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Kristen Anne Bell (born July 18, 1980) is an American actress and singer. In 2001, she made her Broadway debut as Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. She gained critical acclaim playing the title character in the television series Veronica Mars from September 2004 to May 2007. She reprised the eponymous role in the 2014 film continuation of the series. Since 2012, Bell has starred as Jeannie van der Hooven in the Showtime series House of Lies.
During her time on Veronica Mars, Bell appeared as Mary Lane in the 2005 film Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, a reprise of the role she had played in the New York theatrical production of the musical upon which the film was based. In 2007, Bell joined the cast of the sci-fi television series Heroes, playing the character Elle Bishop, and the drama series Gossip Girl, as the off-screen titular narrator.
In 2008, she played Sarah Marshall in the comedy film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which garnered her further recognition. She has since appeared in a number of comedy films, such as Couples Retreat (2009), When in Rome (2010), and You Again (2010). Bell also voices Lucy Stillman in the Assassin's Creed video game series and Princess Anna in the 2013 Disney film Frozen and the 2015 short film Frozen Fever.
Early life and family
Bell was born and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Her mother, Lorelei (nÃ©e Frygier), is a registered nurse, and her father, Tom Bell, works as the television news director for CBS Television in Sacramento. Her parents divorced when she was two years old, and she has two half-sisters, Sara and Jody, from her father's second marriage. Bell is of Polish and Scottish descent. Bell has strabismus, which affects her right eye. She inherited it from her mother, who had it corrected as a child. Bell claims that if she does not get enough sleep, it aggravates the ailment. She calls her right eye "Wonky."
Bell stated that she did not like her first name at the age of four. Bell's mother convinced her to go by her middle name of Anne instead; she used the name Annie until high school. Bell once broke both her wrists at the same time playing street hockey with friends.
Just before her freshman year of high school, Bell's parents decided to pull her from the public school system. She then attended Shrine Catholic High School in nearby Royal Oak, where she took part in the drama and music club. During her time at the school, she won the starring role in the school's 1997 production of The Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy Gale and also appeared in productions of Fiddler on the Roof (1995), Lady Be Good (1996), and Li'l Abner (1998). In 1998, the year she graduated, Bell was named the yearbook's "Best Looking Girl" by senior class vote.
Shortly after her high school graduation, Bell moved to New York City to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, majoring in musical theater. In 2001, during her senior year at New York University, Bell left a few credits shy of graduating to take a role in the Broadway musical version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
1992â"2003: Early work
In 1992, Bell went to her first audition and won a dual role as a banana and a tree in a suburban Detroit theater's production of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Her mother had established her with an agent before Bell was 13, which allowed her to appear in newspaper advertisements for several Detroit retailers and television commercials. She also began private acting lessons. In 1998, she appeared with an uncredited role in the locally filmed film Polish Wedding.
In 2001, Bell left New York University to play a role as Becky Thatcher in the short-lived Broadway musical of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. That same year, she made her credited film debut in Pootie Tang. Her one line in the film was cut and her appearance exists only as a scene shown during the credit sequence. Additionally, she auditioned for the television series Smallville for the role of Chloe Sullivan, a part eventually won by Allison Mack. In 2002, she appeared in the Broadway revival of The Crucible with Liam Neeson, Angela Bettis and Laura Linney. Bell then moved to Los Angeles, California in 2002 because of her friendship with writers Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, and appeared in a handful of television shows as a special guest, finding trouble gaining a recurring role in a television series. Bell had "tested like eight times and booked nothing and every show [she] tested for got picked up," including auditions for Skin and a Norm Macdonald series.
2004â"06: Veronica Mars and other roles
In 2004, Bell appeared in the Lifetime television film Gracie's Choice, which received one of the network's highest ratings. She made her debut in a theatrically released film, with David Mamet's Spartan, as Laura Newton, the kidnapped daughter of the U.S. President, acting alongside Val Kilmer. Bell also guest-starred on the HBO drama Deadwood in a two-episode story arc ("Bullock Returns to the Camp" and "Suffer the Little Children").
