A headstrong beauty who started landing parts straight out of high school, Sackhoff snagged what seemed to be her breakthrough role in 2001 as the rebellious daughter of a professor on the highly anticipated drama The Education of Max Bickford, but the show lasted only one season. A handful of small parts followed before she signed on to an unlikely hit: a 2003 miniseries based on the kitschy 1970s sci-fi franchise Battlestar Galactica. Sackhoff enticed fan boys with her sexually charged turn as a renegade fighter pilot and returned to the role for the subsequent series, which ran for five years. In 2008, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer; her thyroid was surgically removed and Sackhoff was declared cancer free. With that scare behind her, she signed on as a series regular for the eighth and final season of 24. Off camera, Sackhoff stays true to her athletic roots (as a teen she had planned to go pro in swimming until a knee injury sidelined her) with adventurous hobbies like snowboarding and motorcycle riding.
- Was a competitive swimmer in high school until sidelined by a dislocated knee at age 15.
- Auditioned to be an extra on the movie Fifteen and Pregnant, but the director asked her if she could act and gave her a speaking part instead.
- Worked on the TV series The Education of Max Bickford with Richard Dreyfuss, who introduced her to classic black and white movies such as On the Waterfront and Casablanca.
- When she got the role of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on the new Battlestar Galactica, she based her fighter-pilot character on the bravado of male athletes she knew from her high-school days.
- Had never watched the original Galactica as a young girl, and was floored to discover that the Starbuck character was originally a man and was played by Dirk Benedict from The A-Team, whom she'd had a crush on in the 1980s.
- Mary Sackhoff — Mother
- Dennis Sackhoff — Father
- Attended Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, United States