Danica McKellar

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Danica McKellar
2018-us-nationalbookfestival-danica-mckellar.jpg
McKellar at the 2018
U.S. National Book Festival
BornDanica Mae McKellar
(1975-01-03) January 3, 1975 (age 43)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
EducationBachelor of Science in Mathematics with honors (summa cum laude)
Alma materUCLA
OccupationActress, mathematics writer, education advocate
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)
  • Mike Verta (m. 2009–2012)
  • Scott Sveslosky (m. 2014)
Children1
Website

Danica Mae McKellar (born January 3, 1975[1]) is an American actress, mathematics writer, and education advocate. She played Kevin Arnold's on-off girlfriend Winnie Cooper in the television series The Wonder Years.

From 2010–2013 and 2018–present, McKellar voiced Miss Martian in the animated superhero series Young Justice. In 2015, McKellar was cast in the Netflix original series Project Mc2. She also appears in several television films for Hallmark Channel.

In addition to her acting work, McKellar later wrote six non-fiction books, all dealing with mathematics (as she has a bachelor's degree in math from UCLA): Math Doesn't Suck, Kiss My Math, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape, which encourage middle-school and high-school girls to have confidence and succeed in mathematics, Goodnight, Numbers, and Do Not Open This Math Book.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

McKellar was born in La Jolla, California.[1] She moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was eight. Her mother Mahaila was a homemaker; her father Christopher is a real estate developer.[5] She is of paternal Scottish, French, German, Spanish, Dutch descent and her mother is of Portuguese origin via the Azores and Madeira islands.[6]

McKellar studied at the University of California, Los Angeles where she earned a B.S. degree summa cum laude in Mathematics in 1998.[7] As an undergraduate, she coauthored a scientific paper with Professor Lincoln Chayes and fellow student Brandy Winn titled "Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on ."[8] Their results are termed the "Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem".[9][10] Later, when Chayes was asked to comment about the mathematical abilities of his student coauthors, he was quoted in The New York Times, "I thought that the two were really, really first-rate."[11] For her past collaborative work on research papers, McKellar is currently assigned the Erdős number four, and her Erdős–Bacon number is six.[12]

Acting career[edit]

The Wonder Years and early acting career [edit]

At age seven, McKellar enrolled in weekend acting classes for children at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles.[13] In her teens, she landed a prominent role in The Wonder Years, an American television comedy-drama that ran for six seasons on ABC, from 1988 to 1993. She played Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper, the main love interest of Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage) on the show. Her first kiss was with Fred Savage in an episode of The Wonder Years.[14]

She later said, "My first kiss was a pretty nerve-wracking experience! But we never kissed off screen, and pretty quickly our feelings turned into brother/sister, and stayed that way."[15] Late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon has said that the character of Winnie Cooper "is the coolest girl in any TV show ever."[16]

Later acting and music[edit]

McKellar has said that she found it "difficult" to move from being a child actress to an adult actress.[15] Since leaving The Wonder Years, McKellar has had several guest roles in television series (including one with former co-star Fred Savage on Working), and has written and directed two short films. She appeared in two Lifetime TV movies in the Moment of Truth series, playing Kristin Guthrie in 1994's Cradle of Conspiracy and Annie Mills Carman in 1996's Justice for Annie. She briefly returned to regular television with a recurring role in the 2002–03 season of The West Wing, portraying Elsie Snuffin, the stepsister and assistant of Deputy White House Communications Director Will Bailey.

