Shannen Maria Doherty (/ˈd.ərti/; born April 12, 1971)[2] 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).

Early life and career beginnings

Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Rosa, a beauty parlor owner, and Tom Doherty, a mortgage consultant.[2] Doherty has Irish Catholic ancestry on her father's side and English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry on her mother's side.[3] She was raised in her mother's Southern Baptist denomination.[4]

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 at the age of 11 eventually won the recurring role of Jenny Wilder (1982-83 + Film),[5] thanks in part to actor/producer Michael Landon's seeing her guest spot on Father Murphy,[6] 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.[7] 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.


Early work: 1990–2001

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.[8] In 2004, E! placed the character at number 10 on their list of the 50 Most Wicked Women of Prime Time.[9] 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.

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 one notable scene, Willam (Ethan Suplee) looks at her and asks "Brenda?" to which she shouts "Dick!" a joke repeated in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. 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. Reportedly, the reason for her departure was because of on-set and off-set tensions between Doherty and co-star Alyssa Milano.[11] Doherty was also twice nominated, in 1999 and 2000, for the Saturn Award, Best Genre TV Actress, for her performance in Charmed.[7] In 2007, AOL named Prue Halliwell the 10th greatest witch in television history.[12]

Later work: 2002–present

In 2003, Doherty hosted the Sci Fi Channel candid camera show Scare Tactics during its initial season.[13] After her stint on Scare Tactics Doherty, in a return to her prime-time soap roots, starred as a regular on the short-lived TV series North Shore. She starred as Alexandra Hudson from 2004 to 2005. Later in 2005, she was in the pilot for a comedy titled Love Inc..

Doherty later went on to produce and star in her own reality show, Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty, which premiered on the Oxygen network in 2006. In the show, Doherty goes around doing "dirty work" for members of the public, including dumping boyfriends or telling people what their friends really think about them. The show was canceled after one season owing to poor ratings. She also starred in the popular British sitcom Bo! in the USA, a brain child of Leigh Francis.[6] In the show, she plays herself being randomly harassed by Avid Merrion (Francis), who claims they are lovers. 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.[14] 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[15] and eventually agreed to appear in three additional episodes, with her most recent appearance airing in May 2009.[16][17] The writers were eager to have her share scenes with Jennie Garth, who also reprised her 90210 role of Kelly Taylor.[18] It was reported that Doherty and Garth's characters would both have a romantic interest in the character Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold)[19] reminiscent of their old rivalry for former bad-boy character Dylan McKay (Luke Perry). Doherty and Garth later confirmed that the reports about the love triangle between their characters were false.[20]

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.[21] That same year, Doherty played a lead role in the SciFi Channel adventure film The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon. The film premiered on the cable network on December 20, 2008.

On March 1, 2010, it was announced that Doherty would be a celebrity contestant on Dancing with the Stars for the tenth season. The season premiered on Monday, March 22, 2010.[3] Doherty was paired with two-time champion Mark Ballas in his sixth season on the show,[3] 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.[3] Doherty returned for the finale.

Doherty starred in FEARnet's animated web series Mari-Kari, which launched on June 3, 2010.[3] Mari and Kari are identical twins, but Kari is already dead and is a ghost. Doherty voiced both Mari and Kari in the eight-episode show.[3] WE tv announced on July 21, 2011, that she would star in a one-hour reality series that follows her and her fiance, Kurt Iswarienko, as they plan their wedding. The show, titled Shannen Says, premiered in April 10, 2012.[3] Later in 2012, Doherty became a spokesperson for Education Connection,[3] and appeared in an episode of The New Normal as her character Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills, 90210.

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.[3][3] The six-episode series follows the pair traveling across southeastern United States, with stops in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.[31] Viewers were able to vote on activities Doherty and Combs would partake in at each destination on Great American Country's official website.[31]

Personal life

In January 1993, California's United Bank took Doherty to court for $36,000 claiming she had bounced more than 70 checks.[4] On October 11, 1993, Shannen Doherty was married to Ashley Hamilton, son of actor George Hamilton; they divorced in April 1994.[4] In 2001, Doherty 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.[4] On October 15, 2011, Doherty married Kurt Iswarienko, a photographer, in Malibu.[4]

Doherty has appeared nude in Playboy magazine. Her first appearance was in December 1993 followed by a spread in March 1994.[4] She posed for the magazine again in December 2003 and has been featured in a 10-page pictorial.[4][4]

Doherty is a registered Republican. According to Complex Magazine, she said: "I realize that the majority of people in the entertainment business happen to be Democrats. I have no problem with that. And they should have no problem with the fact that I'm a Republican."[4]

Doherty announced in 1999 that she suffers from Crohn's disease.[4] An avid animal rights activist, Doherty 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.[4]

Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015.[5]



1982The Secret of NIMHTeresa BrisbyVoice role
1982Night ShiftBluebird
1985Girls Just Want to Have FunMaggie Malene
1988HeathersHeather Duke
1994Almost DeadKatherine
1994Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final InsultHerselfCameo
1995MallratsRene Mosier
1997NowhereVal-Chick 2Cameo
1999Striking PosesGage Sullivan
2001Jay and Silent Bob Strike BackHerselfCameo
2010Burning PalmsDr. Shelly
2014Back in the DayMaria
2015Undateable JohnCharleneIn post-production
2015How to Make a Deal with the DevilThe DevilTBR
2016BukowskiKatharina Bukowski
2016Mallrats 2Rene MosierTBF


