Credit: Getty Images Photo: Carrie Preston at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Jan. 21

True Blood’s Carrie Preston is a true, blue, southern sweetheart. Born on June 27th 1967, Preston was raised where she entered the world — in Macon, Georgia. She received support and inspiration from her mother, an artist herself as well as an art therapist, and from her father, whose work as a geotechnical engineer spoke to the left side of her brain.

As early as eight years of age, Preston knew that the life of the actor was the life for her. She would band together with kids in her local neighborhood to stage original productions. Ever the eager contributor, she worked as writer, producer, costume designer, director, and of course, actor in the shows that they would mount. These shows very often took place in her own backyard.

Her love of the stage would only grow as she did. Completing high school, Preston went on to receive her BA from the University of Evansville. Then, she high-tailed it to New York, where she studied acting at the prestigious Juilliard School.

The stage would prove a magical place for Preston for more reasons than one. Her breakthrough role as Miranda in Shakespeare’s the Tempest opposite Patrick Stewart, garnered her much well-deserved attention. Before long she found herself acting opposite Julia Roberts in the hit romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Wedding. But the stage didn’t just provide her with professional successes. It was while acting in a production of Hamlet that she met her now-husband, the actor Michael Emerson with whom she has acted on several occasions.

When not starring as Arlene Fowler on True Blood or visiting the set of The Good Wife where she plays attorney Elsbeth Tascioni, Preston’s got her hands full with her jointly owned production company, Daisy 3, and her dog Chumley.