About Laura Leighton
Born Laura Miller on July 24, 1969, in Iowa City, IA, she assumed her grandfather's last name in 1988. Leighton was a girl who kept herself busy in junior high by joining the choir, taking dance lessons and playing various sports. After graduating from West High School in Iowa City, she joined a signing and dancing troupe called "The Young Americans" - a group that traveled across the United States performing in various local shows. Like all aspiring actresses, Leighton eventually made her way to Los Angeles, and also like most actresses, became a waitress.
In between serving food, Leighton landed odd commercials to support herself; most notably Pizza Hut and Dep hair gel spots. While working in an LA casting office, Leighton heard about the role of Sydney Andrews, the troubled little sister of Jane Mancini on "Melrose Place." A friend thought she would be perfect for the role, so she auditioned several times. It was not until series creator Aaron Spelling saw Leighton's audition and begged show runner Darren Starr to give her the role, that Leighton's life changed almost overnight. Due in no small part to her sly charm and unique red-haired beauty, the role of Sydney, which was initially only going to be for two episodes, blossomed into a regular role and became one of the most begrudgingly beloved villainesses on TV. From the time of her debut in January 1993 until she left the series at the end of the 1996-97 season, Sydney evolved from the younger sister with a case of sibling rivalry into a major nocturnal diva. Leighton gave her character - a sometimes hooker/coke head-turned-madam who blackmailed and married her sister's ex-husband - expressive facial movements, fiery intensity, and a surprising likable quality. Despite all her misdeeds, Sydney invariably became sympathetic when the show's treacherous tide turned against her.
In 1995, Leighton was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for her work on "Melrose Place." Although she did not win an award, she won big off set, becoming romantically involved with co-star Grant Show (Jake). It was rumored that he popped the question after they did a bedroom scene together. But like life imitating art, Leighton turned Show down because she was smitten with her other co-star, Doug Savant (resident gay, Matt Fielding and later of "Desperate Housewives" fame). Leighton and Savant married in 1999 and had two children together - Jack and Lucy.
After "Melrose," Leighton brightened up many a TV show by doing guest spots on "Cupid" (ABC, 2002), "Early Edition" (CBS, 1996-2000) and "The Outer Limits" (Showtime, 1995-2002). She returned to work for Aaron Spelling on "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) for a six episode role created specifically for her. Leighton was paid a six figure amount per episode - a price usually reserved for stars like the cast of "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004). Leighton also found time to appear on the big screen, starring in "The Sky Is Falling" (2000), "The Clean and Narrow" (1999) and the critically-acclaimed "Seven Girlfriends" (1999) - the latter of which was the only film of the three to actually make it to the big screen.
Faced with a bit of a post-"Melrose" career slump, Leighton decided to take time off after the birth of her son Jack, and devote herself to her family and to charity work. AIDS charities were closest to her heart. She attended the Elizabeth Glazer pediatric AIDS functions, participated in the ALPA holiday cards project, and was the spokesperson for migraine research with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. She kept in regular contact with former "Melrose" co-stars Courtney Thorne-Smith, Josie Bissett, Rob Estes, Marcia Cross and Grant Show, and was a good friend with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry.
After some time away from the spotlight, Leighton returned to TV in the movies "We'll Meet Again" (2002) and "A Deadly Encounter" (2004), plus she landed a recurring role on the short-lived Jerry Bruckheimer porn-as-Romeo & Juliette show, "Skin" (Fox, 2003). However, it wasn't until ABC's drama "Eyes" (2005) that everyone started talking about Leighton all over again. She was back.
|Grant Show. Met while co-starring on the Fox series "Melrose Place"; dated from 1993-96|
|Doug Savant. Met while co-starring on "Melrose Place" (Fox); engaged in October 1997; married in May 1998|
|Dean Cameron. Briefly dated in the early 1990s; no longer together|
|California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach , California|
|West High School, Iowa City , Iowa|
|Changed her last name to Leighton (was her grandfathers name)|
|Moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school|
|Performed with the traveling singing troupe, The Young Americans|
|Made TV debut in the recurring role of Sydney Andrews on the FOX drama, "Melrose Place"; became a regular cast member in the second season|
|Played a woman from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for a rich boy in the Lifetime movie, "In the Name of Love: A Texas Tragedy"|
|Cast as wannabe actress Sophie Burns in six episodes of the FOX series, "Beverly Hills 90210"|
|Had a small role in the film, "The Sky is Falling"|
|Returned to series TV as a recurring character in the short-lived FOX series, "Skin"|
|Starred a single mother who is the victim of a stalker in the Lifetime movie, "Deadly Encounter"|
|Cast in the short-lived ABC series, "Eyes"|
|Played a woman accused of murdering her ex-girlfriend in two episodes of ABC's "Boston Legal"|
|Starred in the horror feature, "The Burrowers"|
|Reprised her role as Sydney for the new "Melrose Place" on the CW network|