Lisa Nicole Carson (born July 12, 1969) is an American actress. She is known for her work on U.S. television, including supporting roles in NBC's ER and Fox's Ally McBeal. Carson appeared in the roles simultaneously, but afterwards, she withdrew from acting until 2012 when she appeared in the final episode of David E. Kelley's Harry's Law.
Carson was born in Brooklyn, New York; her father is a journalism professor at the University of Florida, and her mother was a kindergarten teacher in New York. She spent her adolescence in Gainesville, Florida and attended F. W. Buchholz High School. Her parents separated when she was 14, and her mother moved back to New York alone. A keen singer, in 1986 she entered the Regional competition sponsored by the "America’s Junior Miss" talent show, taking second place for the region held in Gainesville, FL. After graduating in 1987, Carson returned to New York and decided that she wanted to be an actor. She began her career by appearing in a number of After School Specials and Home Box Office made short films.
Carson appeared in productions at the famed Negro Ensemble Company. Her first notable credit came in 1991, when she appeared in Law & Order and in 1992 she had a non-speaking, minor role in the comedy series, The Cosby Show. She was a regular on The Apollo Comedy Hour before appearing in film in Let's Get Bizzee (1993), Jason's Lyric (1994) and Devil in a Blue Dress (1995). She has appeared in Love Jones and alongside Samuel L. Jackson in Eve's Bayou in 1997. Carson also portrayed a prostitute named Sylvia who swindled Martin Lawrence's character Claude out of his last $2.00 in the comedy film Life (1999). She also performed as an R&B singer in the 1995 television movie Divas.
On television, she played the recurring character Carla Reece, the on/off girlfriend of Eriq La Salle's Dr Peter Benton in NBC's ER between 1996 and 2001. Between 1997 and 2002 she played prosecutor Renee Raddick in Fox's Ally McBeal, a role for which she received multiple award nominations. Carson was fired from both roles, amid reports about her erratic behavior on and off set, alleged drug use, being arrested and admissions to a mental health facility. In 2012, she was featured in a guest appearance in the second-season finale of the canceled NBC series Harry's Law reprising her character Renee Raddick from Ally McBeal.
In 2000, she was arrested for 'interfering with a lawful business establishment' and 'not leaving the premises' after a disorderly conduct incident at a luxury hotel.
In the July 2015 issue of Essence magazine, Carson gave an interview in which she openly described her struggles with bipolar disorder and how the illness has affected her life and career. After having taken a 10-year hiatus from show business to live and receive treatment in New York, she reported having moved back to Los Angeles with plans to revitalize her acting career.