Your #1 Source for Sprague Grayden

cover photo copyright J Squared Photography

What is it about Sprague Grayden that makes her so engaging?
I marvel at her complete unselfconsciousness on-screen; her
natural spontaneity, sincerity, and two-feet-firmly-on-the-ground
ethos ... Heather lives, regardless of the fate of “Jericho,”
because Sprague Grayden has made an indelible impression
and touched so many hearts and souls.
Mary, a poster on the CBS Jericho message board

Sprague Grayden is a great actress.
Carol Barbee, Executive Producer, Jericho

Sprague Grayden is stealing the show on 24.
Ann Oldenburg, USA Today

Sprague Grayden is once again proving that she's one of
TV's most interesting young actresses. And if you have
any lingering doubts, go find a copy of Steven Bochco's
under-appreciated Over There and watch her startlingly
different but equally gripping performance there.

Robert Bianco, USA Today

photographs by Roger Snider

Sprague Grayden is an American television, film, and theatre actress. The Internet Movie Database lists her birthdate as July 21, 1980.

Noting that she is “a staple of the small screen,” the web site AskMen.com stated that “Sprague's quirky personality and off-kilter looks have cemented her status as a thinking-man’s sex symbol“ and that she is “one of the more intriguing performers to come around in quite some time.”

Early life, education, and theatre

The daughter of two schoolteachers, Grayden was born and raised in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, and began performing at age five, encouraged by her parents and a family friend who was a casting agent in Boston. She appeared in local commercials and plays, including Israel Horowitz’s Strong Man’s Weak Child at the Gloucester Stage Company.

Sprague Grayden as a child
(photograph copyright Drama Dept.)

In her school years, Grayden also was a member of the Rebel Shakespeare Company (a youth group which performed at local venues), reportedly taking lead roles in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, and The Tempest.

Sprague Grayden in her youth
(original photo source unknown)

Grayden attended Manchester-Essex Regional High School> and participated in the high school's debate team, where she qualified for national competitive events and, according to the Averill Debate Fund web site, "brought home many championships." She later enrolled at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies.

Sprague Grayden and the cast of Hopscotch
(photograph copyright Texas Toast Productions)

While in college, Grayden joined the off-Broadway theatre ensemble Drama Dept. and performed the lead role in a public screenplay reading of the play Little Diva. Her other theatrical credits during this period included Fool for Love, Hamlet, Hopscotch: The New York Sex Comedy (as a member of Texas Toast Productions), Ordinary Day, The Vagina Monologues, and Waiting for Lefty.

Sprague Grayden at a public reading
(original photo source unknown)

After graduation, Grayden began "pounding the New York City pavements" looking for theatrical work, and playing parts in what she has called "bad non-union movies," but quickly found a home on the small screen.

Television career

Grayden broke into network television in 2002 with a guest appearance on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, followed by a supporting role on the short-lived Fox series John Doe playing Doe’s assistant, Karen Kawalski. Although her character was eliminated after fourteen episodes, Grayden considers Doe her "first big break."

Sprague Grayden in John Doe
(photographs copyright Fox Television)

In 2003, Grayden was cast in the starring role in a series pilot called Sixteen to Life for the now-defunct WB network. The series was not picked up and the pilot never aired, but she was soon offered a role in the HBO series Six Feet Under playing Anita Miller, a friend of one of the primary characters.

Sprague Grayden in Six Feet Under
(photographs copyright HBO - Home Box Office, Inc.)

Grayden also had a recurring role in the CBS series Joan of Arcadia in 2004-05 as Joan’s friend Judith Montgomery, as well as guest appearances on NBC’s Crossing Jordan and the WB’s One Tree Hill. In 2005, she was cast as war wife Terry Ryder in the FX drama Over There, which lasted one season, and in 2006 landed a guest part on the CBS series CSI: NY.

Sprague Grayden in One Tree Hill
(screen captures, copyright Warner Bros. Television)

Sprague Grayden in CSI: NY
(screen captures, copyright CBS Paramount Television)

In the fall of 2006, Grayden took on the role of schoolteacher Heather Lisinski on the CBS post-apocalyptic drama Jericho, which was cancelled in May 2007 after its first season, resurrected three weeks later after an intense campaign by fans, and cancelled again in March 2008 after an abbreviated second season. More about this character, including many pictures, can be found on the Heather Lisinski page.

