Laura Prepon is an American actress and director best known for her portrayal of Donna on the television series That 70's Show. She also played Alex Vause, a former drug smuggler and the on-and-off girlfriend of Piper Chapman in Orange is the New Black.
Prepon was born in Somerville, New Jersey, the youngest of five children of Marjorie (née Coll), a high school teacher, and Michael Prepon, an orthopedic surgeon. Her father was of Russian Jewish descent and her mother is of English and Irish Catholic background. Her maternal great-great-great-grandfather was Union Army General Joseph Bradford Carr. Prepon's father died during heart surgery in 1993 at age 49; Prepon was thirteen years old at the time. She attended Watchung Hills Regional High School. She later studied at Caroline Thomas' Total Theater Lab in New York City.
Prepon appeared in such plays as A Woman of Property and Ascension Day while in New York. In 1996, she studied drama with acting teacher Caroline Thomas at Thomas' Total Theatre Lab. Also in 1996, she appeared in the Sneaker Pimps music video for the song "6 Underground". Later, in September 1997, she premiered on a Levi Strauss-developed show called They Go On, an Internet-based soap opera. Prepon has also worked as a model and has done photo shoots in Paris, Milan, and Brazil.
During her hiatus from That '70s Show, Prepon worked on the independent film The Pornographer: A Love Story. The film tells the story of an obsessive relationship between a director and an actress. She was also in the film Slackers, which is about two best friends trying to scam their way through college that eventually get caught. She was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in 2002 for her role in That '70s Show. In 2001 she got her first chance to get in front of a movie camera in the independent film Southlander, a comedy/music film by Steve Hanft starring Beck, Beth Orton and Hank Williams III, in which she played a young TV telepathic named Seven=Five.
She was a presenter at many different award shows including, Second Annual TV Guide Awards, in 2000, the 2000 Teen Choice Awards, and the 28th Annual American Music Awards in 2001. She has graced the cover of Maxim twice—once with red hair and once with her hair dyed blonde—and has done a TV advertisement for Gap clothing, although it was never aired. Prepon was named one of Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women In The World" in 2002 and one of Maxim magazine's "Hot 100" in 2005. Prepon also had a cameo voice appearance as a United Nations Space Command marine in Halo 2, which was released in 2004. Her first notable film role came in 2004, with the dark drama Lightning Bug which also starred Bret Harrison, Kevin Gage, and Ashley Laurence. Branching into other arenas than acting, Prepon also served as executive producer of the film.
She has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2003 and 2004, and Last Call with Carson Daly in 2003 and 2005. She also appeared on an episode of MTV's Cribs in 2003.
That 70's Show
Prepon is best known for her starring role as Donna Pinciotti on the Fox television series That '70s Show, from 1998 to 2006. Donna was Eric's girlfriend and next door neighbor. Randy, who was introduced in the eighth and final season of the series, was Donna's second love interest after Eric was written out of the series. Her character, and the show is referenced in Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally
Prepon was an executive producer of E! Hollywood Hold'em.
In 2005, Prepon starred in the film Karla, the true story of Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka, a couple who kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered three young girls, marking a contrast to her usual lighthearted roles. Prepon was a cast member of the ABC show October Road, which debuted March 15, 2007. The show was canceled by ABC on May 12, 2008, despite strong ratings and a grassroots campaign from the show's fanbase to keep the show alive. In April 2007, she starred in a short film Once Upon a Time. She also appeared in the 2005 Oxygen film Romancing the Bride. She also was the original voice for Hayley Smith on American Dad! and voiced her in an unaired pilot. She appeared as Lauren, Mary's long-lost sister, on USA Network's In Plain Sight in the episode "A Frond in Need". On February 5, 2010, it was announced that Prepon signed on for Awkward Situations for Men, a pilot on ABC. In 2009, Prepon appeared in How I Met Your Mother as Karen, one of Ted's girlfriends, in the episode "Sorry, Bro". She was also in episodes "The Front Porch" in 2009, "Say Cheese" in 2010. She appeared in the episode "Private Lives"of House M.D.
In early 2011, Prepon was on an episode of Castle, playing an actress studying for the role of Nikki Heat, a character created by Castle. In February 2011, Prepon was cast as main character Chelsea Newman on the NBC sitcom Are You There, Chelsea?, based on Chelsea Handler's 2008 book Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. NBC cancelled the show on May 11, 2012. She then went on to guest star opposite former That '70s Show cast member Danny Masterson in his show Men at Work. In mid-2012, Prepon signed on to play Alex Vause, a former drug dealer and Piper Chapman's ex-girlfriend, in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, which premiered in July 2013. Prepon returned to Orange Is The New Black for 4 episodes in Season Two, due to a scheduling conflict. However, since Season Three, she became a series regular once more. Prepon often worked as a director for Orange also.
Her nicknames are "Pre", which is short for Prepon, and "Snaps". In a December 2007 interview in Women's Health, Prepon stated that she is a Scientologist. Prepon dated Christopher Masterson (brother of her That 70's Show co-star Danny Masterson) for seven years, before splitting from him in 2007.
In 2016, she attended The New York City premiere of The Girl on the Train with Ben Foster. Laura and fiancé Ben had a baby, Ella, in August 2017, and they married in June 2018. They welcomed their second child in February 2020.
- Hobbies include horseback riding, gymnastics, ice skating, ballet, tennis, golf, and playing the piano.
- Resides in Watchung, New Jersey, when not filming in Los Angeles.
- She and her fellow That '70s Show (1998) castmates Topher Grace (Eric) and Danny Masterson (Hyde) have made guest appearances on King of the Hill (1997), but not in the same episode.
- Ranked #84 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women In The World" (2002).
- Prepon hated the Catholic school girl uniform she had to wear during the fifth season of That '70s Show.
- Due to the seven inch height difference between her and co-star Mila Kunis on That '70s Show, Laura and Mila were often filmed sitting down so that they could appear in the frame together. At other times, Mila wore platform shoes to give herself four extra inches.
- Prepon is very proud of being a New Jersey native.
- Prepon has said her favorite actor is probably Harrison Ford.
- Prepon lived with actor Christopher Masterson for a period. He is the brother of her That '70s Show co-star Danny Masterson.
- Prepon is a natural brunette. She was asked by producers of That '70s Show to dye her hair red for the role of "Donna Pinciotti". Later in the show, in 2005, she dyed her hair blonde for a concurrent movie role. The producers of That '70s Show liked it, and asked her to keep it.
- Named #77 on the Maxim magazine "Hot 100 of 2005" list.
- Was featured as #50 in Maxim Magazine's "Hot 100 of 2002" supplement. (2002)
- Has attended U.F.C. shows.
- She invested in "Card Player Magazine" with her ex-boyfriend Christopher Masterson and his brother Danny Masterson.
- One of her sisters is a lawyer.
- Used to be a ballet dancer.
- Her last name is officially pronounced "Pre-PAWN".
- She is the youngest of five children. She has three sisters (Jocelyn, Stephanie and Danielle) and one brother (Brad).
- Was a Cheerleader in 8th grade.
- She is 5'10.
- Her favorite book is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- Laura is an active member of the Church of Scientology