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Lindsay Lohan - Biography

TalkTalk have created this exclusive biography of Lindsay Lohan - we believe it to be the most comprehensive on the web

Lindsay Lohan

Personal details

Name: Lindsay Lohan
Born: 2 July 1986 (Age: 29)
Where: Cold Spring Harbor, New York, USA
Height: 5' 5"
Awards: No major awards yet

All about this star


As with all long-running businesses, the selling of films has become ever-more sophisticated over the years. Audiences are now broken down into clear demographics and movies are conceived and pruned to target them. Perhaps the biggest market to have been recognised and tapped by major studios in recent times is the tweenie girl market, females who are still children but moving quickly towards maturity. Naturally, new stars were required to front the films and, predictably, there were many, many applicants. Many applicants but only two clear winners - Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff. Both would score smash hits onscreen, and both would engage in parallel careers in music. But it was Lohan, perhaps because of an already impressively lengthy CV, who'd come out on top. In 2004, Rob Friedman, Vice President of Paramount would say of her "Right now she's the reigning teen queen. Lindsay is identifiable. She's not an unreal personality. Audiences can relate to her". And how. Freaky Friday was a massive hit, she then headlined another in Mean Girls, then shared top billing with the world's most famous VW Beetle in Herbie: Fully Loaded. And she was smart about it, too. Though her stock had risen to the point where she was paid $7.5 million for playing the lead in the light comedy Just My Luck, she also cleverly sought out adult movie-making experience by taking a bit-part as Meryl Streep's daughter in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. The reigning teen queen was clearly preparing herself for the long haul.

She was born Lindsay Dee Lohan on the 2nd of July, 1986, spending her early years in Laurel Hollow, a tiny residential village on the western shore of Cold Spring Harbour, Long Island, New York. This place was a fair reflection of her Irish-Italian Catholic family's fortunes at this point. A former whaling village, it had been popularised in the early 1900s by well-to-do New Yorkers like Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder of Tiffany's, who founded estates there. As time passed the area became famed for its bird sanctuary, the Muttontown Preserve woodlands and then a genetic and cancer research centre that spawned three Nobel Prize winners. Though just a few miles outside the New York conurbation, it was leafy, sparsely populated and rich. Come the year 2000 its population was still 91.3% white with a median income of over $200,000. It was Gatsby country.

So, the Lohans were doing well. Lindsay's father Michael was a Wall Street trader who'd apparently helped build up his family's pasta business. Unfortunately, his business dealings would be far from transparent, leading to much trouble both for himself and his family. Lindsay's mother Dina (nee Donata Sullivan), meanwhile, the daughter of a psychiatric social worker, brought an element of showbiz to the home, being a dancer. Later she'd claim to have been an understudy on Broadway productions of Cats and A Chorus Line, and to have seen Demi Moore at auditions. She also claimed to have been a TV actress and member of the exclusive Radio City Rockettes dance troupe. Originally inspired by the Tiller girls in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922, the Rockettes had become the world's top precision dance group and a major US icon. Having grown in numbers over the years to cope with a 4-shows-a-day 365-days-a-year schedule there were still only 36 Rockettes at any one time. This would have made Dina one of the top dancers in America. In 2007, however, the New York Post would print an expose of sorts, their research showing no evidence that Dina had ever been a Rockette, or indeed a member of the Screen Actors' Guild or the Foundation Of Television And Radio Artists. It would be a sad fact of Lindsay's early career that her parents would generate an extraordinary amount of press - very little of it honouring the family name.

Michael and Dina were both Long Island kids, but from the opposite side of the island. He came from Cold Spring Harbour on the north shore, she from Merrick on the south. They'd marry in 1985 - too young, according to Dina. She'd later claim that she'd been engaged to a fellow who worked as a grip on Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club and, 6 months after the poor fellow had died in a car crash, had met Michael on the rebound. Lindsay was the eldest of their four children, brother Michael being born a year later, then sister Aliana in 1994 and a second brother, Dakota, in 1996.

