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Character: Jessica Hamby is a teen vampire with an attitude. She's very sweet, but she has a rebellious streak a mile wide. She was only 17 years old when she was turned by vampire Bill Compton, and now she's his responsibility (one that gives Bill headaches, regularly). Jessica fell in love with, and moved in with Hoyt Fortenberry. She became restless and eventually broke up with Hoyt -- and then, she slept with his best friend, Jason Stackhouse. Jessica may or may not be in love with Jason. At the moment, she's living the dream: A perpetual teenager with super-human vampire abilities.
Background: Actress Deborah Ann Woll appeared in several TV shows in bit parts ('ER,' 'My Name is Earl,' 'CSI' and 'The Mentalist') before landing the coveted role of Jessica on HBO's 'True Blood.' Her film credits include 2010's 'Mother's Day' and the 2012 comedies 'Ruby Sparks' and 'Highland Park.'
And of course she's #1. Look.
Character: Sophie-Anne Leclerq was the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. Things were going really well for Sophie-Anne for a while, but her kingdom fell on hard financial times, forcing her to agree to marry Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi. Merging the two kingdoms would benefit both, greatly, increasing their power. When Russell vanished, Sophie-Anne took control of both kingdoms. Controlling and, quite frankly, a little mentally "off," Sophie-Anne was eventually killed, with help from Bill Compton.
Background: Evan Rachel Wood's appearance on 'True Blood' was a memorable one, and Sophie-Anne was a sexy, alluring vampire. Wood has appeared in numerous films, including 'The Ides of March,' 'Across the Universe' and 'The Wrestler,' among others. She was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe award for her work in the HBO miniseries 'Mildred Pierce.'
Character: Sookie Stackhouse is a life-long resident of Bon Temps, and she's got some unusual abilities. Sookie is a telepath -- she can read minds, and sometimes this gets a little noisy. She's also part fairy, and her fae qualities attract vampires to her like bees to honey. Sookie is one lucky lady: She's hooked up with vampires Bill Compton and Eric Northman, and she definitely has serious chemistry with super-hot werewolf Alcide Herveaux.
Background: Actress Anna Paquin was an Oscar winner before she was 12 years old, having taken home a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in the 1993 drama 'The Piano.' Paquin has portrayed Sookie Stackhouse on 'True Blood' from the beginning, and she's married to her co-star, Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton).
Character: Luna Garza is a shapeshifter who was married to (now deceased) Shreveport werewolf pack leader Marcus Bozeman. She and Marcus have a young daughter, Emma. Luna left Marcus and wound up involved with Sam Merlotte. Luna is a shapeshifter with a twist: She's a "skinwalker," meaning she can shift into anything -- including humans.
Background: If actress Janina Gavankar looks familiar, she should: Gavankar is Ms. Dewey! Yes, that's right: Gavankar is the actress who portrayed Ms. Dewey in the Microsoft viral marketing campaign launched back in 2006. Gavankar has appeared in several television series, including 'The L Word,' 'The League' and ABC's short-lived series 'The Gates,' among others.
Character: Amy Burley was a college dropout who immediately set her sights on Jason Stackhouse. The two met at Fangtasia, where Amy introduced Jason to the "wonders" of V. Jason was smitten with Amy, and helped get her a waitress job at Merlotte's. Unfortunately, Jason and Amy's addiction to V proves her undoing. Together, they kidnap poor, sweet vampire Eddie and keep him alive as a continual V donor. Sadly, Amy eventually stakes Eddie, upsetting Jason greatly. Amy eventually becomes another victim of serial killer Drew Marshall (aka Rene Lenier).
Background: Actress Lizzy Caplan's turn on 'True Blood' was short but very memorable, and her character of Amy was a troubled, interesting one. Caplan has appeared in several major movies, including 'Mean Girls,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine,' '127 Hours' and 'Cloverfield.' She's also appeared in several TV shows, including 'Freaks and Geeks,' 'Tru Calling' and 'Party Down.' Caplan is the longtime girlfriend of actor Matthew Perry.
Character: Sam Merlotte has employed a slew of extremely hot waitresses at Merlotte's, but few were hotter than Daphne Landry. Imagine Sam's glee when he realized that Daphne was a fellow shapeshifter! These two strike up a really hot romance, but unfortunately for Sam, Daphne wasn't who she appeared to be. Daphne was under Maenad Maryann Forrester's influence. Maryann used Daphne to lure Sam to his doom (as a sacrifice). Eggs eventually cuts out Daphne's heart and Maryann feeds it to Eggs and his girlfriend, Tara (ew, right?).
Background: Actress Ashley Jones was a longtime member of the daytime TV family, with major roles on CBS' 'The Young and the Restless' (as Megan) and 'The Bold and the Beautiful' (as Bridget Forrester). In addition to her stint on 'True Blood,' Jones has appeared on the TV shows 'The Mentalist,' 'Bones,' 'FlashForward' and 'House, M.D.'
