Born Nov. 27, 1973 in Hopkins, MN, noted reality television personality Samantha Harris was raised by her father, Richard Shapiro, a rock-n-roll promoter, and her mother, Bonnie Shapiro, a dancer. In 1972, her parents founded King Richard's Faire, a long-standing Renaissance fair. Because she grew up in and around show business, Harris got the performance bug at an early age. By the time she was 10, Harris was entering beauty pageants, though without her family's knowledge. After high school, Harris graduated with honors from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's in Journalism - her fallback career in case her acting aspirations faltered. Soon after college, Harris landed bit parts in "Shall We Dance?" (1996), "D3: The Mighty Ducks" (1996) and "George of the Jungle" (1997). Meanwhile, she was an intern at WCCO in Minneapolis, before being cast in a supporting role in "Drop Dead Gorgeous" (1998), which she followed with an episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ). After touring North America with "Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python," Harris had a starring role as Dawn Wells/Mary Ann in a quasi-fictional, behind-the-scenes expose, "Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three-Hour Tour in History" (CBS, 2001).