Jessica Blank

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Jessica Blank, born in New Haven, Connecticut, is an American actress, playwright, and novelist who has appeared in film, television, and theater.[1] She has appeared in several movies, including The Namesake, The Exonerated, and You're Nobody 'til Somebody Kills You, and the indies Undermind and On the Road With Judas (Sundance, 2007). She has worked in television, on The Bronx is Burning,[2] Law and Order: Criminal Intent,[3] Rescue Me,[4] Guiding Light, One Life to Live, and Bored to Death, in which she appears topless in a scene with Ted Danson. She appears in CBS' pilot "Made in Jersey".

Blank grew up in New Haven and Washington, D.C., and attended Macalester College[5] and the University of Minnesota[6] In 2001, she married the actor and playwright Erik Jensen.[7]

Blank and Jensen co-wrote The Exonerated[8] a play based on interviews they conducted with more than 40 exonerated death row inmates. In spring 2002, they co-directed The Exonerated at The Actors' Gang Theater.[9] That production was nominated for five Ovation Awards and three NAACP Awards, won the Ovation for Best World Premiere Play, and has toured universities nationally. Bob Balaban's production of The Exonerated ran for more than 600 performances off-Broadway; toured nationally;[10] was made into a movie for Court TV starring Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Aidan Quinn, and Susan Sarandon;[11] and was produced internationally in Dublin,[12] Edinburgh,[13] London,[14] Japan, Mexico, and Italy. The Exonerated won the 2003 Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Fringe First, and Herald Angel Awards. It has also received awards from Amnesty International, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Death Penalty Focus. The Exonerated has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Blank and Jensen also co-wrote the documentary play "Aftermath" based on interviews they conducted in 2008 with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan. Blank directed "Aftermath" Off-Broadway at New York Theater Workshop in 2009; it was nominated for two Drama League awards and toured internationally for two years.

Blank's novel, Almost Home, was published in October 2007 by Hyperion.[15] Her second novel, "Karma For Beginners," was published by Hyperion in 2009 and was optioned for television by Fox TV Studios, to be produced by Avenue Pictures and adapted by Blank and Jensen. Her writing has also been published in magazines and journals including The Believer,[16] The Dramatist, Another Magazine, and Theatre History Studies. Living Justice, Blank and Jensen’s book on the making of The Exonerated, was published in 2005 by Simon and Schuster.[17]

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