Shannen Maria Doherty (born April 12, 1971) is an American actress, producer, author, and television director. She is known for her roles as Brenda Walsh in Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–94), and as Prue Halliwell in Charmed (1998–2001).
Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Rosa, a beauty parlor owner, and Tom Doherty, a mortgage consultant. Doherty has Irish Catholic ancestry on her father's side and English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry on her mother's side. She was raised in her mother's Southern Baptist denomination.
Doherty had 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, she jumped at the opportunity and eventually won the role of Jenny Wilder at the age of 11, thanks in part to actor/producer Michael Landon's seeing her guest spot on Father Murphy, which he also produced. Doherty stayed in the series until the show's cancellation in 1983.
In 1982, Doherty lent her voice to the animated film The Secret of NIMH. In 1985, Doherty starred as Maggie Malene in the teen movie comedy Girls Just Want to Have Fun alongside actresses Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Doherty was cast as the oldest Witherspoon sibling, Kris, on the family drama Our House, which ran from 1986 to 1988, a role which garnered her several Young Artist Award nominations. She then went on to appear in an episode of Magnum, P.I. ("A Sense of Debt"), followed by an early episode of Airwolf for which she was nominated as Best Young Actress: Guest in a Series at the 6th Youth in Film Awards in 1984. Doherty's first major motion picture role was in Heathers, released in 1989.
Doherty garnered worldwide attention and fame for her breakout role as Brenda Walsh in the Aaron Spelling-produced TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1990. In 1991 and 1992 her portrayal of Brenda earned her a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series. Doherty left the show after the fourth season in 1994. Her character was written off the show as moving to London to attend school at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts.
On October 11, 1993, Shannen Doherty was married to Ashley Hamilton, son of actor George Hamilton; they divorced in April 1994.
Doherty's career afterward consisted primarily of made-for-TV movies, though she also had a lead role in Kevin Smith's 1995 film Mallrats.
In 1998, Spelling again cast her in another of his TV series, Charmed, in which she played lead character Prue Halliwell, the oldest of three sisters who are witches. Doherty also directed a few episodes for the series during the second and third seasons. Doherty left the show in 2001 at the end of the third season, resulting in her character's death. Doherty was also twice nominated, in 1999 and 2000, for the Saturn Award, Best Genre TV Actress, for her performance in Charmed. In 2007, AOL named Prue Halliwell the 10th greatest witch in television history.
Doherty announced in 1999 that she suffers from Crohn's disease.
In 2001, she was sentenced to either 10 days in jail or 20 days of work-release duty and three years' probation and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine for drunk driving. In 2002, Doherty married Rick Salomon, but the marriage was annulled after nine months.
She starred in the popular British sitcom Bo! in the USA. The show aired in October 2006 on the British Channel 4, and she appeared in several episodes.
During 2007, Doherty appeared in two television projects. She first appeared in Kiss Me Deadly: A Jacob Keane Assignment for the here! network and followed up with a starring role in the holiday film Christmas Caper for ABC Family. That same year Doherty also set up a production company called No Apologies for which she planned to develop a TV drama for herself. Later in 2007, Doherty was ranked number 96 on Entertainment Weekly 's list of the 100 Greatest Television Icons. In 2008, Doherty was featured on the Swedish television show High Chaparall, appearing in the second episode of the show's fourth season.
Also in 2008, 14 years since her last television appearance as Brenda Walsh, Doherty joined the cast of the Beverly Hills, 90210 spin off for The CW for a reported $40,000–50,000 an episode. She returned as a guest star, reprising her old role of Brenda Walsh in four of the new series' initial six episodes. Her character, now a successful theater actress and stage director, returned as the guest director of the high school musical. After her initial guest spot was completed, Doherty stated she was open to returning to the series later in the season and eventually agreed to appear in three additional episodes, with her most recent appearance airing in May 2009. The writers were eager to have her share scenes with Jennie Garth, who also reprised her 90210 role of Kelly Taylor.
In late 2008, Doherty was announced to co-star alongside Dylan McDermott in the indie film Burning Palms, a satire based on Los Angeles stereotypes told through five intertwining storylines.
On March 1, 2010, it was announced that she would be a celebrity contestant on Dancing with the Stars for the tenth season. The season premiered on Monday, March 22, 2010. Doherty was paired with two-time champion Mark Ballas in his sixth season on the show, but the pair was the first couple eliminated in the second week on March 30. The judges have said, "Doherty wouldn't have left if we would have just done scores". She wanted to do Dancing with the Stars to make her ailing father proud. Doherty returned for the finale.
On October 15, 2011, Doherty married Kurt Iswarienko in Malibu. Their wedding planning activities were the subject of the reality TV show Shannen Says.
On July 24, 2014, it was announced that Doherty and her former Charmed co-star Holly Marie Combs would be starring in their own road trip reality show called Off the Map with Shannen & Holly, which premiered on Great American Country on January 2, 2015. The six-episode series follows the pair traveling across southeastern United States, with stops in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Viewers were able to vote on activities Doherty and Combs would partake in at each destination on Great American Country's official website.
She is a registered Republican.
Doherty is an avid animal rights activist. She is a supporter of the Sea Shepherds, and while performing the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 she challenged founder Paul Watson and global supporters of Sea Shepherds.
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