What the Hell Happened to Heather Graham?

heather graham 2013

Heather Graham has been around a lot longer than most people realize.  She had an early role in a Haim/Feldman “Coreys classic”, got caught up in the craziness of James Woods and somehow clawed her way to being Hollywood’s “it” girl for a few short years in the mid 90’s.  And then, she vanished into virtual obscurity.  What the hell happened?

I pride myself on having an eye for talent.  So when I saw Swingers in 1996, I felt like I had discovered “that funny guy” (Vince Vaughn) and “the blonde at the club” (Heather Graham).  I watched their careers with interest as their stars rose.  I rooted for them both to succeed and felt validated when they both became big stars.

I did not anticipate that “the big guy” (Jon Favreau) would go on to direct Iron Man.  But I was happy for him too.

Over the years, you can imagine my embarrassment as I came to realize that Graham had been around for years before Swingers.  Not only that, but I had actually seen a lot of her work without taking much notice.

mrs soffel

Heather Graham’s first role was an uncredited cameo in the Mel Gibson-Diane Keaton prison romance, Mrs. Soffel in 1984.  She was 14 years old.  That fresh face I “discovered” in 1996 had been working for 12 years by then.  Ooops.

In fairness, you can’t blame a 14-year-old boy for missing a Diane Keaton movie.  Especially Mrs. Soffel.

graham - growing pains

Graham’s first credited roles weren’t until 1987 when she appeared in two episodes of Growing Pains and a TV movie called Student Exchange.

Ohhh, that Mike Seaver.  I wonder what he’s up to now…


Man, I did not see that coming.  Anyway…

graham - license to drive

In 1988, Graham got her first significant role opposite the Coreys (Feldman and Haim) in License to Drive.

Graham was Corey Haim’s dream girl named (get this) Mercedes Lane.  Because, you know, cars.

Being a 17-year-old dude, the Coreys were no more appealing to me than Diane Keaton.  So I missed this one too.  But the reviews were surprisingly positive for a movie starring Corey and Corey.  License to Drive was a hit at the box office.

graham - twins

Later that year, Graham had a small but important role in the Ivan Reitman comedy, Twins.

When I read that Heather Graham was in Twins, I assumed she was one of the girls the twins met up with in their travels.  But no, it turns out Graham played Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito’s mother in flashback.

Heather Graham as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito’s mom.  Only in the movies.

Graham was the first choice to play Heather Chandler opposite Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in the 1988 black comedy, Heathers.  But the young actress’ parents objected to the subject matter and refused to let her play the part.  When Lehmann couldn’t change Graham’s mother’s mind, they cast their second choice who happened to be Slater’s girlfriend at the time.

I really wanted to cast Heather Graham, and her parents wouldn’t let her do it. She was 16 or 17. I even talked to Heather’s mother at great length to convince her we weren’t tools of Satan, and she would have nothing of it. I really tried. I mean, I begged her. Heather’s reading was just great. Then the casting director said, ‘Well, Kim Walker might be good. She doesn’t have a lot of experience, but…’

graham - drugstore cowboy

Instead, Graham played a drug addict in Gus Van Sant’s 1989 breakthrough movie, Drugstore Cowboy opposite Matt Dillon.

It was a supporting role, but the reviews were great.  Drugstore Cowboy was a small movie, but it was seen by casting agents.

Next Up: Shout and Twin Peaks


Posted on September 5, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 132 Comments.

  1. I am sorry to say that I still have no idea who she is….although I saw The Hangover. No other films listed here ring a bell.


  2. I believe Mike Tyson shows up @ the end of Hangover 2


  3. My first memory of Graham was seeing her in Drugstore Cowboy. My friends and I had a great time watching that movie. NO HATS ON BEDS!!!

    While Graham was never a particularly versatile or super naturalistic actress, her charm and immediacy on camera is easy to underestimate. There are plenty of actors/actresses who are considered to be better then she is who do not posses those qualities to the degree that she does.

    Also, she’s real purty.

    I love the idea of having readers vote on stuff. Maybe we could vote on a mandatory Disney photo for you to collect on your trip, or a full review of one of the less well known attractions. I could do the same on my trip, too.


    • Feel free to set up any polls you like. Let me know if you have questions about how to do it. It took some trial and error to get this one working. It’s not exactly intuitive.

      I never saw Drugstore Cowboy. Until I did this write-up, I had no idea she was in it. But I’ll definitely have to track it down. I always confused it with Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

      I agree that Graham has a lot of qualities that make her a pleasing presence on screen. Not just her looks, which are nice. It takes a certain quality to be able to play opposite Mike Myers or Eddie Murphy and not fade into the background. Graham was able to make those guys look good without stepping on their toes. And that’s a skill.

      Usually, when I do these write-ups, I come away with an increased appreciation for the subject I am writing up. I have to admit, this is the first time that was not the case. As Graham’s career was unfolding, I was only seeing the highlights. I always perceived her to be right on the cusp of breaking out.

      But now that I have sought out all of her other choices, well, she seems to fall back on strippers and porn stars a lot.


      • Her choice of roles did seem to be routinely sexualized. She maybe could’ve profited from a few more “good girl” type roles. From what I understand, her parents would’ve preferred that path as well. They were apparently very conservative and protective (who could blame them, and their fears may have been realized through her eventual career choices).

        One rumour says that her parents stopped her from accepting a role in “Heathers.” It’s a great film as is, but wouldn’t it gain a little extra appeal if Graham had played the unhappy go-along cheerleader? Nothing against the actress who did the job, but Imagine a cast photo with Ryder, Slater, Doherty, AND Graham.


        • I could definitely see Graham as a minion Heather. She even had the first name for it.

          Her family was indeed quite religious and I understand they stopped talking to her after Boogie Nights. Which is a shame. Perhaps after that, she figured why not go for broke.

          I don’t know that I needed to see her play more “good girls” per se. But she had a real nack for light comedy. I really think she would have shined on TV if she had been on the right show. She was great on Arrested Development and Scrubs. But I guess shows of that caliber don’t come along every day.

          If I could go back in time and change any element of her career, it would be Twin Peaks related. I would have to find some way to make Fire Walk With Me a hit so Lynch could make a follow-up film resolving the dangling plot threads from the TV show. But that has very little to do with Graham. That’s just my Twin Peaks obsession flaring up.

          And I would have loved to have seen her follow up Austin Powers and Bowfinger with more light comedy. I understand the desire to work with the Farrelly bros, but that just didn’t work out. Also, totally random thought, doesn’t Graham seem like she would be right at home in a Tim Burton flick?

          One conclusion I have come to time and again doing these articles is that there are only so many good roles for women in Hollywood these days. And the competition for them is fierce. There are not nearly enough to go around. If more established stars take all the good scripts, you get left with crap like Committed.

          Finally, I do have to give Graham credit for this much. She rarely played it safe. She kept going back to off-the-wall choices when she probably could have made a fortune going the Reese Witherspoon route.


      • That’s a good fit for her. She was good on Scrubs and Arrested Development.


  4. I think her small role in “Arrested Development” was her best work. She was hilarious. She was also good in a recurring role on “Scrubs.”

    I thought I was the only person who thought “Bowfinger” is underrated. I love that movie. As for “Killing Me Softly,” I’ll admit this. The movie is as bad as you’d imagine, but I’ve seen it more than once. Well, after the first times I just skip to certain scenes on the DVD…


    • I agree she was great on AD and Scrubs. But then again, those shows were great. They took folks like Carl Weathers and Tara Reid and made them look good. So I don’t know how much credit to give Graham and how much to give the shows she was on.

      Bowfinger is an overlooked classic. I keep waiting for people to catch up.

      I’m going to have to track down Killing Me Softly. It has to be more entertaining than Committed.


  5. Danielle Charney

    Agree about her TV work and how great Bowfinger was- i loved it – also loved Bulworth, another underrated classic- it’s interesting to hear you saw Vaughn as a star in Swingers- I loved her and John Favreau- never been able to stand Vaughn- everything about him bothers me-
    I think she is perfect for Tim Burton—surprised he didn’t grab her- she is so quirky


    • Danielle Charney

      and she is perfect quirky for the Coen’s too-


    • I had a connection with Swingers. I had a college buddy who was a lot like Vaughn’s character. And I suppose I was a lot like Mikey. I had slowly come to an epiphany about my old college pal similar to the one Mikey has at the end of Swingers. Long story short, it wasn’t just hysterical. I could relate to it a little too well.