At 24, she won the role of the title character in UPN's drama Veronica Mars, which was launched in the fall of 2004. Created by Rob Thomas, the series starred Bell as the seventeen-year-old detective/anti-heroine titular character. Bell noted the parallels between the character of Veronica and her own lifeâ"Bell's parents had divorced and her best friend had also died, like that of Veronica. The series earned high acclaim from television critics, as did Bell's performance. Some critics felt that she was overlooked, however, and deserved an Emmy Award nomination and win.
Aside from working on Veronica Mars, Bell starred in Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, reprising the role she played in the short-lived 2001 off-broadway musical. The musical was a spoof of the 1936 exploitation film of the same name. Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical debuted on the Showtime network on April 16, 2005. Also in April, Bell starred as Gracie in Fifty Pills, an entry for the Tribeca Film Festival. She appeared in a short independent film called The Receipt and the horror film Roman, which was directed by her The Crucible co-star Angela Bettis. Released on August 11, 2006, Pulse starred Bell as the lead Mattie. A remake of the Japanese horror film Kairo, the film grossed US$27.9 million worldwide,; however it garnered negative response from critics. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter commented, "despite the starring presence of Kristen Bell, [the] young actress has far less interesting material to work with here than she does as [the character] "Veronica Mars.""
2007â"present: Breakout and future projects
Veronica Mars continued on UPN until the third season, in which the show was renewed and returned on the newly created The CW. On January 19, 2007, CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff announced that, while she was pleased with the gradual improvement of Veronica Mars's ratings, the series would be put on hiatus after February sweeps to air a new reality series, Pussycat Dolls Present. On May 17, 2007 Ostroff announced the cancellation of the series. The two-hour series finale aired in the United States on May 22, 2007, and on June 11, 2007 Thomas officially announced in an email to TV Guide's Michael Ausiello that Veronica Mars had been canceled by the CW. A Veronica Mars feature film and comic book series continuation had been discussed, and for a short time there was talk of another collaboration between Bell and creator Thomas that would be unrelated to the Veronica Mars series.
Following the cancellation of Veronica Mars, Bell had voiced interest in appearing on Heroes because she was a fan prior to being cast. On July 29, 2007, during a train ride back to Los Angeles from the San Diego Comic-Con with Heroes actors Zachary Quinto and Masi Oka, and writers from the series, the writers had mentioned that if she "ever want[ed] to come on Heroes, give us [writers] a call," to which Bell said she would "love to." She was also spoken to about a role on Lost, but turned down the role of Charlotte Staples Lewis. Bell portrayed Elle Bishop on Heroes, a "mysterious young lady" with an "awesome power". She did not have to audition for the role of Elle, who made her first appearance in an October 2007 episode, and appeared in at least thirteen episodes during the run of the series. The casting of Bell, Heroes creator Tim Kring explained, "was not easy to pull off", but because of the large ensemble cast of the series and multiple story arcs, "we found a way to jump int
o a small window in [Bell's] schedule.". Bell lent her voice to the CW series Gossip Girl: she voiced the title character in every episode of the series, appearing in person only for a surprise cameo in the final episode, portraying herself.
Shortly after the cancellation of Veronica Mars in early 2007, Bell filmed on location in Hawaii for her starring role as the title character in the Judd Apatow comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She noted that the improvisational comedy in the film was "a lovely experience". The film, written by and also starring Jason Segel, was released theatrically on April 18, 2008, and is considered to be Bell's star-making role. Bell lent her voice and likeness to the video game Assassin's Creed which was released on November 13, 2007 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and April 8, 2008 for the PC. Bell reprised her role of Lucy in Assassin's Creed II released on November 17, 2009, and again in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, released on November 16, 2010. In the spring of 2006, she finished filming the Star Wars-themed comedy Fanboys, which had its release date pushed to January 14, 2008. This was due to additional funding given to director Kyle Newman to shoot new scenes, however, the busy sch
edules of the actors only allowed for filming in September 2007, thus moving the release date to accommodate that. Bell also starred in the 2009 comedies Serious Moonlight, alongside Meg Ryan, and Couples Retreat, which chronicles four couples who partake in therapy sessions at a tropical island resort. Jason Bateman played her husband. She also provided the voice for Cora in Astro Boy. On March 31, 2008, Bell began shooting the Mark Steven Johnson-written Disney film When in Rome in locations in Rome and New York; the film was released in 2010. Bell reprised her role as Sarah Marshall for a cameo appearance in the film Get Him to the Greek, a spin-off sequel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, released June 4, 2010.