McKellar was featured in Debbie Gibson's eighth single from the Electric Youth album, "No More Rhyme", which was released in 1989. She plays the cello in the beginning of the video.[17]

McKellar appeared in lingerie in the July 2005 edition of Stuff magazine[18] after readers voted her the 1990s star they would most like to see in lingerie. McKellar explained that she agreed to the shoot in part to obtain "grittier roles".[15]

In 2006, McKellar starred in a Lifetime movie and web-based series titled Inspector Mom about a mother who solves mysteries.[19][20]

On the August 1, 2007, edition of the Don and Mike Show, a WJFK-FM radio program out of Washington, D.C., McKellar announced plans that the producers of How I Met Your Mother were planning to bring her back for a recurring role (she guest-starred on the show in late 2005 in "The Pineapple Incident" and again in early 2007 in "Third Wheel"). She also made an appearance on the show The Big Bang Theory, in the episode "The Psychic Vortex".[21]

In 2008, she starred in Heatstroke, a Sci-Fi Channel original movie about searching for alien life on Earth and in 2009 she was one of the stars commenting on the occurrences of the new millennium in VH1's I Love the New Millennium and was the math correspondent for Brink, a program by the Science Channel about technology. In 2013, she played Ellen Plainview in Lifetime's reimagining of the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film The Wrong Man.

McKellar has also worked as a voice actress, having provided the voice of Jubilee in the video game X-Men Legends (2004), and Invisible Woman in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006) and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009). She provided the voice of Miss Martian in the TV series Young Justice

In 2012, she starred in the Lifetime movie Love at the Christmas Table with Dustin Milligan.

In January 2013, she starred in the Syfy movie Tasmanian Devils with Apolo Ohno.

On August 20, 2013, Canadian singer Avril Lavigne released the music video for her single "Rock N Roll" from her upcoming self-titled fifth album, which features McKellar as "Winnie Cooper".[22]

On March 4, 2014, she was announced to be joining season 18 of Dancing with the Stars. She paired with Valentin Chmerkovskiy.[23] McKellar and Chmerkovskiy were eliminated on Week 8, finishing in 6th place.

She had a guest appearance in the Impractical Jokers season four episode six titled "The Blunder Years"

In 2015, she starred in the Netflix original series Project Mc2 as The Quail.

She has starred in several Hallmark Channel movies, including Crown for Christmas, My Christmas Dream, and Campfire Kiss.

Books[edit]

McKellar has authored several mathematics-related books primarily targeting adolescent readers interested in succeeding at the study of mathematics:

  • McKellar, Danica; Mary Lynn Blasutta (2008). Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. New York: Plume. ISBN 9780452289499.
  • McKellar, Danica (2009). Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss. New York: Plume. ISBN 9780452295407.
  • McKellar, Danica (2010). Hot X: Algebra Exposed. New York: Plume. ISBN 9780452297197.
  • McKellar, Danica (2012). Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape. New York: Hudson Street Press. ISBN 9781594630941.

Her first book, Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, was a New York Times bestseller,[2] and was favorably reviewed by Tara C. Smith, the founder of Iowa Citizens for Science and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa.[24] The book also received a review from Anthony Jones, writing for the School Librarian journal, who described the book as "a trouble-shooting guide to help girls overcome their biggest maths challenges," noting what he described as "real-world examples of great mathematics in action."[25] In an interview with Smith, McKellar said that she wrote the book "to show girls that math is accessible and relevant, and even a little glamorous" and to counteract "damaging social messages telling young girls that math and science aren't for them".[26]

McKellar's second book, Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss,[27] was released on August 5, 2008. The book's target audience is girls in the 7th through 9th grades. Her third book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed![28] covers algebra topics, while the previous two titles were intended as "algebra-readiness books."[29] Hot X was published on August 3, 2010. Her fourth book, Girls Get Curves – Geometry Takes Shape,[30] focuses on the subject of geometry, and attempts to make the subject more accessible.[31]

Three of McKellar's books were listed in The New York Times children's bestseller list.[32][33]

Published papers[edit]

Chayes, L; McKellar, D; Winn, B (1998). "Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on " (PDF). Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General. 31 (45): 9055–9063. Bibcode:1998JPhA...31.9055C. doi:10.1088/0305-4470/31/45/005.

