Colleen Bell

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Colleen Bell
Colleen Bell State Dept portrait.png
United States Ambassador to Hungary
Assumed office
January 21, 2015
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Eleni Kounalakis
Personal details
Born Colleen Clark Bradley
(1967-01-30) January 30, 1967 (age 49)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bradley Bell (m. 1991)
Children 4
Residence Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California
Alma mater Sweet Briar College

Colleen Bradley Bell (born January 30, 1967) is the United States Ambassador to Hungary, having taken office on January 21, 2015. She is an American television producer known for her work on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful and for her involvement in a variety of social issues. Prior to assuming the ambassadorship, Bell lived with her family in Los Angeles, California.

Early life and education[edit]

Bell (née Bradley) was born in 1967 in Evanston, Illinois, to Sheila, an interior designer, and Edward Bradley, a lawyer.[1][2] Bell studied economics and political science at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia, and graduated in 1989 with a bachelor's degree.[2][3]

Producing career[edit]

Bell's television career began in 1991 at Bell-Phillip Television Productions, the production company for the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.[1][2][4] Bell served in various roles for the show, including associate producer,[4] script supervisor[5] and director of special projects.[6] After leaving the show in 2000, she returned several years later as special projects director, and in 2011 led a project to overhaul and update all the fashion on the show, a critical aspect of production because the plot focuses on two rival fashion houses.[6] She became a full producer in 2012.[5] As producer, Bell was named three times in Daytime Emmy Award nominations when The Bold and the Beautiful was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series in 2013,[7] 2014[8] and 2015.[9]

Issues advocacy, philanthropy and political involvement[edit]

Bell is active in issues advocacy and philanthropy. In 2007, she met with Senator Barbara Boxer about global warming as part of a delegation from the Leadership Council, a Los Angeles County environmental issues group.[10]

In 2010 Bell was named to President Barack Obama's Advisory Committee on the Arts, and in 2011 she was elected chairperson.[6] Obama appointed Bell to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Board of Trustees in 2012.[2] Additionally, she has served as a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Los Angeles Music Center and vice chairperson of the Children's Institute Inc..[11]

Bell is also active in the Democratic Party, and served as an at-large delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.[12] As a "bundler", Bell helped raise more than $2.1 million for Obama's 2012 presidential campaign.[13] In February 2012, Bell and her husband, The Bold and the Beautiful executive producer and head writer Bradley Phillip Bell, hosted a fundraiser for Obama at their home with actor Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin.[14]

Ambassadorship[edit]

Appointment and confirmation[edit]

On November 6, 2013, President Obama nominated Bell to succeed Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis as ambassador to Hungary.[2][11][15] Bell was one of three ambassadorial nominees who, according to the Washington Post, came to "symbolize the problems with giving plum overseas diplomatic assignments to big political donors".[16] Senator John McCain questioned Bell's lack of diplomatic experience and knowledge of Hungary.[17] In an article for Politico, James Bruno, a former U.S. career foreign service officer, noted that Bell "could not answer questions about the United States' strategic interests in Hungary".[18] When asked during questioning about American interests in the nation, Bell "stumbled and stammered", replying "the security relationship and also the law enforcement and to promote business opportunities, um, increase trade, um". [19][20]

Senator Barbara Boxer supported Bell, noting her intelligence and ability to "make friends".[17] Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary, defended the nomination on the grounds that Bell's private sector success and issues advocacy experience would enable her to work effectively on economic and trade concerns of interest to both Hungary and the United States.[4] The Senate confirmed Bell in a 52-42 vote on December 2, 2014, and she was sworn in on December 16.[17][21]

Work as ambassador[edit]

On January 19, 2015, Bell arrived in Budapest, ending the 18-month absence of an American ambassador which had existed since Kounalakis departed in July 2013.[22] Bell presented her credentials to President János Áder of Hungary on January 21, 2015.[23]

In February 2015, Bell signed an agreement that, pending ratification by both countries' legislatures, would end dual taxation of U.S. and Hungarian citizens.[24] Speaking at an event held by the American Chamber of Commerce that month, Bell told a forum that transparency and predictability regarding Hungarian business laws and regulations are needed to attract U.S. investors to the country.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

On October 4, 1991, Bell married Bradley Phillip Bell, the son of Lee Phillip Bell and William J. Bell, at Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Evanston, Illinois.[1] The Bells have four children[10] and live in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles .[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Colleen Cradley, Bradley Bell Wed". Chicago Tribune. 16 November 1991. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ambassador to Hungary: Who is Colleen Bell?". AllGov.com. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Peet, Lisa (22 June 2015). "Sudden Sweet Briar Closure Leaves Library in Limbo". Library Journal. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Chambers, Francesca (2 December 2014). "White House unable to list qualifications of Obama's choice for U.S. ambassador to Hungary (but she does produce The Bold and the Beautiful)". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Kevin Mulcahy Jr. (2 December 2014). "'The Bold and the Beautiful' Producer Colleen Bell Confirmed by Senate as Ambassador to Hungary". WeLoveSoaps.net. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Logan, Michael (1 July 2011). "The Bold and the Beautiful gets a fashion makeover". TV Guide. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (1 May 2013). "Daytime Emmy nominations: 'Young and the restless' leads CBS". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "2014 Daytime Emmy Nominations Announced". The Hollywood Reporter. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  9. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (31 March 2015). "'General Hospital,' Ellen DeGeneres, CBS Lead Daytime Emmy Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Williams, Alex (21 October 2007). "Washington Feels Hollywood's Heat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Johnson, Ted (6 November 2013). "Obama Nominated Producer Colleen Bell to be Ambassador to Hungary". Variety. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Johnson, Ted (8 August 2012). "Showbiz Figures Among Delegates to DNC". Variety. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "Obama's Top Fund-Raisers". The New York Times. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Daunt, Tina (26 January 2012). "Two Obama Hollywood fundraisers set for soap opera titan's Holmby Hills Estate". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  15. ^ Hayden, Erik (6 November 2013). "Producer Colleen Bradley Bell Nominated U.S. Ambassador to Hungary". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Itkowitz, Colby (21 November 2014). "Two Obama political ambassador nominees finally get their vote". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c Saenz, Arlette (2 December 2014). "Soap opera producer is now an ambassador and John McCain isn't happy". ABC News. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  18. ^ Bruno, James (7 June 2014). "Why Does America Send So Many Stupid, Unqualified Hacks Overseas?". Politico. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  19. ^ Ramsey, Nick (8 February 2014). "Diplomatic disunity: We need ambassadors, not fundraisers". MSNBC. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Knox, Olivier (21 November 2014). "Senate to vote on two controversial Obama 'ambassadonors' Dec. 1". Yahoo News. Retrieved 29 May 2016. 
  21. ^ "Remarks at the swearing in ceremony". hungary.usembassy.gov. United States Department of State. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  22. ^ Woodard, Colin (19 June 2015). "American ambassador's frank memoir of Hungary's slide into autocracy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "Prime Minister Orbán holds talks with US Ambassador Colleen Bell". Hungary Today. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  24. ^ "US, Hungary sign to end dual taxation". Budapest Times. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  25. ^ Keszthelyi, Christian (12 February 2015). "Bell stresses importance of transparency". Budapest Business Journal. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  26. ^ Szakacs, Gergely (11 February 2015). "More predictability, more trade - U.S. tells Hungary". Reuters. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  27. ^ Johnson, Ted (3 March 2013). "Hollywood's Diplomatic Intrigue". Variety. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Eleni Kounalakis
United States Ambassador to Hungary
2015–present
Incumbent