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Laura Harring
Laura Harring.jpg
Harring in 2016
Laura Elena Martínez Herring

(1964-03-03) March 3, 1964 (age 58)
(m. 1987; div. 1989)
Beauty pageant titleholder
TitleMiss Texas USA 1985
Miss USA 1985
Years active1987–present
Miss Texas USA 1985
Miss USA 1985
Miss Universe 1985
(Top 10)

Laura Elena, Countess von Bismarck-Schönhausen (née Martínez Herring; March 3, 1964), known professionally as Laura Harring, is a Mexican-American actress. In 1985, Harring became the first Hispanic woman crowned Miss USA.[1][2][3] She later began her acting career in television and film. She is best known for her dual roles as Rita and Camilla Rhodes in the 2001 postmodern neo-noir film Mulholland Drive. She is also known for her roles in other films, including The Forbidden Dance (1990), John Q (2002), Willard (2003), The Punisher (2004), The King (2005), Love in the Time of Cholera (2007), Ghost Son (2007), The Caller (2008), Drool (2009), Sex Ed (2014), and Inside (2016). She also played Carla Greco in General Hospital (1990–1991), Paula Stevens on Sunset Beach (1997), and Rebecca "Becca" Doyle in The Shield (2006).

Early life

Harring was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico on March 3, 1964. Her mother, María Elena Martínez-Cairo, is a spiritual teacher, real estate investor, and former secretary. Her father, Raymond Herring, was a developer and organic farmer of Austrian-German descent.[4] The two divorced in 1971. Harring lived the first ten years of her life in Mexico, before her family relocated to San Antonio, Texas. Harring suffered a head wound from a .45 bullet when she was caught by stray fire from a driveby shooting at age 12.[5][6] At age 16, she convinced her family to let her study in Switzerland at Aiglon College. She eventually returned to the United States, settling down in El Paso, Texas and entering the world of beauty pageants. She won the title of Miss El Paso USA, and soon after, Miss Texas USA, ultimately going on to win the title of Miss USA 1985. Harring spent the next year traveling through Asia, exploring Europe and working as a social worker in India.[7]


Laura Harring at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

Harring studied theatre at the London Academy of Performing Arts, having trained in the Italian commedia dell'arte, as well as Latin dances, including the Argentine tango.[8] She began her acting career in the film Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out![9] Harring played the supporting role of Jerri, a flight attendant and the girlfriend of the brother of one of the protagonists, Chris, who joins them for family dinner at their grandmother's house.[10] In television, she portrayed Raúl Juliá's character's wife in the NBC television movie The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory (1987).[1] She was cast by NBC producers after they saw her on the Miss USA broadcast and contacted her with the role.[11]

In 1990, Harring was lead actress in the Columbia Pictures release The Forbidden Dance, where she played the role of Nisa—a Brazilian princess who travels to Los Angeles to stop a corporation from demolishing her family home.[12] That same year, she began recurring role on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital, as Carla Greco.[13] The next few years, she had supporting roles in films - Exit to Eden (1994),[14] and Black Scorpion II: Aftershock (1997).[15] In 1997, she played the role of Paula Stevens in the NBC soap opera Sunset Beach.[16] After leaving the show, she guest-starred on Frasier in the episode "Dial M for Martin",[17] and appeared in the comedy film Little Nicky.[18]

Laura Harring at the 2008 Cannes film festival

Harring is most well known for her performance in David Lynch's film Mulholland Drive (2001), opposite Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux. She played both the characters of Rita (an amnesiac who names herself after Rita Hayworth when seeing the name on a poster for the movie Gilda) and Camilla.[19] In response to her performance and the choice of her for the role, film critic Roger Ebert wrote, "Not many actresses would be bold enough to name themselves after Rita Hayworth, but Harring does, because she can. Slinky and voluptuous in clinging gowns, all she has to do is stand there and she's the first good argument in 55 years for a Gilda remake."[20] Comparisons were also made between Harring and Ava Gardner by the International Herald Tribune.[21][22] In 2002, she was awarded the American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film for her performance.[23] Harring went on to work twice more with Lynch—as an anthropomorphic rabbit in the limited series Rabbits (2002)[24] and in a cameo appearance in Inland Empire (2006).[25]

In 2002, she appeared in John Q,[26] and was female lead opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Derailed. In 2003, she starred in Mi Casa, Su Casa together with Barbara Eden. In 2004, she was the spoiled wife of antagonist Mr. Saint (John Travolta), Livia Saint[27] in the movie adaptation of Marvel Comics's The Punisher.[28] In 2005, Harring starred in the independent film The King, and later had roles in Nancy Drew, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Caller,[21] and Drool,[29] where she plays an abused wife fleeing her husband.[30]

