While landing a guest spot on a hit television series would be a welcome event for most up-and-coming actresses, Jennifer Garner's brief run on Felicity proved especially fortunate for her -- thanks to her appearance on the show, she met her future husband, and the producer who would cast her in the leading role of the successful action/adventure series Alias.
Jennifer Garner was born in Houston, TX, in 1972; when she was very young, her family relocated to Charleston, WV, where she grew up. Garner was the second of three daughters, and early on developed an interest in ballet. After graduating from George Washington High School in Charleston, Garner attended Denison University in Granville, OH, where she became interested in drama, and eventually received a degree in theater. After college, Garner moved to New York and began auditioning for stage roles, landing her first part only a month after arriving in town in 1995 as an understudy in the Broadway production of A Month in the Country. Later that same year, Garner moved to Los Angeles and began working in television, making her screen debut in the made-for-TV movie Zoya. Over the next two years, Garner landed guest roles on several television shows, including Spin City and Law & Order, and small parts in several motion pictures, among them Deconstructing Harry, In Harm's Way, and Mr. Magoo.
1998 found Garner cast as the female lead on the short-lived Fox drama Significant Others, and while the show only aired for a little over a month, Garner fared much better with a showy recurring role on Felicity, where she played Hannah, the former girlfriend of Noel Crane, played by Scott Foley. Though Garner claims she had to go through five rounds of auditions before she was given the role, she certainly made an impression on co-star Foley; they soon began dating, and were married in the fall of 2000. Garner's work on Felicity helped win her a major supporting role on the television series Time of Your Life, a spin-off of Party of Five starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. The heavily promoted series was a ratings disappointment, but Garner received enthusiastic notices, and began winning film roles in high-profile projects such as Pearl Harbor and Dude, Where's My Car?
In 2000, J.J. Abrams, who produced Felicity, was preparing a new series for ABC about a female spy living a triple life as a college student and supposed bank employee, who is also a double agent working for the CIA. Abrams remembered Garner's impressive performance as Hannah, and cast her as Sydney Bristow in Alias. The show quickly became a success when it premiered in 2001, earning respectable ratings, strong reviews, and a devoted fan following who tuned in each week to see Garner beat up bad guys and don an impressive collection of slinky outfits. That same year, Garner also appeared opposite her then-husband, Foley, in a supporting role in the independent drama Rennie's Landing.
Riding high on the success of Alias with a Golden Globe Award in hand, Garner continued to grow as a big-screen presence. After a memorable appearance in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, Garner displayed the butt-kicking skills she honed on Alias, appearing as Elektra in the 2003 comic-book adaptation Daredevil. The next year, she took on her first big-screen starring role, playing an adolescent girl who wakes up to suddenly find herself all grown up in the romantic comedy 13 Going on 30.
Garner would star on Alias until it ended its run in 2006, and subsequently enjoyed her career as a movie star, appearing in such films as Juno, The Kingdom, The Invention of Lying, Arthur, and Butter. She took a supporting role in the drama Dallas Buyers Club in 2013, before returning to family fare with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.