Also Credited As:Lucy Kate Hale
|June 14, 1989|
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Karen Lucille Hale was born on June 14, 1989 in Memphis, TN. She first showcased her vocal talent on "American Juniors," a reality competition show and spin-off of the hit series "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ). Hale competed against thousands of children and teenagers, belting out pop standards such as "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" (1962) and "Call Me" (1980) all the way to making the "American Juniors" Top 5. As one of the last five standing, Hale was guaranteed a spot in the musical group created by the show. The newly formed American Juniors released its self-titled album in October 2004, about a year after its originally scheduled date. The group disbanded in 2005 due to lack of publicity for the album and the members pursuing their own solo projects. The show also never returned for a second season.
Hale took time off from recording music to concentrate on her acting career. She made her acting debut with a guest appearance on "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" (Nickelodeon, 2004-07), about an upbeat and charming junior high student (Devon Werkheiser) who shares tips and tricks to surviving the crucial preteen years based on his own experiences. Shifting her focus to acting proved much more successful for Hale, who landed more guest-starring stints early in her career on the teen drama series "The O.C." (Fox, 2003-07), to the primetime comedy hit "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005- ). She landed her first featured role on the short-lived "Bionic Woman" (NBC, 2007), a modern day re-imagining of the original series that had starred Lindsay Wagner. On the reboot, Hale played the teen sister of a bartender (Michelle Ryan) who, after surviving a car crash, receives advanced bionic prosthetics and implants that allows her to have extraordinary strength. "Bionic Woman" received mixed critical reviews and was taken off the air after one season.
Hale continued to impress viewers with her acting and in 2008, made her feature film debut in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2." The sequel, based on the popular young adult series of novels by Ann Brashares, followed four lifelong friends (Blake Lively, America Ferrara, Amber Tamblyn and Alexis Bledel) who spend their first college summer apart, but unite in spirit with the help of a pair of denim pants. Hale played the younger sister of Bledel's character who steals the "magical" pants and loses them during a trip to Greece. Fresh from her mainstream film debut, Hale was cast in "Privileged" (The CW, 2008-09), about a Yale-educated woman (Joanna Garcia) who works as a live-in tutor for a pair of wealthy and spoiled twins living in Florida. Hale played Rose, one of the socialite twins, who was less-than-thrilled with having a tutor. "Privileged" fared moderately well in the ratings early on, but lost its steam by the end of the first season. The CW canceled the show in 2009 after 18 episodes. The following year, Hale's dirt-stained face graced billboards and posters everywhere, promoting a new mystery drama series that would raise her profile and change her life virtually overnight.
Based on the "Pretty Little Liars" novel series written by Sara Shepard, the ABC Family program of the same name chronicled a group of friends whose clique falls apart after their queen bee inexplicably disappears and an anonymous foe threatens to reveal their darkest secrets. Hale starred as Aria Montgomery, one of the four friends left to solve their leader's disappearance, who also becomes romantically involved with her English teacher (Ian Harding). "Pretty Little Liars," which was described as a teen version of "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004- ), tackled various issues from body image to homophobia, and struck a chord with TV viewers and critics. The series turned Hale and her co-stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell into teen stars, gracing the covers of magazines and attending major award shows. Her breakout role also earned Hale a 2010 Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer TV Star: Female. The actress returned to the big screen with a cameo in the 2011 slashfest, "Scream 4." The Wes Craven-directed film that reunited the stars of the original three films - including Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette - with the masked murderer known as the Ghostface Killer.