The Stars Of “Coyote Ugly”: Then And Now

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In addition to a star-studded soundtrack and a great core cast, Coyote Ugly helped launch and propel many great careers in show business and even featured some very surprising cameos. Take a trip with us as we reminisce on our favorite cast members from the movie and see what they’ve been up to in the nearly 20 years since Coyote Ugly released.

Piper Perabo As Violet Sanford

Coyote Ugly pinned much of its hopes on Violet Sanford, a character that was supposed to give off a slightly naïve attitude but also look able to stand up for herself when the time comes. The pivotal role went to relative newcomer Piper Perabo, who had barely acted professionally before landing a big break as the star of Coyote Ugly.

Piper Perabo Now

Coyote Ugly provided a huge career boost to Perabo, who has appeared in dozens of films since her breakthrough role. Her credits have included the films Cheaper by the Dozen, Edison, The Prestige, and Looper. In 2011, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the TV series Covert Affairs. She will appear in the upcoming film Black Butterfly.

Adam Garcia As Kevin O’Donnell

Australian actor Adam Garcia was chosen to play Kevin O’Donnell, the charming love interest of Violet Sanford. Like with Piper Perabo, Coyote Ugly was Adam’s big break in the acting business, as he had just two small TV roles and a role in the little-known film Wilde to his name before he took the high-profile starring role in Coyote Ugly.

Adam Garcia Now

Garcia followed up Coyote Ugly with roles in Bootmen and Riding in Cars with Boys. He was in the Lindsay Lohan film Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen in 2004 and recently appeared in Murder on the Orient Express. The 45-year-old actor has one child with his wife, actress Nathalia Chubin.

Kaitlin Olson As Bidding Customer

Coyote Ugly had a number of smaller parts for extras and speaking roles for bar customers and the like, many of which required beautiful women like actress Kaitlin Olson, who was one of the women who bid for a date with Violet’s father in the film. The actress was just getting her start in the business when she landed the modest role.

Kaitlin Olson Now

Kaitlin has certainly seen her star rise since she appeared briefly in Coyote Ugly. She was on The Drew Carey Show several times and would later appear in a recurring role in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Cheryl’s sister, Becky. However, her signature role has certainly been that of Dee Reynolds on the long-running sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Bridget Moynahan As Rachel

The gorgeous New York-born actress Bridget Moynahan played Rachel on Coyote Ugly, which gave cinema goers one of their first real looks at her. Bridget was totally up for playing a character with a very wild side, and after three small roles in little-known films, Coyote Ugly was very much a breakthrough opportunity for her.

Bridget Moynahan Now

After Coyote Ugly, Bridget appeared in the film Whipped and seven episodes of Sex and the City. She really stepped into the limelight with her parts in the films I, Robot and Lord of War, however. Her long run as Erin Reagan on Blue Bloods is undoubtedly her biggest role, however. She is married to Andrew Frankel.

John Goodman As Bill

John Goodman was perhaps the best-known performer in the cast of Coyote Ugly, with the possible exception of former supermodel Tyra Banks. Goodman became famous as part of the cast of Roseanne, but he also appeared in dozens of films in the 1980s and 1990s. Who can forget his appearance as Walter in The Big Lebowski? In Coyote Ugly, he was the supportive, if concerned, father figure.

John Goodman Now

Goodman is a very respected actor and Golden Globe winner who re-entered familiar territory when he reprised his role as Dan Conner in the relaunch of the show Roseanne. The show got amazing ratings but was undermined by some extremely poorly advised tweets by star Roseanne Barr. However, it appears Goodman will continue playing Dan in the spinoff The Conners.

Izabello Miko As Cammie

For Coyote Ugly to work, the three girls that Violet saw dancing on the bar the first time she entered had to be absolute knockouts. Alongside Tyra Banks and Bridget Moynahan, Izabella Miko rounded out the trio as Cammie, a self-described “tease.” The Polish actress made her U.S. film debut when she starred in Coyote Ugly.

Izabello Miko Now

Although Izabello’s career didn’t take off right away following Coyote Ugly, she did land a role in Deadwood a few years later and followed it up with film roles in The House of Usher and The Shore. More recently, she appeared in the film The Mick. Outside of acting, she is an activist that supports environmental causes.

