June 20, 1981
Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
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It sounds like the plot of a Shirley Temple movie, but Alisan Porter was discovered at the age of three singing in the hotel lobby while her dance coach mother, Laura Klein, was chaperoning future Coors Light Twins Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski at the TV talent show "Star Search." Having made several commercials, Alisan became the show's youngest-ever competitor two years later and was Junior Vocalist Champion five times. She began tele-acting in 1987, as Li'l Punkin in "Pee-wee's Playhouse," and followed a turn in the Judith Krantz miniseries "I'll Take Manhattan" and the short "Homesick" with her feature bow as Taylor Buckman in Ron Howard's 1989 comedy "Parenthood," in which she memorably threw up over father Steve Martin. Fresh from playing Molly Peerce in the Jackie Mason sitcom "Chicken Soup," Porter was cast as the daughter of Bette Midler in John Erman's domestic melodrama "Stella" and Kevin Kline and Tracey Ullman in Lawrence Kasdan's black comedy "I Love You to Death." Yet, despite an acclaimed 1991 guest slot on "The Golden Girls" and the lead that same year in John Hughes's con artist kidpic, "Curly Sue," Porter grew tired of acting and began competitive dancing. At 18, she entered musical theater, appearing in "Footloose," "The Ten Commandments" (which was filmed in 2006), and "A Chorus Line." She also fronted the bands The Raz and The Alisan Porter Project and returned to films in the 2000s with minor roles in the comedies "Shrink Rap" and "Meet Dave."