Danielle Panabaker is an American actor, best known for starring in thrillers and horrors such as ‘Mr. Brooks,’ ‘Friday the 13th,’ and ‘The Ward.’ She presently appears in the ‘CW’ superhero TV series ‘The Flash. She was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, and was the elder of the two sisters in her family. She fell in love with acting at a very early age and began participating in community theater projects at the age of 12. She auditioned for commercials and small roles, too. In 2003, she finally moved to Los Angeles to start her professional film and TV career. She made her big-screen debut with the 2005 film ‘Sky High.’ She often played minor TV roles but got her career-defining small-screen break in 2005, when she was offered a major role in the series ‘Empire Falls.’ She bagged another major project in 2014, when she was approached for a role in the series ‘Justified.’ The same year, she appeared in the ‘CW’ superhero series ‘Arrow’ and in the spin-off ‘The Flash,’ playing ‘Dr. Caitlin Snow.’.
Childhood & Early Life
Danielle Panabaker was born on September 19, 1987, in Augusta, Georgia, and was the elder of the two sisters in the family. Her younger sister, Kay, also happens to be an actor. Her father worked as a sales executive for a major company, which made the family move around quite a lot. Danielle attended various schools, located across the country, in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas.
During her early years in school, she visited a summer camp, where she discovered her love for acting. She soon joined theater classes and continued to perform on stage in the years that followed. As she grew up, her love for the art of acting intensified, and by the time she was 12 years old, she began participating in community theater projects. Around the same time, she started auditioning for commercials and TV roles and earned a few early offers.
In 2000, at the age of 13, her family moved to Illinois, where Danielle started attending ‘Crone Middle School.’ She later joined the ‘Neuqua Valley High School.’ She excelled both in academics and in extracurricular activities. She was part of the high-school speech team and kept herself busy with theater, too. She graduated from high school at the age of 14, which was a major achievement for her.
In 2003, she realized that if she wished to give her acting career a real shot, she had no other option but to move to Los Angeles. Soon after moving to Los Angeles, she joined the ‘Glendale Community College’ to study professional acting. In 2005, she graduated from the college, appearing on the Dean’s List, and in 2007, she graduated with a BA from the ‘University of California,’ once again securing a place on the Dean’s List, the biggest honor for a graduating student.
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In 2002, Danielle made her on-screen acting debut with a small role in the series ‘Family Affair’ and then appeared in two small roles in the series ‘The Bernie Mac Show’ and ‘Malcolm in the Middle.’ In 2003, she was seen playing a key role in the TV film ‘Sex and the Single Mom’ and then appeared in a few more TV films, such as ‘Stuck in the Suburbs,’ ‘Searching for David’s Heart,’ and ‘Mom at Sixteen.’
Thus, her early TV career was rich in terms of the quality of roles. She fared well in her movie career, too. In 2005, she made her film debut with the role of ‘Layla Williams,’ a major role in the superhero comedy film ‘Sky High.’ The film was a commercial and critical success. The same year, she appeared in the short film ‘Rule Number One’ and then appeared as ‘Phoebe North’ in the film ‘Yours, Mine & Ours.’
She won a ‘Young Artist Award’ for her role in the series ‘The Guardian.’ She also appeared in other series such as ‘Medium’ and ‘Summerland.’ She portrayed ‘Brittany Aarons’ in the 2004 ‘Disney’ TV film ‘Stuck in the Suburbs.’ The film received very high ratings. It also received great reviews for its music.
In 2005, she received a major career breakthrough when she appeared in the miniseries ‘Empire Falls’ and played one of the key roles in the series. The two-part miniseries became on the most critically and commercially acclaimed series of the decade. It ended up winning the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for the ‘Best Miniseries or Television Film.’ Danielle later stated that it was the best role of her career.
In the mid-2000s, she participated in musical theater and became part of plays such as ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Pippin,’ and ‘Once Upon a Time.’ In 2007, Danielle was seen playing one of the lead roles in the film ‘Home of the Giants.’ The film was a big critical success and traveled to many film festivals around the world, such as the ‘Cannes Film Festival,’ the ‘Heartland Film Festival,’ and the ‘Midwest Independent Film Festival.’
The film had a straight-to-DVD release and was widely loved by audiences. In 2006, Danielle appeared in the drama series ‘Shark,’ which featured her in one of the leading roles. She portrayed the main character’s daughter, ‘Julie Stark,’ and her performance was immensely praised by critics. She established herself as someone who had both beauty and talent. Her role in the series continued for two years. Although, at times, her character was neglected in favor of others, she was regarded as one of the three main actors on the show.
In the late 2000s, Danielle took a break from drama and appeared in three thrillers: ‘Friday the 13th,’ ‘The Ward,’ and ‘The Crazies.’ In 2011, she appeared in the ‘Hallmark’ TV film ‘The Shunning,’ which was based on Beverly Lewis’s novel of the same name. She was supposed to reprise her role in its sequel, but scheduling conflicts had her dropping out of the film at the last moment.
In 2014, she appeared as one of the key characters in the series ‘Justified.’ The series received positive reviews from both critics and audiences. It ended up being one of the best-rated series of the year. The same year, she was selected to play ‘Dr. Caitlin Snow’ in the ‘CW’ superhero series ‘Arrow.’ A few months later, she was seen reprising her role in the spin-off series ‘The Flash.’ She also reprised her role in other spin-offs, such as ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow.’
Danielle Panabaker announced her engagement with her long-time boyfriend, Hayes Robbins, in 2016. The couple got married in June 2017.
Her younger sister, Kay, is a struggling actor. Kay is extremely close to Danielle and has appeared with her in the TV film ‘Read It and Weep.’