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Holly Marie Combs

Holly Marie Combs
Combs at the London Film and Comic Convention in July 2012
Born (1973-12-03) December 3, 1973
San Diego, California, U.S.
Alma mater Professional Children's School
Occupation Actress, television producer
Years active 1985–present
  • Bryan Travis Smith (m. 1993–97)
  • David Donoho (m. 2004–11)
Children 3

Holly Marie Combs (born December 3, 1973)[1] is an American actress and television producer. She is known for her roles as Kimberly Brock in the CBS series Picket Fences (1992–96), Piper Halliwell in The WB series Charmed (1998–2006), and Ella Montgomery in the ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early work: 1988–1997 2.1
    • Later work: 1998–present 2.2
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Movies 4.1
    • Television 4.2
  • Awards and nominations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Combs was born in San Diego, California and has described herself as being of Irish descent.[2][3] At the time of her birth, her mother, Lauralei Combs (née Berckhem), was sixteen years old and her father was seventeen.[2] Combs' biological parents married, but the two split up after two years,[4] feeling they were too young to make a marriage work. While Combs was learning to walk, she hit her head on a marble table, resulting in a scar over her right eyebrow. She went through many different homes with her mother, near the beach in San Diego often having very little privacy, while her mother attempted to pursue an acting career.[5] When Combs was seven, she and her mother moved to New York City where she spent most of her growing years. She was 12 when her mother married her stepfather. In New York City, Combs attended Beekman Hill Elementary and then the Professional Children's School.[6]


Early work: 1988–1997

Combs at the 1993 Emmy Awards

When she was 14 years old, Combs landed her first major role in Sweet Hearts Dance (1988), a comedy drama film directed by Robert Greenwald. She played Debs Boon, the daughter of Wiley Boon (played by Don Johnson) and Sandra Boon (played by Susan Sarandon).[7] Her next major role was in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July (1989), a film adaptation of the best selling autobiography of the same name by Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic. Combs portrayed Jenny in the film, which also starred Tom Cruise.[7] Her other roles included Helena in the 1989 anthology film New York Stories, and Kim Fields in Hal Hartley's Simple Men (1992).[7] Also in 1992, Combs made an appearance in Temístocles López's Chain of Desire as Diana, and in the slasher film Dr. Giggles, in which she played Jennifer Campbell, the 19-year-old daughter of Tom Campbell (played by Cliff De Young) and girlfriend of Max Anderson (played by Glenn Quinn).

Combs' first major breakthrough as an actress came at the age of 18, in the CBS television series Picket Fences.[7] She portrayed Kimberly Brock, the daughter of Sheriff Jimmy Brock (played by Tom Skerritt) and his first wife Lydia for the show's four seasons (1992–96).[7] Jimmy's second wife, Dr. Jill Brock (played by Kathy Baker), is her step-mother. Combs auditioned for the role in New York. The casting agent told her that she wasn't right for the part because she "didn't have a big enough heart." Combs retorted, "If you're looking for someone with a big heart, what the hell are you doing in New York?". She was later called back and offered the job.[2] Combs won a Young Artist Award for her performance on the show.[8][9] During 1996, Combs starred as Sophie DiMatteo in Sins of Silence, a drama/horror television film directed by Sam Pillsbury. The following year, Combs portrayed real-life convicted murderess Diane Zamora in the television film Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder, and appeared in the fact-based drama film Daughters as Alex Morell, one of the two daughters of a murdered heiress.[7]

Later work: 1998–present

In 1998, Combs landed a lead role in The WB television series Charmed, in which she portrayed Piper Halliwell, the middle of three sisters who are witches.[7] Following Shannen Doherty's departure after season three (2000–01), Combs' character became the eldest sister for the remaining five seasons of the show.[7] Combs became a producer for Charmed from season five onwards.[10] The series ended its run on May 21, 2006. In 2008, AOL named Combs' character Piper the third greatest witch in television history.[11] Combs is the only cast member to appear in the unaired pilot and every episode of the series.

During Charmed, Combs made a cameo appearance in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven (2001), and starred opposite Charisma Carpenter in the romantic comedy film See Jane Date (2003), portraying the role of "a struggling actress whose career benefits from an affair with an A-list actor."[7] In 2007, she starred in the Lifetime television film Panic Button as Kathy Alden, a wife and mother of a single child whose family moves to a "beautiful and supposedly secure gated community after she's the victim of a violent house break-in."[12] The following year, Combs signed a contract with Lifetime to produce and star in a series Mistresses, based on the British series of the same name.[13] However, that version of the show never made it to air. (ABC later made a version featuring Combs' former Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano.) In 2010, Combs was cast in the ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars as Ella Montgomery, the mother of one of the main characters, Aria Montgomery (played by Lucy Hale).[14] Combs was a series regular for the first three seasons, but beginning in season four, became credited as a special guest star.