With such a showbiz and money-making background, it should come as no surprise that the Lohans were quick to make use of their first child's precocious nature and red-haired and freckled good looks. Actually the first red-head to be signed by the Ford Modeling Agency, from the age of three she was appearing in TV and print ads, working for Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, Jell-O (with Bill Cosby) and Calvin Klein. Taking dancing and singing lessons from the age of four, she boosted her employment possibilities even further, eventually scoring over 60 commercials. And she loved it. Dina would travel all over Long Island and New York City giving dance classes and little Lindsay would accompany her, leading the girl to idolise the likes of Ann-Margret (who'd toured with the Rockettes) and Marilyn Monroe while also being impressed by the absurd maturity of the young Jodie Foster. It was no wonder that she felt her mother's influence more strongly that her father's as, in 1990, he was given a 4-year sentence in federal prison for fraudulent trading in commodities futures. He claimed he was just a fall guy and it was true that the length of his sentence was extended by his refusal to name names to the court. It would not be the last time Lindsay would suffer due to her father's behaviour. With Michael jailed, the family would move back to Dina's hometown Merrick, returning once he was released. He would not serve the full sentence. Indeed, he'd be out and dealing again by September, 1992, when, along with one Mariano Orozco, he'd file a patent for a way of making crisps from pasta. Involving pressing, laminating, cutting, boiling and baking, it was a mighty complicated recipe and had clearly involved both hard work and much expertise. Fact fans can look up United States Patent Number 5,258,196 for the whole pesto-flavoured shebang.

Having at age 7 appeared on The David Letterman Show as a piece of garbage in a sketch called Things You Find On The Floor Of The D-Train, it was inevitable that the ambitious Lindsay would gravitate towards acting and, at the age of 10 she scored a part on Another World, America's second-longest-running soap, concerning the lives and trials of the folk of Bay City. Many household had made a start here, including Morgan Freeman, Ray Liotta and Anne Heche, and Lindsay was taken on as Alexandra Fowler, conceived in sin by show favourites Amanda Corry and Sam Fowler and now having to cope with her mother's tempestuous love life. Lohan would be her character's third incarnation, following on from child actresses Kerri Ann Darling and Hillary Scott.

It was a peachy job with more dialogue than a 10-year-old would normally be trusted with, but Lindsay had to leave when an even peachier opportunity came her way. For the past six months Disney had been seeking a young actress to star in a remake of their own 1961 classic The Parent Trap, wherein Hayley Mills had cunningly manipulated a reunion of her warring parents. Come January of 1997, director Nancy Meyers finally chose Lindsay so, for the next eight months, she flitted between London and California's Napa Valley, playing the separated twins who meet at summer camp and plot to bring parents Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson back together. And she did a quite extraordinary job, not simply mastering a Brit accent but also the faltering accents of Brit and American kids trying to mimic each other. One review described her as "frighteningly poised", she won a Young Artist award and it was clear that Lohan was something special. Disney certainly thought so (they'd have appreciated the $66 million US box office gross, too), signing her to a three-picture deal and offering her the adolescent lead as Penny in their forthcoming Inspector Gadget. Having spent so long away from home, though, she turned it down, the role being taken by Michelle Trachtenberg.

For her official schooling, Lindsay would attend Cold Spring Harbour Junior and Senior High Schools (as her father had done) where she would be a Straight-A student, excelling in science and maths, as well as sporting activities. She'd also spend a few months at Sanford H Calhoun High School in her mother's home town of Merrick, and receive home tuition from the Laurel Springs School (as had Elijah Wood).

After a self-imposed 2-year hiatus, Lindsay would begin to fulfil her obligations to Disney with Life-Size, a movie made specifically for Disney's TV channel. Here her mother dies and her father deals with his grief by becoming a workaholic. Lohan, meanwhile, is more adventurous, using magic spells in an effort to resurrect her mum. Unfortunately she only succeeds in giving life to a doll (Tyra Banks) who enjoys her new life so much she foils all of a horrified Lohan's attempts to turn her back. Eventually, of course, everyone learns to get along, Banks becomes the friend Lindsay needs and daddy recognises his daughters pain. It was another fine role for a youngster, demanding far more than simple cuteness.

