Kelli Garner

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Kelli Garner
KelliGarnerTorontoFilmFestival2007 Crop.jpg
Garner in 2005
Kelli Brianne Garner

(1984-04-11) April 11, 1984 (age 37)
Years active2000–present

Kelli Brianne Garner[1] (born April 11, 1984)[2] is an American actress who has appeared in a variety of independent and mainstream films, television, and theater.

A native of Southern California, Garner made her feature film debut at age seventeen in Larry Clark's thriller Bully (2001), followed by a supporting role as Faith Domergue in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (2004). In 2005, she made her New York stage debut in an Off-Broadway production of Dog Sees God. Over the following several years, Garner had lead roles in the independent film Thumbsucker (2005), the studio comedy Man of the House (2005), and the comedy-drama Lars and the Real Girl (2007). She returned to theater in 2008, appearing in an Off-Broadway production of The Seagull opposite Dianne Wiest.

Garner subsequently had a supporting role in the Disney animated film G-Force (2009), and from 2011 to 2012, had a lead role on the short-lived period drama Pan Am, portraying a flight attendant. She later co-starred in Alexandre Aja's fantasy horror film Horns (2014) opposite Daniel Radcliffe. In 2015, Garner portrayed Marilyn Monroe in the television film The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, opposite Susan Sarandon. She subsequently guest-starred on the series Looking (2014–2015) before starring as the lead on the NBC drama series The Enemy Within, which ran for one season in 2019. She also had a minor role in the monster film Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).

Early life[edit]

Garner was born in Bakersfield, California,[2] and spent her early childhood in Newbury Park before her family settled in Thousand Oaks.[3] Although she described herself as a "shy" young girl, Garner caught the attention of a talent agent while attending a friend's bar mitzvah, and was subsequently cast in an Eggo commercial.[3] While a student at Thousand Oaks High School, Garner was cast in director Mike Mills's short film Architecture of Assurance in 2000.[3] Garner was a talented soccer player in high school, and had planned on pursuing it as a career before she began working as an actress.[3]


Garner had appeared in several short films before being cast in a supporting role in the television film Time Share in 2000. In 2001, she was cast in Larry Clark's controversial crime thriller Bully (2001), in which she portrayed Heather Swallers, a teenager who participates with her friends in an orchestrated murder of one of their peers; Clark cast Garner in the film after seeing her performance in Mike Mills's short Architecture of Assurance.[3] The film, which was based on the real-life 1993 murder of Bobby Kent, received critical acclaim.[4]

Her next major role came at age nineteen in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (2004), in which she portrayed actress Faith Domergue, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.[5] According to Garner, she wore brown contact lenses to her audition in order to further embody Domergue; she has said that she tripped and fell when entering the audition room in front of director Scorsese and star DiCaprio.[6] "I thought I'd lost the job," she recalled, "But I think it was that moment that made it work [because] the character was someone who was trying to be much older than she was."[6] The following year, she appeared in the comedy Man of the House,[7] and the independent teen drama Thumbsucker (2005), opposite Lou Taylor Pucci and Vince Vaughn. She had supporting parts in the independent films London (2005) and Dreamland (2006), the latter of which earned her a Best Actress award at Method Fest Independent Film Festival, shared with co-star Agnes Bruckner.[citation needed]

In December 2005, Garner starred in the Off-Broadway production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead at the Century Center for the Performing Arts, co-starring with America Ferrara, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Ari Graynor, among others.[8] She later appeared in the Green Day music video, "Jesus of Suburbia" (with Thumbsucker co-star Lou Taylor Pucci).

In 2007, Garner appeared in a lead role in the critically acclaimed drama Lars and the Real Girl as Ryan Gosling's co-worker and love interest.[9] In 2008, she appeared again onstage in an Off-Broadway production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull opposite Dianne Wiest, as Nina.[3] Ben Brantley of The New York Times, though critical of some elements of the production, praised Garner's performance among her younger co-stars.[10] She had a minor part in the comedy Taking Woodstock (2009), and in the Disney film G-Force (2009), which she followed with a supporting role in Going the Distance (2010), opposite Drew Barrymore. Between 2011 and 2012, she had a main role as Kate Cameron on the period series Pan Am, opposite Christina Ricci.[11]

