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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Who is Keri Lynn Russell?


Who is Keri Lynn Russell? is a Jewish American[1] actress and dancer. After appearing in a number of made-for-television films and series during the mid-1990s, she came to fame for portraying the title role of Felicity Porter on the hit series Felicity, which ran from 1998 to 2002, and for which she won a Golden Globe Award. Russell has since appeared in several films, including We Were Soldiers, The Upside of Anger, Mission: Impossible III, Waitress, and August Rush.

Russell was born March 23, 1976 in Fountain Valley, California, the daughter of Stephanie (née Stephens), a homemaker, and David Russell, a Nissan Motors executive.[2] She has an older brother, Todd, and a younger sister, Julie. Russell grew up in Coppell, Texas, Mesa, Arizona and Highlands Ranch, Colorado, moving frequently because of her father's employment. Though she is known for her acting these days, she started out at Starstruck dance studio in a suburb of Denver, and it was her dancing, not her acting that earned her a spot on the Mickey Mouse Club subsequently starting her a career.
Russell first appeared on television as a cast member of the New Mickey Mouse Club variety show on the Disney Channel. She was on the show from 1991 to 1993 and co-starred with future pop stars Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling.[3] In 1992, she appeared in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid alongside Rick Moranis and in 1993 had a role on the sitcom Boy Meets World as Mr. Feeny's niece. Keri had an appearance on Married with Children as April Adams in - Radio Free Trumaine 1995 episode. Russell subsequently starred in several film and television roles, including the 1996 made-for-television film The Babysitter's Seduction. She also had a role on the short-lived soap opera series Malibu Shores the same year. In 1994, she appeared in Bon Jovi's music video "Always" with Jack Noseworthy and on Married… with Children. In 1997, she appeared in two episodes of Roar alongside Heath Ledger.


From 1998 to 2002, Russell starred as the title character on the successful WB Network series Felicity; she won a Golden Globe for the role in 1999. Russell's long and curly hair was one of her character's defining characteristics, and a drastic hairstyle change at the beginning of the show's second season was considered to be the cause of a significant drop in the show's television ratings.[4] As a result, new policies were enacted at the network requiring hairstyle changes by cast to be approved by the network's executives. Felicity 's ratings drop also coincided with the show's move to a Sunday night time slot, so it is unclear exactly how much effect the hairstyle change actually had. During the show's run, Russell appeared in the films Eight Days a Week, The Curve and Mad About Mambo, all of which received only limited releases in North America. Her next role was in the film We Were Soldiers, playing the wife of an American serviceman. The film was released in March 2002, two months before the end of Felicity's run.





In 2005, several reports claimed that Russell was set to adopt Scientology, after working with actor Tom Cruise, who is a Scientologist, on Mission: Impossible III. Russell's representative subsequently threatened to sue the reporter who first made the claim. Stories about the incident had noted that Russell is of Jewish heritage and religion; older reports, which had originally suggested her conversion to Scientology, had mentioned that she was once a member of the Mormon church.

When Felicity ended, Russell took a break from acting. She moved to New York City and took two years off to avoid the business of Hollywood, spending time with friends. Russell subsequently made her off-Broadway stage debut in 2004, appearing opposite Jeremy Piven, Andrew McCarthy, and Ashlie Atkinson in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig.[5] In 2005, she returned to television and film, beginning with an appearance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie The Magic of Ordinary Days, theatrical film The Upside of Anger (alongside Kevin Costner, Joan Allen and Evan Rachel Wood), and the television miniseries Into the West.

Although a number of her Felicity co-stars went on to appear in producer J. J. Abrams' series, Alias, Russell declined invitations to be part of the show. In a seminar at the Museum of Television and Radio, Abrams said, "I've asked Keri if she would ever do it, and I usually get this, sort of like, giggle — and then she hangs up". In 2005, Abrams asked Russell to join the cast of Mission: Impossible III, a film he directed, and she accepted. The film was released on May 5, 2006. In the summer of 2006, Russell was chosen to be a celebrity spokeswoman for CoverGirl Cosmetics. Before she was in Mission Impossible: III she was screen tested for the role of Lois Lane in Superman Returns but lost the role to Kate Bosworth, with whom she is co-starring in The Girl in the Park.

She taped two episodes as a guest character on the NBC show Scrubs in 2007. She played Melody, a sorority sister and good friend of Elliot Reid (played by Sarah Chalke). The first episode aired on April 26, and the second on May 3. She starred in Waitress, a well-reviewed independent film in which she plays Jenna, a pregnant waitress in the American South; it was the fourth film in a row in which Russell had played a pregnant woman.[6] The film opened on May 4, 2007 and Russell's performance was positively received by critics,[7] with Michael Sragow of The Baltimore Sun writing that Russell's performance had "aesthetic character" and "welds tenderness and fierceness with quiet heat".[8] In the summer of 2007, Russell appeared in The Keri Kronicles, a reality show/sitcom sponsored by CoverGirl and airing on MySpace; the show was filmed at Russell's home in Manhattan and spotlighted her life.[7]

Russell next appeared in August Rush, a drama released in November 2007. She also appeared on the cover of the New York Post's Page Six magazine on November 11, 2007. She has completed roles in Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story (titled Rohtenburg for its German release), in which she plays Katie Armstrong, a graduate student who writes a thesis paper on an infamous cannibal murder case, and the thriller The Girl in the Park, opposite Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth and Alessandro Nivola.

Russell recently appeared in Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler playing the lead.[9] In an appearance on The View on December 15, 2008, Russell said she got the part because Sandler's wife Jackie had seen Russell in Waitress and suggested her for the movie.

Russell portrayed Wonder Woman in a direct-to-video animated feature released March 3, 2009.[10]

Russell has signed to star alongside Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford in the Tom Vaughan-helmed untitled Crowley project for CBS Films. The drama, which starts lensing 6 April 2009, will be the first film to go into production for the new company. Russell will play Aileen Crowley, a mother who tries to build a normal home life for her sick children while her husband, John (Fraser), and an unconventional scientist (Ford) race against time to find a cure. Robert Nelson Jacobs (The Water Horse) penned the screenplay, which was inspired by a Wall Street Journal article and subsequent book, The Cure, by Geeta Anand. Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher are producing alongside Carla Shamberg. Ford is an executive producer.[11]


In 2005, several reports claimed that Russell was set to adopt Scientology, after working with actor Tom Cruise, who is a Scientologist, on Mission: Impossible III. Russell's representative subsequently threatened to sue the reporter who first made the claim. Stories about the incident had noted that Russell is of Jewish heritage;[12][13] older reports, which had originally suggested her conversion to Scientology, had mentioned that she was once a member of the Mormon church.[14]

As of 2007, Russell resides in Brooklyn.[15][16]

Russell and Shane Deary, a carpenter she met through mutual friends,[6] became engaged in 2006 and were married on February 14, 2007 in New York.[17]

Russell gave birth to a boy, named River Russell Deary, on June 9, 2007 in New York.[18] Russell had a midwife-assisted hospital birth;[19] she has described her pregnancy experience as "real great and easy".[20]

She also dated Felicity co-star Scott Speedman during the show's run. She also dated her Mickey Mouse Club and Malibu Shores co-star Tony Lucca who accompanied her to the Golden Globe and Emmy awards in 1999.

She still remains friends with a handful of her Mickey Mouse Club costars, including Ilana Miller, who she took to the 1999 MTV Movie Awards, and Lindsey Alley, who she mentioned on the red carpet of the Oscar ceremony in 2008.

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