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|Born||Regina Marie Fischer|
March 07, 1974 (age 43)
|Spouse||James Gunn (m. 2000; div. 2008) Lee Kirk (m. 2010)|
|Parents||Jim Fischer, Anne Fischer|
Regina Marie "Jenna" Fischer (born March 7, 1974) is an American actress. She is widely known for her portrayal of Pam Beesly on the NBC sitcom The Office, for which she received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007.
Since then, Fischer has appeared in various films such as Blades of Glory (2007), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), The Promotion (2008), and Hall Pass (2011) before playing Janice in The Giant Mechanical Man (2012), a film directed by her husband, Lee Kirk. She recently starred as Rhonda McNeil in the NBC's comedy-drama series You, Me and the Apocalypse.
Fischer was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Anne (née Miller), is a history teacher; and her father, James E. "Jim" Fischer, is an engineer. She has one younger sister, Emily, a third grade teacher. She first performed at the age of six, when she participated in an acting workshop taught by her mother at Henry School in St. Louis, a workshop also attended by actor Sean Gunn, with whom she grew up.
Fischer attended Pierremont Elementary School in Manchester, Missouri, and Nerinx Hall High School, a private all-girls Catholic school, in Webster Groves, Missouri. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre, as well as a minor in journalism, from Truman State University, where she originally enrolled as a pre-law history major.
While attending college at Truman State in Missouri, Fischer performed with a touring Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre group.
Upon her move to Los Angeles in 1998, Fischer began performing Commedia dell'arte with the Zoo District Theatre. She was noticed by a talent agent because of her appearance in a musical theater adaptation of the film Nosferatu (1922) with Zoo District Theatre company. This led to her signing a contract with that agent.
Fischer struggled to break into film and television. Her first paying film role was a sex education video for psychiatric patients upon their release from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Three years elapsed from the time she arrived in California until Fischer landed her first televised speaking role. She played the part of a waitress on the television sit-com Spin City in 2001.
Fischer appeared in bit parts in small independent films during her early years in Southern California, including Employee of the Month, Lucky 13, and The Specials.
On television, she performed as a guest on shows including Six Feet Under, That '70s Show, Cold Case, Miss Match, Strong Medicine, Undeclared, What I Like About You, and Off Centre.
While her film career was slowly taking off, Fischer took matters into her own hands, writing, directing and starring in her own mockumentary, LolliLove, her only directing credit. The film co-starred her then-husband James Gunn, as well as friends Linda Cardellini, Judy Greer, Lloyd Kaufman, and Jason Segel. She began participating in The Artist's Way, a self-led creativity seminar in book form. "From doing that book I got this idea... When we started it, it wasn’t even supposed to be a real movie. It was just going to be an improv project for James and I to amuse ourselves with." Utilizing a camera she gave Gunn as a wedding present, she filmed preliminary improvisational interviews with her friends in the faux documentary format that would later bring her fame on The Office. "I really feel it was divine intervention that I chose to work in this medium for a year," she said in an interview. "It was the super best practice I could have ever gotten for the possibility of being on the show."
LolliLove premiered at the St. Louis International Film Festival, the hometown of Fischer and Gunn, in November 2004, and was also shown at the TromaDance Film Festival. For her role in the film, Fischer was awarded a Screen Actors Guild Emerging Actor Award. Despite the film's contribution to her career, she admitted to a St. Louis arts and entertainment magazine that the experience dissuaded her from any future directing:
“ The directing was exhausting and the writing was painful. It was very difficult to direct and star in a movie. We also had a very small crew so I did a lot of things a normal director doesn’t have to do, like make the props and serve lunch. I was simultaneously getting into character, going over my lines, set dressing the next shot, coaching an actor, and brainstorming with my DP [cinematographer]. I’m good at multitasking, but that was too much for me. I couldn’t enjoy any one part the way I would have liked. I think I’ll stick to acting. ”
The Office and feature films
In 2005, after a succession of mostly improvised auditions similar to her LolliLove experience, Fischer landed the role of Pam Beesly on what would become the NBC hit, The Office, based on the original BBC series. Before her initial audition, casting director Allison Jones advised Fischer, "Dare to bore me." Fischer herself spent several years working as a receptionist and administrative assistant in Los Angeles offices, much like her television counterpart, while struggling to achieve success, and thus felt she was well-suited to the role. "I'm so attached to Pam's journey," she told NPR in 2009. "I just love playing this character so, so much." In 2007, she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Soon after The Office premiered, Fischer was focused on the show's success; in an April 2005 interview with her alma mater's student newspaper, she said: "Honestly it would be great to get to play Pam for a long, long time .... I don't have real big aspirations to be a movie star. I would love to be on a long-running hit TV show. You end up playing a defining role." As The Office grew into a success, Fischer's film acting career became more established. In 2006, she co-starred in her then-husband's film, Slither, and in 2007, she filmed supporting roles in The Brothers Solomon, with Will Arnett and Will Forte, Blades of Glory, with Will Ferrell, John Heder, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, alongside John C. Reilly, with whom she co-starred again in 2008's The Promotion, also starring Seann William Scott.
In 2009, Fischer completed filming on the movies Solitary Man and the indie A Little Help, which opened in the summer of 2010 at the Seattle International Film Festival. Also that summer, she completed filming on the Farrelly brothers comedy Hall Pass, which was released in February 2011.
After Fischer moved to Los Angeles, her childhood friend Sean Gunn helped her get a part in a showcase and then introduced her to his brother, screenwriter James Gunn. That small part in a showcase also led to Fischer getting her first manager. Fischer married James Gunn on October 7, 2000. They announced their separation in September 2007. In a June 2008 interview, Fischer confirmed that she and Gunn had finalized their divorce. They remain friends, and in 2010 Fischer helped Gunn with casting her The Office co-star Rainn Wilson in Gunn's film Super.
In June 2009, Fischer's engagement to screenwriter Lee Kirk was announced, and they married on July 3, 2010. Fischer and Kirk announced her pregnancy with their first child in May 2011. On September 24, 2011, Fischer gave birth to their son, named Weston Lee Kirk. Fischer gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Harper Marie Kirk, on May 25, 2014.
Fischer is passionate about animal rescue, and she is involved with the Los Angeles organizations Kitten Rescue and Rescue Rover. Before The Office, she worked for three years doing hands-on rescue work for the organizations. She regularly fosters cats and hosted Kitten Rescue's annual Fur Ball Gala in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
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