Grace at ComicCon, 2012
|Born||Margaret Grace Denig
September 21, 1983
Worthington, Ohio, U.S.
Originally from Worthington, Ohio, she dropped out of high school to move to Los Angeles with her mother after her parents' divorce. While struggling financially, she landed her first role as the title character in the web-based video series Rachel's Room in 2001. She went on to earn a Young Artist Award nomination in 2002 with her portrayal of 15-year-old murder victim Martha Moxley in the television movie Murder in Greenwich. In 2004, Grace was cast as Shannon Rutherford in the television series Lost, on which she was a main cast member for the first two seasons, winning a Screen Actors Guild Award shared with the ensemble cast. Leaving the series, Grace was keen to work more prominently in film, having starred opposite Tom Welling in The Fog in 2005. She appeared in Suburban Girl, The Jane Austen Book Club (both 2007), and opposite Liam Neeson as Kim Mills in Taken in 2008. She reprised the role in Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2014). She played the lead role, Alice, in Malice in Wonderland, a modern take on Lewis Carroll's novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Grace reprised the role of Shannon in two more episodes of Lost, including the series finale. In 2013, she appears in the sixth season of Californication. She portrays Faith, a groupie and a muse to the stars, who captures the eye of Hank Moody played by David Duchovny.
Grace was born Margaret Grace Denig in Worthington, Ohio, one of three children of parents Valinn (née Everett) and Rick Denig, who ran a family jewelry business. Her family lived in a 200-year-old house, the first saltbox house in central Ohio. She attended Worthington Christian Schools from kindergarten through ninth grade and briefly attended Thomas Worthington High School, where she began acting in school plays and community theater, including a 2000 Gallery Players production of The Crucible, at a local Jewish Community Center (though she is not Jewish). As a kid Grace was a big reader and a self described "Shakespeare nerd" telling the Sun-Sentinel that at age 13, she "was really into Jane Austen, kind of like how some kids are into Star Trek. Her parents divorced "amicably" when she was 16 years old, and her mother sought a "fresh start". Grace dropped out of high school to move to Los Angeles, California with her mother, while her younger siblings Ian Denig and Marissa Palatas (married to Nick Palatas) continued to live with their father. In Los Angeles, Grace and her mother moved around often as they struggled financially, taking out short-term rents rather than paying for permanent residence while eating a basic diet, as it was all they could afford.
Grace acquired an agent within a week of relocating to Los Angeles and enrolled in acting classes. She landed her first role in Rachel's Room, a 2001 web-based video series about the affairs inside a teenage girl's bedroom that was created by Dawson's Creek executive producer Paul Stupin. Her next role was on the 2002 television series Septuplets, which was cancelled before the first episode had aired. Her breakout role was on 2002's television movie Murder in Greenwich, based on the true story of 15-year-old Martha Moxley's murder. She was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her portrayal of Moxley in the Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special – Leading Young Actress category, but lost to Clara Bryant for Tru Confessions. She went on to feature in minor roles on the television series CSI: Miami, The Lyon's Den, Miracles, Like Family, Cold Case and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and the films Twelve Mile Road and Creature Unknown.
In mid-2004, Grace's agent sent her the script for the pilot episode of Lost; she was given the role of Shannon Rutherford after a successful audition. She was nominated in 2005 for a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Breakout Performance – Female for her role on Lost, but lost to Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria. She lived in Hawaii during the filming of the show's first season, and signed on to star opposite Tom Welling in The Fog, a 2005 remake of the 1980 horror film of the same name, as a character originally played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Though the filming of Lost was supposed to have ended before The Fog began, the productions coincided due to Lost's extended season finale and Grace flew between the two sets, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and on Bowen Island in British Columbia, Canada. After ranking at #27 on Maxim's Hot 100 list of 2005, she returned for Lost's second season. Her character was killed in the season's eighth episode, "Collision", when the series' writers began to feel that the character's "story avenues [were] limited". Executive producer Carlton Cuse said that Grace's departure from the show was "sort of a win-win" as she was eager to enter a full-time career in film. After leaving the series, she nevertheless joined the other principal Lost cast members of season 2 onstage at the 12th Screen Actors Guild Awards where Lost won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Variety reported in May 2005 that Grace was in negotiations to play X-Men character Kitty Pryde in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, but in July, auditions were reportedly being held for her replacement. The role ultimately went to Ellen Page, and Grace later revealed that she had never been contacted about the role and was surprised to read that she was up for the part in question. Grace's next role was in the 2007 independent film Suburban Girl, alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alec Baldwin. In 2007, she starred in The Jane Austen Book Club, based on Karen Joy Fowler's novel of the same name. She is a fan of Jane Austen and had read Fowler's novel when it was released in 2004. When she was given the film's script, she met with the director Robin Swicord, with whom she says she "geeked out", and was given the role of Allegra, an openly lesbian 20-year-old. After the filming of The Jane Austen Book Club was completed, Grace briefly returned to Hawaii to shoot a guest spot on the Lost season 3 episode "Exposé". She starred in the 2008 thriller film Taken with Liam Neeson, who was at the top of a list of male actors Grace wished to work with that she had written just two months before she was cast. She played the lead in Simon Fellows' 2009 Malice in Wonderland, a modern adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In 2010, Grace starred in the drama Flying Lessons, and appeared opposite Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in James Mangold's film Knight and Day, as well as in Faster, with Dwayne Johnson. Grace's busy schedule prevented her from returning as Shannon in "LA X", the season premiere for Lost's sixth and final season, but she eventually returned for the series finale "The End". On September 2010, it was revealed that Grace was chosen to play Irina in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2.
