Childhood & Early Life
Traylor Howard was born on June 14, 1966, in Orlando, Florida, to Peggy and Robert, in an elite and affluent family. Her father was the president of the highly successful ‘Howard Fertilizer and Chemical Company.’ She attended ‘Lake Highland Preparatory School’ in Orlando.
As a kid, she appeared in a commercial for ‘Juicy Fruit’ chewing gum.’ Thus, she was introduced to the camera and started developing an interest in acting, which soon became a passion.
Initially, a career in films was not a plausible career choice for her, and she aimed for a career in advertising instead. After high school, she enrolled at ‘Florida State University,’ where she completed her studies in communications and advertising.
After completing college, she worked for a few companies. According to her, she liked working as an advertising and PR professional. Once she got the chance to star in an ‘AT&T’ commercial for the ‘You Will’ series, she reconsidered her career choices. This stint further sparked her interest in acting and she moved to Los Angeles in search of film and TV roles.
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She started her acting career in 1994 with a small and unnoticeable role in the series ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.’ She followed it up with another minor role in the film ‘Till the End of the Night.’
After taking a year off, she appeared in a major role in the 1996 series ‘Boston Common.’ This was her breakthrough role which brought her mainstream recognition. In the series, she portrayed ‘Joy,’ one of the main characters. The series ran till April 1997 and was taken off air owing to an average response. However, Traylor appeared in 32 episodes of the series and received immense attention.
In 1998, she appeared in a supporting role in the film ‘Confessions of a Sexist Pig’ and followed it up with the comedy ‘Dirty Work,’ in which she played the lead character’s love interest. ‘Dirty Work’ was a box office failure and a critical debacle.
In 1999, she was signed to play the role of ‘Sharon Carter’ in the sitcom ‘Two Guys and a Girl.’ Traylor portrayed the role of a self-confident girl with commitment issues and became one of the reasons for the show’s success. The series had a successful run for four seasons and helped the careers of its actors Ryan Reynolds and Richard Ruccolo.
In 2000, Traylor bagged a major film ‘Me, Myself & Irene,’ starring Jim Carrey as the main lead. Traylor played a supporting role in the film, which went on to become one of the highest grossers of the year and earned immense critical acclaim too. This was also her last film before she took a five-year-long break from films.
In 2002, she appeared in various supporting and guest roles in TV series such as, ‘The West Wing,’ ‘The Division,’ and ‘First Monday.’ Later in the same year, she starred as one of the main leads in the sitcom ‘Bram & Alice.’ She acted in eight episodes of the sitcom, but only four of those episodes were aired. Despite the critically appreciated performances by the cast, the sitcom never took off and was discontinued within a month of its premier.
She reappeared alongside Jim Carrey in the 2005 film ‘Son of the Mask,’ a stand-alone sequel to Jim Carrey’s super hit 1994 film ‘The Mask.’ Traylor played ‘Tonya,’ one of the leading roles in the film. The film was poorly received by critics and the box office. A few critics called it the “worst film of the 21st century so far.”
Such frequent debacles endangered Traylor’s career to a great extent, and the acting offers started declining significantly. However, she proved her mettle with her next series.
In 2005, she appeared in the comedy–drama series ‘Monk.’ It was initially launched as a police procedural, but it quickly jumped genres and ended up becoming a captivating comedy–drama thriller. Traylor played the role of ‘Natalie Teeger,’ the lead character’s assistant.
Traylor made her first appearance in the tenth episode of the third season of the series, and she quickly became the fans’ favorite character. Her performance earned her immense accolades, including the ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress—Comedy Series’ award at the 2009 ‘Gracie Allen Awards.’
The series ended in 2009. However, despite her stellar performance in the series, her career went downhill. ‘Monk’ was her last full-fledged series. In 2010, she starred in the pilot episode of the series ‘Nolan Knows Best,’ as ‘Julie Nolan,’ the female lead. The same year, she played the lead role in the short film ‘Simon Says Let’s Stop Climate Change.’
Traylor Howard has married three times. She dated actor Cameron Hall in the late 80s and married him in 1991. However, the marriage lasted for less than 2 years and the couple divorced in March 1993.
In the early 2000s, her affair with actor Christian Navarro was extensively covered by the media, and the couple tied the knot in April 2003. However, her second marriage too ended soon when the couple divorced in 2006.
After her second divorce, Traylor found out that she was pregnant. She used various tactics to hide her pregnancy during her stint with ‘The Monk.’ She gave birth to a son in November 2006.
She married for the third time in 2011 when she tied the knot with Jarel Portman. Subsequently, she gave birth to another son. Soon, she quit acting in order to devote more time to her family.