Life-Size was first shown in 2000, the same year as Lindsay won another, potentially fabulous, role. This was as Bette Midler's daughter in the new sitcom Bette, where Midler would play a successful singer and actress struggling to stay at the top - herself, basically. The pilot would see Midler panicked into embarrassing attempts at rejuvenation when Danny De Vito mentions that he'd like her to play his mother, with Lohan (here named Rose after Midler's biggest hit), popping up to exhibit teenage excruciation at her mum's antics. And it was a success, a series being greenlighted. However, the producers decided that as most of the crew were LA residents the show should be filmed there, rather than New York, where the pilot was made. This was no good for Lohan and she dropped out, being replaced by Marina Malota. As it turned out it was no good for New York-based Bette Midler either. She was Golden Globe-nominated but after just 17 episodes the travel and pressure made her job too tough and the show was scuppered. In the meantime, Lindsay, also an aspiring musician, had signed a 5-album deal with Estefan Enterprises, run by Emilio Estefan, husband of the multi-million-selling Gloria. The idea was to groom Lindsay into a pop-rock starlet of the Avril Lavigne type, to be sold on to a major label.

Continuing with Disney, Lohan would now make Get A Clue, another production to premiere on the Disney Channel. In the spirit of Harriet The Spy (a hit for Lindsay's Inspector Gadget replacement Michelle Trachtenberg), this saw her as a wealthy New York student with a flair for fashion and journalism who, when her teacher Ian Gomez goes missing, outwits all the adults while seeking the truth behind the disappearance. It was fairly typical Disney fare, complete with flashy editing and kid-pleasing music, but it was another step towards Teen Queendom.

If Get A Clue was a step, Lohan's next effort was a giant stride. This saw her jump into the shoes of her former idol Jodie Foster as she starred in another Disney remake, this time the perennial favourite Freaky Friday, originally a hit back in 1976. Here Jamie Lee Curtis would play a widowed psychiatrist about to marry Mark Harmon, much to the chagrin of daughter Lindsay, a clean-cut punk and garage guitarist. After a big fight in a Chinese restaurant, mother and child are zapped by a fortune cookie curse and wake the next day to find themselves trapped in each other's body. The girl would make serious efforts to subvert her mother's life, getting her ears pierced, cutting her hair and getting it on with a motorcycle boy (Curtis having great fun with the role) while mum's desperately trying to cope in the bizarre and profoundly unfair world of High School (Lohan making fine use of the innate seriousness she shares with Jodie Foster). It was a screaming success, breaking the $100 million mark with ease and, boosted by Lohan's own song Ultimate, its soundtrack entered the Billboard Top 20.

Lohan was now officially a hot property. Moving to LA she shared a Sunset Boulevard apartment with Raven-Symone, another child star who'd broken through on the Cosby Show and her own TV vehicle That's So Raven (the pair had met at a Vanity Fair photo shoot featuring the cream of upcoming actresses). She'd also buy a BMW and start stepping out, dating pop star Aaron Carter, the younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick, and gaining a reputation for fast living that was not helped by her friendship with the likes of Paris Hilton.

However fast she was living, though, she had nothing on her father Michael. With his marriage now in tatters, he was losing both his wife and, as Dina was acting as Lindsay's manager, his kids, too. Lindsay spoke darkly of cocaine abuse as Michael fell deeper into trouble. While Freaky Friday was one of the hits of 2003, Michael ended the year facing charges of punching and swearing at a Manhattan sanitation worker who'd parked his truck in his way. Matters got worse in May the next year when, at Dakota's communion party, he had an altercation with brother-in-law Matt Sullivan and whacked him with a shoe, sending him to hospital (he'd plead guilty in the December). June would bring an arrest for allegedly doing a runner from a hotel bill of $3800. Then February 2005 would see him crash his car into a utility pole at Syosset, near his Long Island home, escaping just before the vehicle burst into flames. He was found to be not properly licensed and way over the alcohol limit. The following May he would plead guilty to drink driving, attempted assault, aggravated harassment (for threatening another brother-in-law over the phone) and criminal contempt (for breaking a restraining order by turning up at Dina's house). It was requested that he be sent to drug rehab rather than jail, but the request was denied and he faced up to 4 years in prison. And his troubles weren't over yet.

