Kay Panabaker

Active - 2001 - 2011  |   Born - May 2, 1990 in Orange, Texas, United States  |   Genres - Children's/Family, Fantasy, Drama

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Kay Panabaker, the younger sister of child actress Danielle Panabaker, actually preceded her older sibling in tackling feature roles. A wunderkind to end all, Kay grew up in the Atlanta area and discovered a love for community theater at an early age, then made a swift and easy transition to Los Angeles at the behest of her agent. She landed her first major part voicing characters for the 2001 Disney/Pixar blockbuster Monsters, Inc., and subsequently assumed countless guest roles on series programs including Angel, ER, Summerland, and CSI. Like many of her teenage and preteen predecessors, however, the young actress achieved lead status via original movies on The Disney Channel -- in vehicles such as Life Is Ruff (2005) and Read It and Weep (2006). An early and much-publicized college graduation, reportedly before the age of 18, only boosted her recognition.

2007, however, marked the budding actress' breakthrough year; that fall, she realized her first theatrical lead with the issue of the feature Moondance Alexander, a National Velvet-like outing about a young lady determined to turn an ordinary horse into a champion racer, despite the objections of his curmudgeonly owner (Don Johnson). At about the same time, Panabaker tackled a supporting role in the much-anticipated cinematization of Nancy Drew, adapted from the books by Carolyn Keene. She had a small part in the remake of Fame, and went on to appear in The Lake Effect, Little Birds, and Cyberbully.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Did a lot of community theater as a kid. When she first moved to Hollywood, she and her sister took acting classes seven days a week, sometimes even taking two classes per day.
  • Was valedictorian of her high-school class (at age 13).
  • First on-screen kiss was with Zac Efron (while they were shooting Summerland).
  • Was the youngest graduate on record from the University of California Los Angeles' history department at the time of her college graduation (at age 17).
  • Well-received performances in the family films Moondance Alexander (2007) and The Prince and the Pauper (2008) led to a position on the National Board of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media.
  • In 2009, portrayed an aspiring actor in the big-screen remake of Fame.
  • Played a teenage Kitty Walker on a flashback episode of the ABC family drama Brothers & Sisters, and was next cast as a telepathic teenager on ABC's No Ordinary Family.
  • Has worked with various children's organizations, including Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Young Storyteller's Foundation and Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation.