Bell at the 2012 Do Something Awards
|Born||Kristen Anne Bell
July 18, 1980
Huntington Woods, Michigan, United States
|Partner(s)||Kevin Mann (2002–2007)
Dax Shepard (2007–present)
Kristen Anne Bell (born July 18, 1980) is an American actress. In 2001, she made her Broadway debut as Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. After moving to Los Angeles, Bell landed various television guest appearances and small film parts before appearing in a lead role in the David Mamet film Spartan. She later gained fame and critical praise as the title character on the acclaimed television series Veronica Mars from September 2004 to May 2007 and will reprise the role in the 2014 film based on the series.
During her time on Veronica Mars, Bell appeared as Mary Lane in the film Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, a reprise of the role she had played in the New York theatrical production of the eponymous musical upon which the film was based. She also portrayed the lead role in Pulse, a remake of a J-Horror film. In 2007, she joined the cast of Heroes, playing the character Elle Bishop, and Gossip Girl as the off-screen titular narrator. In 2008, she played Sarah Marshall in the comedy film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She has since appeared in a number of comedy films, such as Fanboys, Couples Retreat, and When in Rome. Bell was also the voice of Cora in Astro Boy and is the voice and face of Lucy Stillman in the Assassin's Creed video game series. Bell has received a Satellite Award and Saturn Award, and has been nominated several times for Television Critics Association Awards and Teen Choice Awards.
Early life and family
Bell was born and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Her mother, Lorelei (née Frygier), is a registered nurse, and her father, Tom Bell, works as the television news director for WOAI-TV in San Antonio. Her parents divorced when she was two years old, and she has two half sisters, Sara and Jody, from her father's second marriage. Bell is of Polish and Scottish descent. Bell has strabismus, which affects her right eye. She inherited it from her mother, who had it corrected as a child. Bell claims that if she does not get enough sleep, it aggravates the ailment. She calls her right eye "Wonky."
Bell stated that she did not like her first name at the age of four. Her mother convinced Bell to go by her middle name of Anne instead; she used the name Annie until high school.
Just before her freshman year of high school, Bell's parents decided to pull her from the public school system. She then attended Shrine Catholic High School in nearby Royal Oak, where she took part in the drama and music club. During her time at the school, she won the starring role in the school's 1997 production of The Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy Gale and also appeared in productions of Fiddler on the Roof (1995), Lady Be Good (1996), and Li'l Abner (1998). In 1998, the year she graduated, Bell was named the yearbook's "Best Looking Girl" by senior class vote.
When Bell was 17, her best friend, whom she met at age 11 during a Detroit community theater production, was killed in an automobile accident. Bell said that it was "both the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. [...] Once you learn not to take people for granted, you live a lot happier life".
Shortly after her high school graduation, Bell moved to New York City to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, majoring in musical theater. In 2001, during her senior year at New York University, Bell left a few credits shy of graduating to take a role in the Broadway musical version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Early work (1992–2003)
In 1992, Bell went to her first audition and won a dual role as a banana and a tree in a suburban Detroit theater's production of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Her mother had established her with an agent before Bell was 13, which allowed her to appear in newspaper advertisements for several Detroit retailers and television commercials. She also began private acting lessons. In 1998, she appeared with an uncredited role in the locally filmed film Polish Wedding.
In 2001, Bell left New York University to take a key role as Becky Thatcher in the short-lived Broadway musical of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. That same year, she made her credited film debut in Pootie Tang. Her one line in the film was cut and her appearance exists only as a scene shown during the credit sequence. Additionally, she auditioned for the television series Smallville for the role of Chloe Sullivan, a part eventually won by Allison Mack. In 2002, she appeared in the Broadway revival of The Crucible with Liam Neeson, Angela Bettis and Laura Linney. Bell then moved to Los Angeles, California in 2002 because of her friendship with writers Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, and appeared in a handful of television shows as a special guest, finding trouble gaining a recurring role in a television series. Bell had "tested like eight times and booked nothing and every show [she] tested for got picked up," including auditions for Skin and a Norm Macdonald series.