All this kept Lindsay under immense pressure as the work came flooding in. Her next film was another for Disney, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen. This would see her as a boho New Yorker transplanted to the New Jersey suburbs where she attempts to get accepted by a High School elite who despise her wacky dress sense and also make it backstage at a big rock gig. While enjoying gaudy daydreams she also wins the lead in a school update of Pygmalion organised by nutso drama teacher Carol Kane and winds up singing the likes of Stevie Wonder's Living For The City and David Bowie's Changes.

It was an odd piece, fluffy but with a certain dark edge. It still, though, doubled its money, proving Lohan was now a force to be reckoned with. Even more successful would be her other release of 2004, Mean Girls. Produced by Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels, this was based on Rosalind Wiseman's non-fiction bestseller Queen Bees And Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends And Other Realities Of Adolescence. Adapted by SNL comedienne Tina Fey it was smart and funny, well beyond you average teen fare, seeing Lohan as a home-schooled girl who's grown up in Africa, now arriving at High School for the first time. Taken on as a joke by Rachel McAdams' cruel elite clique, she's then mercilessly picked on and seeks Bushgirl-style revenge. As said, it was sharp stuff and another big hit, making Lohan the undeniable Teen Queen.

Throughout much of 2004, Lohan had been dating TV star Wilmer Valderrama, even appearing on his That 70s Show. She'd also signed to Casablanca Records, run by Tommy Mottola, the famed diva-maker behind Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. So, having split from Valderrama and recorded her debut album between takes on her next movie, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and with her father playing up and the press inventing stories about her love-life and supposed wild-child shenanigans (as if she had time), it was no surprise when she entered hospital suffering from exhaustion, a kidney infection and an asthma attack. She would return to hospital the following February with severe chest pains.

In the meantime 2005 began with a bang when her debut album, Speak, which cast her as a Britney Spears-type sex-pot, hit Number 4 on the Billboard charts (despite accusations that she had dared lip-synch while performing the song Rumors on Good Morning America). Then there'd be more success with Herbie: Fully Loaded, another Disney production, which saw her rescue the titular VW from the scrap-heap and, against the wishes of her motor-racing father Michael Keaton, take on the mean and macho Matt Dillon in a NASCAR event. Furthermore, she'd be brave enough to host Saturday Night Live for the second time, having already performed those fraught duties around the time of Mean Girls' release.

Of course all these triumphs brought crazed tabloid attention. She was linked to Christian Slater, to Colin Farrell, even to Bruce Willis. Then her uncle Paul Sullivan was arrested, his Ropa Group, exclusive agents for the Hyundai Motor Company in the US, having allegedly misused a government loan of $1.5 million it had been given after sales fell following 9/11. She was burgled to the tune of $10,000. She suffered minor injuries when paparazzo Galo Ramirez drove into her car. And naturally there was still her father. January had seen Dina file for divorce, leading Michael, apparently, to threaten to kill her and the children. August would bring the divorce trial, a dirty experience that saw Michael driving for a share of Lindsay's millions and Dina battling for full custody, alimony and $1 million in damages. Still in jail, Michael would attend court in handcuffs and, requesting some $3 million a year, described both Dina and Lindsay as "emotionally unsound" and demanded they both submit to drug and alcohol testing. News outlets would quickly receive a 7-page cease and desist document ordering them not to print Michael's version of events. He'd done nothing to help his daughter's career, it was said. Rather he'd cheated on his wife and worried everyone sick by staying out for days on end. It was really ugly stuff but thankfully for Lindsay it was ruled that her earnings could not be considered in proceedings as they were not a direct product of Michael and Dina's marriage. This was especially important as Lindsay was about to be paid $7.5 million for her part in Just My Luck.

