Erin Brockovich grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, the youngest child of an industrial engineer and a journalist. After graduating from Lawrence High School she attended Kansas State University for one year, then moved to Dallas, Texas, where she earned her Associate in Applied Arts degree at Wades Business College.
After college, Mrs. Brockovich moved to Southern California where she worked for K-Mart as a management trainee before taking a job at Fluor Engineers and Constructors to work and study to become an electrical design engineer. It was at this time when she decided to explore the world of beauty pageants. Although she won the title of Miss Pacific Coast, she quit after a year and married a restaurant manager.
Mrs. Brockovich and her husband moved back to Kansas where her two older children, Matthew and Katie, were born. In 1987, they settled in Reno, Nevada, before she divorced her first husband. As a mother of two children and newly single she got a job as a secretary at a local brokerage, where she met a stockbroker. They married in 1989 and Mrs. Brockovich gave birth to her youngest daughter, Elizabeth. In 1990, the marriage ended in divorce. She was again a single mother, this time with three children to feed and clothe.
After being seriously injured in a traffic accident in Reno, Erin and her children moved back to Southern California where she hired Jim Vititoe of Masry & Vititoe to handle her auto accident case in 1991. Not long after her case was resolved, she was hired to work at the law firm as a file clerk. While organizing papers in a pro bono real estate case, Erin found medical records in the file that caught her eye. After getting permission from one of the firm's principals, Ed Masry, she began to research the matter.
Erin’s investigation eventually established that the health of countless people who lived in and around Hinkley, California, in the 1960's, 70's and 80's had been severely compromised by exposure to toxic Chromium 6. The Chromium 6 had leaked into the groundwater from the nearby Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Compressor Station. In 1996, as a result of the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind, spearheaded by Erin and Ed Masry, the giant utility paid the largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.
Erin’s investigating inspired the hit movie Erin Brockovich, which highlighted her legal triumph and personal challenges. Released in March 2000 by Universal Studios, it starred Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich. The movie's great success led to numerous awards and nominations, including five Academy Award nominations and one win. Steven Soderbergh was nominated for an Oscar for ‘Best Director,’ and Julia Roberts won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Actress’ for her portrayal of Erin.
From the exposure of the movie, Erin became a reluctant public figure. Over time, Erin realized she could use her notoriety to spread positive messages of personal empowerment and to encourage people to stand up and make a difference. This led to her first television project, an ABC special entitled Challenge America with Erin Brockovich. It taped in New York and aired in December 2001. This feel good program is best described as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on steroids, but preceded that successful series. Erin set out to motivate and organize hundreds of volunteers and donated resources to help rebuild a dilapidated park in downtown Manhattan a few months following 9/11.
She then hosted the Lifetime series Final Justice. This series recreated incredible stories of actual women, their perilous situations and how they overcame adversity. Erin followed that up with her book entitled Take It from Me: Life's a Struggle, But You Can Win.
Presently, she travels the world doing personal appearances spreading motivational messages, telling her story and telling of her personal life lessons.
As President of the consulting firm Brockovich Research & Consulting, Erin is involved in numerous major environmental cases.
Erin has come a long way from file clerk to inspired environmental activist to motivational speaker to television host and producer.