In 2004, Bell appeared in the Lifetime television film Gracie's Choice, which received one of the network's highest ratings. She made her debut in a theatrically released film, with David Mamet's Spartan, as Laura Newton, the kidnapped daughter of the U.S. President, acting alongside Val Kilmer. Bell also guest-starred on the HBO's drama Deadwood in a two-episode story arc ("Bullock Returns to the Camp" and "Suffer the Little Children").
At 24 she won the role of the title character in UPN's drama Veronica Mars, which was launched in the fall of 2004. Created by Rob Thomas, the series starred Bell as the seventeen-year-old detective Veronica, which put her alongside actors Enrico Colantoni who played her father, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs III and Ryan Hansen. Bell noted the parallels between the character of Veronica and her own life — Bell's parents had divorced and her best friend had also died, like that of Veronica. The series earned positive reviews from television critics, as did Bell's performance. Some critics felt that she was overlooked, however, and deserved an Emmy Award nomination.
In 2005, Bell starred in Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, reprising the role she played in the short-lived 2001 off-broadway musical. The musical was a spoof of the 1936 exploitation film of the same name. Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical debuted on the Showtime network on April 16, 2005. On September 18, 2005, Bell performed the theme song from Fame on the "Emmy Idol" portion of the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. She and the cast of Veronica Mars were nominated for two Teen Choice Awards in 2005: "Choice Breakout Actress" and "Choice Breakout TV Show".
In 2006, Bell won the Saturn Award for "Best Actress on Television" for her acting on Veronica Mars, while the series was nominated for "Best Network Television Show". Aside from working on Veronica Mars, in April, Bell starred as Gracie in Fifty Pills, an entry for the Tribeca Film Festival. She appeared in a short independent film called The Receipt and the horror film Roman, which was directed by her The Crucible co-star Angela Bettis. Released on August 11, 2006, Pulse starred Bell as the lead Mattie. A remake of the Japanese horror film Kairo, the film grossed US$27.9 million worldwide, however it garnered negative response from critics. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter commented, "despite the starring presence of Kristen Bell, [the] young actress has far less interesting material to work with here than she does as [the character] "Veronica Mars.""
2007 – present
Veronica Mars continued on UPN until the third season, in which the show was renewed and returned on the newly created The CW. On January 19, 2007 CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff announced that, while she was pleased with the gradual improvement of Veronica Mars's ratings, the series would be put on hiatus after February sweeps to air a new reality series, Pussycat Dolls Present. On May 17, 2007 Ostroff announced the cancellation of the series. The two-hour series finale aired in the United States on May 22, 2007, and on June 11, 2007 Thomas officially announced in an email to TV Guide's Michael Ausiello that Veronica Mars had been canceled by the CW. A Veronica Mars feature film and comic book series continuation had been discussed, and for a short time there was talk of another collaboration between Bell and creator Thomas that would be unrelated to the Veronica Mars series.
Following the cancellation of Veronica Mars, Bell had voiced interest in appearing on Heroes because she was a fan prior to being cast. On July 29, 2007, during a train ride back to Los Angeles from the San Diego Comic-Con with Heroes actors Zachary Quinto and Masi Oka, and writers from the series, the writers had mentioned that if she "ever want[ed] to come on Heroes, give us [writers] a call," to which Bell said she would "love to." She was also spoken to about a role on Lost, but turned down the role of Charlotte Staples Lewis. Announced in August 2007, Bell was to portray Elle Bishop, a "mysterious young lady" with an "awesome power". She did not have to audition for the role of Elle, who made her first appearance in an October 2007 episode, and appeared in at least thirteen episodes during the run of the series. The casting of Bell, as Heroes creator Tim Kring explains, "was not easy to pull off", but because of the large ensemble cast of the series and multiple story arcs, "we found a way to jump into a small window in [Bell's] schedule.". She narrated as title character during all episodes in the CW series Gossip Girl. She made a cameo in the final episode as herself, alongside Rachel Bilson.