Awards and honors[edit]

McKellar was named Person of the Week on World News with Charles Gibson for the week ending August 10, 2007. The news segment highlighted her book Math Doesn't Suck and her efforts to help girls develop an interest in mathematics, especially during the middle school years.[34] In January 2014, she received the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award. The citation credited her books, blog, and public appearances for encouraging "countless middle and high school students, especially girls, to be more interested in mathematics."[35]

Personal life[edit]

McKellar married composer Mike Verta on March 22, 2009, in La Jolla, California; the couple had dated since 2001.[36] They had their first child, a son named Draco, in 2010.[37][38] McKellar filed for divorce from Verta in June 2012,[39] with the dissolution becoming final in February 2013.[40]

On July 16, 2014, she was engaged to her boyfriend Scott Sveslosky, a partner in the Los Angeles legal firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. On November 15, 2014, they married in Kauai, Hawaii.[41]

Filmography[edit]

Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Sidekicks Lauren
2001 Good Neighbor Molly Wright
XCU: Extreme Close Up Sarah
Speechless... Dana Woodman Short film
2002 Sex and the Teenage Mind Debbie
Black Hole Rachael
Reality School Sexy Sally Short film
Jane White Is Sick & Twisted Tiffany
The Year That Trembled Pam Hatch
Hip, Edgy, Sexy, Cool Sissie
2004 Raising Genius Lacy Baldwin
Intermission Sleepwalker Short film
Quiet Kill Pet Shop Girl
2007 Hack! Emily
2008 Heatstroke Caroline
2009 21 and a Wake-Up Jenny Valentine
2010 Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo Madelyn Dinkley Voice role; direct-to-video
Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam Sally Voice role; direct-to-video
2012 Flatland 2: Sphereland Aero Direct-to-video
Mancation Rebecca
2014 Where Hope Grows Susan Malcolm
2017 The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania! Judy Jetson Voice role; direct-to-video
2018 The Fiddling Horse Leslie Heart Feature film
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Twilight Zone Nola (age 10) Episode: "Her Pilgrim Soul"
1987 The Twilight Zone Deidre Dobbs Episode: "Shelter Skelter"
1988–1993 The Wonder Years Winnie Cooper Main role
1989 The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Patty Episode: "Day of the Orphan" / "King Mario of Cramalot"
1990 Camp Cucamonga Lindsey Scott Television film (NBC)
1992 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Lisa Voice role; episode: "A Formula for Hate"
1994 Babylon 5 Aria Tensus Episode: "The War Prayer"
Moment of Truth: Cradle of Conspiracy Kristin Guthrie Television film (NBC)
Walker, Texas Ranger Laurie Maston Episode: "Stolen Lullaby"
Sirens Alison Trent Episode: "Victims"
1996 Justice for Annie: A Moment of Truth Movie Annie Mills Carman Television film (NBC)
1998 Love Boat: The Next Wave Mary Dutton Episode: "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
Working Jolie Episodes: "As Bad As It Gets", "She Loves Me Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"
1999 Random Play Daughter Episode: "1.4"
