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Sarah Rafferty: The Beloved Actress Behind 'Suits' Icon Donna Paulsen
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Sarah Rafferty is an acclaimed American actress best known for her iconic role as Donna Paulsen on the hit legal drama series "Suits." With her captivating performances and magnetic presence, Rafferty has become a beloved figure in the entertainment industry.

Early Life and Education

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
Sarah Gray Rafferty was born on December 6, 1972, in New Canaan, Connecticut, and grew up as the youngest of four daughters in the Riverside neighborhood of Greenwich. Her mother, Mary Lee Rafferty, served as the Chairwoman of the English Department at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, while her father, Michael Griffin Rafferty Jr., was a talented painter. Their artistic inclinations and support played a pivotal role in nurturing Rafferty's passion for the performing arts from a young age. Rafferty's educational journey began at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 1989. She then pursued her undergraduate studies at Hamilton College, majoring in English and Theatre. During her junior year, Rafferty had the opportunity to study theatre abroad in London and Oxford. She graduated magna cum laude from Hamilton in 1993 and further honed her craft by earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the prestigious Yale School of Drama.
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Breakthrough Role in Suits

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Sarah Rafferty's breakthrough role came with her portrayal of Donna Paulsen on the USA Network's legal drama series "Suits." Donna is depicted as one of the most formidable minds at the law firm Pearson Hardman, known for her razor-sharp wit and deep knowledge of the firm's inner workings. Her character is both admired and feared, wielding her power with confidence and precision. Rafferty's performance as Donna earned her widespread acclaim and a dedicated fan following, solidifying her status as a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. "Suits" ran for nine seasons from 2011 to 2019, and Rafferty's role was pivotal throughout the series. Her character's dynamic with Harvey Specter, played by Gabriel Macht, was a central element of the show, adding layers of complexity and intrigue to the storyline. The chemistry between Donna and Harvey, coupled with Rafferty's compelling portrayal, contributed significantly to the show's success and enduring popularity. The impact of "Suits" extended beyond its original run, experiencing a resurgence in 2023 as the most-watched show in streaming for the year. This renewed interest brought Rafferty's performance to a new generation of viewers, further cementing her legacy as Donna Paulsen.
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Extensive Filmography Highlights

Sarah Rafferty's extensive filmography showcases her versatility across various genres in television, film, and theatre. Below is a concise overview of her notable works:
YearProjectTypeRole
2023My Life With The Walter BoysTV ShowDr. Katherine Walter
2021-2022Chicago MedTV ShowDr. Pamela Blake
2020BrowseMovieClaire
2020Grey’s AnatomyTV ShowSuzanne Britland
2016All Things ValentineMovieAvery Parker
2011-2019SuitsTV ShowDonna Paulsen
2010Brothers & SistersTV ShowGloria Pierson-Davenport
2009BonesTV ShowKatie Selnick
2009Numb3rsTV ShowMargô
2009Law & Order: Criminal IntentTV ShowSandra Dunbar / Sandra O’Bannon
2009Four Single FathersMovieJulia
2008Samantha Who?TV ShowKayla Kaminski
2004CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationTV ShowTerry Minden
2003Six Feet UnderTV ShowRachel Mortimer
2002CSI: MiamiTV ShowMelissa Starr
2001Walker, Texas RangerTV ShowLaura Pope
1999Law & OrderTV ShowJennifer Shaliga
Rafferty's career spans over two decades, with significant roles in both television and film, demonstrating her dynamic range as an actress.
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Rafferty's Personal Life and Philanthropy

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artistandbrand.com
Rafferty married Santtu Seppälä, a stock research analyst, on June 23, 2001. The couple has two daughters, Oona Gray and Iris Friday, and maintains a bicoastal lifestyle, residing on both the east and west coasts. Beyond her acting career, Rafferty is actively involved in charitable work, supporting organizations like the Alzheimer's Association and The Brain Project. She has hosted events and served as an ambassador to raise funds and awareness for brain health and aging, demonstrating her commitment to making a positive impact in the community.
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Rafferty's Resurgence and Future Prospects

screenrant.com
screenrant.com
Sarah Rafferty has experienced a remarkable resurgence in popularity, largely due to the renewed interest in "Suits" on streaming platforms like Netflix and Peacock. The series, which originally aired from 2011 to 2019, has broken several streaming records, including 18 billion streaming minutes in July 2023 alone, making it the most-watched title ever acquired by a streaming service. Rafferty, who played the iconic role of Donna Paulsen, has expressed her amazement at the show's newfound audience and the joy it brings to viewers. This resurgence has also shone a spotlight on her other projects, including her role as Katherine Walter in Netflix's "My Life With the Walter Boys," further cementing her status as a beloved and versatile actress.
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