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|Born||Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada|
Karyn Elizabeth Dwyer was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland to two school teachers Donald and Elizabeth Dwyer, who were of Scottish and Irish Catholic descent. She is the oldest of five children. Her father died of cancer in 1982 at the age of 38. After his death, her family moved to her mother's hometown of Wabana on Bell Island, Newfoundland and later St. John's.
Dwyer studied acting with Youth Theatre. She made her stage debut at the Arts and Culture Center at the age of 10, playing the title role in Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador's production of Alice in Wonderland and went on to become an accomplished child stage actress performing in various theatres throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. She also performed in her school productions, won awards for acting, public speaking, singing and instrumental performance and wrote for the school newspaper. She turned down a journalism scholarship from Carleton University and instead moved to Toronto to attend the George Brown Theatre School. Dwyer attended theatre school for one year and then began studying with David Rotenberg's on-camera acting class in Toronto and later John Riven's Meisner.
After moving to Toronto, Dwyer landed her first film role acting opposite David Cronenberg in the Canadian cult classic Boozecan. She soon began appearing regularly in film and television roles opposite actors such as Jon Voight, Gary Busey, Jacqueline Bisset and Julian Sands. She wrote and starred in her one woman show Bad Girls at the Rivoli in Toronto. In 1994 she played Phoebe in As You Like It opposite Seana McKenna and Albert Schultz in the Du Maurier World Stage theatre festival.
In 1999 Dwyer starred as 19 year old Maggie in Better Than Chocolate, winning the role over hundreds of others who auditioned in a cross Canada search. The film won numerous audience choice awards at film festivals around the world, was ranked 31st on the Hollywood Reporter's Top 200 independent films list of 1999 and had one of Canada's highest international box office grosses, earning Dwyer a loyal cult following. Better Than Chocolate opened to rave reviews at both The Berlin Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. It was hailed by Variety as "a terrifically entertaining romantic comedy." The Hollywood Reporter called Dwyer "the film's heart and soul", Better Than Chocolate ranked 31 on The Hollywood Reporter's list of best independent films. The Chicago Tribune raved, "The highlight of the movie is unquestionably Dwyer's performance as Maggie."
Dwyer returned to the stage playing the title role in Native Earth's Romeo and Juliet, performance artist Sooze in Eric Bogosian's Suburbia and originated the role of Carrie, a junkie prostitute in Exercises in Depravity, opposite R.H. Thompson.
She also starred in award-winning short films adapted from plays; Pony, adapted from White Biting Dog by playwright Judith Thompson; Dying Like Ophelia, adapted from Lion in the Streets also by Judith Thompson; Polished, adapted from Polished by James Harkness.
True to her roots, Dwyer returned to Newfoundland where she studied filmmaking at NIFCO, guest starred on Republic of Doyle, and shared her talent at 'For the Love of Learning, Inc', a not-for-profit empowerment and creativity-based learning program, teaching theatre to Newfoundland and Labrador’s youth to use their creativity to overcome social and/or economic obstacles.
In 2011 her thirst for new experiences had her to branch out as a creator, producer, writer, director, and star of a hip new web series “First World Problems”
In 2006, Dwyer was profiled on The Hottest Canadian. Other actresses that have been featured include Rachel McAdams, Mia Kirshner, Elisha Cuthbert, Evangeline Lily, Molly Parker, and Sandra Oh. Also in 2006, Hottitude.com listed Karyn Dwyer as one of the top ten hottest redheads along with Julianne Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Isla Fisher, Laura Prepon, Allison Smith, Alyson Hannigan, Angie Everhart, Alicia Witt and Nicole Kidman.
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She is a writer
- Family Pictures (1993) (TV) .... Stephanie (uncredited)
- Class of '96 (2 episodes, "David Is Authorized" and "See You in September", 1993) .... Julia
- The Hidden Room (1 episode, "Transfigured Night", 1993) .... Rhoda
- J.F.K.: Reckless Youth (1993) (TV) .... Sadie
- Boozecan (1994) .... Rosy
- The Paper Boy (1994) .... Brenda
- Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1 episode, "May I Ride with You", 1994) .... Ginger Dawson
- End of Summer (1995) (TV) .... Jenny
- A Taste of Shakespeare (1 episode, "Hamlet", 1995) .... Ophelia / Horatio
- The Great Defender (3 episodes, "Naked Truth", "Camille" and "I Wuz Robbed", 1995–1997) ....
- Due South (2 episodes, "Heaven and Earth" and "Some Like It Red", 1995–1996) .... Mary Ann / Tiffany
- Road to Avonlea (1 episode, "Woman of Importance", 1996) .... Laura
- Double Jeopardy (1996) (TV) .... Melanie Marks
- A Husband, a Wife and a Lover (1996) (TV) .... Samantha
- Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal (3 episodes, "The Freefall/Presence", "The Haunting" and "The Labyrinth", 1996–1998) .... Receptionist / Karen Russel/Karen Russell
- Ursa Major (1997) .... Jodie
- Space (1997) ....
- Lethal Tender (1997) .... Sparky
- The Fixer (1998) (TV) .... Irene
- Thanks of a Grateful Nation (1998) (TV) .... Deeni
- Tian shang ren jian (1998) .... Jenny
- Ecstasy (1999) .... Ashley
- Better Than Chocolate (1999) .... Maggie
- The Life Before This (1999) .... Teenage Girl
- Superstar (1999) .... Summer Falls
- Cheaters (2000) (TV) .... Angela Lam
- The Stalking of Laurie Show (2000) (TV) .... Jennifer
- Sailor Moon (33 episodes, 2000) .... Besubesu, Leader of the Amazoness Quartet (voice)
- The List (2000) .... Kathy Miller
- Laughter on the 23rd Floor (2001) (TV) .... Toga Girl
- An Intrigue of Manners (2001) .... Lady Emelia
- Dead by Monday (2001) .... Christine
- Doc (1 episode, "Garbage In, Garbage Out", 2001) ....
- Polished (2002) .... Jo
- Dying Like Ophelia (2002) .... Joanne "Ophelia"
- Pony (2002) .... Pony
- Bliss (1 episode, "The Footpath of Pink Roses", 2002) .... Mitzi
- The Right Way (2004) .... Amy
- Weird Sex and Snowshoes: A Trek Through the Canadian Cinematic Psyche (2004) (TV) .... Maggie archive footage
- This Is Wonderland (1 episode, "#2.7", 2005) .... Tammy
- The Archer (2005) .... Store Clerk
- Last Call Before Sunset (2007) (V) .... Morgan
- Monster Mountain (2008) (V) .... Carrie
- Republic of Doyle (TV series) (1 episode, 2010)
- The Art of the Steal (2013) .... Ginger