Also Credited As:Heather Deen Locklear
|Heather Deen Locklear on September 25, 1961 in Westwood, California, USA|
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The youngest of four children, Heather Deen Locklear was born on Sept. 25, 1961, in Los Angeles and raised in the San Fernando Valley. By the time she graduated from Newbury Park High School in 1979 and entered University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Locklear had no firm career plans and at that point, still had never contemplated acting. A friend suggested she audition for commercials as a fun way to make money, and the sweet-faced girl with the megawatt smile hit the circuit with almost instant results. She was spotted by an agent, landed in over a dozen commercials, and began to study with acting coaches - her destiny seemingly carved out by her undeniable blonde beauty. By the end of her freshman year, she abandoned school altogether and opted to ride the wave of her blossoming, if accidental, acting career. She appeared in guest spots on shows like "CHiPs" (NBC, 1977-1983) and "Eight Is Enough" (ABC, 1977-1981), and had a supporting role in the TV movie "Return of the Beverly Hillbillies" (CBS, 1981).
In late 1981, Locklear landed a coveted role on the top-rated nighttime soap opera, "Dynasty" (ABC, 1981-89), and began her longtime working relationship with the show's creator Aaron Spelling - a producer who was nothing if not loyal to his stable of actors. She was signed to 12 episodes as Sammy Jo Dean, the seemingly innocent niece of Krystle Carrington (Linda Evans) in town for a brief visit. Unsure about the future of her character, Locklear covered her employment bases and also accepted a recurring role on Spelling's police drama "T.J. Hooker" (ABC 1982-85; CBS 1985-86), where she co-starred alongside William Shatner and Adrian Zmed, bringing fresh-faced enthusiasm and girl-next-door sexiness to the otherwise testosterone-fueled show. She stayed with "Hooker" until its cancellation in 1986, by which time she had been bumped up to a more permanent role on "Dynasty" - leading Locklear to become a rarity in the business: starring on two shows at the same time.
Only five years into her career, Locklear was already a certified TV star with an enthusiastic fan base, not surprisingly, made predominately of men. Among that fan base was Tommy Lee, the bad boy drummer of metal band, Motley Crüe. The pair met at a concert in 1985 and married the next year, suggesting that maybe there was an unseen wild side to this otherwise mild-mannered California girl. When "Dynasty" finally came to its campy conclusion in 1989, Locklear found herself in the unique and not altogether pleasant position of being a TV veteran, but still roundly considered a young ingénue. Haunted by the specter of "Dynasty" and its melodramatic reputation, the actress landed a spate of unremarkable TV movies including "Rock 'n' Roll Mom" (1988) and "Rich Men, Single Women" (1990), as well as a starring role on the short-lived sitcom "Going Places" (1990-91), all on ABC. In 1989, she made her feature film debut in the sci-fi clunker "Return of the Swamp Thing" (1989), which did little to suggest much promise for a big screen career.
In 1992, Locklear marked the 10-year anniversary of her acting career with a comeback, joining Aaron Spelling's recent outing "Melrose Place" (Fox, I992-99) and breathing new life into the flailing, twenty-something nighttime soap. As the tart-tongued and conniving advertising executive Amanda Woodward, her steamroller personality and skirts as short as her temper were just the boost "Melrose" needed ratings-wise. As the show was energized by her very presence, so too was Locklear's career. Initially signed on as a "guest star," Locklear soon became anchor of the ensemble cast, but her invaluable contribution to the show's popularity was reflected in her continued "guest star" billing and a significantly higher salary to match. Another attempt to translate her TV success on to the big screen failed with the 1992 thriller "Illusions," which actually bypassed theaters and was herded into the direct-to-video queue. She fared better in a humorous nod to her "super-babe" status with a cameo as herself in "Wayne's World 2" (1993).
