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Creator / Holly Marie Combs

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Holly Marie Combs (born December 3, 1973 in San Diego, California) is an American actress who was first noticed as Kimberly Brock on Picket Fences, after an uncredited scene with Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July, and is currently on the TV version of Pretty Little Liars. But she is probably best known as Piper on Charmed.

She has three sons with ex-husband David Donoho, and is currently married to her third husband, Mike Ryan.

Outside of acting, she also hosts the Charmed rewatch podcast House of Halliwell with co-stars Brian Krause and Drew Fuller.


This actress is an example of...

  • Actor-Shared Background:invoked She was raised by her mother and grandmother just like Piper was.
  • As Herself: Has a cameo in the remake of Ocean's Eleven as one of the celebrities whom Brad Pitt is teaching poker.
  • Costume Backlash: When asked in a fan Q&A about her favourite Charmed outfit, she responded that she "hated them all", especially the infamous "Coyote Piper" one. She did however like the Valkyrie one.
  • Dark Horse Casting:invoked In contrast to Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano, who had been child stars and were still recognisable names, she was lesser known, having only been famous for Picket Fences. In fact, the network tried to stop Aaron Spelling from casting her; stating that she didn't have "star power". It took Shannen threatening to drop out of the project (at this point a different actress was up for the role of Phoebe) before they grudgingly let Holly play Piper.
  • Dawson Casting: Just about. She was nineteen playing a high schooler in Dr. Giggles. She was also playing teenagers up until age 25, and recalls having to prove to Aaron Spelling that she was old enough to play Piper (see below).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Go look up a Piper Halliwell video on YouTube; Holly has some of the best deadpan delivery possible. Also, when she was in New York and auditioned for Picket Fences, she was told they were looking for an actress with "more heart." She quickly retorted, "If you're looking for heart, what the hell are you doing in New York?" She got the part.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Has a small but noticeable split in her right eyebrow that bisects the entire shape. When she was learning how to walk, she fell and banged her head on a marble table.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Cut her hair into a fringe on camera for a scene in Sins of Silence, where her character does so to hide a bruise on her forehead.
  • Friendship on the Set:
    • She and Shannen Doherty had been good friends before playing sisters, and Holly even convinced her to give the pilot script a second chance after she initially passed on it. She also became close enough to Alyssa Milano to act as a bridesmaid at her 1999 wedding, and is still in touch with Rose McGowan as well.
    • She is very close with her on-screen husband Brian Krause and son Drew Fuller - who even jokes that he'll tell his actual mother that he's on the phone with "other mom" when talking to Holly. The three toured conventions together and eventually set up a Charmed rewatch podcast.
    • She and Charisma Carpenter were close friends, and the latter guest starred in three Charmed episodes. They also starred together in the Made-for-TV Movie See Jane Date.
  • Godiva Hair: One of her only Fanservice style photoshoots was for Stuff magazine, whose cover photo had her completely topless with her hair just about covering everything.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: She's known for having long dark hair ranging from elbow-length to waist-length.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Charmed twice:
    • Holly became pregnant around the episode "The Sword In The City" so episodes resorted to tricks such as wearing lots of black, or else ponchos, and having her sitting down a lot. Notably in an episode with the Headless Horseman, Piper is the first to get decapitated. This pregnancy resulted in the season's arc being rewritten to have Chris be Piper's Kid from the Future. And once Piper became pregnant in the show, the next episode had a Time Skip of about six months.
    • She was pregnant again in the eighth season. This one wasn't written in, so loose clothing and lots of black were used. In one of the last scenes of the finale, Piper walks into camera holding the Book of Shadows in front of her stomach, and another scene has her wearing a loose dress.
  • I Am Not Pretty: She's often self deprecating about her looks. Even in the TV Guide interview ahead of Charmed's first season, she referred to herself as "not the typical Spelling babe".
  • I Am Not Spock: While she did get acclaim for Picket Fences and has attended conventions for Pretty Little Liars, it's safe to say she is best known as Piper Halliwell.
  • Money, Dear Boy:
    • She said that pursuing acting as a full time career came about right after she graduated high school. It was a choice between college tuition that was costing $5000 and a film that was paying more, so she chose the latter.
    • When Shannen Doherty left Charmed, she was ready to leave as well, but was persuaded to stay with a pay rise to $60,000 per episode, and eventually becoming a producer in Season 5.
  • Older Than They Look: She's 48 and doesn't really look any different than she did on Charmed. Hell, she doesn't look that different than when she was on Picket Fences, and she was in her early 20's then.
  • Old Shame: She regrets going topless for A Reason To Believe, not expecting that pictures of the scene would appear on the internet once she got famous.
  • The Other Marty: She replaced Jean Louisa Kelly right before the pilot of Pretty Little Liars.
  • Produced by Cast Member: She served as a producer on Charmed from Season 5 until the end of the show.
  • Reality Subtext: Piper and Prue were closer to each other than Phoebe - reflecting that Holly and Shannen Doherty were best friends in real life. Piper is more cut up about Prue's death in Season 4, paralleling Holly's desire to want to leave after Shannen did.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The first time she became pregnant during production on Charmed, her condition was written into the show. Eventually. They had her hiding behind boxes as so forth until roughly her third trimester.
  • Star-Making Role: Picket Fences won her critical acclaim and a Young Artist Award.
  • Token Wholesome: Aaron Spelling told her that she would be his Kate Jackson figure on Charmed; there to wear more modest and conservative outfits in comparison to Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano. Piper's only Fanservice episode was "Coyote Piper", which tellingly involves her being possessed, and whenever all the sisters were transformed into things like Greek Goddesses or Valkyries, Piper's costumes tended to be more modest.
  • Uncredited Role:invoked She's uncredited for her cameo in Ocean's Eleven.
  • Underage Casting: A deliberate choice for Pretty Little Liars on her part. She's said that she knew she was too young to play the mother of a teenager, but chose to do it anyway to feel better about how she would inevitably get offered mother roles soon.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: IMDB says she has an uncredited appearance in The Craft but no one has been able to identify her in it as of yet.
  • Wag the Director:invoked A script line would have Piper complain about her post-pregnancy weight, but Holly refused to say it, feeling Piper wouldn't care. They also cast Ellen Geer to play an elderly version of Piper because Holly preferred not to wear aging prosthetics while pregnant.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Aaron Spelling initially wanted her to play Phoebe, as Holly was actually the youngest of the three actresses. In fact, his first choice for Piper was Shannen Doherty. On reading the script, Holly was more taken by Piper and likewise Shannen with Prue, and they had to even show him their driving licenses to prove that they were old enough to play the characters.
    • IMDB listed her in the cast list for Tekken (2010), playing Michelle Chang. She never starred in the movie, and Michelle wasn't featured at all. It's unknown if this was a clerical error or she was just dropped.
    • She was approached to star in Riverdale as Jughead's mother. They ended up casting Gina Gershon, and Holly admits she was "super bummed" that she didn't get it.
  • Writer Revolt:invoked She recalls the WB trying to get her to wear push-up bras on some Charmed episodes; finding them among her wardrobe selections, and no other options provided. She rebelled by going braless.