Fans of the addictive ‘Dexter’ television series don’t need any introduction to who Jennifer Carpenter is. The gifted young actress portrays the psychotic (or should that be heroic) Dexter’s Police Officer sister, Debra Morgan and so faultless is her performance that one cheeky journalist noted that it is “so perfect that many viewers appear to have mistaken the character’s flaws for the actor’s.”
Jennifer Leann Carpenter was born on the 7th December, 1979 in Louisville, Kentucky to parents Robert and Catherine Carpenter. She did her schooling at St. Raphael the Archangel and then went on to study at Sacred Heart Academy. It was while she was at Sacred Heart Academy that she first fell in love with the idea of becoming an actress and she began learning drama at her local theater – the Walden Theater.
After graduating from Sacred Heart Academy she moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School and on graduating from there landed the dream job when she scored a role in the 2002 Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ which also starred Laura Linney and the amazingly talented Liam Neeson.
From there Carpenter appeared in a number of B-Grade movies including ‘People Are Dead’, ‘Ash Tuesday’, ‘D.E.B.S.’, ‘Queen B’ and ‘Lethal Eviction’. Her appearance in comedy ‘White Chicks’ came to attention of a few people and soon she found herself being cast in the lead role in cult horror film ‘The Exorcism Of Emily Rose’ which earned her three awards – a Scream Award for ‘Breakout Performance’, the ‘Best Frightened Performance’ at the MTV Movie Awards and also a Hollywood Life Breakthrough Award.
From here she was soon cast in ‘Dexter’, for which she won a Saturn Award, and the popularity of the show has seen her go on to appear in a number of films including ‘The Dog Problem’, ‘Battle In Seattle’, ‘Quarantine’, ‘Faster’, ‘Seeking Justice’, ‘Gone’, ‘The Factory’ and ‘Ex-Girlfriends’. She also made a guest appearance in ‘The Good Wife’ and voices Pepper on the children’s animated series ‘Pound Puppies’.
2011 also saw her return to the stage with a leading role in the off-Broadway production of ‘Gruesome Playground Injuries’ which was performed at the Second Stage Theater. In the following year she also made her reality television show debut when she appeared on CBS’ ‘Saturday Kitchen Live’.
When it comes to her personal life Carpenter is a keen runner and in 2010 she competed in the New York City Marathon which she completed in three hours and thirty four minutes. She also set the tabloids ablaze when in 2007 she began dating Michael C. Hall (who portrays her on-screen brother in ‘Dexter’), the pair eloped in 2008 and was married on New Year’s Eve, but the marriage was short-lived and in December, 2010 the pair announced in a statement that they were separating… the divorce was then finalized in December, 2011.
With ‘Dexter’ about to wrap up its final season the talented Jennifer Carpenter now finds herself very much in demand with producers and she will soon appear on the big screen in thriller ‘Where The Devil Hides’ and the western horror ‘Bone Tomahawk’ alongside Kurt Russell and Timothy Olyphant.