Heigl at the premiere of 27 Dresses in 2008
|Born||Katherine Marie Heigl
November 24, 1978 
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, film producer|
|Spouse(s)||Josh Kelley (2007–present)|
Katherine Marie Heigl (//; born November 24, 1978) is an American actress and film producer. She is possibly best known for her role as Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens on ABC's medical drama Grey's Anatomy from 2005 to 2012, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2007. She has also starred in films such as Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It and New Year's Eve, among others.
Heigl started her career as a child model with Wilhelmina Models before she turned her attention to acting. She made her debut in the coming-of-age film That Night. Heigl co-starred as Isabel Evans in the television series Roswell and movies including My Father the Hero before landing her break-out role in Grey's Anatomy. Heigl has established herself as a cover model appearing on numerous publications including Maxim, Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan. Heigl is married to singer Josh Kelley, with whom she has two adopted daughters.
Heigl was born in West End, Washington, D.C., at Columbia Hospital for Women. She is the youngest of four children of Nancy (née Engelhardt), a personnel manager, and Paul Heigl, a financial executive and accountant. Her father is of German (including Swiss-German) and Irish descent, and her mother is of German ancestry. Heigl was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her siblings are Meg, Jason (deceased), and Holt. Heigl lived in Virginia and then Denver, before her family settled in Connecticut; there, they moved into a large, old Victorian-style farmhouse in the wealthy town of New Canaan, where she spent most of her childhood.
In 1986, her older brother Jason died of injuries suffered in a car accident, after being thrown from the back of a pickup truck while out for lunch with some of his high school classmates. Following his death, the family decided to donate his organs. Heigl was unnerved by this at the time, but later became a strong proponent of organ donation, working as a spokesperson for Donate Life America.
1986–1998: Early work
When Heigl was nine, an aunt visiting the family decided to take a number of photographs of her. After returning to her home in New York, her aunt sent the photos to a number of modeling agencies, with the permission of Heigl's parents. Within a few weeks, Heigl was signed with Wilhelmina Models as a child model. Soon after signing with the agency, a client slated Heigl for use in a magazine advertisement where she made her debut. At the time, she was earning $75 an hour posing for Sears and Lord & Taylor catalogs. Heigl appeared in her first national television spot for Cheerios cereal.
She made her acting debut in the 1992 film That Night. Heigl appeared as Christina Sebastian in Steven Soderbergh's Depression-era drama King of the Hill before being cast in her first leading role in the 1994 comedy My Father the Hero. During this time, Heigl continued to attend New Canaan High School, balancing her film and modeling work with her academic studies. Heigl dropped out of New Canaan High School after her sophomore year to pursue her career in Hollywood.
In 1995, she starred in the Steven Seagal action thriller Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Heigl portrayed a 16-year-old travelling on a train across a mountain pass to visit the grave of her deceased father with uncle Casey Ryback (Seagal), an ex-SEAL counter-terrorist expert. The main plotline has the train hijacked by mercenaries in Colorado, keeping her as a hostage. Much of her work in the film was opposite Morris Chestnut, Sandra Taylor and Everett McGill.
Despite an increased focus on acting, she still modeled extensively, appearing regularly in magazines such as Seventeen. She landed the lead role in Disney's made-for-television film Wish Upon a Star in 1996, portraying two body-swapping characters along with Danielle Harris. Also in 1996, Heigl's parents divorced and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. After her high school graduation in 1997, she moved into a four-bedroom house in Malibu Canyon, Los Angeles, with her mother, who also became her manager.
In 1998, she co-starred with Peter Fonda in a re-working of the classic Shakespearean play The Tempest, set during the American Civil War. Later that year, she starred in the horror film Bride of Chucky.
1999–2004: Rise to fame
In 1999, Heigl turned her attention to television when she accepted the role of Isabel Evans on the science fiction TV drama Roswell, a role that was expanded in the show's second and third seasons. Heigl had auditioned for all three of the show's female leads (the other two roles eventually went to Shiri Appleby and Majandra Delfino) before she was finally cast as Isabel, an alien human hybrid.
