Alison Elizabeth "Ali" Larter (born
February 28, 1976) is an American actress and former fashion model. Larter
has played the characters Niki Sanders and then her identical
long-separated sister Tracy Strauss on the NBC sci-fi drama Heroes.
Despite starting her career as a model, Larter soon transitioned herself
into acting. Her film career began in 1999 appearing in Varsity Blues. She
then appeared in the horror film House on Haunted Hill and then landing a
lead role in the box office smash Final Destination. After appearing in
several high profile films, Larter then starred in Legally Blonde
alongisde Reese Witherspoon. Since then, she has starred in several
projects including starring as the titular character in the Bollywood film
Marigold, starring in the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love and reprising
her role in the sequel to Final Destination entitled Final Destination 2.
As well as featuring in a number of indie movies including Crazy and
Confess, Larter has had her biggest commercial successes with the
action-horror Resident Evil: Extinction and with the 2009 thriller,
Larter has been named in "Sexiest Woman Alive" lists.
Larter was born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the daughter of Margaret, a
homemaker, and Danforth Larter, a trucking executive. She attended Carusi
Middle School and Cherry Hill High School West. She began modeling with
Ford Models at the age of fourteen and traveled the world. At seventeen,
Larter settled temporarily in Japan. Later, in 1995, she accompanied her
boyfriend in his move to Los Angeles, California. Soon afterwards, he left
her and she flew to Australia "to put a little distance between us." Back
in Los Angeles, she began taking acting classes at a friend's suggestion.
Larter began her modelling career at the age of 13 when a modelling scout
discovered her on the street. She was asked to star in a Phillies
commercial and later signed a modeling contract with the prestigious Ford
Modeling Agency in New York. Larter subsequently skipped her senior year
to model in Japan and Australia. While modelling in Italy, Larter met
fellow model and aspiring actress Amy Smart. According to Larter, the two
"became instant friends." Smart persuaded Larter to take up acting and the
two then moved into an L.A. apartment together.
In November 1994, Larter portrayed the hoax model Allegra Coleman in
Esquire magazine in which the magazine told of the fictional model's
relationship with David Schwimmer, how Quentin Tarantino broke up with
Mira Sorvino to date her, and Woody Allen's overhaul of a film to have her
star. Even after the hoax had been revealed, various talent agencies
sought to represent the non-existent Coleman.
Larter landed her first professional roles in 1997 when she appeared in
several television shows. She appeared, for one episode, in the Brooke
Shields television series, Suddenly Susan, and the short lived television
series Chicago Sons. The roles were followed by a number of other
appearances on Dawson's Creek, Chicago Hope and Just Shoot Me!
In 1999, Larter began her film career with an appearance in Varsity Blues
which re-united her with Dawson's Creek star Van Der Beek, and close
friend Amy Smart. Varsity Blues drew a domestic box office gross of $53
million. Afterwards, Larter appeared in teen comedies, Giving It Up and
Drive Me Crazy. That year as well, Larter starred in the horror remake
House on Haunted Hill. Made for around $20 million, the movie was panned
by the critics but grossed $15 million on its opening weekend and went on
to earn over $40 million.
In 2000, Larter starred as Clear Rivers in the teen horror film Final
Destination which earned $112,802,314 at the end of its run. The following
year in 2001, she appeared in the comedy Legally Blonde with Reese
Witherspoon. The film earned the top spot with $20,377,426 in its opening
weekend. She also appeared in the western American Outlaws with Colin
Farrell and the Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. That
year, Larter appeared on the cover of Maxim magazine and performed in the
stage play The Vagina Monologues in New York City.
In 2003, Larter reprised her role as Clear Rivers in the sequel to Final
Destination, Final Destination 2 and a year later served as an associate
producer and starred in the thriller Three Way. In 2005, Larter appeared
in the independent film Confess and the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love
alongside Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher.
As of September 2006, Larter has been portraying Jessica/Niki Sanders &
Tracy Strauss on the NBC Emmy Award-nominated science fiction drama
television series Heroes, created by Tim Kring. Larter's initial character
Niki Sanders, was a wife, mother, and a former internet stripper from Las
Vegas who exhibits superhuman strength and an alternate personality who
goes by the name of Jessica. Larter had been nominated for "Best
Supporting Actress" for the 33rd Saturn Awards. As of the third season,
Larter began portraying a new character, Tracy Strauss, who possesses the
ability to freeze objects; and later, turn her body into water.
In 2007, Larter starred in the Bollywood film Marigold as the title
character alongside Salman Khan, which was released in August. She also
joined the cast of the film franchise Resident Evil: Extinction portraying
the character Claire Redfield in the horror film with Milla Jovovich. Her
role sent her to Mexicali, Mexico for filming from May to late July in
which she also dyed her hair a light red for the film. Larter explained
her character Claire, "She became the leader of this convoy. She's
incredibly strong, patient. I think she serves a role for everyone within
this convoy, let it be a mother to someone, a buddy, a best friend."
Larter also attended the 2007 Comic Con International, her second
appearance at the event, to promote the film, which was released in
theaters on September 21, 2007. The film became Larter's highest grossing
movie with $146,162,920 worldwide. That year she also appeared in the
comedy Homo Erectus and in the biographical film Crazy based on guitarist
In an interview for Resident Evil: Extinction, Larter had expressed
interest in producing films in the future, saying, "I definitely have many
ideas and different avenues that I want to take as my career goes on."
In April 2009, Larter starred opposite Beyoncé Knowles and Idris Elba in
the Screen Gems-produced film Obsessed, about an office executive (Elba)
whose marriage to Knowles' character is threatened by the aggressive
interests of a co-worker, portrayed by Larter. The film opened at #1 with
$28,612,730, a career high for Larter.
In September, 2009 it was announced that Larter is slated to return as
Claire Redfield in Resident Evil: Afterlife; directed by Paul W.S.
In 2002, Larter was ranked #40 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in
the World". Also ranking as #6 in Maxim's Hot 100 for 2007. In 2008,
Larter appeared on 3 lists. AskMen.com featured her as #92 on the "100
Most Desirable Women in the World", while FHM Magazine listed her as #19
in their "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2008" supplement. She also ranked
#2 on Maxim's "Hottest Women of Horror Movies" list.
Larter also appeared on People Magazine's "Ten Best Dressed List" as "The
Newcomer" and was named Victoria's Secret Sexiest Legs of 2008.
Larter appeared on the cover of Glamour along with fellow actresses Rachel
Bilson and Diane Lane in 2007. When asked if she still wishes she had the
same body she had at 20 she replied:
“ "No. I actually think I look better now because I feel so much better
about myself now. And that’s what’s so exciting. As you get older, you get
better…. Look at all these incredible women, like Vanessa Redgrave, who
are still so beautiful. The reason is because they embrace who they are."
Larter has also lived in Miami and then New York City after the spring of
2002, where she studied at Michael Howard Studios. In January 2007, she
moved to Los Angeles to take on the commitment of working on Heroes.
On August 1, 2009, Larter married her boyfriend of seven years, actor
Hayes MacArthur, in a small ceremony in Maine.