Heather Graham's father, Jim, is a retired FBI
agent and her mother, Joan, is a noted author of
children's books. Graham has a younger sister
Aimee Graham, who is also an aspiring actress and writer.
Graham was brought up in a
traditional Catholic family of Irish descent.
Growing up in Virginia where her father
worked as an FBI agent,
she attended Sumac Elementary School. Her family then moved to the
Conejo Valley in California where
she attended Lindero Canyon Middle School,
and finally, Agoura High School.
Initially, Graham's parents were very
supportive of her budding acting career,
with her mom driving her to her auditions.
Later, her father and mother were insistent
that she should not appear in any movie
featuring sex. This difference of opinion
may have cost her the lead role in Heathers
in 1989, the dark high school comedy that made an instant star of
Winona Ryder. Graham
is currently estranged from her parents,
though they are hopeful for a reconciliation.
She has publicly discussed her conversion to a
new-age eastern-based religion and philosophy.
After high school, Graham enrolled in the
University of California at Los Angeles. While pursuing a drama
degree at UCLA, Graham met James Woods.
Their subsequent romantic involvement led to Graham
being cast in Diggstown (1992), which starred Woods.
After two years had passed,
Graham dropped out of UCLA to pursue acting full time,
over her parents' objections. She moved to Hollywood
where she worked different jobs while
continuing to establish herself as a starlet,
for a time romantically involved and living with
once famous New Romantic glam-rocker Adam Ant.
Though earlier Graham had a number of critically
noted acting parts including Nadine in Drugstore
Cowboy (1989), her breakthrough role was
that of Roller Girl in Boogie Nights (1997),
for which she received several award nominations.
She achieved international stardom in 1999
with her lead role as Felicity Shagwell
in Mike Myers' second Austin Powers
comedy: The Spy Who Shagged Me. More recently,
she starred as Mary Kelly in the film From Hell (2001),
based on the story of Jack the Ripper.
She was named by
People Magazine as one of the "50 Most
Beautiful People in the World 2001" . In addition to her relationship
with James Woods, she also has been romantically
with actor Edward Burns, producer-director Chris Weitz,
actor Josh Lucas, actor Heath
Ledger, actor Elias Koteas, actor Kyle
MacLachlan, and director Stephen Hopkins.
Graham enjoyed special guest-star status
on several episodes of NBC-TV's Scrubs
during its fourth season (2004-2005).
In 2005, Graham became the spokeswoman and
TV model for Garnier brand of hair care products.
Graham's print ad for Skyy vodka,
which was photographed in 1993 (titled #3, Entourage)
is still appearing in national magazines
today as well. ABC-TV announced that production
has begun on Emily's Reasons Why Not,
with Graham slated to be its star.