Johnny Knoxville As College Guy

Many scenes in Coyote Ugly are shot in a packed bar filled with rowdy customers, many of them male. Therefore, it’s easy to miss some rather amusing cameos even if you’ve seen the film a dozen times. Did you know that Johnny Knoxville has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in the film as a rowdy college guy, for example? The role was filmed just before the show Jackass became a smash hit.

Johnny Knoxville Now

Nowadays, Knoxville is synonymous with the idea of young men doing really dumb things with their friends and filming it all for posterity. Aside from the super-successful Jackass series (and films), Knoxville has taken more serious roles in films such as Walking Tall and other silly roles in films like Bad Grandpa. He even voiced Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot! We thought he’d be more of a Michelangelo, personally.

Melanie Lynskey As Gloria

In Coyote Ugly, Violet leaves her comfortable life in New Jersey in order to pursue her dreams in New York City, which also means leaving behind her best friend, Gloria. Melanie Lynskey played the role of the conservative, yet ultimately supportive friend in the film. Beforehand, she had been seen in films such as Detroit Rock City and The Frighteners.

Melanie Lynskey Now

Melanie has had a very successful acting career since Coyote Ugly, racking up dozens of credits in TV shows and movies, including notable roles in Up in the Air and The Intervention. She may be best remembered for the role of Rose in the hit show Two and a Half Men. She also has a starring role in the upcoming TV series Castle Rock.

 

Tamara Walker, Soundtrack Contributor

In a film such as Coyote Ugly, the soundtrack is an essential part of the film’s energy. While the girls regularly dance on the bar to classic tunes such as “Unbelievable” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the producers wanted some original songs, as well. That’s where Tamara Walker and LeAnn Rimes came in. Tamara contributed the song “Didn’t We Love” to the soundtrack.

Tamara Walker Now

“Didn’t We Love” was a highly successful song for Tamara, landing on the U.S. Country charts and also charting well with its later remix. Afterward, Tamara released the album Angel Eyes, which included the theme song to the Jennifer Lopez film of the same name. Before she got into music, Walker won Miss Maryland and finished in the top ten of the Miss America pageant.

Michael Weston As Danny

Another actor who used Coyote Ugly to get a big momentum push in his acting career was Michael Weston. Michael had floundered about Hollywood for a couple of years but had only managed to get roles in small films such as Getting to Know You and Cherry Falls before Coyote Ugly came out.

Michael Weston Now

The Coyote Ugly bump was real for Weston, who earned roles in the films Hart’s War, Garden State, and The Dukes of Hazzard in the following years. He is also well known for his performances in the movies Pathology and State of Play. He appeared regularly on the hit show House during the show’s fifth and sixth seasons.

 

JJ Snyder As Bidding Customer

JJ Snyder was going by the name Jennifer Jean Snyder when she appeared in a small role in Coyote Ugly as one of the beautiful women bidding on a date with Violet’s father. At the time, her acting career was just getting started, and Coyote Ugly was far and away her highest profile film or TV project to date.

JJ Snyder Now

Although JJ Snyder has continued to act to this day, her career has never really taken off, as most of her roles have been supporting parts or very small speaking roles. Outside of acting, she has regularly worked as a red carpet correspondent for Hollywood events and hosted the show Las Vegas Morning Blend.

Ellen Cleghorne As Music Publishing Receptionist

To fill out the cast of Coyote Ugly, the producers not only needed bar patrons, but also music industry types such as the publishing receptionist played by actress Ellen Cleghorne. Before she played the role, she was already pretty well-known to TV audiences as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1991 to 1995.

Ellen Cleghorne Now

Ellen was in the Adam Sandler flop Little Nicky in 2000 and followed it up with MacArthur Park in 2001. Afterward, she began acting on a much more sporadic basis, with her last role coming in 2013’s Grown Ups 2. The 53-year-old actress earned a Ph.D in Performance Studies from NYU in 2014.

Michael Bay As Photographer

Remember the photographer who appears for all of five seconds in Coyote Ugly, trying to bring his camera into the bar only to be told by a security worker that he wasn’t allowed to take pictures? That was none other than mega-producer and director Michael Bay, who has directed more blockbusters than perhaps anyone in the past two decades (for better or worse).

Michael Bay Now

It’s unclear whether Bay was just in the neighborhood during filming or was making a cameo because of a relationship with Coyote Ugly’s director or producers, but it’s one of the few times he’s appeared in front of the camera instead of behind it. Coming up next for Bay is the film Six Underground, which he produced and directed.