      I thought Favreau was very good in Swingers, btw. I just didn’t figure he had a Hollywood look. Swingers aside, I figured he would be a supporting actor. Which is basically how his acting career played out. I didn’t anticipate he would ever be so successful behind the camera.

      I remember Bulworth getting pretty mixed reviews when it came out. And I remember thinking that while it had its flaws, it was a lot better than the reviews indicated. I laughed a lot. I really need to rewatch it because I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters. Graham is definitely a trade-up from Estella Warren, but there was no saving that dreadful Planet of the Apes remake.

      Right around the time that Graham was hitting the peek of her career, Burton was in a bit of a slump. From 1996-2001 he made Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow and Planet of the Apes. I don’t know that any of those films would have been a big boost to Graham’s career. Although I think she would have done well in all of them.

      Swapping out Christina Ricci for Graham in Sleepy Hollow seems like a lateral move to me. Although it would have been fun to see Graham and Depp working together again. I would definitely take Graham over Estella Warren. But that wouldn’t have saved the dreadful PotA remake.


  6. You may have heard this before: Graham resembles another hot actress, Marley Shelton. Unlike Graham, though, she has never been in a major movie that was successful.


    • That’s for sure! They are dead ringers in a lot of ways. This illustrates a point about how there just aren’t enough parts out there for actresses in Hollywood. There are a lot of “Heather Grahams” out there and not enough parts for one of them. Much less the Marley Sheltons of the world.


  7. I just realized that Marley was in Scream 4 herself. Weird.


    • She was. And when I watched it, I asked myself “Who is that actress who looks like a young Heather Graham?”

      Scream 4 was really bad, btw. I so enjoyed the original. But each sequel chipped away at what made the first movie special. I didn’t think they could get much worse than Scream 3, and yet, they did.


      • Speaking of the “Scream” franchise, I wouldn’t mind seeing a “What the Hell Happened to…” on Neve Campbell:

        Subject: Neve Campbell, 37-year old Canadian actress

        Date of Assessment: April 13, 2011

        Positive Buzzwords: Scream queen, television

        Negative Buzzwords: Limited range, ambivalent

        The Case: Ah yes, I vaguely recall an actress named Neve Campbell, who was fortunate enough to strike upon a rather popular franchise and make some quick cash before the world discovered that she possessed the a mere three facial expressions and, well, that was it. In short, Neve Campbell was the Kristen Stewart of the 1990s, albeit with far less lucrative paydays and a chronic head tilt instead of a lip-biting affectation. Now, after fifteen years in Hollywood, Campbell doesn’t have a hell of a lot to show for her time in the so-called spotlight. Interestingly, she herself has declared that “I never wanted to be an actor,” and I can’t help but think that this is one hell of an obvious statement in retrospect, for Campbell has always seemed like appearing in front of the camera was just too much damn work. She never really seemed like she wanted to be working in the first place, so why should we even bother with an assessment?

        That’s a damn good question, but I’m not entirely sure that I have an answer. Let’s just do this, shall we?

        As a teenager, Campbell set her sights on a career as a professional ballet dancer, but a series of injuries forced her to pursue a “Plan B” of sorts. As such, Campbell rose to a modest level of fame with “Party of Five,” wherein she made the Julia Salinger Pensive Race for a total of 143 merciless episodes. However, she’s best known for the role of Sidney Prescott in the Scream trilogy (and soon to be fourth movie). A few other movies also registered on the audience radar, including The Company, The Craft, and Wild Things; but beyond that, very few people have seen the rest of Neve Campbell’s movies. After all, Churchill: The Hollywood Years, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, and I Really Hate My Job aren’t exactly the types of films that spark cinematic interest on any sort of level.

        One can easily gather that Campbell, in the slightest of demonstrable ways, has grown slightly nervous about her own career’s steady downward trajectory. Accordingly, she’s shown a recent willingness to disrobe on film (2004’s When Will I Be Loved) whereas she previously adhered to a “no-nudity” clause (see 1998’s Wild Things, in which even Kevin Bacon got into the spirit by going full frontal). So sure, she made the conscious choice to go nude in movies for the sake of reviving her career; unfortunately, she continued to disregard the “acting” part of the job. And that’s the crux of the issue here, for Neve Campbell is no actress and never wanted to be one in the first place.

        Prognosis: At this point, Campbell’s own brand of apathetic desperation has actually reached new heights, for she has resigned herself to returning for the fourth Scream movie. It must be noted that while this sequel wouldn’t have happened without her participation, Campbell also wouldn’t even be on the radar without this sequel. Certainly, she received a nice pay day for returning to the franchise, which wouldn’t have a reason for existing beyond the Sidney Prescott character. She does have a few other movies (The Glass Man; Vivaldi) in various states of production, but the only real hope for career longevity would be for Campbell to land a supporting role in another network television program similar to “Party of Five.” In the grand scheme of things, will Scream 4 do anything to further Campbell’s career? Certainly not.

        They Didn’t Quite Make It Big, But Made Good Nevertheless: 15 Actors Who Barely Missed The A-List (StyleBlazer):
        Of no relation to Bruce, Neve Campbell rose to prominence in the mid-1990s thanks to a starring role on the prime time soap Party of Five. During her television tenure Campbell took starring roles in horror films like The Craft and the Scream series. Then came Wild Things, a Hot neo noir that paired her with Denise Richards, Kevin Bacon, and Matt Dillion to become a sleeper hit in theaters and a major hit on video. 54 cast her alongside Mike Myers and Ryan Phillipe, but would not be quite find the same success. Still, Campbell seemed poised to overtake Hollywood until the early 2000s, when, like Sarah Polley, she began opting for parts in low-budget independent films like Panic (opposite William H. Macey), When Will I Be Loved, and Robert Altman’s The Company. Unfortunately, her indie endeavors removed her from a chance at Hollywood’s A-list, though the actress enjoyed a brief revival in 2011 reprising her starring role in Scream 4. – See more at: h


      • Perhaps the problem with “Scream” (not just the first movie but the franchise as a whole) in retrospect, is that a lot of people took it seriously and didn’t get the joke. The first one aged okay because of the mostly spot-on parody nature of the movie, but the second and third movies (and a lot of other terrible “slasher” movies made around the same time) played it all straight and nearly killed the genre.

        More to the point the “Scream” movies, especially the first one (and the opening of the second one) are really “one time viewing” type flicks, where you had to be there on opening night. In other words, the first time was a fantastic experience but most of it comes down to tricking the spectator into a couple of particular emotional moments because of a few shock, Wes Craven showed green skills in doing that. However, because most of the movie(s) is so dependent of the jumps and tension of not knowing where you go that everything is deflated when you try watching it again.


        • I’m not sure I agree. I know I have watched the first Scream many times and still enjoy it. Obviously, it doesn’t pack the punch of that first viewing. But it’s still an entertaining movie. I actually saw Scream before it came out. It was one of those movies where I would occassionally drop into a theater to watch the audience watching it. It was fun because word of mouth slowly built the audience for it. So for several weeks, there were first time viewers who were screaming their heads off. If I could time it right, I stopped in to watch the Drew Barrymore scene. That scene really set the tone. The audience was exhausted by the time it was over.

          Part of the problem with the Scream franchise is that it just doesn’t lend itself to sequels. Williamson used up all his clever satire in the first script. The second one had a bit of meta commentary about sequels, but not enough to warrant a sequel. The material and execution got weaker and weaker with each subsequent film.

          The first film was an expert mix of comedy and genuine thrills. But the comedy got drained out of each subsequent film. Craven still does a good job leveraging the thrills, but since we have seen it all before diminishing returns are unavoidable just like any horror movie franchise. By the end, the Scream movies were basically what they originally set out to satire.

          As a tangent, I always thought Rose McGowan would have been bigger than she was. I have to wonder how much her weird behavior with Marilyn Manson limited her appeal.


        • It more than likely did limit her appeal as well as her cosmetic procedures in recent years (although her defenders say that it was out of necessity due to Rose being in a serious car wreck). Then again, I thought that Rose’s “Scream” co-star Drew Barrymore’s “weird behavior” w/ Tom Green around the time that the first “Charlie’s Angels” film was coming out, would seriously hurt her appeal (Drew even cameoed in Tom Green’s notorious “Freddie Got Fingered”). Rose did get a nice run on “Charmed” after Shannon Doherty was fired, but not much else.


