As one of the more underrated Bond girls, actress Carey Lowell followed in the footsteps of Ursula Andress, Jill St. John and Barbara Bach to play CIA agent Pam Bouvier opposite Timothy Dalton in "License to Kill" (1989). Eschewing the typical wallflower personas of some previous Bond girls, Lowell adopted a tough and confrontational style while still maintaining plenty of glamour. While many actresses had benefited from their own Bond girl turns, Lowell struggled for almost a decade following the high-profile role, landing ever diminishing parts in "The Guardian" (1990), "Road to Ruin" (1992) and "Love Affair" (1994). Eventually, however, she had a regular series role as district attorney Jamie Ross on the popular and long-running procedural "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), but left after two seasons to focus on being a mother to the daughter she had with first husband, actor Griffin Dunne. From there, her career took a back seat to family, particularly after she separated from Dunne and later married Richard Gere, though she did make appearances in "Empire Falls" (HBO, 2005) and on "Six Degrees" (ABC, 2006-07). Regardless of her inconsistent career, Lowell would forever be tied to one of the most profitable and longest-running movie franchises in cinema history.
Born on Feb. 11, 1961 in Huntington, NY, Lowell was raised in Lakewood, CO the daughter of a petroleum exploration geologist and started her career by modeling in the summer prior to her senior year at Bear Creek High School. After graduating, she attended the University of Colorado, only to transfer to New York University following her freshman year in order to study drama. Following experience at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, Lowell opted out of modeling in order to focus on her screen career, landing rather unnoticed roles in the straight-to-video action thriller "Dangerously Close" (1986) and Harold Ramis' much-maligned farce "Club Paradise" (1986), starring Robin Williams. Following a turn in the thriller "Down Twisted" (1987), she met future first husband Griffin Dunne while shooting the sex comedy "Me and Him" (1988), which starred Dunne as an architect whose penis starts giving him advice on business and love.
But Lowell's big break came the following year when she was cast as Pam Bouvier, the tough, confrontational CIA agent who makes life interesting for Timothy Dalton's James Bond in "License to Kill" (1989). Eschewing the glamor of a typical Bond girl, Lowell portrayed Bouvier with a striking independence and displayed strong chemistry with Dalton in one of the more underrated Bond efforts. From there, she was an unwitting mother dealing with a nanny from hell (Jenny Seagrove), who turns out to be a tree-worshipping demon in William Friedkin's forgettable horror thriller "The Guardian" (1990). Struggling to capitalize on her exposure from "License to Kill," Lowell sank with the appropriately titled "Road to Ruin" (1992), a hapless romantic comedy where she played a fashion model who attracts a wealthy businessman (Peter Weller) willing to give up his fortune for her. She did appear in Nora Ephron's box office hit "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), but her turn as Tom Hanks' deceased wife proved to be nothing more than a cameo.
Though she returned to modeling for Revlon, Lowell still tried to advance her screen career with a small role in the big-budget Warren Beatty-Annette Bening vehicle "Love Affair" (1994). From there, she was a bank teller who clashes with a hung-over Nicolas Cage in Mike Figgis' acclaimed drama "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995). By this time, Lowell starred in the short drama, "The Duke of Groove" (1995), which was directed by husband Dunne. The couple separated soon after and eventually divorced. After appearing in the British comedy "Fierce Creatures" (1997), directed by John Cleese and featuring Kevin Kline, Michael Palin and Jamie Lee Curtis, Lowell finally gained significant exposure playing assistant district attorney Jamie Ross on "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) from 1996-98. The actress left following two seasons in order to spend more time with her daughter from her marriage to Dunne. She later made a pair of appearances and reprised the role for the short-lived "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (NBC, 2005-06). Meanwhile, in 2002, Lowell married actor Richard Gere following the birth of their son, Homer, in 2000, and went on to play a small role in "Empire Falls" (HBO, 2005) while landing a recurring role on the short-lived series "Six Degrees" (ABC, 2006-07).
By Shawn Dwyer