Portia de Rossi

Active - 1994 - 2015  |   Born - Jan 31, 1973 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Lucia Bozzola

Luxuriantly tressed blonde Portia de Rossi combined her former interest in the law with her subsequent acting career and achieved TV fame when she joined the cast of the Fox TV hit Ally McBeal in 1998. Born Mandy Rogers in Melbourne, Australia, de Rossi acted in TV commercials as a teen and modeled, but entered college to become a lawyer. She changed professions, however, when she was cast as one of the titular beauties tempting the wife of stuffy Hugh Grant in John Duigan's comedy Sirens (1994). de Rossi relocated to Los Angeles and appeared on TV sitcoms Too Something (1995) and Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher (1996), as well as in the blockbuster horror sequel Scream 2 (1997) as one of the terrorized sorority sisters.

After a starring role in the TV crime movie Perfect Assassins (1998), de Rossi joined Ally McBeal in its second season as icy legal hotshot Nelle. The series opened her up to a wider audience, and de Rossi would continue to act in films like The Invisibles and Cursed.

After the 2002 demise of Ally McBeal, de Rossi wasted little time in attaching herself to another edgy and successful project. Another critically-acclaimed Fox show, the ensemble sitcom Arrested Development cast the actress as the self-righteous twin sister of Jason Bateman's Michael Bluth. During the cult hit show's three seasons, it earned such a rabid fanbase that it was only cancelled after a massive public outcry. And though de Rossi would spend the ensuing decade starring on other shows, like Nip/Tuck and Better Off Ted, the power of Arrested Development's fanbase would bring it back after a decade, as the entire cast announced in 2012 that they would reunite for a new season of the show, released directly on Netfix.

De Rossi came out as a lesbian in 2005. She married beloved talk show host Ellen Degeneres in 2008.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Officially changed her name when she was 15.
  • Studied law for several years at the University of Melbourne until she dropped out to pursue a career in acting.
  • Turned down a starring role in the 1998 film Gia because of nude lesbian scenes.
  • After years of portraying American characters, had difficulty resurrecting her Australian accent for her role in 2003's The Night We Called It a Day.
  • Has a passion for playing guitar.
  • Underwent laser treatment to remove the tattooed initials of ex-girlfriend Francesca Gregorini from her wedding finger.