        • 10 Most Overrated Horror Films Of The Past 20 Years:


          What The Critics Said: “A deft, funny, shrewdly unsettling tribute to such slasher-exploitation thrillers as Terror Train, New Year’s Evil and Wes Craven’s own A Nightmare On Elm Street.” (Entertainment Weekly)

          Why They’re Wrong: Scream came along at just the right moment – after years of films like Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday and Hellraiser: Bloodline, it looked like the Citizen Kane of slasher movies. Now that the dust has settled, we can see that it wasn’t. The film more closely resembled Scooby Doo, and it works on exactly that level.

          Consider the formula: pretty teens, scary monster, several confrontations and a chase climax. Following the climactic unmasking, the villain gives a lengthy speech explaining his diabolical scheme, then chases the damsel in distress through the house. Along the way, there’s a comic relief character, a bumbling cop and, most tellingly, Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy in the live-action Scooby Doo movie.


        • I actually don’t feel that “Scream” is overrated at all, especially considering previously films that tried to do take-offs on the horror genre (“1981’s “Student Bodies”, which I think has a clever moment in the very beginning and that’s it, and 1987’s “Return to Horror High”, which I’m fond of, but I think the plot confuses itself) didn’t quite hit the mark. It is true that the film came along at the right moment, but that was because the kids that grew up viewing those 1980’s slashers were maturing into self-aware teenagers (most of whom were wise to horror film “rules” and discussed them already, even without the knowledge of “Scream”), so there was a ready made audience for the film.


        • Under-rated and over-rated is a tough call because it depends on your peer group. A few weeks ago, a FB friend posted that Scream was the greatest horror movie ever made. I responded that while I like the movie, it’s not even the best horror movie Wes Craven ever made. There have been times when, yes, I think Scream was probably over-rated. But I think at this point, it’s probably reached an appropriate level of appreciation.


        • I couldn’t say that “Scream” is the best horror film ever made myself, just on the reality that it’s existence depended on the creation of the horror film genre; without those, there would be nothing to be self-aware about. However, I can understand why people would feel that way.
          The best Wes Craven film for me will always be “A Nightmare on Elm Street” for its ingenuity, but I think 1999’s “Music of the Heart” is also seriously good, and he was capable of films of that type, if he was allowed.


        • I agree that Craven’s best horror movie was the first Nightmare. Scream is a fun movie and probably my choice for Craven’s second-best horror movie. I’m looking to do some horror content in October, so we can continue this conversation then. 😉


  8. Lost in Space really wasn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be…I thought it was a fun movie.


    • I knew someone would come along to defend LiS. 😉

      You’re not wrong. If you turn your brain off, it can be a fun popcorn flick. It’s not that much worse than the averegae Hollywood sci fi movie.

      I think LiS got unfairly ganged up on because it was such a transparent attempt to start a franchise based on an old TV show. It’s success and sequels were taken for granted. So when it was so formulaic and, well, stupid, it became a target. I am admittedly being slightly unfair to it based on what it could have been with just a little more effort.


  9. How about a WTHH? on Heather’s ‘Boogie Nights’ co-star Burt Reynolds? He’s had as many ups & downs as Travolta.


    • Someone on the FB page also recommended Reynolds. I plan to get to him. But it will be a large undertaking. I doubt I’ll get to him this year.

      Pretty sure you’ll see him in 2013.


      • Burt Reynolds kind of (within the context of the WTHHT series) strikes me as a male Kim Basinger. Both were at their peak, sex symbol type actors whose careers took a serious hit due to financial issues (i.e. bankruptcy) and messy divorces (Burt was married to blonde bombshell on her own, Loni Anderson). Both Burt and Kim in the mid-late ’90s made pseudo comebacks to respectability (i.e. “Boogie Nights” and “LA Confidential respectively), that somehow turned out to be anti-climatic.


  10. i definitely think burt reynolds, kurt russell and nick nolte need write ups.


  11. In the late 90s I had the impression she was popular because of all the big movies she was in at the time. Then she disappeared for like ten years doing all those straight-to-video movies (though I do remember seeing ads for her TV show that lasted 1 episode). Can’t say she was missed. She’s not a great actress, but she doesn’t have any charm either…nothing to set her apart.


    • Yeah, I had the perception that she was on her way up based on Swingers, Boogie Nights and Austin Powers. But in retrospect, she didn’t really have much to do with those movies’ success.


      • Exactly. Any pretty actress could have played those roles. She was easily replaceable. Though, to her credit, she was funny in Bowfinger.


        • That is the one thing I have to give her. She excelled at light comedy. That’s why I am surprised she never made it on a sitcom. But I guess there were dozens if not hundreds of other girls who could fill those roles.


    • Does that therefore, make Heather Graham the female, ’90s equivalent to Steve Guttenberg!?


      • I can’t equate the two as I have always had a major movie crush on Graham. You may be on to something, but I see the Gute as a regular guy who got extremely lucky and Graham as a super hottie who should have worked more.


  12. By the way, the James Woods quote about Susan Sarandon is hilarious and so true.


  13. Perhaps Heather Graham’s problem is that she had what could be regarded as four major studio flops in a row: “Say It Isn’t So”, “From Hell”, “The Guru” and “Killing Me Softly”. So that more than anything, killed a lot of momentum for her. You can also make the argument that Heather Graham was for the most part, always an actress who was really strong and likable in certain things and then terrible in others. I’ve read theories on her IMDb message board that she probably also didn’t have a huge female fanbase, which actresses need to keep getting studio work (since men can pretty fickle when it comes to starlets).


    • Yeah, I think all of those things contributed. I was always surprised she didn’t settle into sitcom work based on her guest spots on Scrubs and Arrested Development. It seemed like a good fit. But I guess the one show she attempted was a huge flop too.


    • I’m going to say no, they weren’t. I was a Graham fan when they were released and I had never heard of those movies until I wrote this article.

      And From Hell was a disappointment, but not a flop. But her box office track record was unquestionably bad.


      • 10 Great Film Ideas Utterly Wasted On Terrible Actors:

        3. From Hell – Heather Graham

        Everyone loves a fresh interpretation of serial killer Jack the Ripper, who went on one of the world’s most famous unsolved murder sprees. It’s not Johnny Depp’s best work, but the premise is sound and for the most part the idea has real potential. He plays the drug-addicted inspector gamely enough, and Ian Holm turns in a panto performance that oddly works with the sinister Victorian atmosphere.

        The film falls apart, however, with Heather Graham’s performance as a Whitechapel prostitute in danger of becoming Jack’s next victim. This involves a misguided attempt at a Cockney (or possibly Irish) accent and acting skills that are not up to the level one would expect from an actress starring in a high-profile Hollywood film. She’s not even convincing as a redhead.


        • I feel that in general Heather Graham is convincing as an actress (I liked her in that film “Cherry”, which is the last recent film I viewed her in). Maybe I’m influenced by “Drugstore Cowboy” a little (not my favorite Matt Dillon film; that would be “Rumble Fish”), but I always thought she has something to offer to a character in terms of gravitas.


        • I used to consider myself a Heather Graham fan. She’s certainly fetching and I think she has a gift for light comedy. It helps when she’s in Bowfinger and surrounded by Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin or guest starring on a quality sitcom like Scrubs or Arrested Development. But I have definitely seen Graham deliver some incredibly wooden performances. In those Flowers in the Attic movies, she is either giving a brilliantly bad performance on purpose or she is the worst actress in a cast that includes some really leaden actors. I’m afraid I can’t give her the benefit of the doubt that she was engaging in self-satire in those movies. I think she was really trying and was just that bad.


        • Wow, you know I’ve never seen that version of “Flowers in the Attic” (for a fun reference, Victoria Tennant starred in the 1987 film, who was married to Steve Martin, and Steve Martin acted with Heather Graham in “Bowfinger”) but man, I really liked the book. So, she really does phone it in there?


        • Uh… I wouldn’t quite say that. She appears to be giving it her all. Phoning it in would probably have been less embarrassing. It’s remotely possible that she pitched her performance to the cheesy level of the movies and if that’s the case, she’s brilliant. But I’ve seen her be equally terrible in other movies. Check out her brief appearance in the Daniel Radcliffe movie Horns for an example.

          Lifetime adapted all 4 of the original VC Andrews novels and they are appropriately bonkers. Unlike the feature film, the TV movies leave in the objectionable material. But it’s all done on a cheesy movie-of-the-week budget. If you’re a fan of the books and you don’t mind celebrating their over the top insanity, definitely check out the movies. They are a hoot. Intentional or not, they are hilarious.


        • Wow, that sounds perfectly awful. I almost have to see it just for information. For what it’s worth, I’ve always liked Louise Fletcher (tough films to find in which she is positive though:-).


