Bahar Soomekh (born March 30, 1975) is an American actress of Iranian heritage. She is best known for her roles in Crash, Mission Impossible III and the Saw franchise.
Bahar Soomekh was born in Tehran, Iran, to a devout Persian Jewish family. She is the daughter of Manijeh and Hamid Soomekh, who owned a women's high fashion company. In 1979, she moved with her parents and sister, Saba Soomekh, to Los Angeles, California, United States in order to escape the Iranian Revolution. Soomekh attended Sinai Akiba Academy and Beverly Hills High School and later attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. She graduated in 1997 with a B.A. in environmental studies.
Following her graduation from UCSB, Soomekh worked in motivational sales while taking acting classes. In the beginning of her acting career, Soomekh guest starred on several television programs, including JAG and 24. She ultimately quit her day job in 2004 to pursue a full-time acting career and landed her role in the Academy Award-winning movie for Best Picture, Crash, less than three months later. Her role as Dorri in the film marked the breakthrough of her acting career.
Following her success in Crash, the People magazine listed Soomekh as a member of the Class of 2006 as "New on the Scene". She followed up with roles in Syriana and Mission: Impossible III. In 2006, she had a leading role as Dr. Lynn Denlon in the horror thriller Saw III. Soomekh also had a recurring role as Margo in the television series Day Break and several guest appearances on shows such as Ghost Whisperer and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Her last film role was in Just like a Woman.
After the Southern California area experienced the loss of film industry jobs to other locations, Soomekh decided to pursue a real estate career to remain close to her family.
Family & Religion
Soomekh has said that Judaism developed who she is and enriched her life and that she would like to raise her children in the Jewish religion. Soomekh married Clayton Frech, VP of Operations for Classic Party Rentals, who converted to Judaism in order to marry her, in 2001. They have a son, Ezra, born in 2005, and were expecting another child in 2009. They celebrate Shabbat every Friday night with their family, attend synagogue frequently, and celebrate the Jewish holidays. Bahar has said that one important Jewish teaching for her is tikkun olam, since she is an environmentalist. She is very proud of her Jewish Persian heritage and told Isaac Mizrahi at the Oscars, "Just because I'm in Hollywood doesn't mean that I forget that I'm Persian or that I'm Jewish. Judaism is not only my religion — it's my identity".
The teaching of tikkun olam, to heal the world, guides Bahar's life. She works on environmental and children's causes. Soomekh also uses her name to be involved with organizations like the Green Cross. "I have the ability to use my name and be involved with such phenomenal organizations like the Green Cross and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which was an organization I started raising money for when I was a kid, and then here I am coming back and I'm working with them now," Soomkeh says. "But also a huge issue for me has become limb deficiency for kids around the world. Kids that are neglected because of some sort of disability—you see that a lot in China and you see that in Africa—I think that's a very important thing". With her husband, she launced the T.O. Productions to make movies about environmental and social issues.
|2003||Naked Hotel||Bhurka Woman|
|A Lousy 10 Grand||Najah|
|2006||Mission: Impossible III||Davian's Translator|
|Saw III||Lynn Denlon|
|2007||Saw IV||Lynn Denlon|
|2009||Lost & Found||Abigail|
|2012||Just Like a Woman||Soha|
|2002-2004||JAG||Amira Sattar / Jasmine|
|2002||Without a Trace||Agent Salman|
|2006||In Justice||Neena Oponi|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Dr. Sylvia Sloane|
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