Heigl was frequently featured in photo essays in magazines such as Life, TV Guide, and Teen as well as FHM. She appeared in the FHM and Maxim calendars, FHM's annual "100 Sexiest Women in the World", and was featured in the Girls of Maxim Gallery. In May 2006, Maxim awarded her #12 on their annual Hot 100List as well as voted the 19th "Sexiest Woman in the World" by readers of FHM magazine. While Roswell was in production, Heigl worked on several films, including 100 Girls, an independent 2001 film, and Valentine, a horror film starring David Boreanaz and Denise Richards.
Heigl accepted a role in Ground Zero, a television thriller scheduled to be telecast that fall which was based on the bestselling James Mills novel The Seventh Power, in the spring of 2001. She co-starred as a brilliant and politically-concerned college student who helps to build a nuclear device to illustrate the need for a change in national priorities. The device ends up in the hands of a terrorist following betrayal by a fellow student. However, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the film was shelved when its plot was considered inappropriate. It reemerged in 2003 under the title Critical Assembly. After the attacks, Heigl recorded a public service announcement for the American Red Cross in an effort to help raise money for victims.
In 2003, Heigl appeared in three television movies. She returned to the horror genre with Evil Never Dies, a modern-day variation on the Frankenstein story co-starring Thomas Gibson. Love Comes Softly, for Hallmark Entertainment, found Heigl starring as Marty Claridge, a young, pregnant newlywed traveling west. (She reprised the role of Marty in the sequel Love's Enduring Promise the next year.) Heigl played Isabella Linton in MTV's modern revamp of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. In October 2003, Heigl was cast opposite Johnny Knoxville in The Ringer, a Farrelly brothers comedy that was released in December 2005. Heigl starred as Romy in the 2005 television movie Romy and Michele: In the Beginning, a prequel to the 1997 film Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
2005–2010: Grey's Anatomy and transition to film
In 2005, Heigl was cast in what would become her most high-profile role to date, as medical intern Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens on Grey's Anatomy, an ABC medical drama. The show, originally introduced as a mid-season replacement, became a huge ratings success and is still one of the highest-rated television series on broadcast television. The same year, Heigl landed the starring role in the independent film, Side Effects, a romantic comedy about marketing and the pharmaceutical industry, where she was also executive producer.
In late 2006, Heigl was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for her work on Grey's Anatomy. Also in 2006, she filmed Knocked Up, a comedy from writer/director Judd Apatow, starring opposite Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Apatow's real life wife, Leslie Mann. Upon its June 2007 theatrical release, the film received largely positive reviews from critics, and proved to be a box office success. The fees Heigl could command increased after the film's success. The movie grossed $148,761,765 in the U.S., for which she earned a salary of $300,000 USD. In a highly publicized Vanity Fair Heigl admitted that though she enjoyed working with Apatow and Rogen when she starred in Knocked Up, she had a hard time enjoying the film itself. She called the movie "a little sexist", claiming that the film "paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys". In his review for The Guardian, humorist Joe Queenan called Knocked Up "the latest in a new genre of romantic comedies in which an unappealing hero gets together with a gorgeous, successful woman".
Heigl's comments spurred widespread reaction in the media, primarily consisting of personal attacks in which she was called "an ungrateful traitor", "hypocrite", and "assertive, impatient go-getter who quickly tired of waiting for her boyfriend to propose", in some cases deriding her religious beliefs and criticizing her private relationships. Heigl clarified her remarks to People magazine, stating that, "My motive was to encourage other women like myself to not take that element of the movie too seriously and to remember that it's a broad comedy", adding that, "Although I stand behind my opinion, I'm disheartened that it has become the focus of my experience with the movie". Despite her run of success, she also starred in the box office bomb Zyzzyx Road which despite being filmed in 2004, was not released until 2006. It has been cited as the lowest grossing film of all time. She has been on FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" list twice as of 2007.
