Sara Paxton (born April 25, 1988) is an American actress and singer known for her role as Mari Collingwood in the horror film The Last House on the Left (2009). She grew up in California and began acting at an early age, appearing in many minor roles in both films and television shows, before rising to fame in 2004, after playing the title role in the television series Darcy's Wild Life (2004-2006) and Sarah Borden in Summerland (2004).
Paxton at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival
Paxton's other films include Aquamarine (2006), Return to Halloweentown (2006), Sydney White (2007), Superhero Movie (2008) and The Innkeepers (2011). In 2017, Paxton had a guest appearance in David Lynch's Twin Peaks revival series, and in 2018 portrayed Donna Rice in the film The Front Runner.
An only child, Paxton was born in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, the daughter of Lucia (née Menchaca Zuckerman) and Steve Paxton. Her mother was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and raised in Ciudad Acuña. Paxton's father is of English, Irish, and Scottish descent. Both her parents are dentists. Paxton's father is distantly related to the late actor Bill Paxton.
During her childhood, Paxton put on shows and wanted to perform, sometimes dressing up in costume and coming to school as a particular character. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley, choosing to attend a public high school instead of accepting home-schooling. Paxton graduated from El Camino Real High School in June 2006.
Paxton has said that attending college was "very important" to her because "it is important to expand your mind." In 2006, Paxton applied to the University of Southern California's film studies program. She has noted that she would like to major in business administration with a minor in history (as she is a "history fanatic") and to start a production company. Paxton delayed plans to attend college, because every time she lined up a class schedule she was offered another movie. In a 2009 interview with TeenHollywood, Paxton indicated that she had been accepted to several schools and almost attended New York University, but she made the decision not to go and had no immediate plans of attending college.
1997–2004: Early rolesEdit
Paxton has said that singing and acting "went hand in hand" during her early years, though she initially began working as an actress, appearing in musical theater and later in television commercials at a young age. Her first film role was a small role in the 1997 Jim Carrey comedy, Liar Liar. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, she appeared in a number of television and film roles, including a role on the soap opera Passions, regular roles on the series Greetings from Tucson and Action, and a guest starring role on the Disney Channel show, Lizzie McGuire starring Hilary Duff playing an ex-president of Lizzie's school. In 2003, Paxton starred in R. L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse, a short 3-D film attraction that still plays at several theme parks across the United States. She also appeared as Lana on CSI: Miami and as Marnie Piper in Return to Halloweentown.
Paxton's first major role was in the teen film Sleepover, which opened in July 2004 to negative reviews and low box office revenue; during the same summer season, she appeared in several episodes of the series, Summerland, playing Sarah Borden, a mentally troubled teen who experimented with drugs and sex with Jesse McCartney's character. Paxton was subsequently cast in the lead role of the Discovery Kids television series, Darcy's Wild Life, playing Darcy Fields, a girl who works at a rural veterinary; the series was filmed on a farm in Toronto and aired from 2004 to 2006, often featuring Paxton's music track, "Take a Walk". Paxton received an Emmy nomination for the role in 2006.
2005–2012: Mainstream recognitionEdit
In 2005, Paxton spent three months working on the Florida-themed Aquamarine, in which she played the title character as a mermaid, opposite Emma Roberts and JoJo, whom she befriended while filming. Paxton has said that she felt a sense of "female empowerment" while on set because "almost everyone" on set was female. The film opened on March 3, 2006 and grossed approximately $7.5 million in its opening weekend. Reviewers of the film compared Paxton, whose inspiration is Goldie Hawn, to actress Reese Witherspoon, saying that she has an "infectious, nutty energy." Paxton recorded a song for the film's soundtrack titled "Connected", an English version of the Mexican group RBD's song Tenerte y Quererte from their 2004 album Rebelde.
Paxton hosted The Secret Life of Water, the first episode of the series Planet H2O, which premiered in April 2006 on public television stations. In May of the same year, she made an appearance on the television series Pepper Dennis, playing a teen actress. Paxton, who sees herself as an "evolving actress," then appeared in Return to Halloweentown, replacing Kimberly J. Brown in the fourth installment in Disney Channel's Halloweentown series; she dyed her hair brown for the role. The film aired on October 20, 2006. During the summer and early fall of 2006, Paxton filmed The Party Never Stops: Diary of a Binge Drinker, a Lifetime Television film, in Vancouver Island. In the film, she plays Jessie, a college student who falls victim to binge drinking. Paxton has described it as "very different" from her previous roles, and has specified that she was looking for a role that would be a "challenge". The film aired in March 2007. Paxton's next film role was in Sydney White, a college-set comedy starring Amanda Bynes and Matt Long; filming began on February 12, 2007 in Orlando, Florida and the movie was released on September 21, 2007. She next starred in Superhero Movie, a parody on superhero films which began filming in September 2007 and was released on March 28, 2008. She provided backing vocals on her co-star Drake Bell's theme song for the movie Superhero! Song.