While her career was back on track, Locklear's personal life went off the rails in 1994 when she and husband Lee were divorced. Citing the rocker's numerous and none-too-subtle infidelities on the road, Locklear - who managed to keep the details of their marriage under wraps - expressed sadness, rather than anger over the split. Meanwhile, during Locklear's run on "Melrose," she starred in the ABC miniseries "Texas Justice" (1995) and "Shattered Mind" (NBC, 1996), in which she skillfully handled the challenging role of a woman suffering with multiple personality disorder. By now, she managed to find new love with Bon Jovi's slightly more stable guitarist Richie Sambora, whom she married in late 1994 before giving birth to their only child, Ava, in 1997 after 35 grueling hours of labor. Ever loyal to her mentor Aaron Spelling, she returned to "Melrose Place" until its cancellation in 1999, despite the show's sinking ratings and descent into higher-than-usual camp. And while Locklear had always been a popular actress, public opinion and critical acclaim had never been as high as it was when the show finally bid farewell. So naturally, it was not long before Locklear was snapped up by a new network suitor, but one she had been long comfortable with during her 1989s heyday: ABC.
Locklear was immediately cast on the New York-set political sitcom "Spin City" (ABC, 1997-2002) as Caitlin Moore, the driven campaign manager spearheading the mayor's bid for the U.S. Senate. Again part of a quirky ensemble, but this time a comedic one, the actress made the most of her talents and quickly insinuated herself into viewers' good graces yet again by showing a whole new side to herself. In 2002, Locklear decided to end her run with the sitcom that earned her two Golden Globe nominations. Before making her way back to the big screen, she guest starred in three episodes of the NBC hit comedy "Scrubs" (NBC, 2001-08) as a drug sales rep who raises Dr. Cox's (John C. McGinley) temperature. In one of her more successful film roles, she co-starred in the dramedy "Uptown Girls" (2003) as precocious Dakota Fanning's upwardly mobile but neglectful mother. The following year, she returned to television as a producer and star of the one-hour airport drama "LAX" (NBC, 2004-05), but even Locklear's appeal was not enough to snag viewers and the show was cancelled after only 13 episodes. It was her first real failure in television as the lead actress. Undeterred, she was cast in another big screen mother-daughter comedy, "The Perfect Man" (2005), as the hapless, peripatetic mom of a teen girl (Hilary Duff) who tries to play matchmaker. Not surprisingly, the film suffered at the hands of merciless critics inundated with tween stars like Duff, Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes, whose schlocky teen angst now played out on the big screen.
Over the next several years, Locklear's guest appearances on "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08) and "Rules of Engagement" (CBS, 2007- ) did not earn her nearly the same amount of ink as did her suddenly melodramatic personal life. In early 2006, she filed for divorce from Sambora, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. While the couple had signed a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage, Sambora filed to enforce the terms of the agreement and asked for joint custody of nine-year-old Ava. The divorce was finalized amicably in early 2007. Shortly after filing for the divorce, however, Locklear was stung by the news that Sambora had become involved with her former close friend and neighbor, actress Denise Richards, who had recently filed for divorce from Locklear's former "Spin City" co-star, Charlie Sheen. In a show of how beloved the star was, "Team Heather" definitely prevailed over "Team Denise," with the majority of celebrity watchers siding with the perceived wronged party, Locklear.
After a brief rebound relationship with the unlikely - but no doubt amusing - comedian David Spade in 2007, "Melrose Place" junkies were delighted to hear that Locklear and her long-ago onscreen flame, Jack Wagner, had become a real-life couple. The same year, she appeared in the Lifetime TV adaptation of Nora Robert's "Angels Fall" as a crime victim trying to rebuild a new life, which she followed by playing a divorced 40-year-old who embarks on a romance with a younger surf instructor in "Flirting With Forty" (Lifetime, 2008). Making big news once again, Locklear delighted fans when she reprised the wicked Amanda Woodward in the revamped version of "Melrose Place" (The CW, 2009-2010), a much-hyped appearance that the networked hoped would boost ratings for their beleaguered freshman series. Unfortunately, the program only lasted a season, even with Locklear's help. In August 2011, the actress announced her engagement to Wagner, delighting longtime "Melrose" fans.