- Kristen Anne Bell
July 18, 1980 (age 40)
- Actor, Voice Actor
- Dax Shepard (m. 2013)
- Tom Bell, Lorelei Bell
Kristen Anne Bell (born July 18, 1980) is an American actress and singer. She began her acting career starring in stage productions and attended the Tisch School of Arts in New York. In 2001, she made her Broadway debut as Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and starred in the Broadway revival of The Crucible the following year. In 2004, she had a supporting role in the film Spartan and received praise for her first leading performance in Gracie's Choice.
Bell gained critical acclaim for her first major role as the title character in the teen noir drama television series Veronica Mars (2004–07). For her performance she awarded a Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television. She reprised the eponymous role in the 2014 film continuation of the series. 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 musical upon which the film was based. In 2007, Bell joined the cast of the sci-fi series Heroes, playing the character Elle Bishop, for which she was nominated for a Saturn Award.
In 2008, she had her breakout film role as the title character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She has since appeared in a number of comedy films, such as Couples Retreat (2009), When in Rome (2010), and You Again (2010). Bell garnered further recognition for voicing Princess Anna in the 2013 Disney film Frozen and the 2015 short film Frozen Fever. She also starred as the female lead on the Showtime series House of Lies. Bell married actor Dax Shepard in 2013, with whom she has two daughters.
Early life and family
Kristen Anne Bell was born on July 18, 1980 and was raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Her mother, Lorelei (née 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. Her mother is of Polish Jewish descent and her father has German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry.
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 New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, majoring in musical theater. In 2001, during her senior year, Bell left a few credits shy of graduating to take a role in the Broadway musical version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
1992–2003: 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.
2004–06: 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 anti-establishment high school student/detective. Bell drew on the parallels between the character of Veronica and her own life, since Bell's parents had divorced and her best friend had also died. The series earned acclaim from television critics, as did Bell's performance. Some critics asserted that her performance was overlooked, and deserved consideration for an Emmy Award.
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.""
2007–2011: Film breakthrough
Veronica Mars continued on UPN for a second season; for the third season, the show was renewed and appeared 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. A 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 voiced interest in appearing on Heroes because she was a fan. 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." Meanwhile, there were discussions about a role on Lost, but Bell 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 into 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 a starring role as the title character in the Judd Apatow comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She regarded the improvisational comedy in the film as "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 schedules 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 the slasher horror film, Scream 4, which was released on April 15, 2011.
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 25—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".
In 2007, Bell ended a five-year relationship with former fiancé Kevin Mann. She later told Complex magazine that dating "makes me want to vomit. And not out of grossness—OK, a little bit out of grossness, but just nerves... 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 2010 film When In Rome and 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).