Elizabeth Ward Gracen is an American actress known almost as much for her off-screen activities as for her movie and television roles. She was born Elizabeth Grace Ward but should not be confused with another Elizabeth Ward who worked as a television actress during the first half of the 1980s.
Early life, beauty and acting careers
She was born on April 3, 1961 in Ozark, Arkansas, and raised in Booneville, Arkansas, U.S., the daughter of Jimmy Young Ward and Patricia "Pat" (Murphy) Ward. She later moved to Russellville, Arkansas with her family, where she graduated from Russellville high school in 1979. She won the titles of Miss Arkansas in 1981 and Miss America in 1982. She used her Miss America scholarship money to study acting at HB Studios in New York City before moving to Hollywood to pursue a film and television career. During this time, Gracen says she had a one-night stand with future President Bill Clinton. She posed nude for Playboy magazine's May 1992 issue.
She built an acting career, and in 1989, while filming Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, she met actor Brendan Hughes and they married soon after. The couple divorced in 1994. Before that she was married to Jon Birmingham. Gracen gave birth to a daughter, Quinlan Murphy, on July 28, 2005.
She made her professional feature film debut in Three For The Road with Charlie Sheen. Her film credits also include a featured role in Marked For Death opposite Steven Seagal, Pass The Ammo with Tim Curry, and the CBS feature 83 Hours Till Dawn with Peter Strauss and Robert Urich. Gracen starred in Lower Level and Discretion Assured with Michael York.
On television, Gracen has appeared in Shelley Duvall's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sidney Sheldon's The Sands of Time and Death of the Incredible Hulk. She also appeared with a starring role in the series Extreme for NBC and the syndicated series Renegade and Queen of Swords.
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