Piper Perabo

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Piper Perabo
Piper Perabo at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con
Piper Lisa Perabo

(1976-10-31) October 31, 1976 (age 47)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Alma materOhio University
Years active1997–present
(m. 2014)

Piper Lisa Perabo (/ˈpɛrəb/ ; born October 31, 1976) is an American actress. Following her breakthrough in the comedy-drama film Coyote Ugly (2000),[1] she starred in The Prestige (2006), Angel Has Fallen (2019), and as CIA agent Annie Walker in the USA Network spy drama series Covert Affairs (2010–2014), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.[2]

Early life[edit]

Perabo is the daughter of Mary Charlotte (née Ulland), a physical therapist, and George William Perabo, a lecturer in poetry at Ocean County College.[3] She is of English, German, and Irish (father) and Norwegian (mother) descent; her surname is sometimes mistakenly described as Portuguese.[4] She grew up in Toms River, New Jersey.

Perabo's parents named her after actress Piper Laurie.[3] She is the eldest of three children with two brothers, Noah and Adam. She graduated from Toms River High School North in 1994,[5] and earned a bachelor's degree in theater from Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in 1998.[6] In 1996, she attended the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Program.[7] She also studied Latin, physics, and poetry in her final year.[8][9][10]

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.[11][12]


1997–2007: Beginning and breakthrough[edit]

After graduating, Perabo moved to New York, where she worked as a waitress.[13][14] She also studied acting at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and had roles in various plays.[11] She was cast in her first feature film just a month after moving to the city, Marc Levin's comedy Whiteboyz.[14] 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".[15][16] Despite the film's mixed response from critics, it was a box office success, grossing over $113 million worldwide.[1] She also appeared in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as FBI agent Karen Sympathy.[17]

After the success of Coyote Ugly, Perabo decided to focus on independent films.[18] 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 widely praised.[19] Perabo's performance in particular received critical acclaim; Loren King of the Chicago Tribune called it her "breakout performance".[20] Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman called her "an actress of glittering ferocity" and her performance "a geyser of emotion".[21] 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"[22] and Roger Ebert praised her performance for its sincerity and "wonderful abandon and conviction".[23]

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), and The Prestige (2006).

Perabo at the premiere of Looper at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012

2008–present: Covert Affairs and other work[edit]

In 2008, Perabo co-starred with Jamie Lee Curtis in the family comedy film Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Also that year, she made her off-Broadway debut in the Neil LaBute play Reasons to Be Pretty.[11][24] As the play's run was coming to an end, she read the script for the USA Network television spy drama 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."[25][26]

The following year, Perabo was cast as CIA field agent Annie Walker, the lead character in Covert Affairs.[27][28] For her work in the series, she received a nomination for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.[29][30] The series ran for five seasons, from 2010 to 2014.[31]

In September 2012, Perabo had a supporting role, alongside Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt, in the time travel thriller film Looper. In December 2012, she was cast in a recurring role on the sitcom Go On. Her character, Simone, was a former member of Matthew Perry's character's support group, who returned and became his love interest. She was originally scheduled to appear in three episodes, but this was increased to four.[32]

Perabo had a starring role in the thriller Into the Grizzly Maze, which was released in 2015.[33] She starred as Julia George in the ABC drama series Notorious (2016).[34] She co-starred with Antonio Banderas in the thriller film Black Butterfly, which was released in May 2017. In June 2018, it was announced that Perabo was cast as Sara in the Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie.[35] Also in 2019, she starred as Leah Banning in the action film Angel Has Fallen. In 2020, she had a recurring role as Linda Craft in the Showtime supernatural horror series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.[36]

Perabo co-starred as Angela in the 2020 dark comedy film, Spontaneous.

In 2021, Perabo joined the cast of Yellowstone as Summer Higgins, an animal rights activist and ally of John (season 4).[37]

Personal life[edit]

In 2013, Perabo became engaged to director and writer Stephen Kay; they married on July 26, 2014, in New York City.[38] Perabo is stepmother to Kay's daughter.[39]

Perabo has been close friends with actress Lena Headey since they starred together in the 2005 films The Cave and Imagine Me & You.[40] She speaks fluent French,[18] advocates for LGBT rights and women's political leadership, and serves on the advisory board of VoteRunLead.[41] She is part owner of Employees Only, a Prohibition-themed bar in the West Village, that opened in 2005, and Jack's Wife Freda, a SoHo restaurant that opened in 2012.[42][43]

Political activism[edit]

