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Ali Larter Bio
Ali Larter (born February 28, 1976 as Alison Elizabeth Larter) is an American actress. She is best known for playing the dual roles of Niki Sanders and Tracy Strauss on the NBC science fiction drama Heroes as well as her guest roles on several television shows in the 1990s.
Larter’s screen debut came in the 1999 film Varsity Blues, followed by the horror films House on Haunted Hill as Sara Wolfe, and Final Destination and Final Destination 2 as Clear Rivers. Major supporting roles in the comedy Legally Blonde and the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love led her to lead roles as the titular character in Marigold and in the 2009 thriller Obsessed. Larter achieved wider fame after her portrayal of video game heroine Claire Redfield in Resident Evil: Extinction and Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Larter’s presence in the media is reinforced by her appearances in lists compiled by Maxim, FHM and Stuff as well as People magazine’s “Best Dressed List” in 2007. After a three-year-long relationship with actor Hayes MacArthur, the two married in August 2009. They have a son, Theodore Hayes MacArthur (born December 2010) and daughter Vivienne Margaret (born in January 2015).
Early life and modeling
Larter was born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Larter is the daughter of Margaret, a realtor, and Danforth Larter, a trucking executive. She attended Carusi Middle School and later graduated from Cherry Hill High School West during her time as a model, but she didn’t finish senior year of high school because of modeling. Her mom accompanied her everywhere until she turned 18. Her parents have since moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Larter said she was a tomboy until she turned 13. Suddenly she sprouted six inches, gained weight and significant curves. The next year she was signed by the Ford modeling agency. Larter began her modeling career at the age of 14 when a modeling scout discovered her on the street and was asked to star in a Phillies commercial; this led to a modeling contract with the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency in New York. Larter subsequently skipped her senior year to model in Australia, Italy, and Japan, the latter a country she would temporarily settle in at the age of seventeen.
While modeling in Italy, Larter met fellow model and aspiring actress Amy Smart and the two “became instant friends”, according to Larter. A modelling job later took her to Los Angeles, while there, she decided to take acting classes with Smart. The two then moved into an apartment together. In November 1996, Larter portrayed fictional model Allegra Coleman in an Esquire magazine hoax. When speaking about the cover and her subsequent fame, Larter said, “When the door opens for you in Hollywood, you need to run with it. You know?” Larter is currently signed to IMG Models.
First acting roles: 1997–2005
Larter landed her first professional acting roles in 1997 when she appeared in several television programs. She appeared in an episode of the Brooke Shields television series Suddenly Susan, and the short-lived series Chicago Sons. These roles were followed by a number of other appearances on Dawson’s Creek, Chicago Hope, and Just Shoot Me!
In 1999, Larter began her film career with an appearance in Varsity Blues, which re-united her with Dawson’s Creek star Van Der Beek and close friend Amy Smart. Smart had persuaded Larter to audition for the movie, in which she played Darcy Sears, a love interest for one of the main characters. Varsity Blues drew a domestic box office gross of $53 million. That year she made appearances in the teen comedies Giving It Up and Drive Me Crazy. Larter also starred in the horror remake House on Haunted Hill which was made for around $20 million. The movie was panned by critics, but grossed $15 million on its opening weekend and went on to earn over $40 million overall.
In 2000, Larter starred as one of the main characters, Clear Rivers, in the teen supernatural horror film Final Destination. Also starring Devon Sawa and Kerr Smith, the movie’s premise followed several teenagers who survive a plane crash but are stalked and killed by death itself. Final Destination made $112 million by the end of its theatrical run. The following year, she appeared in the comedy Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon. She played Brooke Taylor Windham, a widow accused of her husband’s murder. The film earned the top spot with $20 million in its opening weekend and ended up grossing $141 million worldwide. With $96 million of it total gross deriving from domestic markets, Legally Blonde is Larter’s highest grossing film domestically.
Larter next appeared as Zerelda Mimms in the western comedy American Outlaws. Directed by Les Mayfield and co-starring Colin Farrell and Scott Caan, the movie was poorly received by critics and at the box office making $13 million at the end of its theatrical run. She also starred in Kevin Smith‘s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. That year, Larter appeared on the cover of Maxim magazine and performed in the stage play The Vagina Monologues in New York City. In Spring 2002, Larter moved from Los Angeles to New York. “I was too young and impressionable to handle the pressures of L.A.” Larter recalled in an interview, “I’m a woman now. I am no longer the little girl who could be easily influenced.”