Sprague Grayden in a Jericho-related interview and auditioning for the role of Heather Lisinski
(screen captures from the Jericho Season One DVD set, copyright CBS Paramount Television)

In 2007, while Jericho was on hiatus, Grayden appeared in three episodes of the Showtime series Weeds and an episode of the ABC Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Private Practice. In 2008, as Jericho completed its second season, Grayden guest-starred in an episode of the CBS drama Without a Trace, filmed the pilot for the FX series Sons of Anarchy, which premiered in September, and accepted a role in the seventh season of the Fox drama 24, which returned in January 2009.

Sprague Grayden in Weeds
(screen captures, copyright Showtime Networks)

On Sons of Anarchy, Grayden played Donna Winston, the wife of an ex-con biker husband who encouraged him to stay away from the motorcycle club. She appeared in seven episodes during its first season. In 24, Grayden played the President's daughter, Olivia Taylor, and appeared in fourteen episodes. Contrary to published reports, she did not appear in the 24 prequel movie Redemption, which aired in November 2008.

Sprague Grayden in 24
(photographs copyright Fox Television)

Grayden was named one of the "50 Hottest New Faces on Television" in the October 24, 2005 issue of Inside TV magazine and headlined as "TV's Sizzling New Star" by Netscape Celebrity in 2007.

Sprague Grayden in Private Practice
(screen captures, copyright ABC Television)

Sprague Grayden in CSI: Miami
(photographs copyright CBS Paramount Television)

Grayden appeared in episode 7.23 of CSI: Miami, entitled "Collateral Damage." In the episode, she played a young mother who was injured by a grenade blast at a restaurant, while Horatio (David Caruso, above) attempted to find the perpetrator. The episode aired May 4, 2009 on CBS.

She also appeared in a tenth-season episode of NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In the episode, "Liberties," she played a young woman being stalked by an ex-boyfriend who turned out not to be who he seemed to be. The episode aired May 19, 2009 on NBC.

Sprague Grayden on Last Call With Carson Daly
(screen captures, copyright NBC Universal)

Film career

Sprague Grayden in The Last Lullaby
(photographs copyright thelastlullaby.com)

Sprague Grayden in Wake
(photographs copyright Bitter Productions)

Although primarily recognized by the public as a television actress, Grayden has made occasional movie appearances, tending toward unusual or challenging roles in small, independent films. As a child, she had a minor role in the 1989 Jack Lemmon motion picture Dad. Other appearances include Mini’s First Time, the short film Six Months Later, and the recent features The Last Lullaby and Wake. Although IMDb lists her as appearing in Level Seven, a project supposedly in pre-production, Grayden has stated that no such film exists.

Personal life

Sprague Grayden at the 2008 Los Angeles Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention (with Jon Turteltaub and Kenneth Mitchell, above)
(top photos courtesy Don J; bottom photos courtesy Clinton Lum, lumdigital.com)

Grayden resides in the Los Angeles area. Asked by TheStarScoop.com what she was like in real life, Grayden responded, "I'm kind of a tomboy. I like to read a lot. I like watching TV. I don't think I'm as interesting as my characters, but I like doing what I do ... I live on the beach, so I do a lot of beach activities. I walk the beach. I like to ride my bike. I love to go hiking. I'm a big spinning person. I like yoga. I work out a lot; it kind of clears my head."

Sprague Grayden in an online interview and on the TV Guide Channel
(screen captures copyright CBS Paramount Television and TV Guide)

Sprague Grayden at a charity gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel, April 2008
(photographs courtesy Capturing Skeet)

In a 2006 interview with MediaBlvd.com, Grayden said, "Secretly, I’m a real big nerd. I’d rather stay home and play Scrabble than go to a Hollywood party, any day of the week. And I love reading about history and watching the Discovery Channel." On a panel at the 2008 Los Angeles Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention, Grayden described herself as being a cross between the "biker chick" she played on Weeds and Heather on Jericho.

On her MySpace page, Grayden describes herself as 5' 5", single, and enjoying "movies, reading three books at a time, weekend trips, learning as much as I can." The page also says that she "collects Pez dispensers and is a rabid Battlestar Galactica fan."

Sprague Grayden on the picket lines of the Writers Guild of America strike, November 2007
(photographs courtesy Banacek11)

cover photographs copyright Steppin' Out Magazine and Beverly Hills 213 Magazine

screen capture copyright United Hollywood


Getty Images

photograph by Roger Snider
Sprague Grayden and the webmaster on the set of Jericho, September 5, 2007, during the filming of episode 2.5, "Termination For Cause"
(photographs by Patrick Wymore, CBS)

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Last update:
December 8, 2011