Kristen Bell

Active - 1998 - 2019  |   Born - Jul 18, 1980 in Detroit, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

A native of Detroit whose early stage experiences eventually led her to study at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Kristen Bell saw early success when she was chosen to portray Becky Thatcher in a Broadway production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Realizing that she had what it took to find success onscreen as well as on-stage, Bell was soon packing her bags for Los Angeles and landing small supporting roles in such features as Polish Wedding and Pootie Tang. In 2003, Bell impressed television viewers with a solid performance in the made-for-television dramas The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay and Gracie's Choice. She next appeared in David Mamet's 2004 thriller Spartan, before landing the lead as a sort-of new-millennium Nancy Drew on UPN's Veronica Mars.

If the show's ravenous cult following wasn't enough to make young Bell a household name, even after its much mourned cancellation in 2007, her subsequent performance in the awesomely successful comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall cinched it for her. Bell would go on to play a recurring role on the landmark TV series Heroes, before appearing in a number of comedies over the next few years, like Fanboys, Couples Retreat, and When in Rome. Bell would even appear in slightly less prestigious movies, like Burlesque and Scream 4, but remained one of the most in-demand young actresses in Hollywood, especially in the realm of comedy. She would play a memorable role on Don Cheadle's comedy series House of Lies, and co-produced and starred in an action-oriented romcom with Bradley Cooper called Hit and Run (which was written and co-directed by Bell's husband, Dax Shepard).

In 2013, Bell and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas launched a Kickstater campaign to raise funds for a Veronica Mars movie. The campaign proved to be wildly successful, raising more than was needed to fund the film, which was released in 2014. Bell also voiced Anna in the Disney film Frozen, which significantly raised her profile, and showcased her singing voice, holding her own opposite Broadway heavyweight Idina Menzel. The inevitable sequel arrived in 2019, at which point Bell had also been featured in a pair of Bad Moms movies alongside Kathryn Hahn and Mila Kunis, and starred in the highly-lauded NBC afterlife comedy The Good Place.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Made her Broadway debut in 2001 in a musical version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, playing Becky Thatcher.
  • Cast in the off-Broadway show Reefer Madness in 2001, reprising the role for the film version in 2005.
  • Made her small-screen debut in 2003 in the season premiere of The Shield, playing a gang member's girlfriend.
  • Named by Jane magazine as one of the 11 People You'd Most Like to See Naked.
  • Performed the theme song to Fame at the 2005 Emmy Awards.
  • Did volunteer work at a hospital in Brazil, where she helped two women give birth.
  • Owns three dogs that she rescued from animal shelters.