Character: Some of the hottest guys on 'True Blood' come with baggage, aka psycho ex-girlfriends, and Debbie Pelt fits that bill. Debbie was the werewolf ex of Alcide Herveaux, and she had some serious jealousy issues. Namely, she hated Sookie Stackhouse. Debbie and Alcide were engaged for a while -- long before Debbie started dabbling in V. When Alcide began showing interest in Sookie, Debbie simply lost it: She tried to kill Sookie not once, but twice -- nearly succeeding the second time, only to shoot Tara Thornton instead. Sookie killed Debbie in the season four 'True Blood' finale.
Background: Brit Morgan's time on 'True Blood' was short, but memorable. Before joining the 'True Blood' cast, Morgan bad minor roles on the TV shows 'CSI: NY' and 'Cold Case,' and a starring role on the ABC Family sci-fi show 'The Middleman.' Since 'True Blood,' Morgan appeared on ABC's 'Desperate Housewives.'
Character: Pamela Swynford De Beaufort, or "Pam," is a b**ch on heels, with fangs of course. She's smart, sexy and extremely lethal. Eric Northman is Pam's maker, having turned her in the early 1900s. Pam and Eric are tight, to say the least, and she is incredibly protective of him. She works alongside Eric at Fangtasia and serves as his right-hand vamp for all other matters. Pam is not crazy about Sookie (or any other human for that matter), but she tolerates her begrudgingly because of Eric. In the season five premiere, Pam reluctantly turns Sookie's bestie, Tara, into a vampire as a favor (Sookie now owes Pam big-time).
Background: Actress Kristin Bauer van Straten has appeared in several TV shows and films prior to her gig on 'True Blood,' including 'Dirty Sexy Money,' 'The Crew,' 'Dancing at the Blue Iguana,' 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' and '50 First Dates.' She also appeared in a 1996 episode of 'Seinfeld' as Gillian, the woman with "man hands." In addition to her work on 'True Blood,' she also stars on ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' as Maleficent.
Character:Nora Gainsborough is a new character on the scene in the 'True Blood' universe, but she is by no means a new vampire. Nora is, in fact, very, very old, having been turned by Godric (making her Eric Northman's sister, sort of). Nora is the Chancellor of the Vampire Authority, but she has a lot of secrets -- she's actually a double agent. In the season five premiere of 'True Blood,' Nora helps Bill and Eric escape the clutches of the Vampire Authority. Eventually, all three are captured, so her fate is uncertain. Oh, and while she's technically Eric's sister, they also "f**k like champions." So there's that.
Background:British actress Lucy Griffiths has appeared in several notable British TV shows prior to joining the cast of 'True Blood' as Nora, including the BBC's 'Robin Hood' (as Marian) and the mini-series 'Collision' (as Jane Tarrant).
Character: Portia Bellefleur is a hot-shot lawyer and the sister of Sheriff Andy Bellefleur. During season four of 'True Blood,' Portia hooks up with vampire Bill Compton. Bill is all too happy to sleep with Portia, as he's still smarting from his break-up with Sookie. He's happy until he figures out that Portia is one of his descendants. Portia is now terrified of Bill, because he worked the vampire glamor magic on her.
Background: Courtney Ford is an American actress who has appeared in several TV shows, including NBC's 'Parenthood' (as Lily) and 'Dexter' (as reporter Christine Hill). She first appeared on 'True Blood' as Portia during season four.
Character: Dawn Green's time on 'True Blood' was really short. In season one, this Merlotte's waitress hooked up with Sookie's brother, Jason Stackhouse. She also had a brief fling with vampire Eric Northman, which proved her undoing. Jason had just started things up with Dawn again when she was murdered by serial killer Rene Lenier (aka Drew Marshall) because she was a "Fangbanger."
Background: Actress Lynn Collins has appeared in several television shows, including 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' (her first TV role), 'Haunted' and, in 2008, 'True Blood.' Collins' film credits include 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' (as Kayla Silverfox) and 2012's 'John Carter' (as Dejah Thoris).
Character: Tara Mae Thornton is Sookie Stackhouse's best friend, having rescued her from bullies when they were in grade school. Tara doesn't hesitate to speak her mind on anything, ever. The daughter of an alcohol abusing mother, Tara has a chip on her shoulder that's bigger than the entire state of Louisiana. She adores her family and friends, and goes to great lengths to protect them (including her cousin, Lafayette Reynolds). In the season four finale of 'True Blood,' Tara is shot to death protecting Sookie from Debbie Pelt. In the season five premiere, Sookie and Lafayette ask Pam to turn Tara into a vampire. This probably won't go over well (Tara HATES vampires, having been kidnapped by crazy vamp Franklin Mott).