Shortly after the cancellation of Veronica Mars in early 2007, Bell filmed on location in Hawaii for her starring role as the title character in the Judd Apatow comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She noted that the improvisational comedy in the film was "a lovely experience". The film, written by and also starring Jason Segel, was released theatrically on April 18, 2008. Bell lent her voice and likeness to the video game Assassin's Creed which was released on November 13, 2007 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and April 8, 2008 for the PC. Bell reprises her role of Lucy in Assassin's Creed II released on November 17, 2009, and again in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, released on 16 November 2010. In the spring of 2006, she finished filming the Star Wars-themed comedy Fanboys, which had its release date pushed to January 14, 2008. This was due to additional funding given to director Kyle Newman to shoot new scenes, however, the busy schedules of the actors only allowed for filming in September 2007, thus moving the release date to accommodate that. Bell will voice the character of Marybelle in the animated feature Sheepish, which also has a 2008 release date. She also starred in the 2009 comedies Serious Moonlight, alongside Meg Ryan, and Couples Retreat, which chronicled four couples who partake in therapy sessions at a tropical island resort. Jason Bateman played her husband. On March 31, 2008, Bell began shooting for the Mark Steven Johnson-written Disney film When in Rome in locations in Rome and New York; the film was released in 2010. Bell reprised her role as Sarah Marshall for a cameo appearance in the film Get Him to the Greek, a spin-off sequel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, released June 4, 2010.
Bell has also said that when she is free from film and television roles, she would like to perform on stage again. She co-starred with singers Christina Aguilera and Cher in the film musical Burlesque which was released on Thanksgiving in 2010. Bell had a cameo in horror film, Scream 4, which was released on April 15, 2011. She also starred in the 2012 film Big Miracle. She has also appeared in the music video for "Madder Red" by Brooklyn experimental rock band Yeasayer. Bell portrays the role of "Mary Magdalene" in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio New Testament which uses the RSV-CE translation.
She is the female lead on the Showtime series House of Lies, which premiered on January 8, 2012, and is directed by Stephen Hopkins. Bell will star in The Lifeguard, written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, which began filming in July 2012. She will also star as Anna, in the Walt Disney Pictures film, Frozen.
On March 13, 2013, it was confirmed that a Veronica Mars film would finally be coming to fruition. Bell and series creator Rob Thomas, launched a fundraising campaign to produce the film through Kickstarter and attained the $2 million goal in less than ten hours. The main cast members of the series are expected to reprise their roles in the feature film. Production is scheduled to begin during summer 2013, with a projected release date of early 2014.
In the media
In 2006, Bell was selected "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" on PETA's yearly poll. She was placed #68 on Maxim's 2005 "Hot 100" list, #11 in Maxim's 2006 "Hot 100" list, and #46 in Maxim's 2007 "Hot 100" list in which she was stated to have "single-handedly saved the CW from becoming the worst network ever." In 2006, Maxim also placed Bell at the top of the "Fall TV's Criminally Sexy Investigators" List. In 2008, she was featured at #59 on Ask Men's Top 99 Women of 2008 List. Reflecting on her admitted popularity with "geeks", Bell was voted the fourth sexiest woman on TV by the staff at Wizard magazine.
She stated to have never thought of herself as womanly because she "always play[ed roles] and look[ed] and act[ed] 10 years younger than [she is]", however as she explains, "Something magical happened when I turned 25 — I looked in the mirror and was like, You might not get carded for an R-rated movie anymore. Like I didn't have a little stick figure anymore." Bell has said that many of the characters she has played are tomboys because she was "not homely enough to play the nerdy girl and not nearly pretty enough to play the pretty girl".
Bell has been associated with the idea that "nerdy is the new cool", and she explains, "what was previously perceived as nerdy is now viewed as original. What I like about nerdiness, geekiness, is it doesn't really matter what you're into — it just means you're not a follower." She has also said, "I love nerds. Comic-Con junkies are the tastemakers of tomorrow. Isn't that funny? The tables have turned." Vanessa Juarez of Entertainment Weekly commented that Bell's role on Veronica Mars, Heroes and as a Star Wars fanatic in Fanboys has "solidif[ied] her placement at the center of the geek universe", while Rodney Rothman stated, "I guess she's cornered the market on losers." Bell's work is often compared to Sarah Michelle Gellar's portrayal of the titular character on the cult television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter stated that Bell was "arguably the television successor [to Gellar's portrayal of Buffy] when it comes to fighting bad guys." Bell is sometimes confused with Lauren Conrad from the show The Hills. "Yeah, sometimes fans yell, 'Hey, Lauren' to me, but usually from a distance," said Kristen.