On September 16, 2007, Heigl won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Izzie Stevens. In her acceptance speech she acknowledged that even her mother did not believe she would win, and when her name was called, she had to be censored vocally by the telecast's producers, due to her saying "Shit!" when she reacted to the win. Earlier, she had corrected telecast announcer Rebecca Riedy, who had been given an incorrect phonetic spelling of Heigl's name, when she mispronounced her name as Hi-jell before the presentation of the award with Kyle Chandler for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. In January 2008 she starred in the film, 27 Dresses, for which she was paid $6 million USD, and appeared alongside James Marsden. Following the release of 27 Dresses, the New York Post expressed some disappointment with the mismatch of Heigl's talent with the "chick-flick" triviality of the film, suggesting that Heigl might be more compatible "with female directors such as Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) or Tamara Jenkins (The Savages)...". Heigl was announced the Most Desirable Woman of 2008, according to AskMen.com.
There was some speculation that Heigl might be leaving Grey's Anatomy after the end of the 2008–2009 season. This speculation revolved around her refusal to put her name in for Emmy consideration and the time she had devoted to producing a film version of Carolyn Jessop's book Escape. Grey's showrunner Shonda Rhimes said she was not insulted by Heigl's Emmy withdrawal, but also noted that Heigl's character Izzie had less to do during the season because Heigl asked for a light work schedule. However, despite Heigl's reported displeasure with the previous season as well as suggestions that her character had died, Heigl's return for the sixth season of Grey's was confirmed by ABC.
In 2009, Heigl starred opposite Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth, which opened July 24. Upon release, the film, which was made on a budget of $38 million, earned $205 million at the worldwide box office.
In June 2010, Heigl starred in the Lionsgate comedy-thriller Killers, opposite Ashton Kutcher, and then starred in and produced the big-screen drama Life As We Know It, directed by Greg Berlanti, which revolved around a woman and a man whose respective best friends die in a car accident; following the tragedy, they are left to share in caring for the deceased's orphaned daughter. Heigl received $12 million for both films.
Whether or not Heigl would leave Grey's Anatomy remained to be seen for the bigger part of season six. However, on March 11, 2010, Heigl reportedly did not show up for work when she was supposed to, and she and Shonda Rhimes had apparently come to an agreement to release her from her contract immediately. Therefore, Heigl's last appearance on the January 21 episode of Grey's Anatomy is also her final appearance on the season. Heigl said that her departure was not about advancing her film career but that she wanted to focus more on her family.
2011-present: Recent film roles and return to television
In December 2011, Heigl appeared in the ensemble romantic comedy New Year's Eve, directed by Garry Marshall. Despite being a commercial success, grossing over $142 million worldwide, the film received generally negative reviews from critics. In 2012, she had the lead role in One for the Money. The film was a box-office failure. It grossed just over $36 million worldwide, failing to recoup its production budget of $40 million. For her performance, Heigl received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress.
In January 2012, Heigl stated in an interview that she has asked the producers of Grey's Anatomy if she could return to the show to wrap up Izzie's storyline: "I’ve told them I want to [return],” she said. “I really, really, really want to see where [Izzie] is. I just want to know what happened to her and where she went and what she’s doing now. My idea is that she actually like figures it out, and finds some success and does really well in a different hospital. She was always floundering you know, and so she was always one step behind the eight ball and I want to see that girl take some power back." She also went on to say that she regrets leaving the show: "Oh yeah, sometimes, yeah. You miss it. I miss my friends. It was a great work environment ... and it becomes a family. I spent six years together with these people every day ... you grow up together, in a way," and again commented on the possibility of Izzie returning to the show, "I always felt that if they wanted me to come back and sort of wrap up that storyline ... I want them to know that I'm down with it if they want me to, but I completely understand if it doesn't necessarily work ... They've got a lot of story lines going on there."
