Laurie Holden is probably best known as Andrea Harrison on the hit AMC series The Walking Dead. While the zombie-infested show may be her true calling card, Holden has held her own in a number of other high-profile gigs. Since then, she’s also become a real life hunter of sex-traffickers, even participating in sting operations.
Laurie Holden’s character was killed off the high-profile zombie show in season 4. Here’s how she got there, why she left, and what she’s been doing since The Walking Dead.
ROCK HUDSON’S DAUGHTER
It just so happened that Laurie Holden was visiting her stepfather, Academy Award-nominated director Michael Anderson (Around the World in 80 Days, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze), who was directing screen legend Rock Hudson in the Ray Bradbury novel brought to screen, The Martian Chronicles. The child actress hired to play the part of Hudson’s daughter never arrived on set, so Anderson turned to Holden and pulled her in to play the part. She was 10-years old at the time and it would take her quite a few years before she found herself back in front of the camera.
Laurie Holden did appear on screen as a teenager. She won a Toronto modeling contest called Look of the Year. That got her a part in another of Anderson’s movies, the comedy Separate Vacations. This didn’t lead to much more as Laurie began to concentrate on her schooling.
Laurie Holden first attended McGill University to study political science and economics but then transferred to UCLA where she undertook theater and film. After UCLA, Holden went on to Columbia University where she pursued her master’s degree in human rights, something that would come into play later in her career.
LAURIE HOLDEN BEFORE THE WALKING DEAD
Early in Laurie Holden’s professional acting career, she jumped back and forth from stage to screen. She began with a small role in the TV series Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future but then began to make an impact when she next starred opposite Burt Reynolds in Physical Evidence.
For the next five to six years, Laurie Holden was mainly seen on TV. She found roles on Young Catherine, Father Dowling Mysteries, Secret Service, Scales of Justice, Family Passions, Due South, and Highlander. All of these roles were guest shots, nothing lasting. But during this time, Holden was also appearing onstage. She was in Time and the Conways, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Ghosts, and The Love of the Nightingale.
The mid-‘90s gave Laurie Holden a lot of work. She was in the feature films Expect No Mercy and Past Perfect. She was also in quite a few TV projects such as Murder, She Wrote, The Pathfinder, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Two, Dead Man’s Gun, and The Outer Limits. The late ‘90s also saw Holden grab a starring role in the TV series The Magnificent Seven, based on the series of movies from the 60s.
Laurie Holden would then nan a recurring role on another popular TV series, The X-Files. In it, she played Marita Covarrubias, an informant to Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). The role covered six seasons. During this time she appeared opposite Jim Carrey in The Majestic.
After her run on X-Files ended, Laurie Holden moved on to other projects. She appeared as the Thing’s (Michael Chiklis) former girlfriend in Fantastic Four. She was seen in Bailey’s Billion$ and the horror flick Silent Hill. Then she turned in a noteworthy performance in another horror piece: the vastly underrated big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist.
Laurie Holden reunited with her Fantastic Four counterpart Chiklis in the series The Shield and enjoyed one full season on the show. All this was leading up to her most notable role as Andrea on The Walking Dead.
LAURIE HOLDEN ON THE WALKING DEAD
Laurie Holden was nominated numerous times for awards due to her role as Andrea on The Walking Dead. Her time, though short-lived, was a highlight in the early days of the series.
If you were to base her character on how Robert Kirkman handled her in the comic books, you knew she was going to have a long run on the show, well, as long as AMC was airing the show. But somehow, somewhere, the comic book and the TV series parted ways, leaving Laurie Holden’s character hanging in the wind.
Laurie Holden nailed the role of Andrea partially based on her history of working with series creator Frank Darabont on The Majestic and The Mist. She was geeked to play the role as it was a departure for many of the characters she played in the past, also giving her a more physical presence on the screen.
Her first three seasons on The Walking Dead was a great development for her character. Laurie Holden grew into being a badass, mirroring much of her comic book character. Then season four rolled around and changes were a comin’. The Walking Dead series was (and still is) known for making, at times, drastic departures from its source material and the fate of Andrea was one such departure. The end of The Walking Dead season four saw her demise, something that didn’t sit well with many fans.
ANDREA’S DEATH HAS REAL LIFE CONSEQUENCES
Laurie Holden may be gone from the show, but she hasn’t forgotten the how’s and why’s and yes, she is still quite bitter about it. Of all the characters that have appeared in both the comic and the TV series, you can say that Holden’s Andrea was altered the most. In the comic, Andrea married Rick and lived a long life with him, even to the point where Carl (who also lived long) was calling her “mom”.
In an appearance at Philadelphia’s Walker Stalker, Laurie Holden commented that Andrea’s death in the series was “complete and utter nonsense”. She also added via TV Guide, “I think the departure from book Andrea to the screen was a mistake,” she said. “I mean, it’s not like I couldn’t pull it off.”
She went on, “I think the whole stuff that they wrote about Andrea and the Governor was complete and utter nonsense. I did the best that I could to tell that narrative, and to justify it where Andrea kept her heart. I love [showrunner] Scott Gimple for giving me a gorgeous death with redemption so that you understood, and she wasn’t a victim — she died on her own terms. But I think that there was so much beautiful narrative that was lost and that she should have been there a long time, and been the leader that [Robert] Kirkman created in the comic book.”
According to Kirkman via TVLINE, the demise of Laurie Holden’s Andrea was a shock. “I didn’t get the official word until a few days before we began [shooting] the finale. It was a shock to everyone. It was never part of the original story docs for Season 3. And it was rather unexpected. That said, this is The Walking Dead. This show is not conventional by any means — and we know that as actors going in. So you roll with it. You show up, you do the best job you can, and you honor the storytelling.”
Laurie Holden’s exit did not sit well in the writer’s room. It was former showrunner Glenn Mazzara (whom Holden says lost his job based on the killing off of Andrea) who first brought up the idea of offing Andrea.
“It was something Glen Mazzara introduced in the writing of the last few episodes. It’s something that was debated quite a bit. There was a lot of opposition in the writers’ room. I bounced back and forth between “We really shouldn’t kill her” and “this is a good idea.” In the end, it all came together and we decided to go for it. It was definitely something that divided the room to a certain extent,” Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter.
LAURIE HOLDEN NOW
Life continues after The Walking Dead. Now 50-years-old, Laurie Holden has gone on to star in other features and series. She was seen in another Jim Carrey-led movie, Dumb and Dumber To and the movie Pyewacket. She was also in the series’ Chicago Fire, The Americans, and Proven Innocent.
Laurie Holden’s portrayal of badass Andrea on that zombie show is not the only time she’s been a bad ass. No, she has also been one in real life.
Her master’s degree in human rights came into play when Laurie Holden became part of Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit that hunts down and arrests child sex traffickers. In fact, Holden was part of one such sting operation.
Laurie went to Cartagena, Colombia with a special task unit to help rescue these children. The part she played was first donning a wig to disguise her appearance and then keeping the young girls occupied in a pool area so the undercover cops could come in and arrest the sex traffickers. Scary work, brave work. Keep up the good work Laurie Holden.