2000–2004 Static Shock Freida Goren Voice role; recurring role
2001 The Division Wendy Episode: "Don't Ask"
Even Stevens Sandrine Episode: "Sibling Rivalry"
2002 Justice League Sapphire Stagg Voice role; episode: "Metamorphosis" (parts 1 & 2)
2002–2003 The West Wing Elsie Snuffin Recurring role
2004 King of the Hill Sharona / Misty Voice role; episodes: "My Hair Lady", "Cheer Factor"
Game Over Elsa / Renee Recurring role
Century City Sally Episode: "Without a Tracer"
Eve Claudia Episode: "Friend or Foe?"
2005 NCIS Erin Kendall Episode: "Witness"
Jack & Bobby Keirsten Episode: "And Justice for All"
NYPD Blue Rosemary Episode: "Moving Day"
Strong Medicine Natalie Pascal Episode: "Feeling No Pain"
Path of Destruction Katherine Stern Television film (Syfy)
How I Met Your Mother Trudy Episode: "The Pineapple Incident"
2006 Inspector Mom Maddie Monroe Television film (Lifetime)
Cyberchase Wanda Voice role; Episode: "Designing Mr. Perfect"
2006–2007 Inspector Mom Maddie Monroe Recurring role
2007 Random! Cartoons Katerina "Kat" Metropoulos Voice role; episode: "Girls on the Go!"
How I Met Your Mother Trudy Episode: "Third Wheel"
2010 The Big Bang Theory Abby Episode: "The Psychic Vortex"
Generator Rex Claire Voice role; episodes: "Hermanos", "Operation: Wingman"
2010–2013, 2018–present[42] Young Justice Miss Martian Voice role; main role (40 episodes)
2011 Generator Rex Claire Voice role; episode: "Haunted"
G.I. Joe: Renegades Sister Leia Voice role; episode: "Brothers of Light"
2012 The Nerdist: Tribute to Science Herself Talk show
Love at the Christmas Table Katherine "Kat" Patton Television film (Lifetime)
2013 Tasmanian Devils Alex Television film (Syfy)
The Secret Life of the American Teenager Herself Episode: "Interference"
Nerdist: Course of the Force Bounty Hunter Episode: "Michael Rooker & CM Punk: Lighstaber Hunt"
The Wrong Woman Ellen Plainview Television film (Lifetime)
2014 Transformers: Rescue Bots Hayley Voice role; 2 episodes
Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant on season 18; finished in sixth place
2015 King of the Nerds Herself Judge
2015, 2017, 2018 Impractical Jokers Herself 3 episodes
2015 Perfect Match (aka A Perfect Wedding) Jessica Summers Television film (Hallmark)
Miss America 2016 Herself Judge
Crown for Christmas Allie Evans Television film (Hallmark)
2015–present Project Mc2 The Quail Main role (Seasons 1–2,4–5); Netflix original series
2016 DC Super Hero Girls Killer Frost Voice role
My Christmas Dream Christina Television film (Hallmark)
Wedding Bells Molly Television film (Hallmark)
2017 Mommy I Didn't Do It Ellen Plainview Television film (Lifetime)
Campfire Kiss Dana Television film (Hallmark)
Coming Home for Christmas Lizzie Television film (Hallmark)
2018 Very, Very, Valentine Helen Television film (Hallmark)
2018 Love in Design Hannah Television film (Hallmark)
Video game roles
Year Title Role
2004 X-Men Legends Jubilee
EverQuest II Lolla Cotgrove / Pona
2006 Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams Additional voices
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Invisible Woman
2009 Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Invisible Woman
2013 Young Justice: Legacy Miss Martian