        • So has Heather Graham surrendered to giving high end performances? Speaking of “Boogie Nights”, Burt Reynolds ticks me off. Now, there’s an actor that became cheesy through choice, then got upset that he wasn’t taken seriously. I liked much of his work, but I didn’t get his attitude at all.


        • Hope springs eternal. If the right project comes along, Graham could be good again.

          Totally agree about Reynolds.


        • Maybe the whole “Flowers in the Attic” material just doesn’t translate well to film. No offense to Kristy Swanson (I like the film “Deadly Friend”, though even THAT book was better), and I didn’t know Heather Graham got hammy. Okay, I recently viewed that film with Luke Wilson and her, “Committed”. I thought it was okay, but I liked what Heather Graham did with her character. I’m sticking with the fact that she can act, and to rhyme all the time.


        • I have seen some bad acting from Graham. But I thought she was perfect for Austin Powers. Whoever wrote this comment should try watching Graham in the Flowers in the Attic Lifetime movies.


  14. The Decade’s Ten Biggest Flameouts — The Rae Dawn Chong Effect:

    Heather Graham

    Best Known For: Boogie Nights (1997)

    Last Significant Role: Minor part in The Hangover (2009)

    What Happened: She can’t act; Hollywood figured It out.


    • TV shows canceled after one episode

      Emily’s Reasons Why Not (2006)

      It was probably a bad sign that Emily’s Reasons Why Not was the production of a company called Pariah Television. ABC reportedly spent $5 million on an ad campaign for the midseason launch of this sitcom about how dating is hard and weird, starring the always likable Heather Graham. The former Rollergirl starred as Emily, a woman unlucky in love trying to figure out who not to date and why. Each episode followed a theme, suggested by potential episode titles like “Why Not to Date a Twin” or “Why Not to Date Your Gynecologist.” 

      The pilot episode was at least a little tasteless: Emily rejects a guy because she thinks he’s a closeted homosexual, but then later finds out that he’s a religious virgin. The show lost more than a third of the audience of its lead-in (Wife Swap) and lost a quarter of the audience of The Bachelorette, the show that had occupied its time slot a year earlier, which led to ABC immediately pulling the plug.


  15. ‘Emily’s Reasons Why Not’: Because Once Was Enough:

    There must be a special type of indignity felt when you are canceled after one episode – only nineteen English language shows throughout the entire history of television have had that honor, after all. After being chosen among multitudes of other pilots, to be one of the select few to actually make it to air, to only be told that twenty two minutes was more than enough, thanks?

    Emily’s Reasons Why Not is the one show out of the lucky nineteen that is most likely remembered by the American public, mostly due to its decent proximity to the present, because that Heather Graham lady starred in it, and because ABC put a lot of publicity muscle behind the show that they so quickly threw to the curb. (Some sports fans may still recall legendary college football broadcaster Keith Jackson — 77 years old at the time and working his last game — struggling to read the promotional copy for Why Not five days before the series premiere/finale, in between plays of the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC, which was witnessed by 35.6 million people.) The network was counting on the show to anchor their Winter/Spring Monday night lineup, which on schedule would suddenly not be broadcasting Monday Night Football, due to the NFL’s insistence on not playing twelve months a year.

    ABC head of programming Steve McPherson wasn’t necessarily relying on the same audience to keep watching their channel on that evening, but because Why Not had a similar sounding pedigree to Sex and the City — Based on a book! Female protagonist! Female protagonist talking about dating dudes! — it might draw a healthy amount of eyeballs and buzz. Heather Graham was never more popular as as she was from acting in Boogie Nights in 1997, but she did guest star in nine episodes of Scrubs as Dr. Molly Clock during the show’s fourth season and had a memorable performance as a Saddam Hussein loving teacher on one episode of Arrested Development, proving that comedic television wasn’t beneath her or out of her element. They got Macy Gray to sing the theme song! Never mind that allegedly ABC bought the show from Sony without seeing the pilot…

    If you learn anything from Brilliantly Canceled, it is that you should always ask to see the pilot. Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was green-lit to produce six episodes without being asked to provide a single frame of film, premiered on January 9, 2006, and was officially canceled on January 10, 2006. “Only” 6.2 million people witnessed it that night, but thanks to YouTube, you can watch it right here, right now.

    Did the show deserve to be canceled after one episode? Considering all of the garbage television has presented us with, no. But it is obvious that if it went through the standard pilot season rigamarole the pilot would have been rewritten and reshot, possibly with a few cast changes, hopefully with joke punch-ups. The only reason it flickered in front of some people’s faces at all as it was is because it makes little financial sense to buy a show and not put it on the air.


  16. What happened to Heather Graham?:

    So what did happen to Heather Graham? As in, why does it seem like she’s fallen off the face of the earth?

    I guess you could say this happens to a lot of actresses. She had good looks, but not so much on the acting talent side of things. And careers for actresses on the whole don’t have the longevity of their male counterparts. Let’s take a look at her career path.

    Her first credited acting appearance was in an episode of Growing Pains in 1987 (maybe she can hang out with Leo DiCaprio at the reunion?). She appeared in a variety of movies and TV shows along the way including the critically acclaimed Twins Peaks and in one of my favorite overlooked movies, Diggstown.

    But she really hit it big as Rollergirl in the 1997 hit Boogie Nights. A string of major studio movies followed: Scream 2, Lost in Space, and the major blockbuster Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me as Felicity Shagwell. But after that, the roles and movies tended to get smaller. Her much maligned turn as an Irish hooker in From Hell didn’t help the perception that she was just another pretty face. Soon her biggest work was on TV. A reoccuring role on Scrubs got a good reception from fans and critics, but her own TV show, Emily’s Reason Why Not, was quickly cancelled.

    Now she’s doing obscure movies. It’s still work, but have we written off Heather Graham too quickly? At least she’s not doing her own reality show like Denise Richards, another pretty face from the late 90s. I say we need more Heather Graham. Her fifteen minutes aren’t quite up.


  17. What the Hell Happened To Heather Graham:

    Heather Graham is a beautiful woman that can really act. Have you seen her in Boogie Nights? She’s amazing as Roller Girl and I don’t just mean her boobs. But I have to ask what happened to her? Did she try to hold on to cute to long? Did she try to play sexy and not smart? She was just in the Hangover and got good reviews but that doesn’t make up for not knowing when to grow up and move on from just sexy….She should learn from her screen co-star Julianne Moore, both beautiful but a well rounded actress who is aging very well….And Heather should have to apologize for this outfit…..


  18. Whatever Happened To… Heather Graham:

    The character of Annie Blackburn was Heather Graham’s first stand-out role, after playing support characters in I Love You To Death, Drugstore Cowboy and Shout. The character, even in today’s terms, is outstanding. Annie was presented with a complex and emotional backstory. In more simplistic terms, if Audrey was the femme fatal, Annie was the angel. Her clothes, hair and body language all conveyed a simple and understated grace, not frigidity. While there were religious and spiritual issues conveyed surrounding her sexuality, to me, it never seemed to veer off in the direction of, “I live in a convent and have a chastity belt, so no touchy-touchy”. Her and Coop did end up having some afternoon delight, and every fan-girl across the world who wanted to hold hands with Coop and share cherry pie with him cried into their pillows.

    The portrayal of Annie proved that Heather could act. This was reinforced again in her role as Rollergirl in Boogie Nights. Yeah, you saw her t*ts and yeah, she simulated sex scenes, but she perfected the “lost little girl” character; she desperately missed being part of a nuclear family and set out to create her own and cast those around her in those roles (The most obvious example being the bedroom scene with Julianne Moore, when both are coked off their t*ts, and Rollergirl says “I want you to be my Mom, Amber. I’ll ask you if you’re my Mom, and you say yes, okay?”). She still has misgivings about her decision to be in porn, and her desperate and degrading slide into the much more tackier world of videotape is shocking in its brutality of not only her act of violence and revenge, but also because she is brutalised and nearly raped, with the camera rolling and with Jack giving direction. Rollergirl (like the characters of Amber and Jack) was a brilliant and dynamic support character to Dirk’s main story, and Heather acted her t*ts off.

    Then there was this: LOST IN SPACE

    Heather plays a “doctor” (LMAO) who struts around in a skintight onesie that somehow managed to add several cup sizes to her chesticals. On a sidenote, Gary Oldman was essentially sober during the period of time in which this movie was made. He was NOT sober during the period of time in which JFK, Dracula and Leon were made. Just saying, is all.

