Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Violet Sanford From Coyote Ugly Looks So Familiar

It has been over 20 years since David McNally's "Coyote Ugly" debuted in cinemas and earned its status as a cult classic. Loosely based on a real-life bar in New York City, the film follows a young woman named Violet who comes to the city in search of a career as a singer, only to find herself performing as she pours cocktails for the patrons of the Coyote Ugly bar. 

"Coyote Ugly" ultimately served as a major launching pad for a number of Hollywood careers, including that of the actress who played Violet. If she looks familiar to you when rewatching the film today, that's because she is portrayed by Piper Perabo, a now-seasoned Hollywood veteran whose IMDb list of credits — in both feature films and TV series — dates back to the mid-1990s. With that in mind, now is the time for us to take a look into her filmography and pick out some of the most notable roles of her career.

Piper Perabo was the eldest in the Cheaper by the Dozen franchise

Only a year after "Coyote Ugly," Piper Perabo appeared in the hit family comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen." A remake of a 1950 film of the same name, "Cheaper by the Dozen" follows Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt as the respective patriarch and matriarch of an oversized family. In the film, Perabo portrays Nora, the oldest child in the Baker household, who brings her obnoxious boyfriend (portrayed by Ashton Kutcher) home to meet the rest of the family.

In addition to Perabo, the "Cheaper by the Dozen" ensemble also includes some other notable actors from the era, including Tom Welling and Hillary Duff. The film proved to be a hit, resulting in a sequel being released two years later. Beyond that, "Cheaper by the Dozen" was remade yet again in 2022 on Disney+, this time starring Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union, but that latest incarnation of the franchise has no canonical connection to the series from the 2000s.

Piper Perabo drowned in The Prestige

Piper Perabo has worked with some major filmmakers in her career, but one of the most prominent directors in her filmography is Christopher Nolan, as she appeared in the smoke and mirrors movie known as "The Prestige." In that film, Perabo plays Julia, the ill-fated wife of Robert Angiers (Hugh Jackman) who accidentally drowns during a magic act when she cannot be freed from a tank that she has been dropped into. This death is ultimately what lights the fuse on the rivalry between Angiers and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), particularly when Borden makes a distressed confession regarding the type of knot he used on Julia's bindings for the trick.

Perabo's role in "The Prestige" is smaller when compared to other actresses in the film, such as Scarlett Johansson or Rebecca Hall. That said, her narrative importance to the overall story is critical. Moreover, her death continues to stand out as one of the most brutal and tragic moments ever depicted in a Nolan movie, to date.

Piper Perabo was a CIA agent in Covert Affairs

In the summer of 2010, Piper Perabo took on one of her most notable starring roles on television to date — the lead in "Covert Affairs." 

The series followed Perabo as an up-and-coming CIA agent named Annie Walker, who slowly but surely assimilates to the dark and brutal nature of her work in the world of espionage. In addition to Perabo, the "Covert Affairs" ensemble included Christopher Gorman, Kari Matchett, Anne Dudek, Oded Fehr, and several other notable actors. "Covert Affairs" was well-received at the time of its debut, with Piper Perabo being praised for her work on the show. In fact, "Covert Affairs" remains the one Golden Globe-nominated performance of Perabo's career. 

In total, the series ran for five seasons and aired 75 episodes over the course of its run on the USA Network before coming to an end in 2014.

Piper Perabo starred opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

Rian Johnson redefined the time travel thriller in 2012 when "Looper" hit theaters. The film pitted a young (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and old (Bruce Willis) version of a hitman named Joe against one another, when Old Joe travels back in time to kill a child who will grow up to become a powerful crime lord known as the Rainmaker. In the film, Piper Perabo plays a stripper named Suzie who is close to Young Joe. In fact, she is positioned as a possible love interest until Young Joe eventually makes his way to the countryside and meets Sara (Emily Blunt).

Beyond her role as a sounding board for Joe in the early portion of the movie, Suzie goes on to have significant narrative relevance in the back half of "Looper" as well. Specifically, Old Joe eventually learns that her child is one of the possible children who will eventually grow up to become the Rainmaker. However, Old Joe remains undeterred and attempts to kill the child –- only to be captured in the act when the henchmen of Abe (Jeff Daniels) get to him.

Piper Perabo played Leah Banning in Angel Has Fallen

Gerard Butler found himself a reliable action franchise in 2013 when he took on the role of Mike Banning for "Olympus Has Fallen." A grounded and gritty action thriller about a hostage situation in the White House, the series has since moved on from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but has continued to keep Banning and his family at the center of the action. This includes his wife Leah Banning, portrayed by Piper Perabo in the 2019 thriller "Angel Has Fallen."

As many fans of the franchise may quickly recognize, Piper Perabo was not the original actress to take on the role of Leah Banning. In fact, Perabo inherited the role from "Pitch Black" and "Silent Hill" actress Radha Mitchell, who played Leah Banning in both "Olympus Has Fallen" and "London Has Fallen." Per Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Mitchell was originally going to return for the third installment in the series but had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. It was at that point that Perabo stepped in for the role.

Piper Perabo appeared as Summer in Yellowstone

Piper Perabo has maintained a consistent presence in the television world throughout her career. One of the most recent and notable recurring roles audiences may recognize her for is her performance as Summer Higgins in the hit series "Yellowstone." The character is an environmental activist who begins a relationship with Kevin Costner's John Dutton during the events of Season 4. The character is based on many of Perabo's own experiences as an activist, and in a recent interview with Decider she explained that Sheridan used her real-life experiences to inform the character's initial development. Speculating on the character's path, Perabo said, "What she starts to understand is that John cares as much about the land as she does. They come from really different worlds. They're both real fighters in their own ways for the conservation of the land. He teaches her a lot and broadens her perspective."

Thus far, Perabo has appeared in six episodes of "Yellowstone." That said, audiences have not seen the last of the character ... despite the fact that she went to jail at the end of Season 4. In fact, Perabo recently confirmed that Season 5 of "Yellowstone" will see Higgins return and that the love story between her and John Dutton will continue to blossom.