Despite "new celebrity" status, Bell claims that she is not concerned because "no one ever recognizes [her] anyway". As Bell explains, "I hang out with Hayden quite a bit — they never take pictures of me. I just step to the side, and I push myself in front of her when she wants to get out of it, or put her in the car." Bell is a recurring guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, appearing in interviews as well as sketches. On the Late Late Show, she is shown to have garnered a humorous hostility towards Craig's robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson, claiming that she had wanted to be Craig's sidekick on his show and taking it upon herself to cut Geoff down every chance she gets. Both Bell and Geoff Peterson appeared with Ferguson during the five Late Late shows filmed in France.
Relationships and family
In 2007, Bell ended a five-year relationship with former fiancé Kevin Mann. She later told Complex magazine that dating "makes me want to vomit. And not out of grossness — OK, a little bit out of grossness, but just nerves." Bell explains, "I've always been a serial monogamist."
Bell began dating actor Dax Shepard in late 2007. The couple announced their engagement in January 2010, and later co-starred in the 2012 film Hit and Run. However, they have decided to delay marriage until the state of California passes legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. Bell and Shepard have a daughter, Lincoln, born in March 2013.
Beliefs, interests, and charity work
At age 11, Bell became a vegetarian. In an interview with PETA, Bell stated, "I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled with — dogs and cats, for example — from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat. I always loved my Brussels sprouts!" During her time in Michigan, Bell fostered animals from Michigan Humane Society and she now supports the San Diego-based Helen Woodward Animal Center. Bell often attends fund raisers for the ASPCA and other non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting animals. She owns a Welsh Corgi-Chow Chow mix named Lola, a Welsh Corgi-Chihuahua mix named Shakey, and a black Labrador Retriever named Sadie, who was 11 years old when she was rescued from Hurricane Katrina and adopted by Bell in 2005.
She and many of those who worked on Veronica Mars, including personal friend Ryan Hansen, are involved with the charity organization Invisible Children Inc. The goal of the organization is to create awareness regarding the plight of Northern Ugandans who are caught in the midst of a civil war between the government and Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Bell has also done a public service announcement for Do Something's Healthy Living Campaign.
Bell supported and campaigned for Barack Obama during the 2008 United States presidential election. Along with Rashida Jones, she visited college campuses in Missouri to discuss the candidates and encourage voter registration. Bell has shown her support for the Writers Guild of America in the writer's strike, appearing in the picket lines in December 2007 stating, "the writers are just looking for some fairness."
|1998||Polish Wedding||Teenage Girl (uncredited)|
|2001||Pootie Tang||Record Executive's Daughter|
|2002||People Are Dead||Angela's Friend #1|
|2002||The Cat Returns||Hiromi||Voice, English version|
|2005||Reefer Madness||Mary Lane|
|2005||The Receipt||Pretty Girl||Short film|
|2006||Roman||The Girl / Isis|
|2007||Flatland: The Movie||Hex (voice)||Short film|
|2008||Forgetting Sarah Marshall||Sarah Marshall|
|2009||Astro Boy||Cora (voice)|
|2010||When in Rome||Beth|
|2010||Get Him to the Greek||Sarah Marshall||Cameo|
|2010||You Again||Marni Olsen|
|2012||Safety Not Guaranteed||Belinda St. Sing|
|2012||Big Miracle||Jill Jerard|
|2012||Flatland 2: Sphereland||Hex|
|2012||Hit and Run||Annie||Also co-producer|
|2012||Stuck in Love||Tricia|
|2014||Veronica Mars||Veronica Mars||Pre-Production|
|2003||The Shield||Jessica Hintel||Episode: "The Quick Fix"|
|2003||American Dreams||Amy Fielding||Episode: "Act of Contrition"|
|2003||The O'Keefes||Virginia's Owner||Episode: "Substitute Teacher"
|2003||The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay||Alison Dodge||TV film|
|2003||Everwood||Stacey Wilson||Episode: "Extra Ordinary"|
