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Fans who were won over by Kristen Bell's breakout role as feisty, teen detective-in-training "Veronica Mars" (UPN, 2004- 07) might have been surprised to know that the young actress' roots were in musical theater. She had already appeared on Broadway twice when she was cast in the lead of the critically acclaimed TV series. She went on to prove even more versatility in a campy Showtime adaptation of "Reefer Madness: The Musical" (2005) and another regular primetime role playing an unusually gifted but mentally unstable woman on the sci-fi phenomenon, "Heroes" (NBC, 2006- ). kristen bell leiakristen bell bikinikristen bell slipkristen bell oopskristen bell legs.
 
While Bell's fledgling film career included brief dips into horror and little-seen indie comedy, a leading role in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) launched her romantic comedy career and bumped up her status to big league Hollywood films, where her self-possessed demeanor, quick wit and dark edge made her a film and TV star simultaneously.

Born July 18, 1980, Bell was raised in a suburb of Detroit, MI. She fell in love with performing at a very early age, and landed onstage in a local production at age 11. By age 13, she had secured an agent and was appearing in print advertising for local retailers; eventually working her way up to local television commercials. Theater continued to be a passion, and while attending the Shrine Catholic High School in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, she played Dorothy in a school production of
 
"The Wizard of Oz," as well as appeared in other musicals like "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Lady Be Good." Her big screen debut came in the form of an uncredited appearance in the indie comedy "Polish Wedding" (1998), which was filmed in Detroit. With her sights firmly set on an acting career, Bell went on to study musical theater at New York University's Tisch School for the Arts. In 2001, while still a student, she made her Broadway debut playing Becky Thatcher in a musical version of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." She also appeared off-Broadway in an adaptation of the legendary 1930s public service announcement film, "Reefer Madness: The Musical," in the lead role of Mary Lane.

Back on Broadway, Bell was cast in the revival of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" in 2002, alongside Laura Linney and Liam Neeson. With her impressive resume of stage credits, Bell relocated to Los Angeles the same year and almost immediately booked a guest spot on "The Shield" (FX, 2002-08), playing the girlfriend of a gang member who is raped and branded by a rival gang lord. Appearances on "American Dreams (NBC, 2002-05) and "Everwood" (WB, 2002-06) followed, as did more substantial roles in TV movies
 
"The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay" (Hallmark Channel, 2003), in which she showed off her singing talent, and "Gracie's Choice" (Lifetime, 2004), where she received top billing as a drug addict's (Anne Heche) daughter forced to raise her siblings. Bell was also cast as the kidnapped daughter of the President in David Mamet's largely unseen thriller "Spartan" (2004), and had a recurring role as a conniving grifter who meets an unpleasant end in HBO's gritty, wild West drama, "Deadwood" (HBO, 2004-06). But 2004 was best remembered as Bell's breakout year - thanks to a quirky family drama (of sorts) called "Veronica Mars."

The title role of the daughter of a former small town sheriff who takes on her own cases, called for a unique blend of cheerleader looks and "outsider" attitude, which Bell delivered with aplomb. Clever writing and direction and a terrific cast helped earn "Veronica Mars" popularity among critics and a substantial cult following, though not quite enough to make the show a breakout hit. For her part, Bell won numerous award nominations, including from the Teen Choice Awards and TV Critics Association. Meanwhile, she reprised her role as Mary Lane in a Showtime adaptation of "Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical" (2005) and appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival in the ensemble cast of the dark comedy "Fifty Pills" (2006). She went on to take the lead in "Pulse" (2007), a Wes Craven-scripted remake of the Asian horror film "Kairo" (2001) which was dismissed by critics.

Bell returned to television in 2007 in two of the most talked-about dramas in primetime, serving as the narrator of the stylish, risqué, chronicle of New York's elite teen set in "Gossip Girl" (CW, 2007- ) and joining the cast of NBC's sci-fi hit "Heroes" (NBC, 2006-) during its second season. On the latter, Bell was cast as Elle Bishop, a mentally unbalanced agent at a company that conducts experiments on people endowed with supernatural powers; she also has her own power to control electricity. The following spring, Bell experienced her first major movie success with the blockbuster romantic comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008), a well-reviewed Judd Apatow production that cast Bell as a TV star who ends up at the same Hawaiian resort as the boyfriend she recently ditched (Jason Segel). Her follow-up release "Fan Boys" (2009), about a group of Star Wars fans on a pilgrimage to George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, was only shown in a handful of theaters but was well received by its intended audience.

But it was the success of "Sarah Marshall" that led to Bell being cast in a number of other big budget releases; in 2009, she was paired with Jason Bateman as a married couple on a combination resort/therapy getaway in "Couples Retreat" (2009), also starring Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis. Simultaneously in theaters,
 
Bell could be heard as one of the all-star voice cast of "Astro Boy" (2009), an animated adaptation of the popular cone-topped Japanese character. Reprising her flair for romantic comedy, Bell took a starring role as a tourist whose offhanded visit to a famed fountain of love in Rome leads to her unexplained pursuit by half a dozen men when she returns to New York in "When in Rome" (2010).

    * Also Credited As:
      Kristen Anne Bell
    * Born:
      Kristen Anne Bell on July 18, 1980 in Huntington Woods, Michigan, USA
    * Job Titles:
      Actor

Family
    * Father: Tom Bell. Divorced Kristen s mother when she was almost one-year-old
    * Mother: Lorelei Bell. Divorced Kristen s father when she was almost one-year-old; remarried

Significant Others
    * Companion: Dax Shepard. Began dating in December 2007; got engaged over the Christmas holiday in 2009
    * Companion: Kevin Mann.
    * Companion: Matthew Morrison. Attended college together and briefly dated

Education
    * Shrine Catholic High School, Royal Oak , Michigan, 1998
    * New York University, New York , New York, Music
    * New York University, New York , New York, Theater
    * Burton Elementary School, Huntington Woods , Michigan

Milestones
    * 2001 Cast in the Off-Broadway stage musical Reefer Madness
    * 2001 Debuted on Broadway in the short lived The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, originating the role of Becky Thatcher
    * 2002 Appeared on Broadway as part of the original cast of The Crucible starring Laura Linney and Liam Neeson
    * 2002 Moved to Los Angeles
    * 2003 Television debut in the season premiere of The Shield playing a gang member s girlfriend
    * 2004 Cast as the title character on UPN s Veronica Mars
    * 2004 Feature film debut in David Mamet s Spartan
    * 2004 Had a recurring role as a con artist on HBO s Deadwood
    * 2005 Reprised role in the film version of Reefer Madness (Showtime)
    * 2006 Starred in Pulse a remake of cult Japanese helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa s Kairo
    * 2007 Joined the cast of NBC s hit series, Heroes as Elle, a mysterious woman who has ties to Peter and Claire
    * 2008 Played the title character in the Judd Apatow produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall ; co-starring and scripted by Jason Segel
    * 2009 Co-starred with Vince Vaughn and Jason Bateman in Couples Retreat
    * 2009 Voiced Cora in the animated feature, Astro Boy
    * 2010 Co-starred with Cher and Christina Aguilera in Burlesque
    * 2010 Reprised her role of Sarah Marshall in the comedy Get Him to the Greek opposite Jonah Hill and Russell Brand
    * 2010 Starred as a successful and single art curator searching for love in the comedy, When in Rome

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