Ariana Richards

Ariana Clarice Richards (born September 11, 1979) is an American actress and painter. She is best known for her role as Lex Murphy in the blockbuster film Jurassic Park. Richards won several Young Artist Awards for her acting, but since adulthood has focused on her art career.

Ariana Richards
Ariana Clarice Richards

(1979-09-11) September 11, 1979
OccupationActress, painter
Years active1987–1998, 2001, 2013
Mark Aaron Bolton (m. 2013)

Personal life

Richards was born in Healdsburg, California, the daughter of Darielle (née Garrison), a public relations representative and film producer, and Gary Richards.[1] Her sister, Bethany, is also an actress. Her maternal grandmother, who was of Italian ancestry, was a descendant of Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli.[2][3] In addition to Italian, her maternal grandfather, William Otto Garrison's father, John, had English ancestry. Richards is a descendant of boxer John L. Sullivan, who had Irish ancestry.[4]

She graduated from Skidmore College in 2001, earning a degree in Fine Art and Drama, with distinction. She continued with instruction at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California.

Richards married Mark Bolton in Oregon in January 2013; Bolton is an Irish immigrant, stunt performer and a former soldier of the Irish Defence Forces. The pair now have a daughter, (born 2015).[5]


Richards made her acting debut in 1987's Into the Homeland, a made-for-cable release that starred Powers Boothe. Her most notable appearance was as Lex Murphy in the first Jurassic Park film; she reprised the role very briefly in the sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park.[6] She also appeared as Mindy Sterngood in the first Tremors film and reprised her role in the second sequel Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, which went straight-to-video. She has been featured in other films such as Angus, where she played a high school cheerleader; she also appeared on television episodes of The Golden Girls, Empty Nest and Boy Meets World.[6]

In addition to acting in movies, Richards appeared in the 1998 music video "Brick" by Ben Folds Five, portraying a high school student having an abortion. She appeared in the September 2006 issue of the British movie magazine Empire discussing a possible return to acting. Richards starred in the 2013 film Battledogs, shot in Buffalo, New York.[7]

In February 2014, Richards was voted #98 on VH1's 100 Greatest Child Stars.[8]


  • Favourite Newcomer – Japan: Jurassic Park (1994)-Won
  • Favourite Newcomer – Australia: Jurassic Park (1994)-Won
  • Favourite Newcomer – United Kingdom: Jurassic Park (1994)-Won
  • Bambi Award: Jurassic Park (1993)-Won
  • Young Artist Award – Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture: Jurassic Park (1993)-Won
  • Young Artist Award – Best Young Actress in a Television Movie: Locked Up: A Mother's Rage (1992)-Won
  • Young Artist Award – Best Young Actress in a Television Movie: Switched At Birth (1991)-Won



Year Title Role Notes
1988 I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Little Girl
1989 Face of the Enemy Voice-over
1989 Prancer Carol Wetherby
1990 Tremors Mindy Sterngood
1990 Spaced Invaders Kathy Hoxly
1992 Timescape Hillary Wilson
1993 Jurassic Park Lex Murphy
1995 Angus Melissa Lefevre
1997 The Lost World: Jurassic Park Lex Murphy Cameo appearance
2001 Tremors 3: Back to Perfection Mindy Sterngood Direct-to-video
2013 Battledogs Donna Voorhees Was titled "Ward's Island"[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1987 The Golden Girls Lisa Episode: "And Then There Was One"
1987 Into the Homeland Ember Swallow (age 5 & 7) Television film
1988 My Sister Sam Morgan Episode: "Life, Death and Admiral Andy"
1989 Empty Nest Phoebe Swenson Episode: "Harry Snubs Laverne"
1990 Island Son Tess Delaney Episode: "Viruses"
1990 The Incident Nancy Television film
1991 Switched at Birth Kimberly Mays, Age 9-11 Television film
1992 Locked Up: A Mother's Rage (aka The Other Side of Love) Kelly Gallagher Television film
1992 Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore Nancy Television film
1995 Capitol Critters President's Granddaughter Voice only
Episode: "If Lovin' You Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Rat"
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Valerie Porter Television film
1996 Boy Meets World Claire Ferguson Episode: "Dangerous Secret"
1997 Total Security Karen Dieboldt Episode: "Who's Poppa?"
1997 The Princess Stallion Sarah Stewart Television film
1998 Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth Movie (a.k.a. Race Against Fear) Mickey Carlyle Television film


On December 17, 1993, Richards released a CD album First Love on the Pony Canyon label in Japan. The album was released only in Japan and is rare and out-of-print. The tracks from the CD can be viewed on the YouTube channel of Philip Jennelle. The album was a mix between teen-pop and dance-friendly ballads of the early 1990s. There was also a single released in very small volume. Ariana and her mother wrote the words to the track "You're The Reason".

15 years later, Richards returned briefly to the world of music in September, 2008 and released a cover version of David Foster's "The Prayer" in a duet with Chris M. Allport, whom she has known since a young age.


Richards has become a successful artist. Her paintings, usually of landscapes and figures, tend to be in the style of the impressionists. In October 2005, she won first place in the National Professional Oil Painting Competition (sponsored by American Artist magazine) for the painting Lady of the Dahlias.[10]

As of 2013 Richards lived in Salem, Oregon,[11] and was apprenticing under a professional painter.


  • Art of the West's Award of Excellence (2006)
  • The National Professional Oil Painting Competition (2005)


  1. Profile,; accessed December 27, 2015.
  2. "Book of Memories". Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  3. "Ariana Richards descendant of Carlo Crivelli Itialian Renaissance artist". Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  4. "Biography – A Brief Introduction". Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  5. Paul Chi. "Jurassic Park's Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards Today". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  6. Ariana Richards on IMDb
  7. "Werewolf movie uses Buffalo as stand-in for New York City". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  8. "VH1′s 100 Greatest Kid Stars Of All Time". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  9. Jurassic Park Star All Grown Up Archived October 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine on The Yo Show. Accessed October 19, 2012.
  10. Fine Art Articles, Art Awards, Ariana Richards Archived November 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  11. Click, Carl (April 5, 2013). "'Jurassic Park:' 20 years later: Where actress Ariana Richards is today". KATU News. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
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