|2004||Gracie's Choice||Gracie Thompson||TV film|
|2004||Deadwood||Flora Anderson||Episode: "Bullock Returns to the Camp"
Episode: "Suffer the Little Children"
|2004–2007||Veronica Mars||Veronica Mars||Lead role|
|2005||Last Days of America||Friend in New York #1||Video|
|2007–2008||Heroes||Elle Bishop||12 episodes|
|2007–2012||Gossip Girl||Gossip Girl (voice)
|Series regular; Uncredited
Episode: "New York, I Love You XOXO"
|2009||The Cleveland Show||Mandy (voice)||Episode: "Da Doggone Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dance"|
|2009-2010||Party Down||Uda Bengt||Episode: "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception"
Episode: "Party Down Company Picnic"
|2010||Astro Boy vs. The Junkyard Pirates||Cora (voice)||Video short|
|2010||Lost Masterpieces of Pornography||June Crenshaw||Video short|
|2011||Glenn Martin, DDS||Hayley (voice)||Episode: "Videogame Wizard"|
|2011||Robot Chicken||Hermione Granger / Sara Lee (voice)||Episode: "Some Like It Hitman"|
|2012–present||House of Lies||Jeannie van der Hooven||Main cast|
|2012||Unsupervised||Megan (voice)||Main cast|
|2007||Assassin's Creed||Lucy Stillman|
|2009||Astro Boy: The Video Game||Cora|
|2009||Assassin's Creed II||Lucy Stillman|
|2010||Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood||Lucy Stillman|
|2001||The Adventures of Tom Sawyer||Becky Thatcher|
|2002||The Crucible||Susanna Walcott|
|2004||A Little Night Music|
|2012||Burning Love||Mandy||Episodes 1–4|
Awards and nominations
|2005||Saturn Award||Best Actress on Television||Veronica Mars||Nominated|
|Satellite Award||Outstanding Actress in a Series, Drama|
|Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television||Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical||Won|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice TV Breakout Performance - Female||Veronica Mars||Nominated|
|TCA Award||Individual Achievement in Drama|
|2006||Saturn Award||Best Actress on Television||Won|
|Horror Jury Award||Best Supporting Actress||Roman|
|Family Film Award||Favorite Father and Daughter (shared with Enrico Colantoni)||Veronica Mars|
|Satellite Award||Best Actress in a Series, Drama||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||TV - Choice Actress: Drama/Action Adventure|
|2007||Saturn Award||Best Actress in a Television Program|
|2008||Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Forgetting Sarah Marshall|
|Choice Movie Breakout Female|
|2009||Saturn Award||Best Guest Starring Role in a Television Series||Heroes|
|MTV Movie Award||Best WTF Moment (shared with Jason Segel)||Forgetting Sarah Marshall|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice TV Actress: Action/Adventure||Heroes|
|2010||Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Couples Retreat|
|Choice Movie Actress: Romantic Comedy||When in Rome|
|2012||Gotham Award||Best Ensemble Cast||Safety Not Guaranteed|
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- Schueler, John (2008-10-03). "Hollywood Starlets Challenge Rolla Students to Make their Voices Heard". My.barackobama.com. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- Bell, Kristen (2007-12-11). Heroes: Kristen Bell on the Strike. Interview with Eric Goldman. IGN. http://tv.ign.com/articles/840/840914p1.html. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- "Kristen Bell's Sloth Meltdown". ellen.warnerbros.com. 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2009-12-13.[dead link]
- Sarah Anne Hughes (January 31, 2012). "Kristen Bell cried tears of joy when a sloth came to her birthday party". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
- George Malik (2007-06-10). "Veronica Mars star a true 'Citizen of Hockeytown'". Red Wings Snapshots. MLive.com. Retrieved 2009-12-13.
- Lawrence, Hannah (2011-10-03). "Interviews with the Cast of 'Big Miracle'". hollywood.com. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- "Disney's 'Frozen' to Thaw in November 2013". The Hollywood Reporter. 2012-06-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kristen Bell|
- Quotations related to Kristen Bell at Wikiquote
- Kristen Bell at the Internet Movie Database
- Kristen Bell at the Internet Broadway Database
- Kristen Bell at AllRovi
- Couples Retreat Video Interview at AMCtv.com