Jenna Fischer

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Jenna Fischer
Jenna Fischer4.jpg
Fischer at The Heart Truth Fashion Show, February 2008
BornRegina Marie Fischer
(1974-03-07) March 7, 1974 (age 39)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
OccupationActress, director
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)James Gunn (2000–2008)
Lee Kirk (2010–present)
Children1
 
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Jenna Fischer
Jenna Fischer4.jpg
Fischer at The Heart Truth Fashion Show, February 2008
BornRegina Marie Fischer
(1974-03-07) March 7, 1974 (age 39)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
OccupationActress, director
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)James Gunn (2000–2008)
Lee Kirk (2010–present)
Children1

Regina Marie "Jenna" Fischer (born March 7, 1974)[1] is an American actress and director. She is known for her Emmy-nominated[2] portrayal of Pam Halpert (née Beesly) on the NBC situation comedy The Office. She has also appeared in several films, including Blades of Glory, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Promotion, and Hall Pass.

Early life[edit]

Fischer was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and was raised in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Anne (née Miller), is a history teacher, and her father, James E. "Jim" Fischer, is a plastics engineer.[3] Fischer has one younger sister, Emily, a third grade teacher.[4][5] Fischer 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.[3][6]

Fischer attended Pierremont Elementary School in Manchester, Missouri, and Nerinx Hall High School, a private all-girls Catholic school, in Webster Groves, Missouri.[7] 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.[8][9]

Career[edit]

Career development[edit]

Fischer first began her career working in professional theatre. While attending college in Missouri, she performed with a touring Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre group[10] and, upon her move to Los Angeles, began performing Commedia dell'arte with the Zoo District Theatre. Her performance in the company's musical adaptation of the film Nosferatu led to her first agent.[11] However, she struggled to break into film and television, telling NPR that her first paying film job was a "sex education video for [psychiatric] patients upon their release from UCLA Medical Center".[12] In a Myspace blog written specifically to advise actors beginning their own career,[13] she explained that it took three years before landing her first televised speaking role, a part on Spin City.[13]

She continued to spend the next few years of her career appearing in bit parts in small indie films, such as Employee of the Month, Lucky 13, and The Specials, as well as guest spots on the television shows Six Feet Under, That '70s Show, Cold Case, Miss Match, Strong Medicine, Undeclared, What I Like About You, and Off Centre.

Fischer appeared in friend Peter Alton's 2002 short subject film Les Superficiales. Fischer met Alton at the Zoo District Theatre group, and he later co-wrote and narrated her self-produced film, Lollilove.[14] In 2003, she held a starring role in The Girl's Guide to Summer, a 2003 Instant Films short (a competition similar to the nationally held 48 Hour Film Project, only based in Los Angeles) directed by Instant Film's co-founder (and camera operator) Charles Papert.[15]

Fischer in March 2009, at the Inside The Office panel discussion at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Lollilove[edit]

While her film career was slowly taking off, Fischer took matters into her own hands, writing, directing and starring in her own mockumentary, LolliLove. The film co-starred her now ex-husband James Gunn, as well as friends Linda Cardellini, Judy Greer, Lloyd Kaufman and Jason Segel. "I wasn't working much, getting little guest-star roles months away from each other," Fischer explained in 2006. 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."[16] 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 best practice I could have ever gotten for the possibility of being on the show."[17]

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.[18] Despite the film's contribution to her career, she admitted to a St. Louis arts and entertainment magazine[19] 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[edit]

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."[20] 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.[21] "I'm so attached to Pam's journey," she told NPR in 2009. "I just love playing this character so, so much."[20] She received a Primetime Emmy Award[22] nomination in 2007.

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."[8] 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, and Amy Poehler, 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.

Other work[edit]

Fischer appeared on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2006, participating in the show's eighth tournament, shot in New Orleans, Louisiana, and playing for Catholic Charities' Tsunami Relief.

In 2007 Fischer starred in the music video for Willie Wisely's single "Through Any Window", directed by longtime friend John Cabrera; the opportunity arose because she knew Wisely from work he had done on soundtracks for LolliLove and Tromeo and Juliet, one of her husband's films.[23]

In December of the same year, during the Hollywood writer's strike, Fischer appeared at Sacred Fools Theater Company in episode 25 of Darque Magick, a serialized play written and directed by Jenelle Riley.[24]

In July 2009, Fischer played left field for the National League team in the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game as part of the MLB All-Star Week festivities, held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, where she grew up.[25] In March 2010, she returned to the area to co-chair an annual auction for Nerinx Hall High School, her alma mater. At the event, she auctioned off a set visit to The Office and multiple autographed props from the show.[26]

Fischer was named an official spokeswoman for Proactiv Skincare Solutions in 2009[27] and was announced as the voice behind the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Grilled Cheese Academy website[28] in 2010.