She co-starred with singers Christina Aguilera and Cher in the film musical Burlesque which was released on Thanksgiving in 2010. Bell had a cameo in horror film, Scream 4, which was released on April 15, 2011. She also starred in the 2012 film Big Miracle. She has also appeared in the music video for "Madder Red" by Brooklyn experimental rock band Yeasayer. Bell portrayed "Mary Magdalene" in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, dramatized audio New Testament which uses the RSV-CE translation.
Bell stars as Jeannie van der Hooven, the female lead on the Showtime series House of Lies, which premiered on January 8, 2012. Bell starred in The Lifeguard, written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, which began filming in July 2012, and was released in August 2013. She also voiced Anna in Frozen, which was released on November 22, 2013. In 2013, for multiple episodes, Bell played Ingrid de Forest, an Eagleton City Councilwoman, on Parks and Recreation.
On March 13, 2013, it was confirmed that a Veronica Mars film would finally be coming to fruition. Bell and series creator Rob Thomas, launched a fundraising campaign to produce the film through Kickstarter and attained the $2 million goal in less than ten hours. The main cast members of the series all reprised their roles in the feature film. Production of the film took place during summer 2013, and it was released theatrically and on video-on-demand on March 14, 2014.
In September 2014, Bell starred with her husband, Dax Shephard, in a commercial for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. It was so popular (with over 20 million YouTube views) that they did another for the holiday season. The ad agency McKinney was behind both.
In the media
In 2006 and again in 2013, Bell was selected "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" on PETA's yearly poll. She was placed No. 68 on Maxim's 2005 "Hot 100" list, No. 11 in Maxim's 2006 "Hot 100" list, and No. 46 in Maxim's 2007 "Hot 100" list in which she was stated to have "single-handedly saved the CW from becoming the worst network ever." In 2006, Maxim also placed Bell at the top of the "Fall TV's Criminally Sexy Investigators" List. In 2008, she was featured at No. 59 on Ask Men's Top 99 Women of 2008 List. Reflecting on her admitted popularity with "geeks", Bell was voted the fourth sexiest woman on TV by the staff at Wizard magazine.
Bell stated she never thought of herself as womanly because "I always play and look and act 10 years younger than I am," however, she said, "Something magical happened when I turned 25â"I looked in the mirror and was like, You might not get carded for an R-rated movie anymore. Like I didn't have a little stick figure anymore." Bell has said that many of her characters are tomboys because she was "not homely enough to play the nerdy girl and not nearly pretty enough to play the pretty girl".
Bell has been associated with the idea that "nerdy is the new cool", and she explained, "what was previously perceived as nerdy is now viewed as original. What I like about nerdiness, geekiness, is it doesn't really matter what you're intoâ"it just means you're not a follower." She has also said, "I love nerds. Comic-Con junkies are the tastemakers of tomorrow. Isn't that funny? The tables have turned." Vanessa Juarez of Entertainment Weekly commented that Bell's roles on Veronica Mars, Heroes and as a Star Wars fanatic in Fanboys have "solidif[ied] her placement at the center of the geek universe", while Rodney Rothman stated, "I guess she's cornered the market on losers." Bell's work is often compared to Sarah Michelle Gellar's portrayal of the titular character on the cult television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter stated that Bell was "arguably the television successor [to Gellar's portrayal of Buffy] when it comes to fighting bad guys." B
ell is sometimes confused with Lauren Conrad from the show The Hills. "Yeah, sometimes fans yell, 'Hey, Lauren' to me, but usually from a distance," said Kristen.