1981Father MurphyDrusilla ShannonEpisodes: "By the Bear That Bit Me" (Parts 1 & 2)
1982Phoenix, TheThe PhoenixLittle GirlEpisode: "One of Them"
1982Voyagers!Betty ParrisEpisode: "Agents of Satan"
1982–83Little House on the PrairieJenny WilderSeries regular (18 episodes)
1983Little House: Look Back to YesterdayJenny WilderMovie
1983Magnum, P.I.Ima PlattEpisode: "A Sense of Debt"
1984AirwolfPhoebe DannerEpisode: "Bite of the Jackal"
1984Little House: Bless All The Dear ChildrenJenny WilderMovie
1984Little House: The Last FarewellJenny WilderMovie
1984New Leave It to Beaver, TheThe New Leave It to BeaverLaurieEpisode: "Steppin' Out"
1985Highway to HeavenShelley FowlerEpisode: "The Secret"
1985Robert Kennedy & His TimesKathleen KennedyMiniseries
1985Other Lover, TheThe Other LoverAlison FieldingMovie
1987Alf Loves a MysteryThe Lady in RedMovie
1986–88Our HouseKris WitherspoonSeries regular (46 episodes)
198921 Jump StreetJanineEpisode: "Things We Said Today"
1990Life Goes OnGinny GreenEpisode: "Corky's Crush"
1990–94Beverly Hills, 90210Brenda WalshSeries regular (111 episodes)
1991Forever YoungParty GirlMovie
1992Freeze FrameLindsay ScottMovie
1992ObsessedLorie BrindelMovie
1994Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story, AA Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell StoryMargaret MitchellMovie
1994Blindfold: Acts of ObsessionMadeleine DaltonMovie
1994JailbreakersAngel NortonMovie
1996Gone in the NightCynthia "Cindi" DowalibyMovie
1997Friends 'Til The EndHeather RomelyMovie
1997Sleeping with the DevilRebecca DubrovichMovie
1997Ticket, TheThe TicketCeeCee ReickerMovie
2000Satan's School for GirlsBeth Hammersmith/Karen OxfordMovie
CharmedPrue HalliwellLead role (seasons 1–3; 66 episodes)
2001Another DayKateMovie
2002Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary KayLexi WilcoxMovie
2002The RenderingSarah ReynoldsMovie
2003View of TerrorCeleste TimmermanMovie
2005Category 7: The End of the WorldFaith ClavellMovie
2004–05North ShoreAlexandra Hudson11 episodes
2005Love, Inc.Denise Johnson"Pilot"
2007Christmas CaperKate DoveMovie
2008Kiss Me DeadlyMartaMovie
2008Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon, TheThe Lost Treasure of the Grand CanyonSusan JordanMovie
2008–0990210Brenda WalshSpecial guest star (Season 1); 8 episodes
2009Encounter with DangerLoriMovie
2010Growing the Big OneEmma SilverMovie
2012Witchslayer GretlGretlMovie
2012The New NormalBrenda WalshEpisode: "The XY Factor"
2014All I Want for ChristmasBrenda PattersonMovie
2014Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer LampreysCate ParkerMovie
Reality television
2003Scare TacticsHostSeason 1
2006Breaking Up with Shannen DohertyHost
2010Dancing with the StarsCompetitorSeason 10; voted off in week 2
2011Les Anges de la Télé Réalité 3 : I Love New YorkSpecial Guest StarNRJ 12 French reality series
2012Shannen SaysHerselfWE tv reality series
2015Off the Map with Shannen & HollyHerselfGreat American Country reality series
Web series
YearTitleRoleEpisode title/Notes
2010Mari-KariMari/Kari (voice)
2011Suite 7Adrianne"Company"
2011Suite 7Series director"Captive Audience"
YearTitle / Band nameEpisode / Song titleEpisode number / Notes
2000Charmed"Be Careful What You Witch For"Season 2, episode 22
2001Charmed"The Good, the Bad and the Cursed"Season 3, episode 14
2001Charmed"All Hell Breaks Loose"Season 3, episode 22
2012Radical Something"Naked in Venice"Starring Holly Marie Combs
2001Another DayCo-executive producer
2006Breaking Up with Shannen DohertyExecutive producer
2006Better Off: Insecurity CheckExecutive producer
YearTitleEpisode titleNotes
2006Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty"Dancing by Myself"Creator
2006Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty"You Need My Helpline: Chemistry Test"Creator
2010Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with Style and (Right) AttitudeAuthor
YearTitleEpisode titleEpisode number
2001Charmed"Coyote Piper"Season 3, episode 9

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryTitle of workResultRef.
1982Youth In Film AwardsBest Young Actress in a Drama SeriesLittle House on the PrairieNominated
Best Young Actress: Guest on a SeriesFather MurphyNominated
1983Best Young Actress in a Drama SeriesLittle House on the PrairieNominated
1984Best Young Actress: Guest on a SeriesAirwolfNominated
1986Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a New Television Comedy or Drama SeriesOur HouseNominated
1987Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Drama SeriesNominated
1990Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television SeriesBeverly Hills, 90210Nominated
1991Best Young Actress Starring in a Television SeriesNominated
1999Saturn AwardsBest Actress on TelevisionCharmedNominated[48]
2001Wand AwardsBest Fight (Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty)Nominated[48]
2007AOL TVTop TV Witches (Prue Halliwell)9th[5][5]