Keri Russell: Snapshot

Name
Keri Russell
Date of Birth
March 23, 1976
Birth Place
Fountain Valley, Calif.
Before Felicity even premiered, Keri Russell was hailed as TV's next "It" girl. With her head of lush ringlets and her intriguing take on the title character, the 22-year-old rookie made the coming-of-age college drama a hit. She even won a Best Actress Golden Globe before making headlines with a haircut that chopped ratings.

Post-Felicity, the former Disney Mouseketeer retreated to New York to break from her star-making role. She took supporting turns in Neil Labute's Fat Pig off-Broadway, the Sundance hit The Upside of Anger, and Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible 3. In 2007, Russell made audiences laugh and weep as a Southern pregnant pie-maker in the indie hit Waitress, before returning to television in the short-lived Running Wilde and later, FX's The Americans.

The former CoverGirl spokeswoman married contractor Shane Deary, with whom she has two children, in 2007, but the couple called it quits nearly seven years later.

Keri Russell: Five Fun Facts

  1. Keri Russell appeared in Bon Jovi's hit music video "Always". "I was recently in a movie theater, and this young kid in the front was like 'Are you the girl in the green bra in the Bon Jovi video?'" Russell recalled to Fox News in 2009. "I could have died."
  2. After cutting her hair for the second season of Felicity ratings declined for the show. "It must have been a boring year to have so many people worried about my hair," Keri Russell told the New York Times in 2004.
  3. Keri Russell's first meeting with Mission: Impossible 3 costar Tom Cruise involved a hula hoop contest at director J.J. Abrams' house.
  4. On Felicity, Keri Russell's character goes to the fictional University of New York. She was originally slated to attend New York University, but the college declined to lend its name to the show, wary of issues such as drugs and suicide being covered.
  5. At her first press junket for Felicity, Keri Russell was reminded of her less than stellar TV resume. "Literally the first question from this guy to me was, 'Keri, you've done some real low-quality projects...'" she told the Los Angeles Times. "It was like the worst experience."

Keri Russell: Biography

1991

Keri Russell

Mouseketeering

After years of studying jazz, tap and ballet, Keri Russell, the daughter of Nissan Motor executive David and Stephanie, is cast in The New Mickey Mouse Club (left). On the Disney Channel series, she begins dating costar Tony Lucca, and works with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. Russell is also cast in Disney's sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.

1993

Keri Russell

Rocky Road After Disney

At 17, Russell moves to L.A. alone to pursue an acting career, but takes less than stellar roles, like the NBC TV movie The Babysitter's Seduction. "I was really discouraged with what was out there," she tells the Los Angeles Times in 1998. At 19, she lands a high profile starring role in Aaron Spelling's series Malibu Shores. "I never thought it would be picked up," Russell says of the series that costars boyfriend Tony Lucca (right). "It was cheesy, but it was fine for where I was in my life."

1998

Keri Russell

January 01

Russell is Felicity

Russell, 22, is cast as the title role of Felicity Porter in J.J. Abrams' new WB coming-of-age college drama. "My first reaction was 'Damn, she's beautiful! There's no way in hell she can work!'" Abrams recalls to EW. "But she was incredibly accessible and had an amazing sense of humor – a thing most people missed from the script." The pilot, which opens with Russell talking into a tape recorder, receives raves. The Chicago Daily Herald says, " Russell, of course, is the key. She has good looks right out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting...More important, as an actress, she has a way of letting emotions ripple across her face."

Read More on Keri Russell's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Charley Gallay/Getty

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Everett Collection; Everett Collection

Edited by Julia Wang

Keri Russell

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