Courtney Thorne-Smith was born on November 8th, 1968 in the San Francisco Bay area. Her hyphenated name isn't the result of a marriage/divorce mess: it's just the way her parents dubbed her at birth - her mother's maiden name is Thorne and her father's name is Smith... Thus comes Courtney Thorne-Smith. She and her sister Jennifer were raised in Mill Valley, California... In 1985 she was saved from a would-be academic career at Pennsylvania's Allegheny College by a talent scout who cast her in "Lucas", a sweet coming-of-geeky-age story. From that point on she was an actress... In her last year of high school, she began her professional training with Mill Valley's Ensemble Theater Company. Unlike her fellow young co-stars, who would later become famous doing either movies or stage work, Courtney went on to do TV, and it seems to be her hair that fated her to do so... Primetime execs were very pleased with her "fairest of them all" (the complex Georgia would later reveal she had) look, and her golden locks helped her land steady roles on first small, then big projects... She started with a TV-fied version of the 1982 flick "Fast Times At Ridgemont High", which, as it goes, didn't last more than a month... Some big-screen work with small roles followed, like "Summer School" and "Revenge Of The Nerds II"... Of course, she understood that these roles would never get anywhere big... "It's not like I thought "Revenge of the Nerds II" would make my career!" she told "Self", laughing... But those roles did get her some attention, leading her back to TV, where she first played in the NBC sitcom "Day By Day", after which she got to feel Kelley's powers on his then-hit series/another fortunate brainchild "L.A. Law", in the recurring role of Kimberly, a Lakers cheerleader dating the no-fun Micheal Kuzak... While before she got to play mostly goody-goody innocent girls that had no intention of doing something bad... On "L.A. Law" she got to play someone who had her share of "bad" things done... But that wasn't her big breakout: the real thing would come later...
"Later" as in 2 years later... In 1992 she heard about the new "90210" spin-off "Melrose Place", and though she didn't expect to like it (or so she told "BPI Entertainment News Wire"), she started reading the script and fell in love with the part of Alison (catch this: sometimes this Alison girl got called "Ally", and the love of her life happened to be named...(drumroll) BILLY! How's that for coincidences???)... Alison was Alison Parker, an incest-surviving alcoholic Melrose resident who was basically the lead until man-stealing barracuda Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear) came along and pitched the ratings, as well as the success of the show... Though the main attention was now centered on Locklear, Courtney had a devoted cult of fans as well as a VERY, VERY good & steady paycheck... Around '97, though, it started to limp a little, and Fox execs were looking for something to spice Monday nights up for the female audience while their other half was glued to "Monday Night Football"... Enter Kelley, add a brainstorm and the result? "Ally"... At first Kelley imagined the role of Georgia as small and not that important, and he cast actress Anna Gunn for the role... But that decision didn't last longer than the first takes of the pilot, when David realized that Georgia opened huge possibilities for plotlines and the role instantly grew from small to big... And with that Kelley realized that Gunn didn't really seem right for the part... Around that time he gave a call to Courtney's agent, who passed the proposition on to Courtney... She, being sort of unemployed at that time, agreed to move to a later Monday night slot... And she suited the role perfectly... "We [Georgia & Billy] were the eyes of the world. We were the observers. Which we continue to be, but we're also allowed to have some humanity and our own problems. We've gotten to lose it a couple of times, which is fun for us..." said Courtney of her character, Georgia.
But, of course, some things had to go with her in a new role... Like her hair... It was cut, starting the all-new CT-S era... That wasn't the only thing changed throughout one TV season. "The perception of the shows is so different. I used to get "You're so pretty" from people when I was on MP... Now I get asked legal questions..." she said. "People speak to me as if I'm intelligent now..."
In June of 2000, Courtney married Miami-based (I *think*) genetic Andrew ConradAs for future family additions: I'm not sure, but I have heard rumours... Her new movie, "Venus Conspiracy", just came out. Though rumours that she was leaving "Ally" for good were circulating through all sorts of media, she still hasn't really *left*. Let's hope she doesn't - I still can't forgive Bellows for what he did (but let's not go there)...
Courtney Thorne-Smith: Selected Credits
*Venus Conspiracy (1999)
*Chairman Of The Board (1998) - "Natalie"
*The Lovemaster (1996) - "Deb"
*Beauty's Revenge (1995)(TV movie) - "Cheryl"
*Breach of Conduct (1994) (TV movie) - "Helen Lutz"
*Side Out (1990) - "Samantha"
*Anything But Love (1990)
*Ally (1999-?) - "Georgia Thomas"
*Ally McBeal (1997-?) - "Georgia Thomas"
*Duckman (1997) - voice-over
*Spin City (1997 & 1998, guest star) - "Danielle Brinkman"
*Melrose Place (1992-1997) - Alison Parker Armstrong Hanson (...don't ask...)
*Grapevine (1992) - "Lisa"
*L.A. Law (1990, guest star) - "Kimberly Dugan"
*Day By Day (1988, guest star) - "Kristin Carlson"
*Infidelity (1987, guest star) - "Eileen"
*Fast Times (1986) - "Stacy Hamilton"
*The Thanksgiving Promise" (1986) - "Sheryl"
See bios: Calista Flockhart -- Gil Bellows -- Courtney Thorne-Smith -- Peter MacNicol -- Portia de Rossi -- Lucy Liu -- Greg Germann -- Lisa Nicole Carson -- Jane Krakowski -- Vonda Shepard