Katharine McPhee

Active - 2008 - 2018  |   Born - Mar 25, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Music, Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

A household name to fans of the reality series American Idol, Katharine McPhee participated as a contestant in that program's 2006 season, drawing recognition and widespread praise for the range and mellifluousness of her classically trained voice within the context of traditional pop. Though the young diva officially lost the competition to vocalist Taylor Hicks, the accolades she garnered from hypercritical judge Simon Cowell (in particular) served as a testament to her ability and made viewers sit up and take notice, while the extent of her popularity on Idol promised a long and viable career as an entertainer.

A native of Sherman Oaks, CA, McPhee was born in 1984 and received extensive formal training as a vocalist under the aegis of her mother, established singer Peisha McPhee. Musical performance and drama characterized Katharine's childhood and adolescent years, but she first began to take serious career interest in the arts while enrolled as a musical theater major at the esteemed Boston Conservatory. Within a few semesters, however, the blossoming performer grew restless and dropped out of school, taking off for the film studios and theaters of Los Angeles. She landed a role in the 2006 musical biopic Crazy, participated in an MTV series that failed to make it to the air, and essayed roles in productions of Annie Get Your Gun and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Idol, of course, represented McPhee's breakthrough, and shortly thereafter (fall 2006) the young diva began recording her eponymous debut album, which hit shelves in early 2007.

Meanwhile, roles in such features as The House Bunny, Shark Night 3D, and Bruce Beresford's Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding found the emerging songstress branching out into acting, and in 2012 she seemed to find a happy middle ground with her role on the musical television series Smash, which followed a group of ambitious Broadway performers as they prepared to stage a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Seemingly finding her niche in TV, once Smash wrapped up, she joined the cast of CBS' Scorpion.

Movie Highlights

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  • Mother is a cabaret singer and vocal coach who helped Katharine hone her craft.
  • At her initial audition for American Idol, sang "God Bless the Child."
  • Her Idol fan frenzy was branded "McPheever" but wasn't enough to lift her to the title; she placed second behind Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks.
  • Appeared in 2008's The House Bunny, playing a pregnant hippie sorority sister. Also sang the single from the film, a cover of the Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like."
  • Was among the galaxy of stars who sang on the remake of the charity song "We Are the World," retitled "We Are the World: 25 for Haiti," which raised funds for victims of the January 2010 earthquake in that country.