Shannen Doherty was born on April 12, 1971 in Memphis, Tennessee to Tom, a bank worker, and Rosa, a beautician. In 1978, when Shannen was only 7, the Doherty family moved to Los Angeles and Shannen immediately announced her dreams to become an actress. Success began early, with guest spots on TV series including Voyagers
and Father Murphy
. When a casting notice was released in Hollywood for a regular role on the popular Little House on the Prairie
, Shannen leapt at the opportunity and eventually won the role of Jenny Wilder at just 11 years old, thanks in part to actor Michael Landon seeing Shannen's guest spot on Father Murphy
When Little House
ended in 1983, Shannen moved onto the next stage in her career, which included a regular role on the sitcom Our House
and an appearance in the movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun
. In 1989, Shannen landed a role which made her a household name, as the popular Heather Duke in the cult movie Heathers
co-starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The film received rave reviews and, thanks to her performance, Shannen was offered a role in an upcoming Fox series. That role was Brenda Walsh, one of the lead characters in an eagerly anticipated teen drama series entitled Beverly Hills, 90210
. The show was an immediate hit with viewers and critics alike and worldwide fame beckoned for Shannen.
But things were not all they seem. Tabloid reports of on-set rivalries and Shannen's "diva" attitude may have increased audiences, but it was not enough to secure her future on 90210
, and Aaron Spelling dropped her from the series at the end of season four. Refusing to let her firing end her acting career, Shannen moved onto bigger and better things, appearing in the cult c movie Mallrats
and several TV movies, including Blindfold
and Almost Dead
In 1998, Shannen was contacted by 90210
executive producer Aaron Spelling, who offered her one of the leading roles on a new show he was developing entitled Charmed
for the WB network. Shannen leapt at the opportunity to headline a series on the then-new network and was cast as Prue Halliwell, a strong young woman who discovers, along with her two sisters, that she is a witch who must protect the innocent from various forms of demonic evil. Charmed
was a hit with audiences and one of the most-watched series on the WB but, after many tabloid reports similar to those aimed at her during her 90210
days, Shannen ended up fired from the series, after on-set arguments and disagreements with the producers.
Just like in 1994, Shannen was left in a bad situation: she was jobless and her reputation had been badly harmed. Fortunately, Shannen was determined to continue her successful career, winning roles in several TV movies and developing her own series with network producers.
In 2003, Shannen turned to reality television to keep in the limelight. Her first reality TV series was Scare Tactics
on the Sci-Fi network where innocent people were put in hilarious horror-themed situations by their loved ones. The show was a hit with audiences but Shannen soon grew tired of it, leaving the series in 2004.
Following her departure from Scare Tactics
, Shannen appeared in the Fox series North Shore
and headlined the UPN comedy pilot Love, Inc.
but was quickly fired after she tested badly with audiences. In 2005, Shannen revived her career with the TV mini-series Category 7: The End of the World
and another reality series, Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty
, on the Oxygen network, which debuted in August 2006. She resurfaced again in 2008 with roles in two TV movies, Kiss Me Deadly
and The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon
, and stunned audiences when she returned to the role that made her an international star, reprising the part of Brenda Walsh on the CW's 90210
Throughout her career and in her personal life, Shannen has been repeatedly knocked down by firings, tabloid allegations and personal trauma. But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, she always manages to claw her way back into the spotlight. After a nuclear holocaust, all that will be left are cockroaches, Cher... and Shannen Doherty.