Lauren Ambrose (born February 20, 1978) is an American film and television actress. She is best known for playing Claire Fisher on the HBO funeral drama series Six Feet Under.
Ambrose was born Lauren Anne D'Ambruoso in New Haven, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Anne (née Wachtel), an interior designer, and Frank D'Ambruoso, a caterer. She is of Italian descent on her father's side and German, English, and Irish on her mother's. Ambrose attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, Wilbur Cross High School, High School in the Community, and the ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven. She is also a trained opera singer who studied voice and opera at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Ambrose also sings New Orleans-flavored ragtime with the seven-piece combo Lauren Ambrose and the Leisure Class. Ambrose has been married to professional photographer Sam Handel of Needham, MA since September 2001. They have a son, Orson (b. January 16, 2007) and currently live in Great Barrington, MA.
Ambrose began her career in New York theater, mainly in Off-Broadway productions. Her early career also included television appearances, most notably playing supporting guest roles on Law & Order, and a feature guest role on the show in the 1998 episode "Damaged" as Valerie Maxwell, a mentally-challenged young woman raped by a group of popular high school students. Her first film role was In & Out (1997), which was followed by a more prominent role in the high school comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998). She was the ingenue lead, Florence "Chicklet" Forrest, in the cult favorite Psycho Beach Party (2000). Ambrose began her role on Six Feet Under in early 2001. She was nominated for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Emmy Award twice, following the 2002 and 2003 seasons of the critically acclaimed drama.