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Jeniffer Carpenter
Date of Birth: December7, 1979

Thanks to her indomitable performance as the unwitting sister of a serial killer on “Dexter” (Showtime, 2006- ), Jennifer Carpenter firmly established herself as a talented actress on the rise. Prior to her breakout role, Carpenter attracted attention with a critically lauded performance in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005), which in turn was brought about by a successful turn in a Broadway production of “The Crucible” – one that, on opening night, was hailed by the playwright himself. Though she could have developed a strong feature career, Carpenter opted instead for television with “Dexter,” a wise choice given the amount of attention she received by quickly becoming a fan favorite. But the promise of a thriving career in all mediums – film, television and on stage – was practically assured.Born on Dec. 7, 1979 in Louisville, KY, Carpenter began acting at an early age, playing Tiny Tim in her hometown’s annual Dickens on Main Street festival when she was eight years old – a role she held on to for three years. She was next spotted by Jon Jory, then-artistic director of the Actors Theatre, who cast her in several plays, including “Trudy Blue.” From there, Carpenter attended Sacred Heart Academy while joining Louisville’s Walden Theatre, where she excelled in several performances, including as Helena, Shakespeare’s sensitive and lovesick maiden who develops into a happy and confident woman in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Her exceptional gifts and string of strong performances throughout her adolescence allowed Carpenter to enter the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, an intimidating move for the young Southern girl.Carpenter spent three years honing her craft at Juilliard, but left before graduating to appear in an off-Broadway production of Richard Greenberg’s “Everett Beekin,” opposite Robin Bartlett and Bebe Neuwirth. She moved on to Broadway proper with a co-starring role opposite Liam Neeson and Laura Linney in “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch trials that served as a metaphor for the Red Scare of the early 1950s. After auditioning four times, Carpenter was awarded the role of Mary Warren, a lonely girl who takes over as the Proctor’s housemaid and eventually accuses her abusive employer (Neeson) of witchcraft. Graduating to features, she had a small role in “White Chicks” (2004), then co-starred in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005), giving a powerful and memorable performance as a young college student who believes she’s possessed by demons, but dies when her priest (Tom Wilkinson) performs an exorcism on her. She earned critical acclaim from all circles and even won Best Frightened Performance at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards.

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