In December 2012, it was announced Grace would be making her Broadway debut in Picnic. The play opened for previews on December 14, running at the American Airlines Theatre. Sebastian Stan co-stars with Grace in the Pulitzer Prize winning play.
She also made her first appearance as a guest star in the Showtime Series Californication in January 2013 where she plays a groupie and muse to the rock and roll world as well as the personal interest of Hank Moody, starring David Duchovny.
Grace lived in Honolulu, Hawaii while working on Lost, saying "I love it here, but it's not a place you can really pursue acting." She claimed that, while living in Hawaii, her Lost co-stars would introduce her to men and that some "would probably have me with a different guy every night." She said that her male co-stars were "mostly very protective" and "very opinionated" when deciding whether she should date certain men; actor Josh Holloway once offered to help her select dates from a portfolio of male models with whom he previously worked. Grace and Ian Somerhalder, her onscreen stepbrother, dated in April 2006 after both had left Lost. When asked about Somerhalder in August, she stated, "Ian's great, I adore him, although I'm only 22 – far too young to even think about having a serious relationship." While still working on Lost, Grace and Somerhalder adopted a feral cat named Roo which they found "literally dying" in the jungle on the set. She said that the cat is now her "travel buddy." From 2008 to 2009, she dated Blake Mycoskie, a contestant on the second season of The Amazing Race and founder of TOMS Shoes. On February 18, 2015, Grace announced her engagement to Matthew Cooke via Instagram.
Grace often credits her mother as her source of inspiration. When asked about her closest friend, she said that she and her mother were more like sisters and that she is "lucky to have an exceptionally cool mum." She is a self-proclaimed Anglophile, having written to a pen pal in the Lake District from the age of eight, having first visited England at 13 years old, and admiring a number of English poets as well as William Shakespeare.
|2001||Rachel's Room||Rachel Reed||Web based series|
|2005||Fog, TheThe Fog||Elizabeth Williams|
|2007||Jane Austen Book Club, TheThe Jane Austen Book Club||Allegra|
|2009||Malice in Wonderland||Alice|
|2010||Flying Lessons||Sophie Conway|
|2010||Knight and Day||April Havens|
|2010||Experiment, TheThe Experiment||Bay|
|2011||Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, TheThe Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1||Irina|
|2012||Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, TheThe Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2||Irina|
|2012||Taken 2||Kim Mills|
|2012||Decoding Annie Parker||Sarah|
|2014||We'll Never Have Paris||Kelsey|
|2015||Taken 3||Kim Mills|
|2016||The Choice||Stephanie Parker|
|2016||The Scent of Rain and Lightning||Laurie||Filming|
|2002||Septuplets||Hope Wilde||TV series|
|2002||Murder in Greenwich||Martha Moxley||Television film|
|2003||Twelve Mile Road||Dulcie Landis||Television film|
|2003||CSI: Miami||Amy Gorman||Episode: "Spring Break"|
|2003||Lyon's Den, TheThe Lyon's Den||Haley Dugan||Episode: "Beach House"|
|2003||Miracles||Hannah Cottrell||Episode: "Mother's Daughter"|
|2004||Cold Case||Renee||Episode: "Volunteers"|
|2004||Oliver Beene||Elke||8 episodes|
|2004||Like Family||Mary||Episode: "My Two Moms"|
|2004||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Jessie Dawning||Episode: "Obscene"|
|2004–06, 2010||Lost||Shannon Rutherford||Main role (Seasons 1–2); Special Guest Star (Seasons 3 & 6): 32 episodes|
|2013||Following, TheThe Following||Sarah Fuller||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2013||Susanna||Susanna||Lead role; 12 episodes (Webseries)|
|2013||When Calls the Heart||Aunt Elizabeth||Pilot movie only|
|2015||Masters of Sex||Dr. Christine Wesh||Episode: "Three's a Crowd"|
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- "Hallmark Channel Original Series 'When Calls the Heart' to Premiere January 11th". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
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