Lauren Tom

Active - 1984 - 2011  |   Born - Aug 4, 1961 in Highland Park, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Science Fiction

Share on

Biography by Jason Buchanan

A multi-talented actress who's just as comfortable on the stage as she is before the cameras, Lauren Tom has built quite an impressive resumé by establishing herself as one of the most prolific small-screen players of her generation. While fans of such popular television sitcoms as Friends and Men in Trees are no doubt familiar with her face, Tom has also crafted an impressive voice-over career thanks in large to work on such animated television series as Batman Beyond, Futurama, and King of the Hill.

Though she would first gain notice as the dutiful daughter of an Asian-American family attempting to bridge the gap between the past and the present in The Joy Luck Club, Tom had already been acting in film and television for over a decade -- her career gradually gaining momentum thanks to bit parts in such films as Wall Street, Blue Steel, and Cadillac Man. Two years after her breakout performance in The Joy Luck Club, Tom would shine in her recurring role as Ross' girlfriend Julie in Friends. While her onscreen presence was indeed captivating, audiences would soon discover that Tom's unique voice could be a huge asset to any number of animated productions. Though in the following years, Tom's voice could be heard in a variety of animated releases, onscreen performances in shows like Monk and movies such as Bad Santa proved that the increasingly active voice-over artist was still very much committed to her onscreen career as well. In 2006, Tom made a sizable impression on theatergoers by relating her quest for inner peace in her Dramalogue Award-winning one-woman show 25 Psychics. With a Broadway background that has included performances in A Chorus Line and Hurly Burley, Tom has a ready comfort on the stage that has allowed her to focus on her impressive storytelling skills.

In 2006, Tom was back in front of the camera keeping television viewers in stitches as mail-order bride (Mai) to crusty pilot Buzz (John Amos) in the rural comedy drama Men in Trees.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Channeled adolescent teasing over her ethnicity into a successful tryout for A Chorus Line, jump-starting her early career in theater.
  • Caught her Hollywood break after an ad-libbed role in Cadillac Man led to a Tonight Show appearance that caught the eye of Cheech Marin, who cast her in a pilot.
  • Credits her dog's nervous behavior for her timely purchase of earthquake insurance two days before the 1994 California quake.
  • Discovered she grew up in the same Illinois town as one of her late '90s neighbors, Curt, whom she married soon thereafter.
  • Portrayed her grandmother and other relatives from her Chinese-American childhood in a one-woman comedy, 25 Psychics.
  • Collaborated with her mother to publish The Bubble Gum Machine, a children's book focusing on lessons of diversity.