Employees Only, in West Village, Manhattan, which opened in 2005, and the restaurant, Jack's Wife Freda, in SoHo, Lower Manhattan, which opened in 2012.
|1997||Single Spaced||The Dame||Short film|
|1999||Knuckleface Jones||That Girl||Short film|
|2000||Coyote Ugly||Violet "Jersey" Sanford|
|2000||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle||FBI Agent Karen Sympathy|
|2000||Followers||Girl at Party|
|2001||Lost and Delirious||Pauline "Paulie" Oster|
|2002||Slap Her... She's French||Genevieve Le Plouff||Also known as She Gets What She Wants|
|2003||Cheaper by the Dozen||Nora Baker|
|2004||Perfect Opposites||Julia Bishop|
|2004||The I Inside||Anna|
|2004||George and the Dragon||Princess Luna|
|2005||Karas: The Prophecy||Yurine||Voice; English version|
|2005||Imagine Me & You||Rachel|
|2005||Good Morning Baby||Gabriella||Short film|
|2005||Cheaper by the Dozen 2||Nora Baker-McNulty|
|2006||10th & Wolf||Brandy|
|2006||The Prestige||Julia McCullough|
|2007||Because I Said So||Mae Wilder|
|2007||In Vivid Detail||Leslie||Short film|
|2008||Beverly Hills Chihuahua||Rachel Ashe|
|2008||The Lazarus Project||Lisa Garvey|
|2009||Sordid Things||Tabitha White|
|2015||Into the Grizzly Maze||Michelle|
|2017||Tough Love||Woman||Short film|
|2019||Angel Has Fallen||Leah Banning|||
|2006||The Prestige: Now That's Magic||Julia McCullough||TV Special documentary|
|2008||Backdrop NYC||Leslie||Episode: "Beauty Vision"|
|2008||The Prince of Motor City||Meg Riley||Television film|
|2009||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Calista Haslum||Episode: "Folie à Deux"|
|2010–14||Covert Affairs||Annie Walker||Lead role; 75 episodes|
|2013||Go On||Simone||4 episodes|
|2016||Notorious||Julia George||Lead role; 10 episodes|
|2016||ABC Fall Preview Special||Herself / Host||TV Special|
|2019||Turn Up Charlie||Sara||Main cast|
|2008||Reasons to Be Pretty||Carly||Lucille Lortel Theatre|
|2015||Lost Girls||Maggie||Lucille Lortel Theatre|
Awards and nominations
|2001||Blockbuster Entertainment Award||Favorite Female - Newcomer||Coyote Ugly||Nominated|
|2001||MTV Movie Award||Best Music Moment||Coyote Ugly||Won|
|2001||MTV Movie Award||Breakthrough Female Performance||Coyote Ugly||Nominated|
|2004||Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie: Liplock (shared with Ashton Kutcher)||Cheaper by the Dozen||Nominated|
|2006||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast||Cheaper by the Dozen 2||Nominated|
|2011||Golden Globe Award||Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series - Drama||Covert Affairs||Nominated|
|2011||Gracie Award||Outstanding Female Actor in a Breakthrough Role||Covert Affairs||Won|
|2017||People's Choice Award||Favorite Actress in a New TV Series||Notorious||Nominated|
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- According to the State of Texas. Texas Birth Index, 1903–1997. At Ancestry.com
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- "'Covert Affairs' Star Piper Perabo Books Arc on NBC's 'Go On'". The Hollywood Reporter. December 3, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
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