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Talented comedic actress Sarah Hyland found the perfect role playing the high-maintenance teen Haley Dunphy on the Emmy-winning sitcom, "Modern Family" (ABC, 2009- ). Starting her showbiz career at age seven as one of Howard Stern's daughters in the feature film "Private Parts" (1997), the young actress began nabbing roles in such diverse projects as the feature comedy "The Object of My Affection" (1998) and as a young Audrey Hepburn in the TV movie "The Audrey Hepburn Story" (ABC, 2000). Her performance as Brooke Shields' daughter on "Lipstick Jungle" (NBC, 2008-09) further showcased her talents. After the show was cancelled, within weeks she landed the juicy part of the eldest Dunphy sibling on the hilarious comedy "Modern Family." Although in her twenties, Hyland effectively portrayed the vain and reckless teenager, yet would also prove her mettle with more mature roles in the films "Geek Charming" (2011), "Cougars, Inc." (2011), and indie dramas "See You in Valhalla" (2015) and "XOXO" (2016), on which she also took producer credits, pointing toward an expanding behind the scenes role.
Born Sarah Jane Hyland on Nov. 24, 1990 in New York City, Sarah Hyland was of Irish, Scottish, Dutch and Welsh descent and the daughter of actors Melissa Canaday and Edward James Hyland, as well as the sister of actor Ian Hyland. Trained in many areas of dance, including ballet, jazz, hip-hop and tap from the age of three, Hyland began her career in show business at the age of four doing voiceovers and commercial work, mainly on the radio. Home schooled by her mother until second grade, she then attended public school until sixth grade, when she was accepted into the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. Her stage debut was in the title role of "Annie" when she was just 11 and she continued to add stage productions to her acting portfolio, including "Bad Girls" and "Dark Part of the Forest."
Hyland's first film role was in the Howard Stern biopic "Private Parts" (1997) as the shock jock's daughter. Aptly playing mostly young girl and daughter roles at the beginning of her career, she appeared in the Jennifer Aniston/Paul Rudd romantic comedy "The Object of My Affection" (1998) and portrayed the sweet orphan Molly in the television remake of "Annie" (ABC, 1999). Shortly before this role, she appeared in an episode of the series, "Trinity" (NBC, 1998-99) and played Lizbeth in the romantic comedy about a woman who falls in love with her gay friend's boyfriend in "Advice from a Caterpillar" (1999). Hyland also portrayed Giovanna in the true story of politics and art in 1930s America in "Cradle Will Rock" (1999) and essayed an eight-year-old version of Audrey Hepburn in the hit TV movie "The Audrey Hepburn Story" (ABC, 2000).
Starting strong in the new millennium, Hyland had a leading role as Elizabeth Mitchell in the drama, "Joe Gould's Secret" (2000), a film based on the true story about the eponymous and eccentric writer who was profiled extensively in the New Yorker by writer Joe Mitchell. Hyland also scored television roles around this time, including small parts on the crime drama series, "Falcone" (CBS, 2000) and the spiritual drama "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003). In 2002, Hyland appeared in the independent film "The Empath" and had a bit role as a young sleepover friend in the romantic comedy "Spanglish" (2004) starring Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni. Along with more roles on television and in film, Hyland also played in on- and off-Broadway productions of "Grey Gardens" in the brief role of Jacqueline Bouvier Onassis. Hyland went on to portray another daughter, this time to no less than Brooke Shields on the dramedy "Lipstick Jungle" (NBC, 2008-09), the story about three powerful New York women making their way in the bustling city. It was around this time that Hyland also appeared in an Olive Garden commercial along with actress Molly Culver, taking whatever work came her way and rapidly expanding her CV.
At the age of 18, she moved to Los Angeles, and within two weeks, she scored a role on a pilot entitled, "My American Family," created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan. Once the series was picked up, its name was changed to "Modern Family" (ABC, 2009- ) and the ensemble cast - headed by TV legend Ed O'Neill - brought to life this hilarious take on a multicultural yet still traditional extended family. As Haley Dunphy, the eldest daughter of Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), her character epitomized the stereotypical teenager: not too bright and only interested in boys. She served as a perfect counterpoint to her onscreen younger sister, the brainy Alex (Ariel Winter). A hit right out of the gate for the network, the show won multiple awards, including Emmys for the show and several of its cast members, as well as a SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series, which Hyland shared with her co-stars.
While working on "Modern Family," Hyland also popped up on film in more mature roles, including as Courtney in "Cougars, Inc." (2011), about students who start an escort service to pay for school. She had a cameo appearance as herself in "The Muppets" (2011) feature film reboot starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams. Also that year, she starred in the TV movie "Geek Charming" (Disney Channel, 2011 ) about the goings-on at an upscale Los Angeles Woodlands Academy. The film also starred real-life boyfriend, Matt Prokop. In 2012, she again starred alongside Prokop in the comedy film "Struck by Lightning." (The couple split in 2014, with Hyland filing a restraining order against Prokop shortly thereafter.) In May 2012, Hyland revealed that she had endured a lifetime battle with kidney dysplasia and had received a kidney transplant the month before, donated by her father. In addition to her sitcom work, Hyland branched out into modeling as the face of Wallflower Jeans. She costarred in the teen fantasy "Vampire Academy" (2014), based on the popular young adult novel, but the film was a poorly-reviewed box office disappointment. She next appeared in romantic comedy "Date and Switch" (2014) and indie dramas "See You in Valhalla" (2015) and "XOXO" (2016), while also taking on a voice role as Batgirl in the animated "Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League" (2016). The next year, Hyland appeared as older sister Lisa Houseman in a TV musical reboot of '80s icon "Dirty Dancing" (ABC 2017), performing a piano and ukulele duet of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" with castmate J. Quinton Johnson on the soundtrack.
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