In 2006, Harring joined the cast of FX's crime drama, The Shield, as defense attorney Rebecca Doyle,[31] appearing in nine episodes of season five. In the role, she is hired by lead character Vic Mackey to protect his team of corrupt police officers against an Internal Affairs investigation.[31] From 2009 to 2010, she also had a recurring role as Evelyn Bass/Elizabeth Fisher in The CW series Gossip Girl.[32][33] In the show, she plays a woman posing as the long-lost mother of the character Chuck Bass, before her deceit is discovered by the other characters.[34] She also guest-starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2003, Law & Order: Criminal Intent in 2010, and NCIS: Los Angeles in 2012 and 2016.[35] Harring was also cast in the independent film The Loner directed by Daniel Grove.[36] In 2016 she was cast in the English-language remake of the film Inside,[37] and in Legendary's first digital film The Thinning, alongside Logan Paul and Peyton List.

Laura Harring 2011
Laura Harring 2011

Personal life

In 1987, Harring married Count Carl-Eduard von Bismarck-Schönhausen, great-great-grandson of Otto von Bismarck. Though the couple divorced in 1989, she retains the title of Countess von Bismarck-Schönhausen.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! Jerri
1990 The Forbidden Dance Nisa
1991 Dead Women in Lingerie Marcia
1994 Exit to Eden M.C. Kindra
1997 Black Scorpion II: Aftershock Babette
1997 Hoover Park Unknown
2000 Little Nicky Mrs. Dunleavy
2001 Final Payback Gina Carrillo
2001 Feather Pimento Woman in Red Short film
2001 Mulholland Drive Camilla Rhodes/Rita ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
2002 John Q Gina Palumbo
2002 Derailed Galina Konstantin
2002 Rabbits Jane
2003 Willard Cathryn
2003 Loco Love Catalina
2003 The Poet Paula
2004 The Punisher Livia Saint
2005 All Souls Day Martia
2005 The King Twyla
2006 Walkout Francis Crisostomo
2006 Inland Empire Jane Rabbit / Party Guest
2007 Ghost Son Stacey
2007 Nancy Drew Dehlia Draycott
2007 Love in the Time of Cholera Sara Noriega
2008 One Missed Call Mrs. Raymond Cameo
2008 The Caller Eileen
2009 Drool Anora Fleece
2010 Kluge
2011 Elwood Julie Jacobs Short film
2013 Return to Babylon Alla Nazimova
2014 Ice Scream Wendy
2014 Taco Shop
2014 Manson Girls Alice Rainer
2014 Sex Ed Lupe
2016 The Thinning Georgina Preston
2016 Inside The Woman
2016 Love Kills Rosa
2018 The Thinning: New World Order Georgina Preston
2022 Father of the Bride Marcela Castillo


Year Title Role Notes
1987 The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory Santa Anna's bride Television movie
1988 Desperado: Avalanche at Devil's Ridge Unknown Television movie
1988 Beauty and the Beast Carmen Episode: "The Alchemist"
1989 Alien Nation Female Newcomer Episode: "Three to Tango"
1990–91 General Hospital Carla Greco Recurring role
1992 Baywatch Princess Catherine Randenberg Episode: "Princess of Tides"
1993 Blossom Nurse Episode: "The Fifty-Minute Hour"
1993 Rio Diablo Maria Benjamin Television movie
1995 Empire Gabriella Cochrane Unsuccessful television pilot
1995–96 Flipper Garcia 3 episodes
1996 Baywatch Nights Charlotte 'Charlie' McBride Episode: "Thin Blood"
1996, 1999 Silk Stalkings Paula Houston / Yvette Episodes: "Family Values", "Cook's Tour"
1997 Sunset Beach Paula Stevens Series regular, 141 episodes
Nominated — ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Soap Opera
1997 California Christina Guevara Unsuccessful television pilot (spin-off from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)
1998 Frasier Rebecca Wendell Episode: "Dial M for Martin"
2000 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Mysterious Woman Episode: "Episode 30" Segment: Deadbeat Daddy
2000 Black Scorpion Ariana Episode: "Out of Thin Air"
2000 A Family in Crisis: The Elian Gonzales Story Marisleysis Gonzalez Television movie
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Joan Quentin Episode: "Perfect"
2006 The Shield Rebecca Doyle 8 episodes
2007 My Neighbor's Keeper Kate Powell Television movie
2009 Gossip Girl Evelyn Bass/Elizabeth 4 episodes
2010 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Marta Caldera Episode: "True Legacy"
2012–19 NCIS: Los Angeles Julia Feldman 5 episodes
2014–15 Chasing Life Olivia Ortiz Episodes: "Guess Who's Coming to Donate?", "First Person"


