Jenna Fischer

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Jenna Fischer
Fischer in May 2008
BornRegina Marie Fischer
(1974-03-07) March 7, 1974 (age 40)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
OccupationActress, director
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)James Gunn (2000–2008)
Lee Kirk (2010–present)
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Jenna Fischer
Fischer in May 2008
BornRegina Marie Fischer
(1974-03-07) March 7, 1974 (age 40)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
OccupationActress, director
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)James Gunn (2000–2008)
Lee Kirk (2010–present)

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 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, United States, 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][better source needed] Fischer has one younger sister, Emily, a third grade teacher.[4] 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.[5]

Fischer attended Pierremont Elementary School in Manchester, Missouri, and Nerinx Hall High School, a private all-girls Catholic school, in Webster Groves, Missouri.[3][better source needed] 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.[6]


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[7] 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.[8] 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".[9] In a Myspace blog written specifically to advise actors beginning their own career,[10] she explained that it took three years before landing her first televised speaking role, a part on Spin City.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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


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."[13] 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."[14]

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.[15] Despite the film's contribution to her career, she admitted to a St. Louis arts and entertainment magazine[16] that the experience dissuaded her from any future directing:

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."[17] 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.[3][better source needed] "I'm so attached to Pam's journey," she told NPR in 2009. "I just love playing this character so, so much."[17] She received a Primetime Emmy Award[18] 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."[6] 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.[19]

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.[20]

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.[citation needed]

In March 2010, Fischer 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.[21]

Fischer was named an official spokeswoman for Proactiv Skincare Solutions in 2009[22] and was announced as the voice behind the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Grilled Cheese Academy website[23] 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.[24]

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 modeling at The Heart Truth Fashion Show 2008

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.[6] That small part in a showcase also led to Fischer getting her first manager.[6] Fischer married James Gunn on October 7, 2000.[25] They announced their separation in September 2007.[26] In a June 2008 interview, Fischer confirmed that she and Gunn had finalized their divorce.[27]

Fischer's engagement to screenwriter Lee Kirk was announced in June 2009.[28][29] Fischer and Kirk married on July 3, 2010,[30][31] and have two children: a son born in 2011 and a daughter born in 2014.[32][33][34] [35]

Fischer is passionate about animal rescue, and she is involved with the Los Angeles organizations Kitten Rescue and Rescue Rover.[36] Before The Office, she worked for three years doing hands-on rescue work for the organizations.[37] She regularly fosters cats and hosted Kitten Rescue's annual silent auction in 2008, 2009, and 2010.[38]



1998Channel 493Rane
1998Born ChampionWendy Miller
2002Les superficialesBitchy French girlShort film
2003Doggie Tales, Vol. 1: Lucky's First SleepoverKelsey (voice)Video
2004Employee of the MonthWhisper
2004Women, TheThe WomenLeslieShort film
2004LolliLoveJenna Gunn
2005The 40-Year-Old VirginWoman #1uncredited
2007Blades of GloryKatie Van Waldenberg
2007Brothers Solomon, TheThe Brothers SolomonMichelle
2007Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox StoryDarlene Madison
2008Promotion, TheThe PromotionJen Stauber
2009Solitary ManSusan Porter
2010Little Help, AA Little HelpLaura Pehlke
2011Hall PassMaggie
2012Giant Mechanical Man, TheThe Giant Mechanical ManJanice
2013Are You HereAlli
2014Kiss MeVera


2001UndeclaredBettyEpisode: "Sick in the Head"
2002Off CentreMelanieEpisode: "The Backup"
2002What I Like About YouKimEpisode: "Copy That"
2003Strong MedicineCamille FreemontEpisode: "Maternal Mirrors"
2003Miss MatchConnieEpisode: "Kate in Ex-tasy"
2004Cold CaseDottie (in 1943)Episode: "Factory Girls"
2005That '70s ShowStacy WanamakerEpisode: "Don't Lie to Me"
2005Six Feet UnderSharon KinneyEpisodes: "A Coat of White Primer", "Dancing for Me"
2005–13Office, TheThe OfficePam BeeslyMain role (187 episodes)
2012Dan Vs.Amber (voice)Episode: "Dan Vs. Anger Management"

Awards and nominations[edit]

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


  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 c "Fischer's biography". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  4. ^ "Georgia L. Stosberg Fischer Obituary: View Georgia Fischer's Obituary by St. Louis Post-Dispatch". 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  5. ^ St. Louisan Jenna Fischer is more than ready for "The Office", Post-Dispatch Television Critic, Thursday, Mar. 24 2005
  6. ^ a b c d "Alumna works in "The Office" on NBC". Truman State University Index. April 7, 2005. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Myspace". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  9. ^ "Jenna Fischer, Keeping It Real at 'The Office'". NPR. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  10. ^ a b "Myspace". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  11. ^ A March 15, 2006 article by Jenelle Riley in Entertainment News Wire
  12. ^ Brown, August. "Entertainment - entertainment, movies, tv, music, celebrity, Hollywood - -". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  13. ^ "JAMES GUNN & JENNA FISCHER – tastes like chicken". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ [3][dead link]
  16. ^ "The LolliLove Interview: Jenna Fischer". 2005-12-16. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  17. ^ a b "Jenna Fischer, Keeping It Real at 'The Office'". NPR. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  18. ^ "Jenna Fischer | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  19. ^ [4][dead link]
  20. ^ "SERIAL KILLERS - Darque Magick". Sacred Fools. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  21. ^ "Nerinx - AuctioNerinx". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  22. ^ [5][dead link]
  23. ^ "Jenna Fischer narrates Grilled Cheese Academy". OfficeTally. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  24. ^ "Jenna Fischer and husband Lee Kirk revive play 'Sad Happy Sucker'". 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  25. ^ "The Office Cast Biographies - Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  26. ^ "Office actress Fischer, husband separate". Reuters. 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  27. ^ [6][dead link]
  28. ^ Wang, Cynthia (2013-01-14). "The Office Star Jenna Fischer Is Engaged - Engagements, Jenna Fischer". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  29. ^ "Jenna Fischer engaged!". OfficeTally. Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  30. ^ "Jenna Fischer Weds Lee Kirk". National Ledger. July 5, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Jenna Fischer marries; newlywed Megan Fox returns home". USA Today. July 5, 2010. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Baby News: Jenna Fischer Gives Birth". Entertainment Tonight. 3 October 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  34. ^ Christie D'Zurilla (3 October 2011). "Jenna Fischer of 'The Office' has a new baby son". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ Harrington, Maureen. Jenna Fischer: 'A Little' Crazy About Cats, People, September 12, 2008.
  37. ^ "a 2008 Myspace blog entry by Fischer". Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  38. ^ "Jenna Fischer Hosts Fur Ball". 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 

External links[edit]