In February 2013, it was reported that Heigl had joined Ben Lewin's romantic drama A Moment to Remember. Filming has yet to take place. In April 2013, she appeared alongside Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and Susan Sarandon in The Big Wedding. In May 2013, Heigl signed on to star in the film Survivor, which centers around a State Department employee newly posted to the American embassy in London whose entire team is killed in a bomb blast. After she is targeted by unknown killers and framed for crimes she did not commit, the woman goes on the run to clear her name and prevent a catastrophic attack on New Year’s Eve. The film will also star Clive Owen and be directed by James McTeigue. In June, Heigl began appearing in a television commercial for Vicks' ZzzQuil. In August, Deadline.com reported that Heigl would return to television in a CIA drama series that is currently in the works. NBC became attached to the project in September 2013.
Heigl has worked with Best Friends Animal Society on several projects including their Pup My Ride program. The program transports small dogs from high-kill animal shelters to other parts of the US where there is a greater demand for such dogs. Her involvement in this led her to give Best Friends a grant which would fund a year of the program.
Heigl and her mother, Nancy, then started Heigl's Hounds of Hope which operates as part of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. The Foundation was created in honor of Katherine's brother, who was killed in a car accident in 1986 at the age of fifteen. Heigl's Hounds of Hope rescues larger dogs with behavior problems from shelters with a high kill rate and rehabilitates them through training and other adjustments to make them suitable for re-homing.
As of 2009, Heigl had six dogs of her own.
In June 2006, Heigl became engaged to singer Josh Kelley, whom she had met a year earlier on the set of his music video for "Only You". They chose not to live together before they were married, with Heigl later explaining, "I think I just wanted to save something for the actual marriage... I wanted there to be something to make the actual marriage different than the dating or the courtship." They were married on December 23, 2007 in Park City, Utah.
On September 9, 2009, Heigl's representative said the couple had started the process of adopting a baby girl from South Korea. Later that month, the couple adopted a baby girl they named Nancy Leigh (after Heigl's mother and sister, respectively), nicknamed Naleigh. Heigl's sister is Korean-born and was adopted before Heigl was born. The baby had to have a congenital heart defect repaired with open heart surgery before she had left Korea. Kelley and Heigl adopted a second daughter in April 2012 from the U.S., named Adalaide Marie Hope.
|1993||King of the Hill||Christina Sebastian|
|1994||My Father the Hero||Nicole||Nominated—Young Artist Award – Best Performance by a Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture|
|1995||Under Siege 2: Dark Territory||Sarah Ryback|
|1996||Wish Upon a Star||Alexia Wheaton|
|1997||Prince Valiant||Princess Ilene|
|1997||Stand-ins||Taffy-Rita Hayworth's Stand-in|
|1998||Bug Buster||Shannon Griffin|
|1998||Bride of Chucky||Jade Kincaid|
|2003||Descendant||Ann Hedgerow/Emily Hedgerow|
|2003||Critical Assembly||Aizy Hayward|
|2003||Love Comes Softly||Marty Claridge|
|2005||Side Effects||Karly Hert||Executive producer|
|2005||Ringer, TheThe Ringer||Lynn Sheridan|
|2007||Knocked Up||Alison Scott||Nominated—Empire Award – Best Actress
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Teen Choice Award – Choice Movie Actress: Comedy
|2008||27 Dresses||Jane Nichols|
|2009||Ugly Truth, TheThe Ugly Truth||Abby Richter||Executive producer
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Teen Choice Award – Choice Summer Movie Star: Female
|2010||Killers||Jennifer "Jen" Kornfeldt Aimes|
|2010||Life as We Know It||Holly Berenson||Executive producer|
|2011||New Year's Eve||Laura Carrington|
|2012||One for the Money||Stephanie Plum||Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|2013||Big Wedding, TheThe Big Wedding||Lyla Griffin|
|2013||Happytime Murders, TheThe Happytime Murders|
|2014||Nut Job, TheThe Nut Job||Andie||Filming/Voice|
|2014||North of Hell||Filming|
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Katherine Heigl|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Katherine Heigl.|
- Official website
- Katherine Heigl on Twitter
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- Katherine Heigl at the Internet Movie Database
- Katherine Heigl at Emmys.com