Moira Kelly

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Moira Kelly
Moira Anne Kelly

(1968-03-06) March 6, 1968 (age 54)
Other namesMoira Hewitt
Alma materMarymount Manhattan College
Years active1991–present
Steve Hewitt
(m. 2000)

Moira Kelly (born March 6, 1968)[1] is an American actress. She is known for portraying Kate Moseley in the 1992 film The Cutting Edge as well as single mother Karen Roe on the teen drama One Tree Hill. She is also known for playing the role of Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, replacing Lara Flynn Boyle in the prequel to the 1990 TV series Twin Peaks. Other roles include Dorothy Day in Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story, White House media consultant Mandy Hampton in the first season of The West Wing, and the voice of Simba's love interest Nala in The Lion King and its direct-to-video sequels The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Lion King 1½. She also played Hetty Kelly and Oona O'Neill in Chaplin.

Early life[edit]

Kelly was born in Queens, New York, a daughter of Irish immigrants. Her father, Peter, was trained as a concert violinist, and her mother, Anne, is a nurse. Kelly is the third of six children and was raised in Ronkonkoma. She was brought up as a Catholic.[2] Kelly attended Connetquot Senior High School in Bohemia, Long Island, graduating in the class of 1986. Later, she attended Marymount Manhattan College.[citation needed]

In her youth, Kelly was cast in a small role in her high school's 1984 production of Annie. Due to illness, the girl playing Miss Hannigan was replaced, causing a series of cast changes leading to her choice of career. A devout Catholic, Kelly had to decide between acting and her childhood ambition of becoming a nun.[3]


Kelly made her professional acting debut in the fact-based made-for-TV movie Love, Lies and Murder, playing teenager Cinnamon Brown, who was coerced by her father into killing his wife and her stepmother, Linda Brown. She was originally going to have a starring role as Polly Pry in Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Cannibal! The Musical, but Kelly was convinced not to do so by her agent out of concerns it could potentially ruin her career, and was ultimately replaced with Toddy Walters, though she was still credited in the end credits under her initials "M.K." as "the Dropout".[4] She went on to have small roles in the films The Boy Who Cried Bitch, Hi-Life, and Billy Bathgate before being cast as Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. For that film, she went home and got permission from her priest because of an explicit sex scene.[3] In the same year, she starred opposite D. B. Sweeney in the romantic comedy The Cutting Edge and played two roles opposite Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin. According to a TV Guide interview, before taking on her role in Daybreak, Kelly once again asked her priest for advice: "Being a Catholic, I wondered if it would be against my religion to play a girl who has premarital sex." The priest told her "it was okay, as long as my artistic intentions were true and I wasn't doing it for the notoriety or the money."[5]

She has since appeared in the films With Honors, Little Odessa, The Tie That Binds, and Dangerous Beauty, amongst others, and provided the adult voice of Nala in Disney's The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and The Lion King 1½. In her independent film career, Kelly had the starring role of activist Dorothy Day in Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story and starred alongside Glenn Close in The Safety of Objects. She played Helen Keller in the made-for-TV movie Monday After the Miracle, which broadcast on November 15, 1998, on CBS.

Kelly starred in the CBS drama To Have & to Hold opposite Jason Beghe before playing Mandy Hampton in the first season of The West Wing. In 2003, Kelly began playing single mother Karen Roe on the teen drama One Tree Hill. She also directed two episodes of the series: "Resolve" (2007) and "I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" (2006).[citation needed] In the fifth season, she ceased to be a regular cast member, but made guest appearances in the 100th episode and the sixth-season finale. She has made guest appearances in television shows such as Heroes, Law & Order, and Numb3rs. Kelly has also appeared in the films Remember the Daze, A Smile as Big as the Moon, Taken Back: Finding Haley, and Girl in the Bunker.

Personal life[edit]

On August 5, 2000, Kelly married Steve Hewitt, a Texas businessman. They have two children: daughter Ella and son Eamon.[6] Kelly previously maintained a residence in Wilmington, North Carolina, for eleven years.[7] They currently reside in Flower Mound, Texas.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Boy Who Cried Bitch Jessica
Billy Bathgate Becky
1992 Thirty Below Zero Lucy Short
The Cutting Edge Kate Moseley
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Donna Hayward
Chaplin Hetty Kelly / Oona O'Neill
1993 Cannibal! The Musical "The Dropout" Credited under "M.K.", dropped out early in production
1994 With Honors Courtney Blumenthal
The Lion King Adult Nala (voice)
Little Odessa Alla Shustervich
1995 The Tie That Binds Dana Clifton
1996 Unhook the Stars Ann Mary Margaret "Annie" Hawks
Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story Dorothy Day
1997 Love Walked In Vera
Changing Habits Soosh Teague
Drive, She Said Nadine Ship
1998 Dangerous Beauty Beatrice Venier
Hi-Life Susan
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Nala (voice) Video
1999 Henry Hill Cynthia
2001 The Safety of Objects Susan Train
2004 A Woman Reported Woman Short
The Lion King 1½ Nala (voice) Video
2006 Two Tickets to Paradise Kate
2007 Remember the Daze Mrs. Ford
2014 Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces Donna Hayward Deleted Scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Love, Lies and Murder Cinnamon Brown TV miniseries
1993 Daybreak Blue TV film
1998 Monday After the Miracle Helen Keller TV film
To Have & to Hold Annie Cornell Main role
1999-2000 The West Wing Mandy Hampton Regular role
2002 Hack Vanessa Griffin "My Brother's Keeper"
The Twilight Zone Elizabeth Carter "Found and Lost"
2003-2009 One Tree Hill Karen Roe Main role
2008 Law & Order Katherine Donovan "Betrayal"
2009 Heroes Abby Collins "Building 26"
2010 Numb3rs Mary Paulson "Growin' Up"
2012 A Smile as Big as the Moon Darcy Kersjes TV film
Taken Back: Finding Haley Karen TV film
2013 Drop Dead Diva Cindy Kasper "50 Shades of Grayson"
2017 Deadly Sorority Prof. Amy Thomas TV film
2018 Girl in the Bunker Madeline Shoaf TV film
2019 The Resident Annie 3 episodes
Christmas In Louisiana Charlotte Winter TV film
2021 Panic Laura Cortez 7 episodes

As a director[edit]

Year Title Notes
2006-07 One Tree Hill Television series; 2 episodes


  1. ^ "Moira Kelly". AllMovie. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  2. ^ Giles, Jeff (1993-01-03). "Moira Kelly; Playing Two Roles in 'Chaplin' While Dreaming of Joan of Arc". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-20. She is an ardent Roman Catholic...
  3. ^ a b Buchanan, Jason. "Moira Kelly > Biography". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  4. ^ "Chapter 5 - Moira, Moira, Moira", The Making of Cannibal! The Musical, by Jason McHugh Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  5. ^ "A Message from Marrs". Archived 2009-10-22 at the Wayback Machine This Rock. February 1993.
  6. ^ "Moira Kelly".
  7. ^ Ingram, Hunter (15 July 2019). "'The Lion King's' original voice of Nala bows down to Beyoncé". Jacksonville Daily News. Retrieved 9 August 2019.

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