    From there, it goes from the ridiculous (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) to WTF (Say It Isn’t So, with Chris Klein) to I Can’t Believe You Got Cast In This Movie (From Hell) to Are You F***ing Kidding, Did You Even READ The Script (Blessed, where she plays a woman who is impregnated with the sperm of Satan. I’M NOT JOKING) to I Need To Pay The Rent (the ABC television series, Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was cancelled directly after the first episode premiered) to I Don’t Really Know What This Movie Is About And It’s Kind Of Pretentious But It Has An Awesome Cast (Boogie Woogie) to I’m Not Even Acting Anymore (Stripper in The Hangover).

    Heather plays a “doctor” (LMAO) who struts around in a skintight onesie that somehow managed to add several cup sizes to her chesticals. On a sidenote, Gary Oldman was essentially sober during the period of time in which this movie was made. He was NOT sober during the period of time in which JFK, Dracula and Leon were made. Just saying, is all.

    From there, it goes from the ridiculous (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) to WTF (Say It Isn’t So, with Chris Klein) to I Can’t Believe You Got Cast In This Movie (From Hell) to Are You F***ing Kidding, Did You Even READ The Script (Blessed, where she plays a woman who is impregnated with the sperm of Satan. I’M NOT JOKING) to I Need To Pay The Rent (the ABC television series, Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was cancelled directly after the first episode premiered) to I Don’t Really Know What This Movie Is About And It’s Kind Of Pretentious But It Has An Awesome Cast (Boogie Woogie) to I’m Not Even Acting Anymore (Stripper in The Hangover).

    What the f*** happened?!

    Yes, she dumbed it down completely when she did Austin Powers, but that movie grossed OVER 300 million squid. She would (or should?) of had some pulling power following that, some control over the next project to do, what scripts to read, etc. So she goes for a movie with one of the douchebags from American Pie, directed by a complete unknown?! How f***ing high was her agent? More to the point, what the f*** has she been on since 2000?

    Is this just another example of the Twin Peaks curse? Sheryl Lee was last seen as a strungout, hillybilly prostitute in Texas Killing Fields (which is actually a great movie, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t acting), Sherilyn Fenn appeared as a corpse in NCIS and Lara Flynn Boyle had sex with Jack Nicholson.


  19. Assessing Heather Graham: License to Strip:

    Subject: Heather Graham, 41-year old American actress

    Date of Assessment: June 8, 2011

    Positive Buzzwords: Nudity, beauty, sleep

    Negative Buzzwords: Romcom, limited appeal and talent

    The Case: People like to talk about the so-called “downward trajectory” that Heather Graham’s career has supposedly taken. Still, she’s worked steadily since her first movie role in 1988’s License to Drive (the one where both Coreys stuffed her in a car trunk), which she followed up with an acclaimed turn in Drugstore Cowboy and an adorable character, Annie Blackburn, on the second season of “Twin Peaks.” Then, she toiled away in relative obscurity for nearly five years until she stunned audiences (or at least myself) as Jon Favreau’s dance partner in the last act of Swingers and appeared alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Two Girls and a Guy. Then, Heather became the very naked Rollergirl in Boogie Nights, which was a pretty overrated movie but highlighted not only her physical assets but also her ability to play a very damaged character and not just some bobblehead.

    Soon, she was suddenly everywhere at once with a cameo in Scream 2 and several mainstream (financial) hits like Lost in Space, Bowfinger, From Hell, The Guru, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me as the gorgeous Felicity Shagwell. Heather was never a great acting talent, but she had spunk and even convinced Fat Bastard that he was a great lay, which is no small feat. That should count for something, but I’m afraid that it merely qualified her as arm candy instead of as a box office draw in itself.

    Just as suddenly, Heather disappeared from the public consciousness. Nowadays, most of Heather Graham’s oeuvre (and I use that term mostly ironically) is utterly forgettable and not even worth mentioning here. Upon first consideration, I was inclined to give Heather some credit for not going down the romcom heroine path, which certainly must have been an option to her with those big blue eyes and all of that blonde hair (in manner of today’s closest example, Amanda Seyfried). Then I realized the error of my ways because Graham has attempted, at various points, to revive her career in a very inauspicious subgenre of romantic comedy; that is, Graham has subjected herself to repeated instances of the pregnancy-oriented romcom. One of them, Miss Conception, involved Graham affecting a posh English accent while receiving the horrible news that she’s only got one egg left and merely two weeks to find a stud so as not to waste the opportunity. The second one, Baby on Board, featured Graham as a spurned wife who hopes to drive her cheating husband (Jerry O’Connell) out of their home, War of the Roses style. And the third movie, Blessed wasn’t a romcom but attempted to go all Rosemary’s Baby by impregnating her with the seed of Satan himself. These are not only the very sort of roles for which Heather is not believable, but they’re also ridiculous takes on the female sex for which she should be ashamed to participate.

    All of this is really a shame, for Heather has provided (on rare occasions) a few glimpses of real emotion in some respectable indie flicks — Committed, Adrift in Manhattan, and Broken — but these films didn’t get the distribution required to prove to audiences that she’s worth watching. On the small screen, Heather’s had some moderate success as a supporting player in one episode of “Arrested Development” and a recurring stint of “Scrubs.” However, her very brief outing as a television leading lady (in “Emily’s Reasons Why Not”) lasted just one episode before it was yanked for poor ratings.

    Since then, Heather enjoyed a bit of unexpected success by playing the prostitute role in The Hangover movie, but has that caused anyone to watch any of her movies that followed, such as Boogie Woogie, Father of Invention, 5 Days of War, or The Flying Machine? Nope.

    Prognosis: So now Heather Graham turns to children’s movies as “Awesome Aunt Opal” in this weekend’s Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Yes, the woman who loves to get naked onscreen is now starring in a kid’s movie. While she has six movies in various states of production and one in development, it’s doubtful that any of us will ever have the chance to see them, and once she loses her looks, Heather Graham will be gone forever. On a positive note, that’ll just give her a chance to sleep more.


  20. Heather did good in the overrated Hangover movie. and looks great, what age barrier !?


  21. This new Heather Graham film:

    Heather Graham is the most hit or miss actress ever. She was great in Twin Peaks and Arrested Development and has been in some decent movies, but, my God, does she star in a lot of garbage too.


  22. My 2 cents: Heather G is near the top of my “Whatever became of…” list of actresses. As fine as she was in “Boogie Nights” and “Drugstore Cowboy” she was lousy in the 2ND Austin Powers movie. What happened career-wise? HG grew past the age of 35; Hollywood now has Jessicas Alba and Biel to play the Really Cute 20-something Girl roles (and Megan Fox to play the Hot Gal That Can’t Act roles), and truth be told, she’s appeared in too many movies that either bombed (because they were crap) or nobody saw (because they were crap OR didn’t find an audience, weren’t well-distributed, etc.). Maybe HG can get another shot on TV — either that, or graduate to “mom” roles in direct-to-DVD and made-for-TV movies.

    Hollywood giveth and Hollywood taketh away.


    • I though HG was very good in Austin Powers. Granted the role basically required her to look good and stay out of Mike Myers way.

      I think TV is definitely the answer for her now. She has shown she can do it given the right people behind the scenes. But then, I suppose that’s true for a lot of actresses.


  23. Eillio Martin Imbasciati

    I always thought Heather Graham has a certain self-aware sweetness onscreen that I liked. I don’t know if she can carry a picture, but I feel she has enough of a screen presense to bring something to the table in good films.


    • I felt the same way in Graham’s hey day. I am not sure she has that quality any more unfortunately.


      • Maybe she’s become TOO self-aware? It’s been said that one’s greatest strength can be their biggest weakness. Even if she doesn’t act in crackerjack roles all the time, I do think Heather Graham is smart. But that’s the rub; maybe she ended up outsmarting herself.


        • I hate to play amateur psychologist. But I’m going to do it anyway. 😉

          Graham comes from a strict upbringing. She wasn’t allowed to appear in Heathers because her parents didn’t like the language in the script. Later in her career when she had control, Graham traded in on her sexuality quite a bit and became estranged from her strict parents. Eventually, I think she crossed a point where it was perceived that Graham had little more to offer than her looks. And as she approached middle age, the value of her looks wasn’t what it once was.

          Now don’t get me wrong. Graham is still stunningly beautiful. I get why she was cast in that Lifetime adaptation of Flowers in the Attic for example. But being an incredibly beautiful middle aged woman won’t get you lead roles in movies. Those go to incredibly beautiful 20 year olds for the most part.


