Early lifeCuthbert was born November 30, 1982 in Calgary, Alberta, the daughter of Patricia, a homemaker, and Kevin, an automotive design engineer. She has two younger siblings, Jonathan and Lee-Ann, and she grew up in Greenfield Park, near Montreal, Quebec. In 2000, she graduated from Centennial Regional High School and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 17 to pursue an acting career.
Early careerWhen she was nine, Cuthbert started modeling for various lines of children's clothing and also became a foot model. She made her first televised appearance as an extra in the horror-themed series for children Are You Afraid of the Dark?; she later became a series regular on the show. Cuthbert also co-hosted Popular Mechanics for Kids, which was filmed in Montreal. Her reporting captured the attention of then–First Lady Hillary Clinton, who invited her to visit the White House.
Cuthbert landed her first role in a feature film in the family drama Dancing on the Moon (1997). She appeared in several other Canadian family-themed movies and an airplane thriller, Airspeed. Cuthbert starred in the Canadian television movie Lucky Girl in 2001 and was awarded a Gemini Award for her performance.
Soon after her move to Los Angeles, Cuthbert was cast in the role of Kim Bauer, daughter of federal agent Jack Bauer in the television series 24. She appeared in the show's first three seasons, but not in its fourth; she guest-starred in two episodes in the fifth season. She also reprised her role as Kim Bauer in 24: The Game and again guest-starred in five episodes of the seventh season and in two episodes of the eighth season.
2002–2005: Commercial successShe began her Hollywood film career with small roles in Old School and Love Actually in 2003.
Cuthbert's next film, The Girl Next Door, cast her in her first lead role as an ex–porn star, Danielle, opposite Emile Hirsch. Cuthbert had initial reservations about taking the part, but was persuaded by director Luke Greenfield into accepting. She researched the role, speaking to actual adult actresses from Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment. Upon its release, the film received comparisons to Risky Business, – although Cuthbert claims her character was not directly based on Rebecca De Mornay's character. Critics were divided; some praised the film for its boldness, while others, notably Roger Ebert, decried it as gimmicky and exploitative. Ebert wrote that he saw Cuthbert's character Danielle as "quite the most unpleasant character I have seen in some time."
In her next big-screen outing, Cuthbert starred with Paris Hilton and Chad Michael Murray in the 2005 remake of the classic horror film House of Wax. Cuthbert, along with the rest of the cast, was made up to look haggard. In one scene, her character was to attempt to open her mouth while her lips were sealed with glue. For the sake of realism, Cuthbert opted for real superglue over prosthetics. House of Wax was largely panned, with critics citing a range of flaws. It was called "notable for having some of the most moronic protagonists ever to populate a horror film," though out of those characters, critics tended to think Cuthbert "fares the best." Though receiving negative reviews the film was a box office success. Others noted Cuthbert as an "exception," playing her role "earnestly" and "fine."
2006–2007: Career transition
Cuthbert's next film project was the indie film The Quiet, which she not only co-starred in but also co-produced and helped finance. She played Nina, a temperamental 17-year-old cheerleader who suffers from sexual abuse. Cuthbert looked to her younger cousin for inspiration as to how to play a teenager. The Quiet, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and received a limited release in Los Angeles and New York City on August 25, 2006, before expanding regionally on September 1.
Cuthbert appeared in the music video for Weezer's "Perfect Situation" in early 2006, where she played the group's fictional original singer who threw a tantrum that led to Rivers Cuomo, the unlikely roadie, becoming the frontman of the band. Cuthbert also had a small role in Paris Hilton's music video for the song "Nothing In This World".
In 2007, Cuthbert appeared in the film, Captivity, a thriller centered around a fashion model taunted by a psychopath who has imprisoned her in a cellar, a role for which she was nominated for a Razzie award as "worst actress."
In He Was a Quiet Man, Cuthbert played Vanessa, a quadriplegic, starring opposite Christian Slater. The film was in limited release in 2007, and it was released on DVD in early 2008
2008–present: Current and future projectsIn 2008, Cuthbert appeared in My Sassy Girl, a remake of a Korean film, starring alongside Jesse Bradford. Her next film is the family comedy The Six Wives of Henry Lefay with actor Tim Allen, in which she plays his daughter. She starred in the Canadian mini-series Guns. She appeared as a guest judge in season two, episode two of Project Runway Canada, where designers were challenged to create a "party dress" for Cuthbert.