Paxton starred in the remake of The Last House on the Left, playing the lead female character, Mari. The film opened March 13, 2009.
2013–present: Television roles and filmEdit
Paxton starred in the CW drama series The Beautiful Life alongside Corbin Bleu, Mischa Barton and Elle Macpherson. The show premiered on September 16, 2009, but was cancelled after 2 episodes. It was later aired online on YouTube. Paxton next co-starred with Scott Eastwood in the thriller Enter Nowhere, and also played one of the lead roles in the Ti West film The Innkeepers. Paxton also starred in the 2011 movie Shark Night. She then played Mirabella on the ABC Family movie Lovestruck: The Musical in 2013.
In April 2016, it was announced that Paxton had joined the cast of David Lynch's 2017 Twin Peaks revival. In 2018, she co-starred as Donna Rice opposite Hugh Jackman in Jason Reitman's The Front Runner, a biographical film about politician Gary Hart.
Paxton was signed to a record deal with Epic Records during the time she was cast in Aquamarine. Her debut music CD, The Ups and Downs, featuring the titled single "Here We Go Again", is due for release by Epic at some point "in the future"; as of March 2007, Paxton has not completed work on it. She has described the sound as "pop/rock. It is believed Paxton's debut album has been shelved and she has no plans to continue her music career as she has not made any announcement of any plans to further her career in the music industry."
Paxton has credited her Jewish religion for feeling "very connected" to her family, who keep her "grounded" and are "always number one" in her life. She did not have a Bat Mitzvah because she was busy filming, though she has said that she "wanted to so bad".
|1997||Liar Liar||Child at Party and School|
|1997||You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's Christmas Party||Patty||Short film|
|1998||Music from Another Room||Young Karen|
|1998||Tunnel Vision||Shauna||Short film|
|2001||The Ruby Princess Runs Away||Princess Sabrina|
|2003||Haunted Lighthouse||Ashley||Short film|
|2007||Sydney White||Rachel Witchburn|
|2008||Superhero Movie||Jill Johnson|
|2009||The Last House on the Left||Mari Collingwood|
|2011||Shark Night||Sara Palski|
|2013||Love & Air Sex||Kara|
|2014||Boys of Abu Ghraib||Peyton|
|2015||Happily Ever After||Sarah Ann|
|2017||Three Women||Kathy||Short film|
|2018||The Front Runner||Donna Rice|
|1996||Small Talk||Panelist #1||Recurring role; 10 episodes|
|1997||NewsRadio||Sara||Episode: "Office Feud"|
|1999||Working||Amanda Baines||Episode: "The Prodigy"|
|1999||Passions||Young Sheridan||Episode #1.14|
|1999||Action||Georgia Dragon||Guest role; 2 episodes|
|1999–2017||SpongeBob SquarePants||Various roles (voice)||Recurring role; 15 episodes|
|2000||Perfect Game||Sydney||Television film|
|2000||Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction||Girl||Episode: "The Wailing"|
|2001||Hounded||Tracy Richburg||Television film|
|2001||Lizzie McGuire||Holly||Episode: "Election"|
|2002||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Jody Bradley||Episode: "Burden of Proof"|
|2002–2003||Greetings from Tucson||Sarah Tobin||Recurring role; 5 episodes|
|2003||CSI: Miami||Lana Walker||Episode: "Death Grip"|
|2004||Malcolm in the Middle||Angela Pozefsky||Episode: "Malcolm Dates a Family"|
|2004||Will & Grace||Melanie||Episode: "I Never Cheered for My Father"|
|2004||Summerland||Sarah Borden||Recurring role; 5 episodes|
|2004||Quintuplets||Chelsea||Episode: "Date Night"|
|2004–2006||Darcy's Wild Life||Darcy Fields||Main role; 33 episodes|
|2006||Pepper Dennis||April May / Chrissy Tyler||Episode: "Celebrity Twin Could Hang: Film at Eleven"|
|2006||Skater Boys||Kayla Gordon||Episode: "Sundown"|
|2006||Return to Halloweentown||Marnie Piper / Spendora Agatha Cromwell||Television film; replacing Kimberly J. Brown from the first three films|
|2007||The Party Never Stops: Diary of a Binge Drinker||Jessie Brenner||Television film|
|2008||Wizards of Waverly Place||Millie||Episode: "Credit Check"|
|2009||Jonas||Fiona Skye||Episode: "Frantic Romantic"|
|2009||The Beautiful Life: TBL||Raina Marrinelli||Main role; 5 episodes|
|2012||Blue Eyed Butcher||Susan Wright||Television film|
|2013||Lovestruck: The Musical||Mirabella Hutton||Television film|
|2013||Guys with Kids||Stacee||Episode: "Gary's Idea"|
|2014||How to Get Away with Murder||Natalia "Talia" Lewis||Episode: "Let's Get to Scooping"|