Despite "new celebrity" status, Bell claimed that she was not concerned because "no one ever recognizes me anyway". As Bell explained, "I hang out with Hayden quite a bitâ"they never take pictures of me. I just step to the side, and I push myself in front of her when she wants to get out of it, or put her in the car." Bell is a recurring guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, appearing in interviews as well as sketches. On The Late Late Show, she shows a humorous hostility towards Craig's robot skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson, claiming that she had wanted to be Craig's sidekick on his show and taking it upon herself to cut Geoff down every chance she gets. Both Bell and Geoff Peterson appeared with Ferguson during the five Late Late Shows filmed in France.
In January 2011, it was announced that Bell would be the new face of Neutrogena.
Relationships and family
In 2007, Bell ended a five-year relationship with former fiancÃ© Kevin Mann. She later told Complex magazine that dating "makes me want to vomit. And not out of grossnessâ"OK, a little bit out of grossness, but just nerves." Bell explains, "I've always been a serial monogamist."
Bell began dating actor Dax Shepard in late 2007. The couple announced their engagement in January 2010. They decided to delay marriage until the state of California passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. They co-starred in the 2012 film Hit and Run. After section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act fell on June 26, 2013, Bell asked Shepard to marry her through Twitter, which he accepted. They were married at the Beverly Hills County Clerk's Office on October 17, 2013. They have two daughters: Lincoln Bell Shepard (born March 28, 2013) and Delta Bell Shepard (born December 19, 2014).
Beliefs, interests, and charity work
At age 11, Bell became a vegetarian. In an interview with PETA, Bell stated, "I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled withâ"dogs and cats, for exampleâ"from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat. I always loved my Brussels sprouts!" By 2012 Bell became vegan with her husband after watching the documentary Forks over Knives. During her time in Michigan, Bell fostered animals from Michigan Humane Society and she now supports the San Diego-based Helen Woodward Animal Center. Bell often attends fund raisers for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting animals. She has a Welsh Corgi-Chow Chow mix named Lola, a Welsh Corgi-Chihuahua mix named Shakey, and a black Labrador Retriever named Sadie, who was 11 years old when she was rescued from Hurricane Katrina and adopted by Bell in 2005.
Bell has also become a strong advocate of vaccination. Though initially skeptical she has since stated "I think it's really important to acknowledge that we have something called the herd immunity, where there are people that cannot get immunizations because of autoimmune diseases or cancer treatments,"and that "If we donâ™t get the vaccinations to keep them safe, then they're screwed." Citing scientific research, she shares her belief that it is her duty to not only protect her children, but other children, too - especially those who may suffer from autoimmune diseases or cancer.
She and many of those who worked on Veronica Mars, including personal friend Ryan Hansen, are involved with the charity organization Invisible Children, Inc. The goal of the organization is to create awareness regarding the plight of Northern Ugandans who are caught in the midst of a civil war between the government and Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Bell has also done a public service announcement for Do Something's Healthy Living Campaign. In 2014, Bell launched a Prizeo campaign offering fans a chance to win a date with her in return for donating to Invisible Children.
Bell supported and campaigned for Barack Obama during the 2008 United States presidential election. Along with Rashida Jones, she visited college campuses in Missouri to discuss the candidates and encourage voter registration. Bell showed support for the Writers Guild of America in the writer's strike, appearing in the picket lines in December 2007 stating, "the writers are just looking for some fairness."
She is also an avid fan of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team.
Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2013)
Awards and nominations
Kristen Bell at the Internet Movie Database
Kristen Bell at the Internet Broadway Database
Kristen Bell at AllMovie
Couples Retreat Video Interview at AMCtv.com
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