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Danica McKellar". TV Guide. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  2. ^ a b "Children's Books". The New York Times. September 28, 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  3. ^ "Math Books". DanicaMckellar.com. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  4. ^ "Do Not Open This Math Book by Danica McKellar - PenguinRandomHouse.com". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Danica McKellar Biography (1975–)". FilmReference.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
  6. ^ Official website - Frequently Asked Questions: ethnic background.
  7. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (2008). "Mickelson, McKellar tout science, math, and being smart". Skeptical Inquirer. 32 (6): 12.
  8. ^ Chayes, L.; D. McKellar; B. Winn (1998-11-13). "Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller models on z2". Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General. 31 (45): 9055. Bibcode:1998JPhA...31.9055C. doi:10.1088/0305-4470/31/45/005. ISSN 0305-4470. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  9. ^ "USNews.com: America's Best Colleges 2006: College Flashback: Danica McKellar". U.S.News & World Report. Archived from the original on 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  10. ^ Blog post by mathematician Terence Tao, a former instructor of McKellar's, complimenting her book and explaining the theorem.
  11. ^ Kenneth Chang, "Between Series, an Actress Became a Superstar (in Math)", The New York Times, July 19, 2005.
  12. ^ "There's not much separating her from Bacon, Erdős", USA Today, August 14, 2007
  13. ^ Randle, Nancy (January 23, 1991). "Mirror Image: It's No Wonder Danica Mckellar Is A Winsome Winnie". Chicago Tribune (January 23, 1991). Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  14. ^ "Danica McKellar" Archived 2013-03-16 at the Wayback Machine.. Maxim. February 1, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Where are they now? – Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Jimmy Fallon Explains the Meaning Behind Baby Name Winnie (Hint: It's Not About a Pooh)". Yahoo!. 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  17. ^ No More Rhyme
  18. ^ "Danica McKellar pictures and bio". Stuff.
  19. ^ "Winnie Cooper Goes Digital:McKellar to star in movies, webisodes for Lifetime". Zap2it. 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  20. ^ Cherkezian, Megan (November 17, 2006). "Wonder Years' Danica McKellar Fights Crime as Inspector Mom". TV Guide.
  21. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (January 11, 2010). "The Big Bang Theory: "The Psychic Vortex"". The A.V. Club.
  22. ^ "96.5 TIC". 96.5 TIC. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Dancing With the Stars Cast Revealed! Cody Simpson, Nene Leakes and James Maslow Are Among the Names—See the Full List!". E! Online.
  24. ^ Smith, Tara (2007-07-24). "Aetiology:Danica McKellar's "Math Doesn't Suck"". Aetiology. ScienceBlogs. Archived from the original on 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  25. ^ Jones, Anthony Hamilton (2011). "McKellar, Danica: Maths Doesn't Suck". School Librarian. 59 (1): 62. ISSN 0036-6595. Retrieved 2013-07-04.
  26. ^ Smith, Tara (2007-07-25). "Interview with math whiz, author, and actress Danica McKellar". Aetiology. ScienceBlogs. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  27. ^ Danica McKellar (2008). Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss. Hudson Street Press. ISBN 978-1-59463-049-1.
  28. ^ Danica McKellar (2010). Hot X: Algebra Exposed. Hudson Street Press. ISBN 978-1-59463-070-5.
  29. ^ "Actress Danica McKellar Solves For 'X'". National Public Radio. 6 August 2010. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-07-04.
  30. ^ Danica McKellar (2012). Girls Get Curves – Geometry Takes Shape. Hudson Street Press. ISBN 978-1-59463-094-1.
  31. ^ Lichtman, Flora (17 August 2012). "Actress Danica McKellar Helps "Girls Get Curves"". Science Friday (Interview). Washington, D.C.: National Public Radio. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  32. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (August 22, 2010). "Children's Chapter Books". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
  33. ^ "Best Sellers: Children's Books". The New York Times. September 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  34. ^ "ABC News: Person of the Week: Danica McKellar". Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  35. ^ American Mathematical Society, January 2014 Prizes And Awards, p. 35,
  36. ^ Danica McKellar is Married! People, March 22, 2009
  37. ^ Danica McKellar is Pregnant! People, March 17, 2010
  38. ^ "Danica McKellar Files for Divorce". People. 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  39. ^ "'Wonder Years' actress Danica McKellar files for divorce". Chicago Sun-Times. 2012-06-12. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
  40. ^ Watkins, Jade (February 23, 2013). "It's official: The Wonder Years star Danica Mckellar 'finalises divorce from her husband of three years Mike Verta'". Daily Mail. London.
  41. ^ "Danica McKellar Is Married!". People. 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2014-11-20.
  42. ^ "Episode #3.1". Retrieved 2 November 2018 – via www.imdb.com.

Further reading[edit]

  • "The Wonder Kid" by Liz Belilovskaya, Brain World magazine, Volume 5, Number 1, Fall 2013, pages 42–45. Publisher: International Brain Education Association, New York City. Interview of Danica McKeller with a full-page color photo.

External links[edit]