Born in California's San Fernando Valley to parents Stan Gershon, a salesman, and Mickey Koppel, an interior designer, Gershon was raised in Woodland Hills - though she was anything but a typical "Valley Girl." Interested in acting from a young age, Gershon as a child began to perform in plays, including "Bye Bye Birdie." As a teen, Gershon's family relocated from the Valley to the city, settling in Beverly Hills, where she attended Beverly Hills High School. After graduation, Gershon relocated to Boston, where she landed a part in the musical "Runaways." Next, Gershon moved to New York City to study philosophy and Psychology at NYU. Pursuing theater on the side, Gershon and a number of theater colleagues - including Sarah Jessica Parker and Rob Morrow - formed the theater group, Naked Angels. She went on to perform in a number of stage productions with the company, including performances of "Camille" and "The Substance of Fire."Transitioning to film work to support her "theater habit," Gershon landed her first credited role in the teen romance, "Pretty in Pink" (1986), appearing opposite Molly Ringwald. A natural talent on screen, Gershon began to land a number of small film roles. She appeared opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Belushi in "Red Heat" (1988) and portrayed one of Tom Cruise's love interests in "Cocktail" (1988). Though her scenes in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" (1991) wound up on the cutting room floor, Gershon went on to work with even more acclaimed directors, including parts in John Sayles' "City of Hope" (1991) and in Robert Altman's Hollywood send-up, "The Player" (1992). Always one to take on diverse roles, she received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Nancy Sinatra in the Golden Globe-winning biopic, "Sinatra" (1992), and went on to guest star on the popular nighttime soap, "Melrose Place (FOX, 1992-99) in 1993. Taking camp to a new level in 1995, Gershon portrayed seductive Las Vegas showgirl Cristal Connors opposite Elizabeth Berkley in Paul Verhoeven's critically panned "Showgirls." Receiving hype for its provocative subject matter and nudity, the film created a maelstrom of press for being the first widely released NC-17 rated film. Though it was hailed as one of the worst movies of 1995, "Showgirls" proved to be a mere back step for Gershon's career, who took the bad press in stride, claiming that she played the role "so that drag queens would want to dress as [her] character on Halloween." When the movie hit so-bad-it's-good cult status on video, Gershon became something of an icon. Bouncing back from "Showgirls" the following year, she went on to portray a lesbian ex-con opposite Jennifer Tilly in the Wachowski brothers' directorial debut, "Bound" (1996) - her first successful starring role in a film. Boasting a steamy love scene between Gershon and co-star Tilly, the film garnered quite a bit of attention as well - most of it post-release cult on video like "Showgirls" - effectively boosting Gershon's career yet again.Still riding high on the infamy of her last two projects, Gershon appeared in a number of supporting roles, sharing the screen with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in the John Woo action flick "Face/Off" (1997) and appearing in the films "Palmetto" (1998), "One Tough Cop" (1998), "Lulu on the Bridge" (1998), "Legalese" (1998) and the indie film "Guinevere" (1999) opposite Sarah Polley and Steven Rhea. In 1999, Gershon upped her prestige factor by co-starring with Al Pacino and Russell Crowe in Michael Mann's Academy award-winning film,"The Insider." Taking her first starring role in television that same year, the pouty-lipped actress appeared in the short-lived series, "Snoops" (ABC, 1999-2000), portraying a private detective. Next up, Gershon was cast as Sylvester Stallone's ex-wife in the middling racecar flick, "Driven" (2001) and in the indie film "Picture Claire" (2001), opposite Juliette Lewis.Returning to the stage in 2001, Gershon donned a sexy pair of thigh-high stockings and tapped into her singing voice to play Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes' Broadway revival of "Cabaret." Gershon's signature throaty voice and bad-ass attitude next landed her the role of aging punk rock diva Jacki in the indie film, "Prey for Rock and Roll" (2003). Taking a rock star turn in real life, Gershon went on tour to promote the film, backed by rock band Girls Against Boys and documented by IFC in the series "Rocked!" (2004). She went on to guest star on a number of TV series' including "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000-), "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004), "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07) and ABC's hit, "Ugly Betty" (2006-10) - starring in the latter as over-the-top makeup executive, Fabia.