Her first project there was to reprise her role as Clear Rivers in the sequel to Final Destination entitled Final Destination 2. In an interview with IGN, Larter explained her return to the franchise: “When New Line asked me to come back, I thought it was great. They showed me the script and let me have some input, and it was really terrific.” The film opened at number 2 with $16 million to mixed critical reception. A year later, Larter served as an associate producer of and starred in the thriller Three Way. In 2005, Larter appeared in the independent political thriller, Confess, and had a role in the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love alongside Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher.
International recognition: 2006–2009
Larter moved back to Los Angeles in 2005. Her first audition was for the NBC science fiction drama television series Heroes. Larter played the characters of Niki Sanders, who suffered from DID, and Tracy Strauss on the show created by Tim Kring. Larter’s initial character Niki Sanders, was a wife, mother, and a former internet stripper from Las Vegas who exhibits superhuman strength and alternate personalities who go by the names of Jessica and Niki. “Ali read for the part and just owned it from the second she walked in.”, Kring said to The Chicago Tribune, “It was a very impressive audition.” The series collected a number of accolades in its first season including a People’s Choice Award and nominations from the Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globes. As of the third season, Larter began to play a new character, Tracy Strauss, who possessed the ability to freeze objects; and later, turn her body into water. Larter ultimately decided against starring in the sequel to House on Haunted Hill stating, “I feel so lucky with the things I am doing right now, and that’s so long ago for me.”
In 2007, Larter starred in Marigold as the title character alongside Salman Khan. The movie, released in August 2007, was about an American actress (Larter) who goes to India and gets caught up in the exotic world of Bollywood. Filming took place in North India and London, commencing in June 2004. In an interview with the BBC, Larter explained how she came about the role of Marigold and expressed why she wanted to star in the film: “I was living in (director) Willard Carroll‘s guesthouse when he gave me the script. He had written this really strong female character and for me, it was an opportunity to overcome my fear of singing and dancing because I have no professional training. Also, I would get to live in another country for couple of months. With Heroes I didn’t think of it as that huge sci-fi series and it was the same for Marigold. I really focused on the character and loved this journey she went on and the experiences she had.” She was paid a seven-figure salary for the role of Marigold.
It was this year that she was cast alongside Milla Jovovich in the film Resident Evil: Extinction, portraying the character of Claire Redfield. Her role sent her to Mexicali, Mexico for filming from May to late July, and required her hair to be dyed a light red. Larter explained her character Claire: “She became the leader of this convoy. She’s incredibly strong, patient. I think she serves a role for everyone within this convoy, let it be a mother to someone, a buddy, a best friend.” Larter also attended the 2007 Comic Con International, her second appearance at the event, to promote the movie. The movie was released in theaters on September 21, 2007 and made a total of $147 million worldwide. She appeared with Hayes McArthur in the comedy Homo Erectus the same year. She also appeared as Evelyn Garland in the biographical film Crazy, based on guitarist Hank Garland.
In April 2009, Larter starred opposite Beyoncé and Idris Elba in the Screen Gems-produced thriller Obsessed. The film follows an office executive (Elba) whose marriage to Knowles’ character is threatened by the aggressive interests of a co-worker, portrayed by Larter. In an interview with Glam, Larter said that she “was excited to get the chance to play a femme fatale. I love playing women that are dark and vulnerable and sort of filled with a little bit of crazy emotion.” Derek Malcolm of The London Evening Standard said the movie was a “dim reworking of Fatal Attraction” and noted, “Larter as the pathological minx is the best thing about it.” Obsessed suffered critically but eventually opened at #1 in its opening weekend with $28 million and with a total domestic gross of $68 million, became Larter’s second highest grossing film in North-America. It resulted in Larter’s third Teen Choice Award nomination and an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight with Beyonce.
Recent and future roles: 2010–present
Larter reprised her role as Claire Redfield in Resident Evil: Afterlife, which was filmed in 3D and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. She attended WonderCon and Comic Con to promote the movie. In an interview with JoBlo.com, Larter talked about her role in the film: “I guess people liked me as her…I’m excited that they brought me back. I love working with Milla, and it’s also very excited to have Paul back directing this. To work with the man who really created this world and this vision was what excited me about joining this next installment.” The movie was an international success, earning $296 million worldwide and becoming Larter’s highest grossing picture to date. As of July 2013, Larter’s films have grossed a total of $552 million domestically and $1.07 billion worldwide.
While at WonderCon in 2010, Larter commented on Heroes‘ possible fifth season. “I think that we’ll be back…I think that there are still stories that need to be told.” NBC announced the show’s cancellation on May 14, 2010.
