Denise Richards is the beautiful young model turned actress who came from nowhere to center stage overnight. All it took was a movie about giant man-eating bugs! Now she is trying to build a career that will last.
Denise Lee Richards was born in Downer's Grove, Illinois, on February 17, 1972. When she was a freshman in high school, her parents moved to San Diego, California. While she was still a student, Denise began working as a model also. After graduating from El Camino High in Oceanside, California in 1989, she moved to Los Angeles to focus on her modeling career.
As a model, Denise Richards worked regularly in New York and Tokyo. She was also frequently seen on the pages of teen and sports magazines. Acting was her real passion though, and two years later she quit modeling so that she could get work as an actress.
Despite a small recurring role on television's Doogie Howser M.D., work was hard to come by. She spent a lot of time taking acting classes, auditioning and being rejected. She did get some roles though, including Loaded Weapon 1, the campy Tammy And The T-Rex and a short-lived role on Melrose Place.
Then in 1997, her big break came in the form of an army of giant squirmy bugs. Paul Verhoven's Starship Troopers was not the blockbuster that Sony would have hoped for (partially due to bad promotional strategy and a limiting R-rating) but it was still successful in bringing in an audience. Denise Richards appeared as Carmen Ibanez opposite Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer, as the poster girl-ish starship pilot of the future. Her role, one that could have been a flash in the pan for any other actress, somehow caught the attention of the public and guaranteed that she would stick around.
To follow up the action/sci-fi movie, she chose to make the sexual thriller Wild Things with such heavy-weights as Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell and Matt Dillon. Where Starship Troopers was physically demanding, Wild Things pushed back the limits of her modesty. Having to appear scantily clad or naked at different parts of the movie was hard enough, it was having a love scene with her co-star Neve Campbell that brought out the Tequila bottle. Despite the difficulties, Wild Things was well received by both audiences and critics. It's audacity and an old-fashioned "who's conspiring with who" script made it successful.
Having starred in an over-the-top action movie and then a sexual pot-boiler, Denise has now decided to do something a bit more relaxed. This time around, she's making a romantic comedy. One thing is certain: we haven't heard the last of her.
"She's a sex symbol,
a bombshell. There's not a more beautiful woman around."
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