Fischer was named as producer of the mid-August through October 2010 run of the critically acclaimed play Sad Happy Sucker, written by her husband Lee Kirk and directed by friend Sean Gunn. The play previously ran as a theatre workshop in February and March 2007.[29]

After finishing The Office, Fischer starred in the Off-Broadway play Reasons to Be Happy, written and directed by Neil LaBute, which ran from May to June 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Fischer in May 2008

Fischer met screenwriter James Gunn, her first husband, after she graduated from Truman State and moved to Los Angeles; her childhood friend Sean Gunn, James' brother, introduced them after he helped her get a part in a showcase.[8] That small part in a showcase also led to her getting her first manager.[8] On October 7, 2000, Fischer married James Gunn.[30] Fischer announced her separation from Gunn in September 2007.[31] In a June 2008 radio interview during the publicity tour of The Promotion, she confirmed that the divorce from Gunn had been finalized.[32]

In the summer of 2009, People magazine reported her engagement to screenwriter Lee Kirk.[33] Fischer confirmed this publicly on her MySpace page.[34] The couple married on July 3, 2010.[35][36]

In May 2007, while attending the NBC upfronts for her role in The Office, Fischer suffered a traumatic injury after falling down a flight of stairs in a Manhattan lounge, fracturing her back in four places. She was taken via ambulance to a Manhattan hospital and spent several weeks after in a New York City hotel before she was finally cleared by her doctor to fly to Los Angeles.[37] After a twelve-week recovery, she returned to the set in time for the fourth season's first episode.

Fischer is passionate about animal rescue, and she is involved with the Los Angeles organizations Kitten Rescue and Rescue Rover.[38] Before The Office, she worked for three years doing hands-on rescue work for the organizations.[39] She still regularly fosters cats and has hosted Kitten Rescue's annual silent auction three years in a row (in 2008, 2009, and 2010).[40]

Fischer maintains a MySpace blog and a Twitter page detailing her experiences on The Office[41][42] and is the godmother of co-star Angela Kinsey's daughter Isabel.[43]

On September 24, 2011, Fischer gave birth to a son, Weston Lee Kirk.[44][45]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1998Born ChampionWendy Miller
Channel 493Rane
2000The SpecialsCollege Girl
2001Picking Up Chicks With Harland WilliamsDog walkerShort film
2002Les SuperficailsFrench Girl
2003Melvin Goes to DinnerHostess
Doggie Tails Vol.1: Lucky's First SleepoverKelsey
Rubbing CharlieUncredited
2004Employee of the MonthWhisper
The WomenLeslieShort film
LolliLoveJennaCo-writer and director
2005The 40-Year-Old VirginWoman #1Background in a bar scene
Lucky 13Sorority Girl
2006SlitherShelby Cunningham
2007Blades of GloryKatie Van Waldenberg
The Brothers SolomonMichelle
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox StoryDarlene Madison CoxSinging by Angela Correa
2008The PromotionJen Stauber
2009Official RejectionHerselfDocumentary
Solitary ManSusan
2010A Little HelpLaura
2011Hall PassMaggie Mills
2012The Giant Mechanical ManJanice

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
2001Spin CityWaitressEpisode "A Shot in the Dark: Part 2"
UndeclaredSorority Girl
Betty
Episodes: "Prototype"
"Sick in the Head"
2002Off CentreMelanieEpisode: "The Backup"
What I Like About YouKimEpisode: "Copy That"
2003Strong MedicineCamille FreemontEpisode: "Maternity"
Miss MatchConnieEpisode: "Kate in Ex-tasy"
2004Cold CaseDottie 1943Episode: "Factory Girls"
2005That '70s ShowStacy WanamakerEpisode: "Don't Lie to Me"
Six Feet UnderSharon KinneyEpisodes: "A Coat of White Primer", "Dancing for Me"[46]
2005–13The OfficePam Halpert(née Beesly)152 Episodes
2007Studio 60 on the Sunset StripHerselfEpisode: "Breaking News"
2012Dan Vs.AmberEpisode: "Anger Management"