Larter portrayed the lead role in a pilot for a series written by Josh Friedman entitled, “The Asset”. The show, which was expected to air on Fox, was not picked up for a series commission. However, Larter gained a role in TNT‘s drama Legends as Crystal Quest, the female lead alongside Sean Bean. Her character plays an operative with the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations who has a history with Bean’s character. On May 8, 2013, the series was picked up for 10 episodes to air in 2014. In 2014, Larter portrayed Madison in the supernatural thriller film The Diabolical. In August 2015, Larter was announced to reprise her role as Claire in the sixth and final Resident Evil film Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.
After serving as an associate producer for her 2004 film Three Way, Larter commented about future producing endeavors during an interview for Resident Evil: Extinction, “I definitely have many ideas and different avenues that I want to take as my career goes on.”
In 2010, Larter appeared as the title character in a short film for Absolut Vodka entitled “Lemon Drop”. In June of the same year, Larter was one of thousands of delegates from 130 countries who participated in a United Nations conference, ‘Women Deliver’ in Washington D.C..
Larter, along with her husband Hayes MacArthur, hosted The Art of Elysium Gala in 2013 and are to be recipients of the Spirit of Elysium Award at the January 2014 ceremony.
In September 2013, Larter released her first cookbook entitled Kitchen Revelry: A Year of Festive Menus from My Home to Yours. The book was published by St. Martin’s Press. Speaking at the Aspen Culinary Festival to The Hollywood Reporter, Larter said, “It’s about having a good time and getting wild, … it’s for people who want to entertain, whether it’s two people or a dinner party of 16.”
In the media
Larter first appeared in the media when she portrayed the fictional character of Allegra Coleman in the November 1996 issue of Esquire. The magazine, which billed Coleman as the movies’ next dream girl, told of Allegra’s relationship with David Schwimmer, how Quentin Tarantino broke up with Mira Sorvino to date her, and how Woody Allen overhauled a film to give her a starring role. When the magazine was published, Esquire received hundreds of phone calls about the non-existent Coleman and various talent agencies sought to represent her, even after the hoax was revealed. Larter herself received a considerable amount of attention after the cover; she received phone calls from morning TV shows and others for interviews. The Esquire cover led Larter to a role on Varsity Blues. One particular scene where Larter’s character, Darcy Sears, wears nothing but whipped cream to cover herself has become a media favorite. It has been referenced a number of times in the media including on MTV‘s Jersey Shore where one character refers to it as the “Varsity Blues outfit”. The scene also made Maxim‘s list of Earth-Shattering Nude Scenes at #9.
In 2002, Larter ranked #40 in Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women in the World”. She was listed as #49, #19 and #91 in FHM‘s “100 Sexiest Women in the World” in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. Maxim also ranked her #6 in their Hot 100 for 2007 and #92 in 2008. In 2008, AskMen.com featured her as #92 on the “100 Most Desirable Women in the World”. Also ranking #2 on Maxim‘s “Hottest Women of Horror Movies” list, Larter has been acknowledged as a Scream queen by MSN due to her appearances in horror/thriller films. After the success of Heroes, Larter appeared on People‘s “Ten Best Dressed List” as “The Newcomer” in 2007. Victoria’s Secret also acknowledged her in their list, naming her Sexiest Legs of 2008. In 2009, Larter was named Cosmopolitan magazine’s Fun Fearless Female of the year at a ceremony held in Beverly Hills.
Larter promotes natural beauty. At the 2007 Emmy Awards, Larter styled her own hair as opposed to using her hair-styling team. This was part of the Dove Hair’s “Real Beauty” challenge which required her to use Dove’s new moisturizing shampoos, conditioners and treatments. She also states that she refuses to conform to the idea of the perfect Hollywood body. In an interview with Allure, Larter revealed she once was asked by producers, by faxes sent out to her agent and manager, to lose weight. “I just remember sitting in my trailer hysterically crying from the embarrassment I felt about myself, my body – and that no one could talk to me directly.”
Larter appeared in Glamour along with fellow actresses Rachel Bilson and Diane Lane in 2007. When asked if she still wishes she had the same body she had at 20 she replied, “No. I actually think I look better now because I feel so much better about myself now. And that’s what’s so exciting. As you get older, you get better… . Look at all these incredible women, like Vanessa Redgrave, who are still so beautiful. The reason is because they embrace who they are.” She has appeared on the covers of Shape, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Glamour, Lucky, InStyle, Maxim and Entertainment Weekly.