Mary-Kate Olsen

Active - 1992 - 2013  |   Born - Jun 13, 1986 in Sherman Oaks, California, United States  |   Genres - Children's/Family, Comedy

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Biography by Tracie Cooper

Born June 13th, 1986, in Sherman Oaks, CA, Mary-Kate Olsen is one-half of the multimillion-dollar franchise known as The Olsen Twins. Long before the pair had unwittingly indoctrinated themselves into the hearts and minds of adoring pre-pubescent girls (and vaguely creepy fraternity boys), however, Mary-Kate and her sister, Ashley Olsen, were simply the youngest members of the long-running sitcom Full House, which hired them just a year after their birth. Because of U.S. child-labor laws, the girls took turns playing Full House's resident cute baby girl, Michelle Tanner. Before long, Mary-Kate and Ashley had their own catchphrase ("You got it, dude"), which reverberated in the ears of Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) and throughout American audiences loudly enough to merit a TVQ rating -- the sitcom world's most prominent popularity contest -- second only to Bill Cosby.

Mary-Kate continued her part-time role as Michelle until Full House came to a close in 1995, though she took time out to film several family-oriented straight-to-video releases, including To Grandmother's House We Go (1992), Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993), and How the West Was Fun (1994). Luckily for Olsen, the demise of Full House hardly marked the end of her career. Along with her sister, Mary-Kate's success in the family-oriented video market planted the seeds for what would eventually become a multimillion-dollar empire with enough punch to land the twins the 83rd spot in Forbes magazine's list of the world's 100 most powerful celebrities in 2003.

1995 marked Mary-Kate's big-screen debut as the scrappy, orphaned twin sister in It Takes Two, a thinly veiled send-up of The Parent Trap opposite Kirstie Alley and Steve Guttenberg. Olsen also participated in the short-lived 1998 television series Two of a Kind, which, like Full House, followed a widower's efforts to raise his children. This time, however, Mary-Kate and Ashley's identical status served as a gimmick rather than an irksome legal necessity. (The producers of Full House had insisted on crediting the twins as "Mary Kate Ashley Olsen" in an effort to hide their sisterhood.)

By the early 2000s, Mary-Kate had established herself as part of a verifiable marketing gold mine and, oddly enough, the not-quite-legal forbidden fruit of American pop culture. In addition to a juvenile book series, magazine, scads of videos and DVDs, countless talk show appearances, The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley TV series, a clothing line, perfume, and an estimated combined net worth of more than 300-million dollars, the girls also attracted the unwanted attention of hundreds of decidedly less-wholesome Internet sites counting the days until their 18th birthday. The girls deemed this attention, as well as their number 61 ranking in For Him Magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" in 2003 as, simply, "gross." After a bit part in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle that same year, Mary-Kate both co-produced and starred in New York Minute (2004), which follows -- what else? -- a set of identical twins whose attempt at a day in Manhattan lands them in the midst of a high-profile political scandal.

Olsen would spend the next several years appearing in a number of films like The Wackness and Beastly, in addition to a successful run on the series Weeds. Olsen then turned her attention to her and Ashley's growing fashion empire, letting acting her acting career take a backseat.

Movie Highlights

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  • Born on Friday the 13th, two minutes after her fraternal twin, Ashley.
  • Stands an inch shorter than her twin sister.
  • Took turns with Ashley playing Michelle Tanner on ABC sitcom Full House because of child-labor laws, and the two appeared together onscreen only four times during the series.
  • Collaborated with Ashley on a 1992 children's pop album titled Brother for Sale.
  • Formed production company Dualstar in association with ABC in 1993; in 2004, the company signed a multi-million-dollar, 10-year deal with Warner Home Video.
  • The magazine Mary-Kate and Ashley debuted in 2001; the sisters launched a clothing line for Wal-Mart the same year.
  • Received a shared star with Ashley on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in April 2004.
  • Feature appearances not co-starring her twin sister include The Wackness (2008) and Beastly (2010).