        • Not to change the subject or redirect the discussion but I think the bottom paragraph about Heather Graham also holds true for somebody like Kim Basinger. For a 60 year old woman, Kim is still a very beautiful woman. The problem is that for better or worse, she’s also always been preceived as an actress who got as far as she did based primarily on her looks and overall sex appeal and not her actual acting talent. This is not to say that Kim is necessarily, an overall “bad actress”, it’s just that’s the way that it is. Hell, you can make the fair argument that her Oscar winning role in “LA Confidential” was in hindsight, one of those things in which you immediately say to yourself, “Well of course you’re going to ask Kim Basinger to play that type of role”.


        • I remember the 1987 version of “Flowers in the Attic” So Heather Graham is playing the Victoria Tennant role (who was once married to Steve Martin, and he acted alongside Graham in “Bowfinger”)? In retrospect, maybe that film should have been released on television as a minseries (I did like the book though).


        • The Lifetime version wasn’t very good either. But it was better than the 87 version at least.


        • Re: What Happened to their Careers??

          Originally Posted by ProcessNDuRags
          She was so hyped in the late ’90s early 2000s. Whatever happened to Heather Graham?

          She turned 40. That’s death in Hollywood.

          Being a mediocre actress known only for getting naked in your movies isn’t good for longevity, either.


        • 15 Forgotten Sex Symbols From The ’90s: Where Are They Now?

          1. Heather Graham

          Heather Graham first became a sex symbol when she starred in “Boogie Nights” as a young porn star named Brandi who was nicknamed Rollergirl because she never took her roller-skates off. After starring in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and “Bowfinger,” she solidified her sex symbol status; however, despite roles in a number of big films in the 2000s – “Anger Management” and “The Hangover” franchise to name a few – referring to Heather, now 44, as a sex symbol would seem like quite a stretch.


    • Here’s the other me again. Two thumbs up votes? Other me is happy.


  24. What a bombshell dropped by Ms. Graham…next thing you know, an actor/actress will “reveal” that Hollywood execs value profit over quality. I wish her well on her move into directing, I really do, but I wonder if she noticed H’wood’s sexism when she was still on the A-list (and still getting the “hot babe” roles). I suppose Heather posing for a photo in Rolling Stone — where she is tied to a chair & gagged — was not meant to be seen as “sexual.
    Yeah, sure. She’s yet another actress that seems to have discovered her “inner feminist” after she fell of the A-list.


  25. I still don’t put hats on a bed.


  26. Love this site—it’s been really fascinating to read about why certain actors/actresses make it and why equally talented others don’t. I happen to like Heather Graham because she did a number of interesting indie flicks before she was big for a few years—-Drugstore Cowboy,Guilty As Charged, and the even more obscure Desert Winds—all worth seeing. Anyone who claims she can’t act needs to see these films, because she can. Plus she always seemed to want to challenge herself as an actress, instead of just playing/sticking to the usual “hot girl” parts she could have just fallen back on. Only thing wrong with The Guru was that it came out a couple of years before Bollywood films caught on (for a brief time) around 2005–plus it barely got promoted anyway. Her statement about there being sexism in the biz is pretty much the truth, but it seems more like she’s saying that from the vantage point of having been in the business for as long as she has–which is almost an accomplishment in itself—it takes WAY more than a pretty face to have that kind of staying power,anyway.. It would be interesting to see what her film look like when it’s done. I also like Bowfinger—never understood why it didn’t get more promotion, despite both Murphy and Martin being in it, and getting good critical reviews.


    • Thanks for the kind words. And thank you for your comments.

      Back in the day, I was a big fan of Graham’s and I expected her to have a marvelous career. Like you, I appreciated that she sought out edgier fare. She didn’t just crank out rom coms. It seemed to me she was equally capable of doing drama and comedy. I really thought she was the total package.

      So this year, after having heard all of these criticisms that she can’t act, I have been watching Graham in the Lifetime movie adaptations of the VC Andrews novels; Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind. Don’t judge! I read the books my freshman year of high school and have had a soft spot for them ever since. 😉 Anyway, I have to admit that Graham is terrible in them. She’s still a very beautiful woman. But she gives the worst performance of anyone in either movie.

      I would like to give her credit that her performance is intentionally wooden. Like she is sending up the ridiculous source material. But I don’t think that is the case. Seeing these movies has caused me to go back and wonder if Graham was ever really as talented as I thought she was. It’s refreshing to be reminded of why I enjoyed her work way back when.


  27. You did a great job of documenting ms.graham’s accomplishments, but you left out 1995’s greg araki film “nowhere”.She played ryan felepe’s hotter than fire girlfriend. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out. The film is chock full of stars and typically strange (an araki trademark). Great job and great info, thanks again. Charlie06.


    • Glad you liked it. Thanks for the tip. I included it in the Mena Suvari article but apparently missed it here. I’ll have to update this one.

      Thanks again!


  28. My last two Netflix rentals (my only two of the month, since I have the limited disc plan) Were “Californication: The Final Season” (back when I had Showtime from 2007-2013, “Dexter” and “Californication” were the shows I viewed) disc 1 &2. I enjoyed Heather Graham’s character in this season, as I think she fit right in with the exaggerated misadventures this show’s universe lived in.


  29. I thought she was great in the Ed Burns movie, Sidewalks of New York. She was warm and whimsical. And as always beautiful. She may have not have the ability to carry a movie by herself, but she has done many great roles and characters. Rollergirl was more than just a pretty face and nice figure.


    • Wow, “Sidewalks of New York”…yeah, what a great ensemble piece. For me, it makes me think of a Leonard Cohen song, or any Leonard Cohen song (Okay “Suzanne” is the song:-)
      Anyway, I liked her role in the film “About Cherry”. Sure, the role was small, but her character acted like she had all the answers (at least for herself).


    • I have yet to watch Sidewalks of New York which is surprising as I was a big fan at the time. I completely missed it in theaters. The reviews weren’t great so I never bothered watching after that. Maybe I will track it down. It seems to be on TV a lot.


  30. I find it kind of weird how you’re obsessing over Heather Graham. And you said maybe Rose McGowan’s “weird” behavior with Marilyn Manson “may have limited her career”. That depends; was she as weird as you?


  31. Truthfully, right now I have Mercedes in my trunk, since she wouldn’t stop puking in my grandfather’s Caddy.


  32. Wow, I still enjoy “The Power of Love”. Good news, my credit is patience


  33. And Now, The Worst Movies Of 2014:

    6) Horns

    First and foremost, what the hell happened to you, Heather Graham? The snake scene was practically a metaphor for her career. I take back what I said about Gone Girl being a two hour episode of Tales from the Crypt, because that description is far better suited for Horns. This movie was Vince’s hands-down pick for the worst of the year, and based on his review I knew I had to watch it and see if he was right. The story is interesting, and I’ve heard that the book is supposedly great, but this movie was like an indie softcore porno. Maybe with better acting it could have been decent, or at least funnier, but at the very least they should have removed the arrest scene outside the night club. That was the second dumbest moment in any dumb movie this year. Also, this movie was 30-minutes too long. Specifically, Lee’s dragged out punishment could have been cut in half.

    The Positive Note: The TV news crew fight scene was pretty funny. Also, the Gremlin was a great hipster car choice.


  34. I really enjoy your site and the write ups for actors. I always liked Heather Graham. But she did seem to either limit herself or got trapped in being “the naked girl” or the “bisexual girl” in a lot of her work. Its great to want to do edgy stuff, but it can typecast actors (especially actresses) if they are not careful, and in Ms. Graham’s case, it looks like it did although she did try to do more serious stuff like “Boogie Nights”. Maybe her rebelling against her upbringing had something to do with it, but its tough to see in someone’s mind.

    The problem with going the sex part way is you get older and if you lose your sex appeal, you really have nothing to fall back on. This is especially true in movies, as the parts skew younger, especially in romantic comedies. This is why Ms. Jolie is concentrating on directing now, and she has an Oscar to give her status unlike other actresses known for their looks. Ms. Graham started doing TV, and that is probably a wise career transition and there are several blonde bombshell types (Jeri Ryan and January Jones) who has had rather long careers starring in TV series.


    • Thanks for the kind words, Bob.