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearNominated workAwardCategoryResult
2004
LolliLove
St. Louis International Film FestivalScreen Actors Guild Emerging Actor AwardWon
2005TromaDance Film FestivalIndependent Soul Award (as director)Won
2007
The Office
Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesWon
2008Won
Golden NymphOutstanding Actress in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2009Nominated
Teen Choice AwardChoice TV: Comedy ActressNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2010Nominated
Golden NymphOutstanding Actress in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Herself
Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis AwardOutstanding Achievement in FilmWon
2011
The Office
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesNominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brady, James (2007-11-21). "In Step With...Jenna Fischer". Parade Magazine. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  2. ^ Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Comedy Series List of Primetime Emmy Award Nominees
  3. ^ a b Fischer's biography at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Jenna Fischer – IMDb
  5. ^ "Georgia L. Stosberg Fischer Obituary: View Georgia Fischer's Obituary by St. Louis Post-Dispatch". Legacy.com. 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  6. ^ St. Louisan Jenna Fischer is more than ready for "The Office", Post-Dispatch Television Critic, Thursday, Mar. 24 2005
  7. ^ IMDB Biography, IMDB
  8. ^ a b c d "Alumna works in "The Office" on NBC". Truman State University Index. April 7, 2005. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  9. ^ Jenna Fischer Interview[dead link] from findarticles.com
  10. ^ Jenna Fischer on A Little Help, Dinner Theatre, and Breaking the Pam Mold, a 2010 interview
  11. ^ "Myspace". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  12. ^ "Jenna Fischer, Keeping It Real at 'The Office'". NPR. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  13. ^ a b "Myspace". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  14. ^ A March 15, 2006 article by Jenelle Riley in Entertainment News Wire
  15. ^ Quick shoot artists, an August 2003 article from the Los Angeles Times (includes a 3660053.realvideo?coll=cl-home-top-bllurb-right link to the film itself)
  16. ^ "JAMES GUNN & JENNA FISCHER – tastes like chicken". Tlchicken.com. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ [2][dead link]
  19. ^ The LolliLove Interview: Jenna Fischer (December 2005), from an arts and entertainment magazine in St. Louis
  20. ^ a b [3] NPR Interview: Jenna Fischer, Keeping it Real at The Office
  21. ^ [4] Internet Movie Database Biography, Jenna Fischer
  22. ^ Jenna Fischer Emmy Award Winner
  23. ^ Willie Wisely & Jenna Fischer: Kodak Moment from Harp (magazine)
  24. ^ Darque Magick from the Sacred Fools Theater Company website
  25. ^ Official List of St. Louis Game Participants[dead link]
  26. ^ AuctioNerinx from the Nerinx Hall High School website
  27. ^ Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, Jenna Fischer Get Proactiv a January 13, 2010 blog entry from AOL's Stylelist.com
  28. ^ "Jenna Fischer narrates Grilled Cheese Academy". OfficeTally. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  29. ^ [5]'Sad Happy Sucker', play wesite. Retrieved 2010.
  30. ^ Jenna Fischer Biography at NBC's The Office website
  31. ^ Office actress Fischer, husband separate (September 2007), Reuters.
  32. ^ WMMR Interview (June 2008)
  33. ^ The Office Star Jenna Fischer Is Engaged, a July 6, 2009 article from People magazine
  34. ^ Jenna Fischer Engaged, a July 6, 2009 entry on the Officetally fansite
  35. ^ "Jenna Fischer Weds Lee Kirk". National Ledger. July 5, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Jenna Fischer marries; newlywed Megan Fox returns home". USA Today. July 5, 2010. 
  37. ^ "a 2007 Myspace entry by Fischer". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  38. ^ Harrington, Maureen. Jenna Fischer: 'A Little' Crazy About Cats, People, 12 September 2008.
  39. ^ "a 2008 Myspace blog entry by Fischer". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  40. ^ "Jenna Fischer Hosts Fur Ball". Looktothestars.org. 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  41. ^ Jenna Fischer on Myspace
  42. ^ Jenna Fischer on Twitter
  43. ^ IMDB: Jenna Fischer, IMDB
  44. ^ "Baby News: Jenna Fischer Gives Birth". Entertainment Tonight. 3 October 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  45. ^ Christie D'Zurilla (3 October 2011). "Jenna Fischer of 'The Office' has a new baby son". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  46. ^ Jenna Fischer from IMDB

External links[edit]