Rachel Luttrell Biography 1971-
Rachel Luttrell is an accomplished actress and singer who has worked in film, television and on stage. Rachel Zawadi Luttrell was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and is the second-born of four daughters to Veronica MakihiyoShenkunde Luttrell, the daughter of a powerful medicine man of the Washambalatribespeople, and William Leon Luttrell, Jr., a Bossier City, Louisiana native and then well-respected professor of Economics at the University of Dar Es Salaam.
Shortly after her fifth birthday, Rachel and her family immigrated to Canada, settling in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto. As a child in Toronto, Rachel studied piano at The Royal Conservatory, and ballet at the Russian Academy of Classical Ballet. Her father, a former member of both the critically-acclaimed Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Canadian Opera Company, trained Rachel’s soprano voice. Later, she would study with other fine vocal coaches.
Rachel played the alto-saxophone in high school and also studied English horseback riding. As a young girl, Rachel was always hamming it up for the camera and would often entertain guests at her parents’ dinner parties by staging self-produced shows with her three sisters, Gillian, Amanda and Erica. The Luttrell house was always full of music and laughter. Everyone sang and most played an instrument.
Rachel landed her first film role while still in high school, playing Billy Dee Williams’ daughter in the made-for-television movie “Courage”, also starring Sophia Loren. From there, Rachel appeared in commercials and starred on popular Canadian television programs, including the long- running drama, “Street Legal”.
Upon graduating from high school, Rachel enrolled in the Musical Theatre program at Sheridan College to pursue her passion for dancing, singing and acting. However, after a year of study, Rachel felt the call of a more academic education and left the college to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at The University of Toronto. While studying at U. of T., she auditioned for the Canadian premiere production of “Miss Saigon”, alongside her older sister Gillian and several hundred other young hopefuls. Rachel and her sister were both cast, and thus she began her musical theater career as a chorus girl and understudy for the lead character of Ellen.
Rachel went on to perform in the Canadian premiere production of Walt Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast” (once again with big sister Gillian), and later to star in the American productions of “Once On This Island”, “Goblin Market”, and alongside Richard J. Alexander in his workshop musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”.
In the summer of 1995, Rachel moved from Toronto to Los Angeles to continue to pursue her career in film and television. She was kept very busy guest-starring on several popular TV shows, including “ER” and “Charmed”, and in the short- lived but well-received show “Sleepwalkers”, alongside Naomi Watts and Bruce Greenwood. In 2001, Rachel starred in Anne Rice’s critically-acclaimed mini- series, “Feast of All Saints”, where she played Peter Gallagher’s on-screen daughter in a cast that also included Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Beals, and OssieDavis. Later that same year, Rachel appeared in a small but memorable role in the feature film, “Imposter”, opposite Emmy and Golden Globe winning, and Oscar- nominated actor, Gary Sinise.
Despite all of this success, Rachel became frustrated with the life of a struggling young actress in Hollywood, and almost gave it all up to pursue Architecture at UCLA. Before throwing in the towel, Rachel auditioned for B.A.D.A. (British American Drama Academy) and won a spot in their prestigious President’s Group. She spent a glorious summer in Oxford, UK studying at Balliol College with some of the industry’s best directors, teachers and performers, including Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Emmy award-winning actor Alan Rickman, and John Barton, one of the world’s most esteemed Shakespearean scholars.
When Rachel returned to Los Angeles, she was cast in the premiere production of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s “Las Meninas”, earning wonderful reviews. Shortly thereafter, Rachel was cast in the role of TeylaEmmagan in the SYFY Channel’s spinoff series, “Stargate Atlantis”, a show that won the loyalty of a worldwide fan base and ran for five very successful seasons (2004 – 2009).
Rachel has just completed her first CD entitled “I Wish You Love”, in which she collaborated with many of the music industry’s finest performers, world-renowned percussionist Jeff Hamilton and standup bass virtuoso Jennifer Leitham among them. The CD was a grand collaborative effort spanning three countries and recorded in part at the legendary Capitol Records in Hollywood.
Rachel recently wrapped shooting a guest appearance on NCIS (America’s number one-rated television show) in the fall of 2011.
When not in front of the camera, Rachel indulges her love of writing – something that has always brought her great joy and reward. She is currently at work on a screenplay with her husband, stunt-performer and award-winning cinematographer,LoydBateman. Rachel and Loyd live in Los Angeles with their young son, Caden Dar Bateman.