Jeri Ryan was born in Munich, the daughter of an Army officer then stationed in West Germany. A self-admitted “Army brat,” Ryan grew up on bases all over the U.S. until the family finally put down roots in Paducah, Kentucky. After graduating from high school in Kentucky, Ryan, a National Merit Scholar, traveled to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, ultimately obtaining a BS in theater. While in Illinois, she entered and won several beauty pageants to help pay her way through school; she placed fourth as “Miss Illinois” in 1990’s Miss America pageant. From Illinois, Ryan moved to Los Angeles, where she quickly began finding work in television. Her first TV appearance was in an episode of Who’s the Boss? in 1991; she would appear on five other series that same year, setting the hectic pace for the next five years. After appearing in several TV movies and doing guest shots on shows like Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Melrose Place, and Diagnosis Murder, Ryan was cast as a regular in the science fiction series Dark Skies. That series came to a close just as Ryan was invited to join the cast of Star Trek: Voyager as the extremely memorable Seven of Nine. By the time that series ended, Ryan was much in demand. Producer David E. Kelley tapped her to play a lawyer-turned-high-school-teacher in his show Boston Public. A few years later, after taking on recurring roles in Two and a Half Men, The O.C., and Boston Legal, Ryan was once again a lawyer, as L.A. district attorney in the James Woods starrer Shark. This past year she juggled recurring roles on two different series: a con artist in Leverage and yet another attorney in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In Ryan’s upcoming series Body of Proof, the actress will have the opportunity to practice medicine rather than law. She’ll co-star with Dana Delany when the show debuts Fall, 2010. When Ryan isn’t appearing onscreen, you’ll likely find her at Ortolan, the Los Angeles restaurant she co-owns with her husband, renowned French chef Christophe Eme.
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