Lisa Rinna entered the TV-viewing consciousness in 1993 when she took on the role of Billie Reed on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. Her character was an instant hit, and Soap Opera Digest named her "Outstanding Female Newcomer" in 1994. In 1996, she moved to the prime-time soap Melrose Place and soon met her future husband, actor Harry Hamlin. After Melrose Place, she hosted or co-hosted several TV shows, including Soap Talk, Tease and Merge. In 2006, Rinna joined the cast of the second season of Dancing with the Stars as one of the celebrity competitors—a gig that led her to the lead role in the Broadway hit Chicago the following year.
Born Lisa De Anne Rinna on July 11, 1963, in Newport Beach, California, Lisa Rinna grew up in Medford, Oregon, after her family moved to follow her father’s career. She graduated from Medford Senior High School in 1981, and moved to San Francisco, where she pursued, and found, a modeling career. In 1987, she switched gears and moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, landing early roles on TV commercials and a couple of low-budget movies. In 1989, Rinna appeared on her first TV show, The Hogan Family, starring Jason Bateman.
The following year found Lisa Rinna making guest appearances on Baywatch and finding roles in several TV movies, but 1992 would be the year her career broke wide open when she was cast as Billie Reed on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. The role earned her back-to-back Soap Opera Digest awards in 1994 and 1995, and she stayed with it until 1995.
Following her departure from Days, Rinna was in in several TV movies and miniseries before moving to Fox’s prime-time soap Melrose Place in 1996. On Melrose, she played the scheming Taylor McBride, bringing oversized attitude to the steamy show and creating a hit character once again. Rinna found her happiness off screen around this time, marrying fellow actor Harry Hamlin in 1997. In 1998, harkening back to her modeling days, Rinna posed nude in Playboy magazine—while six months pregnant (with daughter Delilah Belle; she gave birth to the couple’s second daughter, Amelia Gray, in 2001).
In a transitional year, Rinna left Melrose Place and gave birth in 1998, and she finished out the 20th century with numerous roles in TV movies, including Close to Danger, Another Woman’s Husband and Sex, Lies & Obsession.
In Recent Years
With the new millennium came a new role for Lisa Rinna: that of TV hostess, beginning with Soap Talk on SoapNET, which ran for four seasons. She continued in this vein on such shows as Merge and RuPaul’s Drag Race. In 2006, Rinna signed on as one of the celebrity dancers on the second season of Dancing with the Stars, finishing fourth overall. The appearance helped her (and Hamlin, who was on DWTS during season 3) land the lead role in Broadway’s Chicago in 2007—the same year she began her duties as the red-carpet commentator for the TV Guide Network at such events as the Emmy Awards.
In 2010, Rinna and Hamlin starred in the reality show Harry Loves Lisa, which examined the couple’s everyday, yet hectic, life. The show ran for six episodes on TV Land after debuting as the network’s highest-rated reality show in more than three years.
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