On July 24, 2014, it was announced that Combs and Doherty would be starring in their own road trip reality show called Off the Map with Shannen & Holly, which premiered on Florida.[17] Viewers were able to vote on activities Doherty and Combs would partake in at each destination on Great American Country's official website.[17]

Personal life

In 1993, Combs married actor, Bryan Travis Smith, and they divorced in 1997.[18]

She then went on to marry former Charmed key-grip and long-time boyfriend David Donoho on February 14, 2004. They are the parents of three sons: Finley Arthur Donoho (born April 26, 2004), Riley Edward Donoho (born October 26, 2006) and Kelley James Donoho (born May 26, 2009), all born by caesarian section (with Kelley being an emergency C-section). Combs kept her third pregnancy a secret because it was high risk, with a delivery at 35 weeks.[19] Combs smoked cigarettes from the age of 15 until giving them up when pregnant with her first child.[20] In November 2011, she filed for divorce for her second marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.[21]

She is currently dating Radical Something trio member, Josh Hallbauer, also known as Josh Cocktail.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Walls of Glass Abby Hall Classmate
1988 Sweet Hearts Dance Dens Boon
1989 New York Stories Helena Costume Party Girl
1989 Born on the Fourth of July Jenny Turner
1991 Nobody Can Hear You Scream Melinda Ashwood
1992 Simple Men Kim Fields
1992 Dr. Giggles Jennifer Campbell Lead role
1992 Chain of Desire Diana Richards
1995 A Reason to Believe Sharon Digby Independent movie
1995 Evil in the Basement Karen Ford
2001 Ocean's Eleven Herself Cameo


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Guiding Light Louisa Young 2 episodes
1991–94 As the World Turns Denise Jones 5 episodes
1992–1996 Picket Fences Kimberly Brock Main role (83 episodes)
1994 A Perfect Stranger Amanda Hale NBC television movie
1994 Island City Erin Sloan PTEN television movie
1996 Sins of Silence Sophie DiMattio CBS television movie (lead role)
1997 Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder Diane Zamora NBC television movie (lead role)
1997 Our Mother's Murder Alex Morell Lifetime television movie (lead role)
1997 Relativity Anne Pryce Episode: "Billable Hours" (1.14)
1998–2006 Charmed Piper Halliwell Lead role (179 episodes)
Producer (seasons 5–8)
2003 See Jane Date Natasha Nutley ABC Family television movie (main role)
2007 Panic Button Katherine Alden Lifetime television movie (lead role)
2010–present Pretty Little Liars Ella Montgomery Series regular: seasons 1–3; special guest star: seasons 4–present
2014 Hell's Kitchen Herself / restaurant patron Episode: "15 Chefs Compete"[23]
2015 Off the Map with Shannen & Holly Herself Great American Country reality series (6 episodes)

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Title of work Result Ref.
1993 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actress in a New Television Series Picket Fences Won [8][9]
1994 Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Television Series Nominated [8]
1995 Best Performance by a Youth Actress in a TV Mini-Series or Special A Perfect Stranger Nominated [8]
1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Picket Fences Nominated [8]
2001 RATTY Awards Outstanding Ensemble in a Science Fiction Series Charmed Nominated [24]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Science Fiction Series Nominated
2002 Best Science Fiction Lead Actress Nominated [25]
2003 Won [26]
2007 AOL TV Top TV Witches (Piper Halliwell) 3rd [27][28]
2008 3rd [29]
2011 E! Online Top 10 Most Bitchin' Witches (Piper Halliwell) 6th [30]


  1. ^ "Holly Marie Combs: Biography". MSN Movies. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Deanna Kizis (December 2000). "Holly Charms Hollywood". Cosmopolitan. 
  3. ^ "Holly Marie Combs Dishes on Life With Her Boys". People. September 17, 2008. 
  4. ^ Profile,; accessed January 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ {url=}
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Holly Marie Combs Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Holly Marie Combs — Awards". Retrieved April 5, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "Young Artist Award". Retrieved May 6, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Charmed – Full Cast and Crew". Retrieved June 21, 2006. 
  11. ^ TV Squad Staff (October 20, 2008). "Top TV Witches".  
  12. ^ "Panic Button: Piper's No Longer Charmed in Dull 'Suspense' Yarn". November 3, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Charmed Holly Is One of Lifetime's Mistresses". July 9, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ Ausiello, Michael (April 10, 2010). "'"Exclusive: Holly Marie Combs joins 'Pretty Little Liars.  
  15. ^ "Shannen Doherty & Holly Marie Combs Go 'Off The Map' On Great American Country".  
  16. ^ Spining, Molly (December 29, 2014). Off the Map with Shannen & Holly' Premieres on January 2"'".  
  17. ^ a b Gennis, Sadie (July 25, 2014). "Charmed's Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs Reunite for Reality Show".  
  18. ^ "Charmed star Holly Marie Combs files for divorce from second husband David Donoho". People Magazine. November 11, 2011. 
  19. ^ Holly Marie Combs Welcomes Son Kelley James. People. Celebrity Babies
  20. ^ "The Charming Holly Marie Combs". ePregnancy Magazine. June 4, 2004. Retrieved May 6, 2008. 
  21. ^ Gina Serpe (November 11, 2011). "Holly Marie Combs No Longer Bewitched by Husband, Files for Divorce".  
  22. ^
  23. ^ url=|title='Hell's Kitchen' Recap: The Kitchen's Hot, The Chefs Are Cold
  24. ^ Licuria, Robert (June 15, 2001). "7th Annual RATTY Awards Nominations".  
  25. ^ "The 9th Annual RATTY Awards – The Nominees". RATTY Awards. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  26. ^ Licuria, Robert (July 28, 2003). "9th Annual RATTY Awards – The Winners". Google Groups. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Best TV Witches".  
  28. ^ Sample, Kristin (October 22, 2007). "Top TV Witches". AOL TV. Archived from the original on September 6, 2014. 
  29. ^ Greenberger, Robert (October 31, 2008). "AOL Picks TV's Best Witches". Comic Mix. Archived from the original on September 6, 2014. 
  30. ^ "6. Piper, Charmed from Top 10 Most Bitchin' Witches".  

External links

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