Perabo was arrested for protesting Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing.[44] She was also arrested in November 2019 while attending one of Jane Fonda's weekly climate change protests.[45]

Perabo endorsed Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries[46] and regularly uses her Twitter and Instagram accounts to advocate for voter registration and voter education. She has encouraged followers to seek out VoteRiders to learn more about Voter ID requirements.[47][48]

Perabo is an advisory board member for "The Hometown Project" - a non-profit that works to help elect candidates in local races.[49]



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Whiteboyz Sara
2000 The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle FBI Agent Karen Sympathy
2000 Coyote Ugly Violet "Jersey" Sanford
2000 Followers Girl at Party
2001 Lost and Delirious Pauline "Paulie" Oster
2002 Slap Her... She's French Genevieve Le Plouff / Clarissa Fogelsey
2002 Flowers Iris
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 Edison Willow Summerfield
2005 Karas: The Prophecy Yurine Voice role (English dub)
2005 The Cave Charlene "Charlie"
2005 Imagine Me & You Rachel
2005 Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Nora Baker-McNulty
2005 Perception Jen
2006 10th & Wolf Brandy
2006 First Snow Deirdre
2006 The Prestige Julia McCullough
2007 Because I Said So Mae Wilder
2008 Beverly Hills Chihuahua Rachel Ashe
2008 The Lazarus Project Lisa Garvey
2009 Sordid Things Tabitha White
2009 Carriers Bobby
2010 Ashes Bettina
2012 Looper Suzie
2015 Into the Grizzly Maze Michelle
2017 Black Butterfly Laura
2019 Angel Has Fallen Leah Banning [50]
2020 Spontaneous Angela Carlyle


Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Prestige: Now That's Magic Julia McCullough Television special
2007 House Honey Episode: "Resignation"
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"
2010–2014 Covert Affairs Annie Walker Main role; also producer
2013 Go On Simone 4 episodes
2016 Notorious Julia George Main role
2016 ABC Fall Preview Special Herself / Host Television special
2019 Turn Up Charlie Sara Main role
2020 Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Linda Craft Recurring role; 6 episodes
2021 The Big Leap Paula Clark Main role
2021–present Yellowstone Summer Higgins 7 episodes
2022 Billions Andy Season 6


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Reasons to Be Pretty Carly Lucille Lortel Theatre
2015 Lost Girls Maggie Lucille Lortel Theatre