Del Pentecost As Lou

Texas-born actor Del Pentecost played a modest role in Coyote Ugly, appearing as Lou. The film followed up his debut, which was in the classic movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in which Del played Junior O’Daniel. Del Pentecost definitely benefited from the high visibility of being in a hit film like Coyote Ugly.

Del Pentecost Now

Coyote Ugly definitely raised Del’s acting profile, allowing him to appear in supporting roles in Kingdom Hospital and Starved, while also making occasional appearances in shows such as Law & Order. However, the actor hasn’t appeared on screen since his 2010 appearances as Matt in the TV series Gravity.

 

Mandy Amano As Dancing Girl In Bar

Born as Mandy Fujiko Amano, actress Mandy Amano made her film debut in the tiniest of roles in Coyote Ugly, where she appeared as one of the girls dancing at the bar. Hey, you have to start somewhere, though, and Mandy was determined to use the film as a platform from which to launch her acting career.

Mandy Amano Now

Mandy went from Coyote Ugly to acting in short films and straight to video releases, but eventually appeared in Crank: High Voltage and My Girlfriend’s Back. She appeared with Michelle Van Der Water in Teeth and Blood and most recently acted in and co-produced the independent film Proxy Kill.

Sarah Jane Morris As Surprise Party Girl

You know you’re starting at the bottom when your character doesn’t even have a name, and that’s where Sarah Jane Morris found herself when she played a girl at the surprise party in Coyote Ugly. But the role gave her some visibility and led to her appearances on Boston Public as Sally Barnes, which would itself lead to better things.

Sarah Jane Morris Now

Although Sarah had recurring roles in Felicity and Windfall, she is undoubtedly best known for playing Julia Walker in Brothers & Sisters. She also appeared as NCIS Special Agent Erica Jane “EJ” Barrett in NCIS and as Annie Callahan in The Night Shift. She will be seen next as Rebecca in the film Don’t Look There.

Susan Yeagley As Bidding Customer

Nashville-born actress Susan Yeagley got her start when she appeared in an Amy Grant music video at just ten years old. She would later graduate from USC Film School and join an improve group to round out her acting skills. When she played a bidding customer in the date auction in Coyote Ugly, it was just her sixth acting role.

Susan Yeagley Now

Susan seemed to be stuck playing bit parts in TV shows and films until she earned a recurring role as Simona Redford in ’Til Death. She also made several appearances in Rules of Engagement and Parks and Recreation. Her latest appearance was in the 2018 film Action Point. She has been married to Saturday Night Live alum Kevin Nealon since 2005.

Tyra Banks As Zoe

There was a lot of sass present in the cast of Coyote Ugly, and actress and model Tyra Banks provided a lot of it all by herself. When she joined the cast of the film, she was already a huge star who had become the first African-American model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issue. She had also starred in Higher Learning and Love Stinks.

Tyra Banks Now

Tyra continued to act on occasion after Coyote Ugly, but she has refused to define herself with just one job. She has also tried her hand at music and become a very successful producer, with credits that include America’s Next Top Model (which she also hosted) and her very own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show. She had a son with actor Erik Asla in 2016, although the two have since split.

LeAnn Rimes As Herself

Country music prodigy turned pop star LeAnn Rimes played a large role in Coyote Ugly, contributing several songs to the soundtrack while also making an appearance in the movie’s climax, singing the song that Violet wrote for her. LeAnn’s acting career had consisted of just one episode of Days of Our Lives before Coyote Ugly was filmed.

LeAnn Rimes Now

LeAnn was a child superstar and had some troubles as she grew up, suing her father for stealing her earnings and enduring a divorce with Dean Sheremet in 2010. Rimes would later marry Eddie Cibrian after a high-profile affair, but her musical output has not wavered even amid personal turmoils over the years. She recently played herself again in the 2017 film Logan Lucky.

Maria Bello As Lil

With a wild establishment like the one in Coyote Ugly, you definitely need a strong woman to run the show, and Maria Bello had that task when she portrayed Lil in the film. Lil quickly revealed herself to be a boss that didn’t take any nonsense but also was willing to be kind-hearted when necessary. Of course, she looked just as good as the Coyote Ugly girls, too.

Maria Bello Now

Although Maria Bello is known mostly for her film roles, she has also appeared regularly in hit shows such as NCIS, Prime Suspect, and ER. Following the success of Coyote Ugly, she starred in the films The Cooler, Secret Window, and Assault on Precinct 13, among others. She has been nominated for two Golden Globes.

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