      I have been meaning to update this article to include Graham’s appearance in the horror movie Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe. Graham’s part is small but substantial. Once again, the part hinges on Graham’s sexuality. The character is supposed to be desperate and sad and that’s how it comes across. This is what happens when blonde bombshells cross a certain age if they can’t find a way to transition into some other kind of role. And the thing is, Graham is still stunningly gorgeous. But Hollywood has no use for a gorgeous middle-aged sexpot. At least not in movies.

      TV does seem like the way to go. Graham showed with Arrested Development and Scrubs that she can handle light comedy when the writing is good. Of course Scrubs and Arrested Development were great shows. Scrubs made guest stars like Tara Reid look good. So maybe that’s not indicative of being talented.

      I’ve been watching the Flowers in the Attic movies with morbid curiosity. I was a fan of the books in middle school. The movies are terrible and Graham’s performances are either cardboard flat or brilliant self-satire. I’d bet against the latter. But damn, she rocks a ball gown! She could have a lot of life left playing villains on TV. Get her on a TV soap! The sudsier the better!


      • I think she can act and I think there’s something warm about her even in colder roles (I thought she was good in the film “About Cherry”, but again, the content is sexual, and I doubt many people even know the film exists), but I get the impression she isn’t taken as seriously as she could be in the industry.


        • Actors who should have been huge?

          « Reply #77 on: July 16, 2010, 03:11:46 AM »

          Heather Graham. Her career seemed to be on the rise during the nineties, but I don’t recall her doing anything for the past few years.

          Heather Graham has also been in some straight to video fare and I know one, and I thinking maybe even a couple, are about how she can’t find a man or get laid. She should start doing movies about becoming a supreme court justice because they’d probably be slightly more believable.

          Heather Graham just isn’t that talented either. The best thing I ever saw her in was Arrested Development. I thought she was awful in Austin Powers and almost everything else.


  35. I think the problem with Flowers in the Attic is the material is just terrible. The plot is out of a bad soap and is actually somewhat quaint. A woman who locks her kids up to find a man is not very 2014.

    Also, I failed to add in my original post there is something of a back handed compliment involved in praising a performance when the role is essentially about someone who is supposed to be a bad actor. Look at Bowfinger (Graham’s character is a social climber in a bad “C” movie) and Boogie Nights (Graham is an emotionally stunted porno queen). To tie into my Jeri Ryan reference..its like nailing the role of a Vulcan is Start Trek. The part is being an unemotional nailing it is not seen as some great accomplishment.


    • Like I said, I was fond of the source material for Flowers in the Attic before I was old enough to judge these things critically. I remember being devastated after reading the first book. I tore through it in a weekend and then begged my mom to take me to the mall so I could buy the next book. After reading the whole series and a couple of other VC Andrews books, I realized that she pretty much told the same story over and over again.

      The Lifetime movie plays like bad soap. But the source material is so over-the-top crazy that the movies have been kind of weird fun when they stick to the lunacy. When they play it down, then yep, bad soap opera. Every moment Ellen Burstyn is on-screen is elevated. Every moment Graham is on-screen is not. Although if she is delivering bad performances on purpose, then I can’t praise her enough.

      I don’t mind the story being antiquated. It’s a period piece. And “based (oh so loosely) on a true story” don’t you know? HA!

      In Bowfinger, yeah, Graham plays a bad actress. But I gave her credit for her light comic touch. In Boogie Nights, I though she showed some vulnerability beyond just being naked. There was a time when I really though she had some acting ability. But everything I see her in today, she seems like she’s auditioning for one of those Star Trek Vulcan roles. She’s hysterically wooden.

      I have slowly come to the conclusion that what I liked about Graham in the 90s had less to do with her talent than with her look. But I’m still more than happy to watch her in the right project. I can’t wait for the next Flowers in the Attic movie.


  36. Me too with the looks, she was a knockout. She is like her character in Bowfinger though, I think I read she has the record number of boyfriends on who dated who with like 20 known guys in the last 20 years. She seems like she used her looks for her career and she never married.


    • I think the fact that she has never married would naturally lead to her having had more boyfriends than actresses who had tied the knot.

      I won’t pretend to know what makes Graham tick. But you have to figure she had a pretty messed up upbringing. She started acting professionally at a young age which is a recipe for disaster. Her parents were apparently pretty strict which can also do a number on you. As far as I know, she still has no relationship with them (I haven’t verified this recently but it was true the last time I looked.) It seems like at some point, she rebelled and maybe lost her way a bit.


  37. Heather Graham is one of the dumbest things floating around Hollywood. If she wasn’t exposing herself or sleeping around she’d have no career at all. I hope she fades away soon and stays away.


    • Ahhhh. That’s not very nice. I haven’t seen any indication that she is more or less intelligent than the average Hollywood actress. She’s been smart enough to realize her looks keep getting her work and she needs to maintain them. If she has had plastic surgery, she’s been smart enough not to go overboard.


    • I notice you didn’t say she was talentless. While she may be no Meryl Streep, her immediacy and charm on screen are qualities many other actresses simply don’t possess. Maybe that’s part of why she keeps getting work?


  38. Check out Heather Graham and Eric McCormack filming Fox’s Studio City:

    He plays a drug dealer to the stars in the Fox pilot. She plays his third wife.


  39. Who were the up-and-coming actors that never became huge stars?

    Watching Austin Powers 2 made me think of Heather Graham.

    She’s in her mid-40s now and has been acting since she was a teenager.
    Take a look at her IMDB page and it is riddled with parts that could have pushed her to leading lady status.
    It is sort of mind-boggling that someone so beautiful and with a knack for comedy never got that breakthrough rom-com part that has been handed to so many other actresses.


  40. Jimmy Kimmel and Bob Odenkirk mock Jimmy Fallon’s late-night games:

    Watch the Better Call Saul star refuse to play Kimmel’s Heather Graham-themed Heatherball game.


  41. Graham (along with Sharon Stone and Demi Moore) makes WatchMojo’s list of Top 10 Actresses That Have Appeared Nude in Movies


  42. Why you never hear from Heather Graham anymore

    Actress Heather Graham became a household name in 1991 as Annie Blackburn in the TV series Twin Peaks and continued to dazzle for years in big roles: Boogie Nights (1997), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), The Hangover (2009). But this former leading lady has been flying under the radar lately, so we investigated Graham’s incognito lifestyle, and guess what? She’s still a super fly woman. Check it out.


  43. What Happened to Heather Graham – News & Updates

    Heather Graham is an American actress first broke into the show business in the teen comedy film, License to Drive (1988). Despite her shy nature as a child, Graham had always had a passion for acting. Ultimately wanting to pursue a career as an actress, she attended a number of auditions throughout her adolescence. Later relocating to Los Angeles in attempts of putting herself out there in the country’s entertainment capital, eventually made her official television debut in the family comedy, Growing Pains (1987) at the age of seventeen. Later that same year, she also appeared in a TV film, Student Exchange (1987) alongside Todd Field, Viveka Davis and Gavin MacLeod. In 1988, Graham received her first starring role in the comedy flick, License to Driveーone that helped to establish her place as an up-and-coming star in the entertainment industry. The following year, she landed yet another part in the crime drama film, Drugstore Cowboy (1989), which proved to be a box office success. From there, the blonde continued to appear in a handful of movies including Shout (1991), Diggstown (1992), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), and Swingers (1996).

    In 1997, Graham received yet another break when she was cast as one of the principal characters in the movie, Boogie Nights (1997). Well received, her portrayal in the drama earned her an MTV Movie Award for “Best Breakthrough Performance”. Carrying on with her burgeoning career, she then played the female lead in the spy movie, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999). Her next major appearance came in 2006, when she co-starred in Emilio Estevez’s film, Bobby alongside Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Joy Bryant, Lindsay Lohan, and various others. An experienced and talented actress, Graham has won several accolades throughout the years including a Hollywood Film Award (e.g. Ensemble of the Year), a ShoWest Award (e.g. Female Star of Tomorrow), a Florida Film Critics Circle Award (e.g. Best Ensemble Cast), amongst many nominations.

    In addition to her work in film, Graham has made numerous appearances on televisionーsince her debut in Growing Paints (1987), she has appeared in Twin Peaks (1991), Fallen Angels (1995), The Outer Limits (1996), Sex and the City (2002), and Arrested Development (2004), to name a few. Aside from series, the actress has also starred in multiple made-for-television films such as O Pioneers! (1992), Flowers in the Attic (2014), Petals on the Wind (2014), and If There Be Thorns (2015). An artist with over ninety credits to her name, Graham has also lent her voice to several games including EverQuest II (2004), Call of Duty Black Ops III (2015), and Norm of the North (2016).

