What is the name of the actress on ”Pretty Little Liars” who plays Hanna’s mother? Did she play any other roles?
—Geraldine Bowering, Warwick, R.I.
That’s Laura Leighton, 45, who prior to her role as mom Ashley Marin on “Pretty Little Liars,” was best known for creating the role of Sydney Andrews on the 1990s version of “Melrose Place,” which she later reprised on the reboot of the show in 2009.
The Iowa City, Iowa, native, who plays piano, was interested in music prior to taking up acting. Following graduation from West High School, she toured the U.S. with the song and dance troupe Young Americans.
She began her acting career in commercials, but it wasn’t long until she landed the role on “Melrose Place.” Her other TV credits include “CSI: Miami,” “Boston Legal,” “Shark,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Skin,” “Eyes” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” She also hosted “Saturday Night Live.”
Recently, Leighton was seen in the feature thriller “The Burrowers” and made-for-TV movies “Love Notes,” “Daniel’s Daughter,” “Naked City: A Killer Christmas” and “Mending Fences.” Her other film credits include “Clean and Narrow,” “Seven Girlfriends” and “The Sky Is Falling.”
Leighton has one of Hollywood’s successful marriages. She and her “Melrose Place” co-star Doug Savant, 49, have been married since 1998, and have two children, Jack, 12, and Lucy, 8. She is stepmom to Savant’s children, Arianna, 21, and Madeline, 20, from a previous marriage.
On playing Ashley, a character she considers to be off her own moral compass, she says, “Ashley is certainly finding herself in the position of making some choices for herself and her family that are a little bit shocking. You have to find a way to justify that within the character and go, ‘Okay, what kind of person would do this?’ It’s a challenge.”