At first, Charisma Carpenter wanted to be an English teacher. Her heart was set on it. But a chance meeting with a theatrical agent changed her mind and she made her way to Hollywood. Carpenter almost never got the chance for the meeting that would alter her career. She is lucky to be alive. She is lucky to still be working in Hollywood.
CHARISMA CARPENTER SURVIVED EVIL
Life in Hollywood was still a couple of years away for Charisma Carpenter even though she was about to jump into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This was 1991 and Carpenter was swimming at Torrey State Pines Beach with two friends when they were attacked by serial rapist Henry Hubbard Jr. who, at the time, was a 29-year old policeman.
During the attack, Hubbard had a gun and used it to order Charisma Carpenter to tie up her friends. But Carpenter refused. Her refusal allowed her friends to jump Hubbard and overpower him. During the struggle, though, both young men suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds. Hubbard was able to make an escape but Charisma smartly held on to the police-issued flashlight he dropped, a piece of evidence that would be used to ultimately convict Hubbard for that attack, as well as a string of others. Hubbard eventually earned a 56-year prison sentence.
Briefly jumping forward in Charisma Carpenter’s career, she was finally able to tell her tale to the world on the Discovery Channel show Surviving Evil. Not only was she able to tell her story, but she was also the host of the show and her story was the first one out of the shoot, titled Terror Beach.
It wasn’t easy for Carpenter to share the story of ordeal, but she felt she was finally at a place in her life where she could and also felt it was time. “Now I’m in a place where I could. I have enough distance — and a lot of therapy — between then and what happened and now,” she opened up to TVLine. “It’s not as fresh. It’s not as painful.”
It wasn’t long after terror at the beach that Charisma Carpenter’s life would change again, only this time for the better.
CHARISMA CARPENTER ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
An episode of Baywatch kicked off Charisma Carpenter’s career. She immediately opened eyes and after a few bit roles, she found herself starring in the short-lived soap opera Malibu Shores. While the show was short-lived, Carpenter’s career was just beginning to hit its stride.
Her next jump was a big one as she then went in to audition for the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer…as Buffy! Producers saw something different in her and instead offered her the role of Cordelia Chase, the snobby, bitchy, but popular high school student. It took and she took to it.
In what initially was going to be more of a recurring role, Charisma Carpenter’s Chase began to get more and more screen time. She went from snobby and bitchy, to snobby, bitchy, and helpful as her character began to understand what Buffy and her crew were all about.
Carpenter lasted three seasons on Buffy and then her character was moved over to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel where, after she is saved by Angel, she helps him with running the detective agency, Angel Investigations. Charisma Carpenter spent four seasons on the hit show.
SHE CAN DO MORE
Cordelia Chase is not the only character Charisma Carpenter could play and TV was not the only work she got. She did jump over to feature films, most notably appearing in the Sylvester Stallone-led action movies The Expendables and The Expendables 2. She was also seen in Bound, Street Level, and Mail Order Monster.
Back on the TV side of the business, Charisma Carpenter turned her Buffy/Angel popularity into roles on Charmed and a recurring one on Veronica Mars. From there she became more of a guest star on various TV series.
She was seen in Greek, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Burn Notice, Blue Bloods, Sons of Anarchy, Scream Queens, Chicago P.D., and Lucifer. And let’s not forget her three years run on Surviving Evil.
CHARISMA CARPENTER NOW
Now 50-years-old, Charisma Carpenter is a divorced mom raising a 17-year-old son. She’s also still working steadily.
Currently Charisma Carpenter guesting on Pandora, and heard on the weekly podcast Opposite Sex Show. As Hollywood shut down, so did opportunities for her, but don’t expect the former Buffy star out of the game for long. Hollywood is slowly beginning to get its feet back under themselves, so keep an eye out for Charisma, she should be coming back to a TV screen in the very near future.