|2015||Stalker||Isabelle Martin||Episode: "Salvation"|
|2015||Code Black||Sophie||Episode: "You Are the Heart"|
|2016||Heartbeat||Lou Panttiere||Episode: "The Land of Normal"|
|2016||Murder in the First||Alicia Barnes||Recurring role; 10 episodes|
|2017||This Is Us||Kathryn||Episode: "Moonshadow"|
|2017||Twin Peaks||Candy Shaker||Episode: "Part 4"|
|2017||Baker Daily: Trump Takedown||Sara||Television short|
|2017||Wrecked||Sister Grace||Episode: "Sister Mercy"|
|2018||Liberty Crossing||Jessica Larson||Episode: "Weekend Warriors"|
|2018–present||Good Girls||Amber Dooley||Guest role; 3 episodes|
|2005||"Take a Walk"||Darcy's Wild Life|
|"There For You"|
|"Don't Wanna Be Alone" (with Jesse McCartney)||Summerland|
|"Can You Feel The Love Tonight"||Disneymania 4|
|2008||"I Need a Hero"||Superhero! Movie|
|"Superhero! Song (featuring Sara Paxton)|
|2012||"Shark Bite Rap"||Shark Night 3D|
|2013||"Me Too (Stripped)"||Lovestruck: The Musical|
|"Like a Virgin"|
|"How Can I Remember to Forget"|
|"Me Too (Main Mix)"|
Awards and nominationsEdit
- Paxton's birth certificate lists no middle name, despite the sometime reported middle name of "Emily." See the California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
- "All is going swimmingly for Aquamarine star Paxton". Kalamazoo Gazette. 2006-03-17. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- Sparktech Software LLC (2012-02-01). "'The Innkeepers' Star Sara Paxton: I Would Love To Play Carrie — Inside Movies Since 1920". Boxofficemagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
- Break.com. "Sara Paxton from 'The Last House on the Left'". Break Media. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Lee, David C. (2009). "Sara Paxton". TDINK. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- Damarys, Sara Paxton in 'The Last House on the Left' published by sitv.com date=2009-03-13
- Bloom, Nate (2007-04-05). "Celebrity Jews". The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- Jones, Jen (March–April 2007). "Sara Paxton". JVibe. Jewish Family & Life. 3 (2): 14–17.
- Wilson, Staci Layne (2009-03-06). "Sara Paxton – Interview". Horror.com. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
- "Sara Paxton loved wearing the fins in Aquamarine". Scripps Howard News Service. 2006-06-16. Archived from the original on 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- Reid, Michael D. (2006-09-08). "Sara Paxton brings the party". Times Colonist. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- Audrey Fine (5 September 2007). "Sara Paxton Party Never Stops". Seventeen.
- "Sara Paxton's In the "House"". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014.
- "Sleepover". Rotten Tomatoes. 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- "Sleepover". The Numbers. 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- "Aquamarine". The Numbers. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- "Sara Paxton set to "Party" on at Lifetime" (Press release). Reuters. 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- "Amanda Bynes Set to Star in the New Comedy 'Sydney White' for Morgan Creek Productions" (Press release). Morgan Creek Productions. 2006-01-03. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- "Dimension Films scares up 'Superhero'". Los Angeles Times. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2007-09-20.[dead link]
- Kit, Borys (2010-04-05). "Jack Heller to direct 'Enter Nowhere' film". MoviesOnline. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
- Miska, Brad (2010-04-27). "Sara Paxton Becomes the Final 'Innkeeper'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- "'Lovestruck: The Musical': Sara Paxton Previews ABC Family Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
- Murthi, Vikrim (April 25, 2016). "'Twin Peaks' Full Cast Revealed: Amanda Seyfriend, Michael Cera & Over 200 More Join David Lynch Show". Indiewire. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
- White, Matt (November 6, 2018). "Sara Paxton on "Compassionate" Portrayal of Donna Rice in 'The Front Runner'". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Steinberg, Lisa (2007). "Sara Paxton Life of the Party". Starry Constellation Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- "Sara Paxton on Instagram". Instagram. October 27, 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- "Sarah Paxton". Allmusic Accessed 2016-1-28