Before Just My Luck would come Lindsay's first move into adult features. Though she'd brought an amazing maturity to her teen roles, she would now test her ability against some of cinema's finest actors by taking a part in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. This would concern Garrison Keillor's famous radio variety show, a hit on 558 public radio stations, which featured a comic Keillor monologue about his fake home in Lake Wobegon, plus comedy sketches and live American roots music. The movie would imagine the show being terminated unexpectedly, leaving singing cowboys Woody Harrelson and John C Reilly and country diva Meryl Streep to deliver one final performance as nutter Virginia Madsen runs riot (Kevin Kline, Tommy Lee Jones and Altman fave Lily Tomlin would also appear). Lohan would hold her own as the great Streep's daughter, a young poet obsessed with suicide and, in particular, Kurt Cobain. At first bummed out by having to hang backstage with her mum, she then causes a sensation with a showstopping debut performance of Frankie And Johnny - the film ending with a jokey revelation of how quickly she turns from a deep-minded angsty teen to a money-hungry corporate artiste.

After this would come Just My Luck, another fuzzy comedy where Lohan would play a Manhattan girl known for her outrageous good fortune who suddenly, through some lip-locking interchange with down-and-out Chris Pine, a dancer at a masked ball, begins to suffer his bad luck. Guessing what's happened, she must now track down all 20 dancers and kiss each one to reverse the process, not realising that Pine was not an official dancer at the event, merely a gatecrasher. Purposefully innocent in its portrayal of love and relationships, the film was clearly intended to appeal to Lohan's pre-teen fans, but its losses at the US box office indicated that those fans were not as numerous as before.

It was clear that Lohan needed to mature onscreen in order to secure her future. Her recording career had already entered a slump when her second album, A Little More Personal (Raw), having shipped half a million in the Christmas holidays of 2005, sold 82,000 in its first week then plummeted out of the Top 40. Lohan's personal life was becoming ever messier. Living at the Chateau Marmont hotel for over a year, she was constantly partying, shadowed continuously by predatory paparazzi. Also in 2005 her Mercedes would hit a van, leading to suits and counter-suits that stretched on for years. It was evident that Lohan wasn't simply letting her hair down after losing her youth to the pursuit of fame, there were other demons to battle. The first single released from A Little More Personal, Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father) was promoted with a telling video, directed by Lohan herself. In it, a husband looking very much like Michael Lohan would be seen fiercely verbally abusing his blonde wife, looking very much like Dina. Meanwhile, dressed in a tutu and quaking in her bedroom, would be a young girl, played by Ali Lohan and looking, of course, very much like a younger Lindsay. The video explained much about Lohan's early years. She'd been not simply a breadwinner, but also a peacemaker and, often, a parent to her younger siblings. Her present bad behaviour was made all the more understandable.

Lohan's next appearance onscreen would see her join another starry cast in Emilio Estevez's Bobby. This would cover the assassination of Robert Kennedy on June the 5th, 1968, by following 22 separate characters through their experiences in and around the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where he was murdered. Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Heather Graham, William H Macy and Sharon Stone would all be involved, Lohan playing a politically active High School student who's agreed to marry acquaintance Elijah Wood to save him from the Vietnam draft. Lohan's character would represent the feelings of young America, her scenes with hairdresser Stone being among the movie's most informative and moving.

