Ellen Pompeo: Snapshot

Ellen Pompeo
Date of Birth
November 10, 1969
Birth Place
Everett, Mass.
Before landing the title role of angsty heroine Meredith Grey on TV's megahit Grey's Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo was merely that familiar face fans of Friends, Law & Order and Old School would look up on IMDB.

Today, the late bloomer – she got a Golden Globe nod at 37 – is a household name and half (with costar Patrick Dempsey) of one of television's most-watched couples. Off screen, Pompeo has her own McDreamy, husband Chris Ivery, with whom she welcomed her first child, Stella.

Ellen Pompeo: Five Fun Facts

  1. On her first day playing Leonardo DiCaprio's lover in Catch Me If You Can, Ellen Pompeo "had to have a simulated sex scene," she told the Chicago Tribune. "I can't say it was difficult, but it was a little awkward – sex with Leo on my first day."
  2. When asked what famous woman would she like to make out with, Ellen Pompeo said, "Ooh! Angelina Jolie. She's gorgeous. Or Sandra Oh."
  3. Before working with Ellen Pompeo in 2002's Moonlight Mile, Jake Gyllenhaal hit on her. "He wasn't Jake Gyllenhaal then," she told Playboy. "I didn't know what else to say, because he'd come over with these compliments and he's much younger than I am. I just said, 'Well maybe we'll work together someday'."
  4. Ellen Pompeo was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher in 2005. The set-up: A sexy waitress hit on her boyfriend, Chris Ivery, and he tipped her $200 on Pompeo's credit card. Pompeo's reaction: she threatened to gouge the waitress with a fork.
  5. Ellen Pompeo isn't impressed with her newfound fame. "I don't find acting to be a particularly noble way to make a living," she told PEOPLE. "I'm not saving anybody's life, I'm not a teacher, I'm not working for UNICEF. I don't think I'm some big deal."

Ellen Pompeo: Biography

mid 1990s

Ellen Pompeo

A Bar Discovery

After meeting boyfriend, fashion photographer Andrew Rosenthal, and serving cocktails in Miami for more than two years, Pompeo moves to New York City, where she is discovered by a casting director. "Where I come from, you don't just say, 'Oh, I'm going to become an actor,'" Pompeo tells PEOPLE. "Talk like that and they think you're crazy." She quickly lands her first gig in a L'Oreal commercial, quits bartending, and makes her TV acting debut on NBC's Law & Order.


Ellen Pompeo

October 04

Playing Jake's Girl

After years of making guest appearances on TV series and mediocre indie films, Pompeo makes a memorable turn as Jake Gyllenhaal's sympathetic love interest in the drama Moonlight Mile (right). That same year, she portrays Leonardo DiCaprio's lover in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can.


Ellen Pompeo

February 21

On the Chopping Block

Pompeo appears with Luke Wilson (left) and Vince Vaughn in the wildly successful comedy, Old School. Although she's cast as Ben Affleck's secretary in Daredevil and Jim Carrey's girlfriend in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, most, if not all, of her scenes are left on the cutting room floor. "I got completely cut out of [Eternal Sunshine] but got so much affirmation to be hired," she tells Allure.

Read More on Ellen Pompeo's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Splash News Online; Everett Collection; Everett Collection

Edited by Julia Wang

Ellen Pompeo

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