    What has sheーwho has been praised by many big-name publicationsーbeen up to in the recent years? Is she still actively filming movies and television shows? If so, what are some of her latest roles? What happened to Heather Graham? Where is she now in 2017?


  44. Wow . How bored were you when you wrote this ? Listing every bit part and piece of crap she was ever in . I guess the real question should be “how bored was I ” to finish reading this pointless dribble


    • How bored were you to take the time to post this comment?


      • I read both comments AND I’m commenting, so I must be REALLY bored (that’s how special works). I say be bored, but never boring.


    • How come some articles include every single bit part, while others skip over the first decade of the subject’s career and only cover the highlights?


      • When the series started, I tended to hit the high and low points skipping stuff I didn’t consider to be essential. But every time, I would get comments about something I hsd left out. Over time yhr articles became more and more comprehensive.


  45. This recent comment thread concerning Heather Graham triggered me to read the ‘what the hell happened” article about her.

    i have to admit that i am / was somewhat taken a bit back by the absence of any real meaningful resume for her.

    Somehow, I thought she was a bigger star than she has ever been. But i wonder why I thought that. I don’t think I ever really remember her in anything (I never watched the Austin Power movies).

    I guess it was her look. She was / is very, very cute.

    I think lebeau hit the nail right on the head in any earlier comment from 12/19/2014 which stated:

    “I have slowly come to the conclusion that what I liked about Graham in the 90s had less to do with her talent than with her look. But I’m still more than happy to watch her in the right project.”

    Now i think she is quickly approaching the status of one of those people who become famous for being famous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Before the Austin Powers bit, I remembered Heather Graham best from “License to Drive”, a film that I was a big fan of when it came out and for a few years after that. I didn’t view “Drugstore Cowboy” and “Boogie Nights” in their entirety until the early 2000’s, but after I did (and think they’re both great), these three films are what I most associate with her. I’ve always been surprised about how long she’s been around I guess.


  46. Heather Graham: Harvey Weinstein Implied I Had to Have Sex With Him for Movie Role (EXCLUSIVE)


    • @imheathergraham says she feels guilty for not speaking up about Harvey Weinstein sooner (EXCLUSIVE)


    • Heather Graham: Harvey Weinstein implied sex-for-scripts in the early 2000s

      Some of the women who have come forward with their stories and messages of support have sort of slipped through the cracks of our coverage here, so I know I’m late with some of these, but they’re worth discussing. Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator for decades, and the women he harassed and assaulted seem to span from the early 1990s to present day. I’m doing bullet-point summaries here, but please check out the links for more complete stories.

      Mira Sorvino. Mira Sorvino was one of the women who spoke on-the-record to Ronan Farrow about Harvey Weinstein and how he harassed her and aggressively “pursued” her when she showed zero interest in him. Mira also penned an essay for Entertainment Weekly, which you can read here. She talks about living in “vague fear” of Weinstein for the past 20 years, and details how she tried to deal with it at the time by going to a female employee at Miramax and telling her what happened, and the woman did nothing.

      Charlize Theron. Charlize was not surprised, but she says she was never abused or harassed by Weinstein. She posted this message to her Instagram: “The women who have spoken about their abuse are brave and heroic and although I didn’t have a personal experience like this with Harvey Weinstein, I unfortunately cannot say I’m surprised. This culture has always existed, not just in Hollywood, but across the world…Men in positions of power have gotten away with it for far too long. We cannot blame the victims here. A lot of these women are young, just starting out in their respective fields, and have absolutely no way to stand up to a man with so much influence, much greater than theirs.”

      Heather Graham. Graham wrote her story about Weinstein in a Variety piece. She details how, in the early 2000s, Weinstein called her into his office and offered her a selection of scripts, then “later in the conversation, he mentioned that he had an agreement with his wife. He could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town. I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy. There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there.” There was a follow-up meeting at a hotel, but she canceled it because she knew what was coming. He ended up never hiring her for any of his films. You can read her essay here.

      Alyssa Milano. Alyssa worked with Rose McGowan on Charmed, and Alyssa was being criticized for not vocally supporting Rose. Alyssa did write something on her website this week saying that she was silent because she’s friends with Georgina Chapman and she knows their family very well but “Please don’t confuse my silence for anything other than respect for a dear friend and her beautiful children.” Milano continued: “While I am sickened and angered over the disturbing accusations of Weinstein’s sexual predation and abuse of power, I’m happy—ecstatic even—that it has opened a dialogue around the continued sexual harassment, objectification and degradation of women. To the women who have suffered any form of abuse of power, I stand beside you. To the women who have come forward against a system that is designed to keep you silent, I stand in awe of you and appreciate you and our fortitude.”


  47. Actors in the most 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes movies

    Heather Graham

    Heather Graham is a beautiful, charismatic, and talented actress, but her career has undeniably had its ups and downs. For one thing, Hollywood has a problem with both sexism and ageism. And while she’d been working since the ’80s, she didn’t really become a movie star until she was in Boogie Nights and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. By then she was 30, and the film industry was unfortunately more interested in beautiful blondes who’d yet to reach that age. She kept working, of course, but she wasn’t always offered top-level material. She starred in Killing Me Softly, which wanted to be an art film but was mostly just a mix of trashy and confusing. Father of Invention wanted to be a quirky dramedy, but had nothing going for it. She joined Cary Elwes as a token adult in the teen sex comedy Behaving Badly, and more recently starred in My Dead Boyfriend, an indie comedy that got lost in its own attempts at quirkiness and just came out unlikable. Heather Graham is an actress worth watching, but the same can’t be said for all of her movies.

    Heather Graham’s 0 percent movies

    Killing Me Softly (2003)

    Father of Invention (2011)

    Behaving Badly (2014)

    My Dead Boyfriend (2016)


  48. Heather Graham claims playwright Israel Horovitz shoved his tongue down her throat….after she dated his Beastie Boy son Adam Horovitz


  49. What Do Heather Graham and the Prime Minister of New Zealand Have in Common?

    Celebrity interviews are a minefield for both sides. For the interviewer, you want to ask good questions that’ll get good answers. You want to be mindful of the zeitgeist and your subject while pushing for a news item or story that no one else thought to ask about. For the interview subject, you have to be prepared for anything, because you might get asked about the movie or message you’re promoting, or the politics of the #MeToo movement, or something totally random, like a fan theory or a rude rumor. And—if you’re a woman—you might get frankly and relentlessly asked about your sex life. Or in lieu of actual questions, just subjected to drooling and awkward flirtation. This is something both actress Heather Graham and New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern had in common this week.

    Graham is doing the press rounds for Half Magic, which she wrote, directed, and headlined. It is a sex-comedy about three women empowering themselves to find the love, respect, and sexual bliss they desire.

    So, naturally, when Richard Chang from LA Weekly interviewed Graham about the movie, he asked her a bunch of uncomfortable to outright gross questions about being hot.

    The following are screenshots of the interview, including Chang’s fixation with Roller Girl, Felicity Shagwell, and the “stripper” from the Hangover movies, who all get a mention in the piece’s introduction ahead of this:

    This question immediately followed the “Did you do a lot of takes” question. And there may maybe possibly be an appropriate time to ask an actress this question. But it absolutely is not following your query about how many times she’s touched herself on camera. He may as well have passed her a note that said, “I like you. Do you like me? Circle Yes or No.”

    To Chang’s credit, he does manage to ask Graham about the movie she’s promoting, and even brings up her involvement in #MeToo. But those questions are pretty standard, making others feel all the more uncomfortable. Like the rest is filler for the sex questions. And then—with seemingly zero self-awareness—there’s this one:

    “Too many times.”

    But of course, it’s not just actresses who face this sexist line of questioning. Australian journalist Charles Wooley is under fire for the way he interviewed New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern. The Australian version of 60 Minutes showed Wooley tell Ardern, “I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time, but none so young, not too many so smart, and never one so attractive.” And he said, “Admittedly, although somewhat smitten just like the rest of her country, I do know, that what’s really important in politics has to be what you leave behind.”

    Oh, really, Wooley? You think Ardern’s most important contribution as a politician is not her being attractive, but her actually doing her job? Well, thank you for this grand insight. Someone call the Pulitzer Committee!

    Wooley also asked Adern personal questions about her pregnancy, including when she conceived. Because that’s anyone’s business. And to boot, he does so in front of her partner, Clarke Gayford.


  50. Heather Graham embarks on a raunchy romp in directorial debut Half Magic… after admitting the movie was inspired by her own experiences of sexism


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