With looks that have been compared to Julia Roberts', Monica Potter emerged as one of the more promising actresses of the late '90s. The second of four girls in a close-knit family, Potter was raised in Cleveland, OH, where she was born on June 30, 1971. At the age of 12, she started modeling and doing commercials, and she further pursued her career with modeling stints in Chicago and Miami. Her dedication to acting became evident with a move to Los Angeles in 1994, where she was soon cast in the CBS soap The Young and the Restless.
Potter's film debut came with a minor part in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Bulletproof, followed by a leading role in the Richard Grieco vehicle Heaven or Las Vegas, which played briefly in theaters before hightailing it to video. Fortunately, more high-profile work was to come, first as Nicolas Cage's wife in the 1997 action film Con Air and then as a medical student in the Robin Williams comedy Patch Adams (1998). After acting in the shadow of these formidable co-stars, Potter ventured into the limelight with lead roles in two 1998 films, the romantic comedy Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel, and Laurence and the Steve Prefontaine biopic Without Limits, co-starring Billy Crudup. In 1999, Potter had yet another leading role, this time in A Cool, Dry Place, in which she starred with Vince Vaughn and Joey Lauren Adams. Her rising star was given an additional push by her 1999 appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood issue, where she was photographed in the company of such fellow actors on the brink of stardom as Sarah Polley, Giovanni Ribisi, and Adrien Brody.
She had a major role in the serial killer film Along Came a Spider in 2001, and the next year she was in the comedy I'm With Lucy. She appeared in the first of the Saw films when it was released in 2004, and that same year she was cast in the TV show Boston Legal. In 2009 she starred in the remake of The Last House on the Left, and the next year she became part of the cast of NBC's family drama Parenthood.