  1. ^ a b "Laura Elena Harring Biography". Yahoo! Movies.
  2. ^ a b "Laura Harring: Biography". TV Guide.
  3. ^ "Laura Elena Harring movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. 1964-03-03. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
  4. ^ Frank Javier Garcia Berumen (2014). Latino Image Makers in Hollywood: Performers, Filmmakers and Films Since the 1960s. McFarland. p. 307.
  5. ^ "Cover Story: Being shot in the head with a .45 changed my life". Scottish Daily Record. 2004.
  6. ^ "Women We Love: Laura Elena Harring". Esquire. February 1, 2002. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008.
  7. ^ "Laura Harring" Archived 2016-10-31 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Laura Harring"
  9. ^ "30th Anniversary Silent Night, Deadly Night Retrospective: Part 3 - Dread Central". 24 December 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  10. ^ Roxburgh, Charles; Farley, Matt; Scalzo, Tom (2004). ShockJuly: An Adventure in Horror. iUniverse, Inc. p. 109. ISBN 0-595-30858-9.
  11. ^ Melissa Parker (August 10, 2010). "Laura Harring Interview: 'Mulholland Drive' Star Discovered at Miss USA Pageant". Smashing Interviews Magazine.
  12. ^ Erbland, Kate (March 16, 2015). "Celebrating 25 Years of the Dueling Lambada Movies". Vanity Fair.
  13. ^ Kellner, Elena (June 24, 1993). "Perez Joins '$2 Million Tip' Film Cast". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ "Exit to Eden: Cast & Crew". TV Guide.
  15. ^ Sherman, Fraser A. (2000). Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Made for Television. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-7864-4341-3.
  16. ^ Javier, Frank; Berumen, Garcia (2014). Latino Image Makers in Hollywood: Performers, Filmmakers and Films Since the 1960s. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-7864-7432-5.
  17. ^ Frasier episode "Dial M for Martin" at IMDb
  18. ^ "Little Nicky: Cast & Crew". TV Guide.
  19. ^ Giannopoulou, Zina, ed. (2013). Mulholland Drive. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-415-82465-1.
  20. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 12, 2001). "Mulholland Drive".
  21. ^ a b Verswijver, Leo (February 3, 2015). "Laura Harring: 'Film means something, you can make a difference with a film'".
  22. ^ Dupont, Joan (May 19, 2001). "Cannes Film Festival: A Smooth Exterior But Wild at Heart: David Lynch in Competition for 4th Time". International Herald Tribune.
  23. ^ Awards for Laura Harring at IMDb
  24. ^ Thomas, Bryan (April 16, 2017). "'Rabbits': David Lynch's surreal sitcom about three rabbits". Night Flight.
  25. ^ Keesey, Douglas (2010). Neo-Noir. Kamera Books. ISBN 978-1-84243-311-9.
  26. ^ Berry, S. Torriano; Berry, Venise T. (2007). The A to Z of African American Cinema. Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-8108-6871-7.
  27. ^ Ebert, Roger (2007). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2007. Andrews McMeel Publishing, Inc. p. 561. ISBN 978-0-7407-6157-7.
  28. ^ "The Punisher". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
  29. ^ Laura Harring at IMDb
  30. ^ "Trio cast in 'Drool'". The Hollywood Reporter. October 26, 2008.
  31. ^ a b Shister, Gail (2005-10-27). "Laura Harring joins 'Shield'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
  32. ^ "'Gossip Girl' Spoilers: More on Chuck's Mother". Buddy TV. December 10, 2009.
  33. ^ "Laura Harring to Play Chuck Bass' Mom". TV Fanatic. 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Laura Harring: Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
  36. ^ Fuller, Graham (22 April 2016). "Tribeca Film Festival 2016 round-up". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  37. ^ Squires, John (May 4, 2016). "Laura Harring Joins English-Language Inside Remake". Dread Central.
Awards and achievements Preceded byLaura Shaw Miss Texas USA 1985 Succeeded byChristy Fichtner Preceded byMai Shanley Miss USA 1985 Succeeded byChristy Fichtner Media offices Preceded byAngie Dickinson Miss USA color commentator (with Leeza Gibbons) 1990 Succeeded byBarbara Eden and Deborah Shelton Preceded byLeeza Gibbons and Courtney Gibbs Miss USA color commentator (with Arthel Neville) 1994 Succeeded byDaisy Fuentes