Garner was next cast in Alexandre Aja's horror-fantasy Horns (2014) with Daniel Radcliffe, and played the title role in the Lifetime mini-series The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, opposite Susan Sarandon as her mother.[12] She also appeared in the independent film One More Time (2015) with Christopher Walken and Amber Heard. Between 2014 and 2015, she had a guest-starring role on the gay-themed series Looking, playing the sister of the lead character, Patrick Murray.[13] In 2019, Garner had a supporting part in the action film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and also starred as a lead opposite Jennifer Carpenter and Morris Chestnut on the series The Enemy Within.[11]



Year Title Role Director(s) Notes Ref.
2001 Bully Heather Swallers Larry Clark [13]
2002 Love Liza Huffer Girl Todd Louiso
2002 Hometown Legend Josie James Anderson [14]
2002 Outside The Girl Jeff Mahler
2004 The Aviator Faith Domergue Martin Scorsese [13]
2005 The Toast Bride Kevin McDermott
2005 Thumbsucker Rebecca Mike Mills [13]
2005 Man of the House Barbara 'Barb' Thompson Stephen Herek [13]
2005 London Maya Hunter Richards [13]
2005 Piggy Banks Archer Morgan J. Freeman Also known as: Born Killers [14]
2006 Dreamland Calista Jason Matzner [15]
2006 Return to Rajapur Samantha Hartley / Samantha Doyle Nanda Anand [14]
2007 Normal Adolescent Behavior Billie Beth Schacter [13]
2007 Lars and the Real Girl Margo Craig Gillespie [13]
2008 Red Velvet Linda Bruce Dickson
2009 Taking Woodstock VW Girl Ang Lee [13]
2009 G-Force Marcie Hoyt Yeatman [13]
2010 Going the Distance Brianna Nanette Burstein [13]
2011 The Lie Brianna Joshua Leonard [13]
2014 Horns Glenna Shepherd Alexandre Aja [13]
2015 Americana Kate Zachary Shedd [14]
2015 One More Time Corinne Robert Edwards
2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters USS Argo Officer Cross Michael Dougherty


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2000 Time Share Kelly, The Beach Girl Television film [14]
2001 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Kirstie Episode: "The Body"
2001–2002 Grounded for Life Tracey 2 episodes [13]
2002 Da Möb Melanie Spores Voice role; episode: "Lo Fidelity"
2003 Regular Joe Nikki Episode: "Boobysitting" [13]
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Brittany O'Malley Episode: "Mean" [13]
2009 American Dad! Waitress Voice role; episode: "Stan Time"
2010 My Generation Dawn Barbuso Main role [13]
2011–2012 Pan Am Kate Cameron Main role [13]
2013 Two Wrongs Jenny Television film
2014–2015 Looking Megan Murray 2 episodes [13]
2015 The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe Marilyn Monroe Television film [13]
2019 The Enemy Within Kate Ryan Main role [13]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role Artist
2001 "Provider" Girlfriend N.E.R.D.
2005 "Jesus of Suburbia" Whatsername Green Day
2019 "I Don't Want To Be Your Love" Unknown Joseph Shabason

Stage credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2005 Dog Sees God Tricia Century Center, New York City [8]
2008 The Seagull Nina East 13th Street Theater, New York City [10]


  1. ^ "Kelli Garner". Ask Men. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Today's Girl: Kelli Garner". July 22, 2009. Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Dransfeldt, Jeffrey (January 20, 2008). "Kelli Garner of T.O. reaches for intriguing film roles". Ventura County Star. Archived from the original on September 9, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 20, 2001). "Bully Movie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "Lifetime Casts 'Pan Am,' 'The Aviator' Actress Kelli Garner As Marilyn Monroe In Upcoming Miniseries". Beauty World News. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Garner, Kelli (May 22, 2015). "Kelli Garner on The Talk". The Talk. ABC/Good Morning America.
  7. ^ Willis, John; Monush, Barry (November 13, 2006). Screen World Film Annual. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 190ff. ISBN 978-1-55783-706-6. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Hernandez, Ernio (November 1, 2005). "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead's Starry Cast Complete". Playbill. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  9. ^ "'Lars and the Real Girl' is a Whimsical Fable". New York Daily News. October 12, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Brantley, Ben (March 14, 2008). "On a Russian Estate, Dormant Passions, Art and Self- Consciousness". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 8, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Petski, Denise (August 1, 2019). "Kelli Garner Signs With More/Medavoy For Management". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Kevin P. (March 26, 2015). "First look: Kelli Garner in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Kelli Garner Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Kelli Garner Filmography". AllMovie. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  15. ^ "Unscripted: Dreamland - Kelli Garner & Justin Long - Full Interview". AOL. 2006. Retrieved September 9, 2019.

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