Cuthbert reprised her character Kim Bauer in the seventh season of 24 for five episodes. She also was scheduled to star in the CBS drama pilot Ny-Lon, playing a New York literacy teacher/record-store clerk who embarks on a transatlantic romance with a London stockbroker. The project, which was based on a British series starring Rashida Jones and Stephen Moyer, has since been canceled.
Cuthbert is slated to voice Cleo, "the feline daughter of a wealthy kitty litter baron," in Cat Tale, an animated film set in a civilized world of cats and dogs.
On December 7, 2009, it was announced that Elisha has joined the cast of The Forgotten in a recurring role. ABC announced that she will play Maxine Denver, a strong and successful Chicago professional who is forced to put her skepticism of "amateur detectives" aside when The Forgotten Network begins investigating a case close to home.
Cuthbert stars in the ABC comedy series Happy Endings with Zachary Knighton, Casey Wilson, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr. and Eliza Coupe. The series aired it's first two episodes on April 13, 2011.
In the mediaCuthbert regularly secures a place in FHM and Maxim's annual "hottest women" lists. Her highest ranking was #4 in the 2008 UK Edition of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World list. She was ranked #14 in 2003, #10 in 2004, #5 in 2005, #22 in 2006, #10 in 2007 and #7 in 2009. The U.S. Edition ranked her #53 in 2003, #63 in 2004, and #54 in 2006. She was not listed in the U.S. 2005 list. Cuthbert was ranked #10 by AskMen.com readers in the list "Top 99 Women of 2007." Maxim named her #92 in its 2006 Hot 100 list, #6 in 2008, and #43 in 2009, and the magazine features her in its Girls of Maxim Gallery. As of 2006, Cuthbert has stated that she would refuse to be photographed nude in film roles or magazines and uses body doubles whenever necessary, specifying that she would "like to keep some things to herself."
Personal lifeHer current partner is Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf. In 2005 she maintained a blog on the NHL website, though she did not post for most of the season. She was once involved romantically with then-Los Angeles Kings player Sean Avery. Avery was suspended six games for the remarks about Cuthbert's new relationship and was not invited to rejoin his team, the Dallas Stars, following his suspension.
|1996||Dancing on the Moon||Sarah|
|1997||Mail to the Chief||Madison Osgood|
|1997||Nico the Unicorn||Carolyn Price|
|1999||Time at the Top||Susan Shawson|
|2000||Who Gets the House?||Emily Reece|
|2001||Lucky Girl||Katlin Palmerson|
|2003||Love Actually||American Goddess Carol|
|2003||Old School||Darcie Goldberg|
|2004||The Girl Next Door||Danielle (aka "D")|
|2005||House of Wax||Carly Jones|
|2006||The Quiet||Nina Deer|
|2007||He Was a Quiet Man||Vanessa|
|2008||My Sassy Girl||Jordan Roark|
|2009||The Six Wives of Henry Lefay||Barbara Lefay/Barby|
|1997–2000||Popular Mechanics for Kids||Herself|
|1999–2000||Are You Afraid of the Dark?||Megan|
|2004||MADtv||Herself and Kim Bauer||24 parody|
|2001–2004, 2006, 2009–2010||24||Kim Bauer||79 episodes|
|2010||The Forgotten||Maxine Denver||6 episodes|
|2011–present||Happy Endings||Alex||13 episodes|
|2006||Nothing in This World||Paris Hilton||Popular girl|
|2001||Gemini Awards||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series||Lucky Girl||Won|
|2003||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Breakout Star – Female||24||Nominated|
|2005||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Action/Adventure/Thriller||House of Wax||Nominated|
|2005||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Rumble||House of Wax||Nominated|
|2007||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller||Captivity||Nominated|
|2003||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||24||Nominated|
|2005||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||24||Nominated|
|2005||MTV Movie Awards||Best Breakthrough Performance, Female||The Girl Next Door||Nominated|
|2005||MTV Movie Awards||Best Kiss||The Girl Next Door||Nominated|