Background: Rutina Wesley is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School. She's appeared on Broadway ('The Vertical Hour') and in the 2007 drama 'How She Move.' Wesley also appeared on a 2008 episode of 'Numb3rs' before joining the regular cast of 'True Blood.'
Character: Crystal Norris is a Hotshot resident and, like all residents of Hotshot, she's a werepanther. Jason Stackhouse didn't know this when he first hooked up with her. Crystal brought a world of hurt on Jason, because she was engaged to fellow Hotshot resident Felton. Felton had a horrible temper, and he took out his anger on poor Crystal regularly. Crystal flips out because she's using V, and basically rapes Jason, hoping to make little baby werepanthers with him.
Background: Actress Lindsay Pulsipher had roles in several other TV shows before joining the cast of 'True Blood' in 2010. She's appeared in 'Touched By an Angel,' 'House' and she had a starring role in the 2009 A&E crime drama 'The Beast.' In 2012, she portrayed Roseanna McCoy in the History Channel's miniseries 'Hatfields & McCoys.'
Character: Maryann Forrester was a Maenad, and she was hell-bent on destroying all of Bon Temps. Her immortality made her especially powerful, able to control humans' minds. Maryann eventually assembled a mini-army of followers in Bon Temps, including Tara Thornton and her boyfriend, "Eggs." Maryann preyed on troubled youth, and both Tara and Eggs fit the profile. Maryann lured them to her palatial home under the guise of being a social worker. Yes, Maryann wants to help -- but she also wants to eat your heart. Literally. Maryann also seduced a teenaged Sam Merlotte, taking his virginity. Sam robbed her and fled, and Maryann returned with the intention of destroying him. Eventually, Sookie, Sam and Bill all work together to destroy Maryann.
Background:Actress Michelle Forbes has appeared in numerous television shows over the years, including daytime TV (she played Dr. Sonni Carrera-Lewis on CBS' 'Guiding Light'). Forrester also appeared on 'Homicide: Life on the Street' (as Dr. Julianna Cox), '24' (as Lynne Kresge) and 'In Treatment' (as Kate). She also stars as Rosie's mom, Mitch Larsen, on the AMC crime drama 'The Killing.'
Character: Arlene Fowler Bellefleur is the wife of war vet Terry Bellefleur. A mom of two, Arlene works as a waitress at Merlotte's. Arlene hasn't had a lot of luck in the love department (she's been married multiple times), but she seems to have found happiness with Terry. Arlene's ex, Rene, was a serial killer, so the troubled Terry is definitely a step up. She's not a big fan of vampires or any other kind of supernatural being, and that can cause tension with Sookie (and her relationships with Eric and Bill).
Background: Carrie Preston has appeared in several notable films and television shows prior to her stint as Arlene on 'True Blood,' including 'My Best Friend's Wedding,' 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' and 'The Good Wife' (as Elsbeth Tascioni). Preston is married to actor Michael Emerson (aka Ben from 'Lost'). She's appeared in two of Emerson's shows, 'Lost' (as Ben's mom, Emily) and 'Person of Interest.' Preston has also appeared on Broadway, in 'The Tempest' and 'The Rivals.'
Character: Claudine Crane was Sookie Stackhouse's fairy godmother. Claudine first appeared in season three of 'True Blood,' when she explains that Sookie is part fae. Unfortunately, Claudine's time on 'True Blood' was cut short in season four, when she's killed by Eric Northman (who cannot resist drinking her fairy blood). Claudine's twin brother, Claude, is also a full-blooded fairy -- and a stripper. So that's interesting...
Background: British actress Lara Pulver only appeared in a handful of 'True Blood' episodes, but she's had major roles in several British TV series, including 'Robin Hood' and 'Spooks.' In 2012, she appeared in the BBC crime drama series 'Sherlock' as Irene Adler.
Character: Holly Cleary is a Merlotte's waitress who also happens to be a witch. Holly became a key figure during season four of 'True Blood,' as part of Marnie's coven. Holly absolutely hates vampires, and she had no problem participating in a (failed) ritual with (a possessed) Marnie to wipe out all the vamps in Bon Temps. Holly is in a very new relationship with (acting) Sheriff Andy Bellefleur (he's certainly bewitched by her, so to speak). In the season five 'True Blood' premiere, Holly and Andy are in bed, when her two teenage sons burst in the room (and freak out accordingly).
Background: Lauren Bowles is the half-sister of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Their mother, Judith Bowles, was first married to Julia's dad, billionaire Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, until 1962. After the split, Judith remarried, and daughter Lauren was born in 1973.
Lauren Bowles has enjoyed a long television career, with roles on 'Seinfeld,' 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' and 'Arrested Development.' Bowles' film credits include 'Hall Pass,' 'Ghost World' and 'George of the Jungle.'