Amanda Elizabeth Righetti is an American actress and producer. She gained fame for portraying special agent Grace Van Pelt in CBS’ police procedural drama series ‘The Mentalist’. A Utah native, Righetti had always wanted to be a performer. When she was four years old, she began dancing. In 1995, she made her big screen debut with the film ‘Love and Happiness’. She debuted on the small screen by appearing as a guest star in CBS’ ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’. Righetti started off her career as a model at the age of 14. Four years later, she moved to Los Angeles and continued to portray small yet significant roles before she was cast as the recurring character Hailey Nichol in Fox’s teen drama ‘The O.C.’. Righetti also had important roles in the 2009 slasher film ‘Friday the 13th, the superhero film ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, Fox’s soap opera ‘North Shore’, and the drama series ‘Reunion’. From 2008 to 2015, she played Grace Van Pelt in ‘The Mentalist’, earning critical praise for her performance. Recently, Righetti portrayed Madeline Kenner in USA Network’s science fiction series, ‘Colony’.
Amanda Righetti started off in the entertainment industry as a child artist. Her first role was as Charlie's kid sister in the 1995 film ‘Love and Happiness’. The film gave her the opportunity to work with Academy Award winner Jodie Foster. Righetti worked with Alan for the first time in the 1997 drama ‘Kiss and Tell’, a film primarily made by improvisation. When she was 14 years old, she began her career as a professional model and within a year, she came to prominence through the International Cover Model Search.
After she turned 18, she relocated to Los Angles and was hired for her first TV appearance, in CBS’ police procedural drama ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ (2001). In the following year, she played small characters in one film, David Heavener's directorial venture ‘Angel Blade’ and one TV show, ‘Greg the Bunny’.
From 2003 to 2005, Righetti played Hailey Nichol, the free-spirited sister of Kirsten Cohen (Kelly Rowan) in the series ‘The O.C.’ While she appeared in only 12 out of 92 episodes of the show, it helped her finally gain some traction in her career.
During her tenure on ‘The O.C.’, she was also cast as Tessa Lewis, a former swindler who rises to the position of Assistant Concierge by exploiting others, in the short-lived soap opera ‘North Shore’. This was the first TV series in which she was part of the main cast. She then appeared in ABC Family’s telefilm ‘Romy and Michele: In the Beginning’ (2005).
She was then cast in ‘Reunion,’ a short-lived drama series that was broadcast on Fox between September and December 2005. Righetti portrayed Jenna Moretti, a previously famous actress who comes back to New York in an attempt to return to normalcy. In 2007, after five-year hiatus, she reappeared on the big screen with ‘Pipeline’, which was also her debut as a producer. That year, she also starred in the direct-to-video horror film ‘Return to House on Haunted Hill’.
The year 2008 was unarguably the most productive year of her career. She acted in a short film titled ‘Matter’; worked with the likes of Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd in the comedy film, ‘Role Models; and appeared as part of the main cast of ‘The Mentalist’. For ‘Matter’, she received the Best Actress in a Short Film Award at the 2009 New York Independent International Film and Video Festival.
She was chosen to play Grace Van Pelt in ‘The Mentalist.’ Righetti’s character was a special agent serving in the fictionalized California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a member of the team of investigators who are assisted by the titular character, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), in their investigations. Van Pelt’s romance with fellow special agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) served as one of the most important subplots of the show. Righetti left the show in season six and would appear sporadically in the seventh and last season.
Righetti got the chance to be a “scream queen” when she was cast as Whitney Miller, the female protagonist, in ‘Friday the 13th’ in 2009. She starred and served as the executive producer on Alan’s ‘Cats Dancing on Jupiter’. The film was completed in 2011 but was released in 2015. Since September 2011, Righetti has been signed with UTA talent agency. She made a cameo appearance as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the M.C.U. film ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ in 2011. Her most recent cinematic role was in the 2012 release ‘Shadow of Fear’. Between 2016 and 2017, she played Madeline Kenner in the first two seasons of ‘Colony’.
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Born on April 4, 1983, in St. George, Utah, Amanda is the youngest of the eight children of her parents. She has six sisters and one brother. She grew up in Nevada along with her siblings and began dancing when she was four years old.
Righetti married writer and director Jordan Alan, a man 16 years her senior, on April 29, 2006, in Oahu. They have a son together, Knox Addison Alan, who was born on January 10, 2013. She and Jordan co-own the production company Bliss Sinema.