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Playing a brilliant forensic psychologist with a gift for visualizing crimes is somewhat familiar territory for Ally Walker, who decided against a career in genetic and recombinant biology in order to pursue her creative impulse to act.

"I've been lucky," says Walker. "A producer saw me in an L.A. restaurant and asked me to audition for a feature film. I decided that I could only go so far with the sciences, and I found the creative arts to be more stimulating."

Walker's respect for knowledge was instilled by her father, a scientist, and her mother, an attorney. Born in Tullahoma, Tenn., and raised in Santa Fe, N.M., she attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she majored in biology and chemistry. While spending a semester at Richmond College of the Arts in London, she developed an interest in theater. Returning to the United States, she graduated with a degree in science, and then worked as a researcher on a genetic engineering project.

While in Los Angeles, she was cast by the aforementioned producer in the feature "Aloha Summer."

Although her scenes were subsequently cut, another feature role soon followed in "The Loner." In 1990, Walker starred on "True Blue," an NBC police drama series. Elsewhere on television, Walker starred on the romantic detective series, "Moon Over Miami," in 1993, had a recurring role on "L.A. Law," and recently guest-starred on NBC's "Wings." Walker also was featured as a Clairol girl in a series of television commercials after signing with agency owner Nina Blanchard as a print and television model.

Walker's other feature film credits include "Singles," "Universal Soldier" (starring Jean Claude Van Damme), "When the Bough Breaks," "Bed of Roses," (as Christian Slater's sister) and "Steal Big, Steal Little." More recently, she played Peter Gallagher's ditsy fiancee in "While You Were Sleeping" and with Shaquille O'Neal in "Kazaam." Walker identifies with her latest role of Dr. Sam Waters. "I'd like to think that both Sam and I are strong, intelligent women who are incredibly sensitive," she says. "She feels responsible for her husband's death, and finds comfort in helping others, because when you help others, you are actually healing yourself."

Walker's birthday is August 25 and she gave birth to a baby boy , Jon Walker, in August of 1997.

Bio courtesy of NBC