Born in British Colombia in 1982, Jewel Staite began her career at age six when she was discovered at a Sears photography studio. At first the little girl was completely uninterested in appearing in a video, but once she was promised the chance to wear pretty clothes, she agreed. Staite soon appeared in commercials and on television shows such as Liar, Liar, The Odyssey, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and The X-Files. At age 14, she was offered the lead role on the Disney TV show Space Cases. She soon afterward took a recurring role on the series Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, as well as the troubled teen series Higher Ground. She continued to maintain her career through regular appearances on television until 2002 when Joss Whedon offered her a role that would help to define her as an actress. Playing the adorable, genius mechanic Kaylee aboard a space cargo ship on the TV series Firefly, Staite endeared herself to a feverishly devoted fan base. The cult audience that Firefly earned, however, was not enough for Fox to keep it on the air, and the series was pulled after only 11 episodes. Staite disappointed many fans when she was married in 2003. She regularly appeared on Wonderfalls, another "tragically canceled" show, before reprising the role of Kaylee in 2005 for the feature film adaptation of Firefly, Serenity. That same year, she also appeared on an episode of a show that shared a similar audience, Stargate Atlantis. She went on to appear in The Forgotten Ones, Mothman, and After Dusk They Come.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Began her career as a child model before moving on to TV commercials.
- A sci-fi veteran, she has appeared on The X-Files, Space Cases and Firefly, among others.
- Had a steamy love scene with a grim reaper in a 2003 episode of Showtime's Dead Like Me.
- Contributed to the 2005 book Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly.
- Played a Wraith on the Sci-Fi Channel's Stargate Atlantis before landing the recurring role of physician Dr. Jennifer Keller.