Jennifer Carpenter

Jennifer Leann Carpenter (born December 7, 1979) is an American actress. Carpenter is best known for playing Debra Morgan on the hit Showtime drama series Dexter, for which she won a Saturn Award in 2009.

Early life

Carpenter was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Catherine (born Mitchell) and Robert Carpenter.[1]She attended St. Raphael the Archangel and then Sacred Heart Academy. She trained at the Walden Theatre Conservatory program,[2] and later at New York City’s Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 31: 1998–2002).[3]Before graduation, she was cast in the 2002 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller‘s The Crucible starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.[4]


Carpenter first attracted critical attention for her performance in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. She took home the 2006 MTV Movie Award for ‘Best Frightened Performance’, and also received a ‘Hollywood Life Breakthrough Award’. She was also named ‘Breakout Performer’ at the 2006 Scream Awards.

Carpenter currently plays the role of Debra Morgan in the Showtime crime drama television series Dexter which premiered October 1, 2006. Her portrayal of the title character‘s sister has impressed some critics, with Australian journalist Jack Marx describing her portrayal of “cool and clumsy” Debra as “so perfect that many viewers appear to have mistaken the character’s flaws for the actor’s.”[5]

In 2011, she starred in the Off-Broadway play Gruesome Playground Injuries at Second Stage Theatre and made a guest appearance on the CBS drama The Good Wife.

On March 17, 2012, she made an appearance on the BBC cooking show Saturday Kitchen Live.

Personal life

In 2007, she began dating her Dexter co-star Michael C. Hall.[6] They eloped on New Year’s Eve, 2008 in California, and publicly appeared together for the first time as a married couple at the 66th Golden Globe Awards in January 2009.[6] In December 2010, Hall and Carpenter released a statement announcing that they had filed for divorce after having been separated “for some time”.[7] The divorce was finalized in December 2011.[8]


  1. ^ “Jennifer Carpenter: Biography”TV Guide. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  2. ^ “Walden Theatre”. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  3. ^ “Alumni News”The Juilliard School. March 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  4. ^ Wilson, Gemma (January 28, 2011). “What’s Up, Jennifer Carpenter? The Gruesome Playground Injuries Star on Not Having a Backup Plan”. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  5. ^ Marx, Jack (July 4, 2008). “Something About Dexter” Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  6. a b Dos Santos, Kristin (January 9, 2009). “Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter Are Married”E! Online. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Snierson, Dan (December 13, 2010). “‘Dexter’ stars Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter file for divorce (EW exclusive)”Entertainment Weekly Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  8. ^ “Dexter Star and Marathon Runner Jennifer Carpenter Helps You Get Race-Day Ready” Retrieved November 4, 2011.