Carrie Preston is an American actress best known for her roles as Mandy Newhouse in the 1997 feature film My Best Friend's Wedding, and as waitress Arlene Fowler in the horror drama television series True Blood, since 2008.
Preston's breakout role as Miranda on the Broadway production of Shakespeare's The Tempest led to roles in major television series such as Lost and Desperate Housewives, along with acclaimed 2008 films such as Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the Oscar-nominated Transamerica and the Daisy 3 Pictures (her production company) film Ready? Ok!.
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, where her mother was an artist and art therapist while her dad was a geo-technical engineer, Carrie discovered her true calling in life lay in performing arts.
At the age of 12 she became the impresario of her own front-yard theatre company as producer, writer, casting director, costumer, director - and of course, actress.
Preston later obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Evansville followed with an acting diploma from the prestigious Juilliard School.
Her first big break after Julliard came when she starred as Miranda in the Broadway production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, opposite Patrick Stewart. She soon ventured to Los Angeles to appear in such feature films as My Best Friend's Wedding (as a sassy Southern bridesmaid to star Cameron Diaz) and Mercury Rising (starring Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin).
She also appeared as Idalyn Greaves in the Robert Redford directed film The Legend Of Bagger Vance with Will Smith and Charlize Theron. She played Barbara in The Stepford Wives with Nicole Kidman and also appeared in Lovely By Surprise.
Preston also played the role of Ludie Choat, wife of a redneck patriarch who together have made their lives on leased farmland, but when the farm's estranged owner unexpectedly returns after many years, conflict arises as each believes they have the right to the land, in the Southern dramatic film I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down.
She stars alongside Hal Holbrook who is the farm's stubborn and original owner, Abner Meecham, and Ray McKinnon as Lonzo Choat, the current inhabitant and husband of Ludie.
With her original roots in theatre, Preston completed a starring role as Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis (again with Patrick Stewart and Mercedes Ruehl) and in Chaucer in Rome at New York's Lincoln Center.
She rates her roles in My Best Friend's Wedding and in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as two of her favourites. Preston's other stage credits include Antony & Cleopatra with Vanessa Redgrave, She Stoops to Conquer and Hamlet.
After forming the production company Daisy 3 Pictures with Mark Holmes and James Vasquez, Preston directed the films 29th And Gay, Feet of Clay and 2008's Ready? Ok!, which won Best US Feature, Best Actress (Carrie Preston) and Outstanding Emerging Talent (James Vasquez).
A crucial role playing Ophelia in Hamlet at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is where Preston met her husband, Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Emerson, who was playing Guildenstern in the production. The pair got married in September 1998.
Since then, the two have both starred in the movies Straight Jacket, Grace & Glori, and The Journey. In 2005, they both appeared in a production of Hamlet at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ.
The husband and wife team also appeared together on ABC's Emmy winning series Lost. Preston took on the role of Emerson's character Ben's mother in a series of flashbacks throughout the episodes.
Preston has also guest starred on Arrested Development, Sex and the City, Spin City, Hope and Faith, Numb3rs and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Preston splits her residency between Los Angeles, New York and Hawaii to best accommodate her and her husband's shooting schedules. When not working, Carrie enjoys writing prose as well as hiking, jogging, yoga and almost anything outdoors.
She also maintains an extensive music collection, including many vintage vinyl records.