Hilarie Burton moved to New York to follow her acting dreams and got her first major break when she started working as a VJ on MTV’s ‘Total Request Live’ in the year 2000. MTV also asked her to present at MTV’s ‘Iced Out New Year’s Eve’ and the MTV Video Music Awards the same year.
She played herself in a small role on April 17, 2002, in the Warner Bros. drama series ‘Dawson’s Creek’. Her role as a VJ in the episode named ‘100 Light Years from Home’ marked the beginning of her career as an actress.
Her role in ‘Dawson’s Creek’, would catch the eye of WB executives who offered her the role of Peyton Sawyer in the series ‘One Tree Hill’. She played the role of an independent high school cheerleader, who is artistically and musically inclined, from 2003 to 2009. The series aired on September 23, 2003, and became the top-rated show on the network.
The role of Peyton Sawyer, catapulted Hilarie Burton to stardom and she featured on the covers of Magazines like Maxim, American Cheerleader Magazine, and People. She left ‘One Tree Hill’ in the year 2009. Although rumors suggested that her departure was related to salary problems, she insisted that it was time to move on.
She made her movie debut on June 22, 2005, in the movie ‘Our Very Own’ starring alongside Alison Janney, Cheryl Hines and Keith Carradine. The movie reflected the life of American teenagers dreaming of a better life and her performance in the movie received great reviews.
In April 22, 2007, Hilarie Burton starred in the movie ‘The List’ with actors like Malcolm McDowell and Chuck Carrington. The same year in September she appeared as Ryan in the critically acclaimed Lifetime drama, ‘Normal Adolescent Behavior’.
2008 turned into a great year for her as she went on to co-star in the horror movie, ‘Solstice’ with actors like Amanda Seyfried and Shawn Ashmore. October 2008, saw Hilarie cast as Deborah Owens, alongside the likes of Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah and academy award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, in the movie ‘The Secret Life of Bees’. She also played the small role of a lesbian college student in the comedy series ‘Little Britain USA’ the same year.
She appeared with her fellow ‘One Tree Hill’ co-star Austin Nichols in the movie ‘The True-Love Tale of Boyfriend & Girlfriend’ in December 2009.
Hilarie Burton received praise for her role as Hazel in 2010, drama-romance movie ‘Bloodworth’ based on the novel ‘Provinces of Night’ by William Gay. She acted with veterans like Val Kilmer, Kris Kristofferson, and Hilary Duff and the film was premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival the same year.
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She had a recurring role in the USA Network crime drama ‘White Collar’ from 2010. She made her debut in the episode ‘Unfinished Business’ on August 10, 2010, and her character was upgraded to a series regular for the third season in 2011. Her last appearance on the show was on March 5, 2013, in the episode ‘In the Wind’.
On January 23, 2012, viewers were pleasantly surprised to see her in a guest appearance on ABC’s, hugely popular series Castle, as Kay Cappuccio, in the season 4 episode ‘An Embarrassment of Bitches’.
Hilarie played a recurring role on the ABC’s medical drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in 2013. She first appeared in the episode ‘Do You Believe in Magic’ on May 2, and then on, the two consecutive episodes on May 9, and May 16, titled ‘Readiness is All’, and ‘Perfect Storm’.
In 2013, she played the role of Samantha in the TV series ‘Hostages’. Her first episode ‘The Invisible Leash’, was aired on September 30, 2013. She went on to play the same character in the episodes ‘Power of Persuasion’, ‘2:45 PM’, and ‘Off the Record’.
The TV movie ‘Christmas on the Bayou’ saw her play the role of Katherine in 2013. She also had a role in the movie ‘Black Eyed Dog’ in 2014. Hilarie Burton played the lead role of Josie Mayfield in the 2015 Hallmark Channel movie, ‘Surprised By Love’.
She also appeared in two episodes of the Warner Bros crime, drama, fantasy series ‘Forever’; as Iona Payne in ‘The Ecstasy of Agony’, in 2014, and as Molly Dawes in ‘Memories of Murder’ in 2015. Hilarie Burton played the character of Nancy Brunner in the PG-13 movie ‘Growing Up Smith’, in 2015.
2015 was a busy year for Hilarie Burton, as she found herself in the recurring role of Anna Schaefer in the CBS sci-fi series ‘Extant’. She made her first appearance in the episode ‘Morphoses’ on July 8, 2015. She then starred in the episodes ‘Empathy for the Devil’, ‘The New Frontier’, ‘You Say You Want an Evolution’, ‘The Other’, and ‘Don't Shoot the Messenger’. She also played the role of Annie in the movie ‘Last Chance for Christmas’.
In 2016, she had roles in the TV series ‘Togetherness’ and the TV movie ‘Summer Villa’. She portrayed the character of DEA agent Karen Palmer in the popular hit TV series ‘Lethal Weapon’.
In 2017, Hilarie Burton appeared on the episodes ‘As Good as It Getz’, ‘Unnecessary Roughness’, ‘A problem like Maria’, ‘Dancing in September’, and ‘Born to Run’.
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Personal Life & Legacy
Hilarie Burton was married to ‘One Tree Hill’ assistant director Ian Prange from 2004 to 2009.
After her divorce, She started a relationship with actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. In March, 2010, the couple welcomed their first son Augustus. They are expecting their second child, a girl.
She owns a production company named Southern Gothic Production (SoGoPro). The actress was on Maxim’s Hot 100 List of 2007 and was ranked 77. She has also been featured on the cover of November 2006, Maxim. Burton was also listed as number 2 on Femme Fatales' ‘The 50 Sexiest Women of 2005’. Additionally, she was ranked number 12 on Much Music's ‘20 Hottest Women of 2003’.
The actress has used her character Peyton to raise awareness for breast cancer and to help the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
While hosting MTV’s ‘Total Request Live’, in 2003, she was groped by Ben Affleck which left her visibly shocked. In October 2017, Ben Affleck apologized for his severely inappropriate behavior.