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
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 Actress in a Drama Series 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
2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Drama Series Cast (shared with Yellowstone cast) Yellowstone Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Coyote Ugly Turns 20: Where Is the Cast Now?". People. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  2. ^ Gelman, Vlada (January 6, 2015). "USA Network Cancels Covert Affairs". TVLine.
  3. ^ a b Curiel, Jonathan (September 8, 2002). "Putting the right accent on a career / "Coyote Ugly's' Piper Perabo switches genres with "Slap Her ... She's French'". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. ^ "Piper Perabo interview with Craig Ferguson". Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  5. ^ O'Sullivan, Eleanor. "COYOTE BEAUTIFUL Toms River's Piper Perabo finds herself in `Lost and Delirous'", Asbury Park Press, July 8, 2001. Accessed February 3, 2011. "Perabo, who grew up in Toms River and graduated in 1994 from Toms River High School North, stars in Lost and Delirious, a gritty drama about the love affair between two adolescent schoolmates at a posh Canadian boarding school."
  6. ^ "Hollywood actress returns to OHIO for guest lecture". Outlook. January 11, 2010. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  7. ^ Andersson, Chris. Trinity/La MaMa Archives: 1994 - 2004. 47 Great Jones St, 4th Fl, New York, NY 10012: Trinity College.
  8. ^ "Alumna Piper Perabo nominated for Golden Globe". Oio.edu h. December 20, 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  9. ^ "Alumna Piper Perabo nominated for Golden Globe". Oio.edu. December 20, 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  10. ^ Jae-Ha Kim (September 2002). "Piper Perabo". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "Piper Perabo". Broadway.com. June 19, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "Piper Perabo, 'Covert Affairs' Star, On The Biggest Misconception About Women In Hollywood". The Huffington Post. April 4, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  13. ^ Elizabeth Gilbert (July 2000). "Piper Pours a Pint". GQ. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Melissa Kory (March 1, 2010). "The Blast Interview: Piper Perabo". Blast Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  15. ^ "MTV Movie Awards". Mtv. June 2, 2001. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  16. ^ Reynolds, Simon; Fletcher, Rosie (August 26, 2018). "Where are the cast of Coyote Ugly now?". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "SCREEN IT! PARENTAL REVIEW: THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE". www.screenit.com. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  18. ^ a b "Exclusive Interview: Piper Perabo for "Slap Her, She's French"". DarkHorizons.com. August 29, 2001. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  19. ^ "Lost and Delirious". murphysmoviereviews. December 21, 2001. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  20. ^ "'Lost' a welcome break from summer's light fare". Chicago Tribune. July 13, 2001. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  21. ^ "Lost and Delirious (2001)". Entertainment Weekly. August 3, 2001. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  22. ^ "Lost and Delirious". Sacramento News & Review. August 23, 2001. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "LOST AND DELIRIOUS". RogerEbert.com. July 13, 2001. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  24. ^ Antrim, Taylor. "Staging Around". style.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  25. ^ Brian Gallagher (July 12, 2010). "Piper Perabo Takes Us Inside the Spy World of Covert Affairs". Movieweb.com. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  26. ^ Emma Brown (June 25, 2010). "In Between Scenes with Covert Affairs' Piper Perabo". RTVW. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  27. ^ "Development Update: Thursday, July 2". The Futon Critic. July 2, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  28. ^ "Covert Affairs". USA Network. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  29. ^ "The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations | Official Website of the HFPA and the Golden Globe Awards". Goldenglobes.org. December 14, 2010. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  30. ^ "Actress Piper Perabo Breaks Leg In TV Show Stunt". Cinemablend.com. January 21, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  31. ^ Gelman, Vlada (January 6, 2015). "USA Network Cancels Covert Affairs". TVLine. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  32. ^ "'Covert Affairs' Star Piper Perabo Books Arc on NBC's 'Go On'". The Hollywood Reporter. December 3, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  33. ^ "Piper Perabo Joins Thomas Jane And Billy Bob Thornton In Red Machine". Cinemablend. February 1, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  34. ^ Ausiello, Michael (October 25, 2016). "Notorious' Season 1 Order Cut at ABC". TVLine. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  35. ^ White, Peter (June 27, 2018). "'Covert Affairs' Piper Perabo & 'Turn's JJ Feild Join Idris Elba's Netflix Comedy 'Turn Up Charlie'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  36. ^ Hermanns, Grant (August 14, 2019). "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Adds Piper Perabo To Ensemble". ComingSoon.net - Movie Trailers, TV & Streaming News, and More. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  37. ^ "Piper Perabo comes to 'Yellowstone' in first look at her activist character". EW.com. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  38. ^ "Piper Perabo and Stephen Kay Tie the Knot". People. July 27, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  39. ^ "The Sweet Reason Why Piper Perabo Feels Like She 'Hit the Jackpot'". Us Weekly. March 22, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  40. ^ Lee, Michael J (March 22, 2007). "Piper Perabo". Interview. Radio Free Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  41. ^ "New Give a Damn PSAs Premiere on the USA Network Today!". Give a Damn Campaign. October 21, 2010. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015.
  42. ^ Emma Brown (March 16, 2012). "Piper Perabo's Culinary Affairs". Interview Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  43. ^ Emma Brown (January 27, 2006). "Piper Perabo From "Coyote Ugly"". ClubPlanet. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  44. ^ Henderson, Cydney. "'Covert Affairs' actress Piper Perabo arrested for protesting Kavanaugh's court confirmation". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  45. ^ "Diane Lane, Piper Perabo Arrested While Protesting With Jane Fonda". The Hollywood Reporter. November 22, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  46. ^ Wildstein, David (February 21, 2020). "Piper Perabo endorses Elizabeth Warren". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  47. ^ Perabo, Piper [@PiperPerabo] (September 29, 2020). ".@VoteRiders is making sure everyone who is required to show an ID to #vote, gets one. 🗣 Your voice matters. 🗳 Your vote matters. Not all states require ID, text #IDCheck to 844-338-8743 to find out if you need #VoterID. t.co/QtrLG1uWOa" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2022 – via Twitter.
  48. ^ Perabo, Piper [@piperperabo] (December 3, 2020). "The Senate runoff election in #Georgia will decide who controls the Senate. You can request a mail in ballot now. Early voting will be from December 14–31" – via Instagram.
  49. ^ "How The Hometown Project is helping to boost voter turnout". MSNBC.com: Morning Joe. October 24, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  50. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (February 13, 2018). "Piper Perabo Boards Gerard Butler-Toplined Sequel 'Angel Has Fallen'". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 13, 2018.

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