Still, it was Lohan's private life that was making the headlines. A tortured relationship with Hard Rock Cafe heir Harry Morton had led to non-attendance on the set of the upcoming Georgia Rule, leading Morgan Creek CEO James G Robinson to label Lohan "Discourteous, irresponsible and unprofessional". This would lead to a nightmarish 2007 as Lohan attempted to clean up and fell off the rails repeatedly. In January, as well as having her appendix removed in an emergency operation, she entered the Wonderland Centre in Los Angeles, hoping to pull herself together. Leaving too early in order to complete filming of I Know Who Killed Me, she was soon partying again. A period in June in the Promises facility would then prove no more successful. On top of a heavy work schedule, she was still having to deal with her parents shenanigans, Dina and Michael finally being divorced in 2007 and Michael being released from jail and, now being Born Again, seeking a reconciliation with his eldest daughter. Lindsay's brief relationship with socialite Calum Best, an affable but seemingly pointless person, did not calm her down. In May and July she'd be caught for driving offences in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica respectively. In the first, her Mercedes would hit a curb on Sunset Boulevard, Lohan fleeing the scene and being apprehended while being treated for minor injuries in hospital. In the second, an assistant having quit on her at a party, Lohan would commandeer an SUV and chase the assistant through the streets, later chasing the assistant's mother, too. Lohan was found to have been drinking and, as in Beverly Hills, cocaine was found at the scene. Even worse - though hilariously for those of us on the outside - one man who'd been in the SUV now sued for damages, claiming Lohan had driven over his foot. His two friends, meanwhile, who'd remained in the vehicle throughout the chase, accused her of kidnapping them. Booze, drugs, harassment, assault, abduction - not bad for an evening's work, eh? It was a hell of a story and one that the tabloids, as ever, milked for everything it was worth.

Unsurprisingly, Lohan would now enter rehab for the third time that year, between August and October attending the Cirque Lodge in Utah. Incredibly, such was Lohan's fame that even there she was the subject of scurrilous headlines. When the wife of Tony Allen, frontman of rock band Dead Stays Alive, now filed for divorce she named Lohan - despite Allen's vociferous denial that there'd been a relationship. Then there was supposedly an affair with snowboarder Riley Giles, who she'd also apparently met at Cirque Lodge. Really, Lohan's life had become quite surreal. Her work was being utterly overshadowed by her massive celebrity.

Nevertheless, she persisted, her name still a draw. 2007 would see no fewer than three Lohan releases. The first of these would be the tough indie Chapter 27, concerning the murder of John Lennon. The movie would follow Lennon's killer Mark Chapman, played by Jared Leto, as he travelled from Hawaii to New York, obsessing over The Catcher In The Rye and plotting his attack. Lohan would appear briefly as a fellow fan Chapman meets outside the Dakota Building where Lennon lived, a brief light in Chapman's ever-darkening world. A mesmerising descent, the film would be packed with connections to The Beatles and Salinger's book (Catcher has 26 chapters, hence the film's title). No surprise then that someone should shout Hey! to Lohan's character, named Jude.

Next would come the troubled Georgia Rule, directed by Garry Marshall and featuring Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman. This would see freespirited Huffman enjoying rampant rumpo with new husband Cary Elwes in San Francisco and sending tough street cookie daughter Lohan off to Idaho to stay with strict grandma Fonda. Quickly she shocks the small town with her city girl duds, seducing the boys, intimidating the girls and, then, being a chronic liar, causing chaos by accusing Elwes of rape. It was a strange film, dealing with abuse and alcoholism but couching its explorations in broad comedy. Though marketed as a sassy female-bonding number by the director of Pretty Woman, people soon cottoned on and the movie was a box office failure. So too was I Know Who Killed Me, which Lohan could not promote due to her stay in rehab. A psychological thriller, this would see Lohan challenged by a dual role. To begin with she's a bright student and budding writer who disappears and is thought to be the victim of a serial killer on the loose. Then she's found, blood-covered and missing body parts and, waking up in hospital, believes herself to be a different person, a foul-mouthed stripper. It was another odd number, a weird cross between Audrey Rose and Hostel with added pole-dancing. Lohan would receive mixed reviews, some saying she'd overplayed the street smart stripper, others that she'd finally come of age. Despite her efforts the movie would bomb, disappearing from US cinemas within four weeks. The Lohan comeback would have to wait.

After so many brushes with the law and altercations with both paparazzi and studio bosses, it seems that Lindsay Lohan remains at a crossroads. Her exploits in such movies as Mean Girls have shown her to be a charismatic and intelligent actress. However, she's yet to deliver a killer adult performance and her public life has clearly detracted from her work. She has it in her to be a future success - but first she must reconcile herself with the past, and then leave it behind.

Dominic Wills


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