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Regina Marie "Jenna" Fischer (born March 7, 1974)[1] is an American actress. She is widely known for her portrayal of Pam Beesly on the NBC sitcom The Office, for which she received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007.

Jenna Fischer
Jenna Fischer May08 cropped.jpg
Fischer in June 2008
Born Regina Marie Fischer
(1974-03-07) March 7, 1974 (age 43)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Truman State University (BA)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1998–present
Spouse(s) James Gunn (m. 2000; div. 2008)
Lee Kirk (m. 2010)
Children 2

Since then, Fischer has appeared in various films such as Blades of Glory (2007), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), The Promotion (2008), and Hall Pass (2011) before playing Janice in The Giant Mechanical Man (2012), a film directed by her husband, Lee Kirk. She recently starred as Rhonda McNeil in the NBC's comedy-drama series You, Me and the Apocalypse.

Fischer's first book, The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide, with an introduction by Steve Carell, was published in November 2017.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Fischer was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Anne (née Miller), is a history teacher; and her father, James E. "Jim" Fischer, is an engineer.[2] She has one younger sister, Emily, a third grade teacher.[3] She 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.[4]

Fischer attended Pierremont Elementary School in Manchester, Missouri, and Nerinx Hall High School, a private all-girls Catholic school, in Webster Groves, Missouri.[5] 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]

CareerEdit

Career developmentEdit

While attending college at Truman State in Missouri, Fischer performed with a touring Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre group.[7]

Upon her move to Los Angeles in 1998, Fischer began performing Commedia dell'arte with the Zoo District Theatre. She was noticed by a talent agent because of her appearance in a musical theater adaptation of the film Nosferatu (1922) with Zoo District Theatre company. This led to her signing a contract with that agent.[8]

Fischer struggled to break into film and television. Her first paying film role was a sex education video for psychiatric patients upon their release from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[9]

Three years elapsed from the time she arrived in California until Fischer landed her first televised speaking role. She played the part of a waitress on the television sit-com Spin City in 2001.[10]

Fischer appeared in bit parts in small independent films during her early years in Southern California, including Employee of the Month, Lucky 13, and The Specials.

On television, she performed as a guest on shows including Six Feet Under, That '70s Show, Cold Case, Miss Match, Strong Medicine, Undeclared, What I Like About You, and Off Centre.

LolliLoveEdit

While her film career was slowly taking off, Fischer took matters into her own hands, writing, directing and starring in her own mockumentary, LolliLove, her only directing credit. The film co-starred her then-husband James Gunn, as well as friends Linda Cardellini, Judy Greer, Lloyd Kaufman, and Jason Segel. 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."[11] 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 super best practice I could have ever gotten for the possibility of being on the show."

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.[12][not in citation given] Despite the film's contribution to her career, she admitted to a St. Louis arts and entertainment magazine[13] 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 filmsEdit

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

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."[14] 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.[15] "I'm so attached to Pam's journey," she told NPR in 2009. "I just love playing this character so, so much."[14] In 2007, she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.[16]

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, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, 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 workEdit

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.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Fischer was named an official spokeswoman for Proactiv Skincare Solutions in 2009[20] and was announced as the voice behind the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Grilled Cheese Academy website in 2010.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

Fischer starred in the world premiere of Steve Martin's comedy Meteor Shower at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California from July 30 to September 18, 2016. Fischer worked alongside actor Greg Germann, Alexandra Henrikson, and Josh Stamberg.[24]

In April 2017, Fischer starred in an episode of the Houzz series My Houzz, in which she surprised her sister with a kitchen, living room and dining room renovation.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Fischer modeling at The Heart Truth in 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.[26] They announced their separation in September 2007,[27] and they divorced in 2008.[28] In 2010, Fischer helped Gunn with casting her The Office co-star Rainn Wilson in Gunn's film Super.[29]

In June 2009, Fischer's engagement to screenwriter Lee Kirk was announced,[30][31] and they married on July 3, 2010.[32][33] Fischer and Kirk announced her pregnancy with their first child in May 2011. On September 24, 2011, Fischer gave birth to their son, named Weston Lee Kirk.[34] Fischer gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Harper Marie Kirk, on May 25, 2014.[35][36][37][38]

Fischer is passionate about animal rescue, and she is involved with the Los Angeles organizations Kitten Rescue and Rescue Rover.[39] Before The Office, she worked for three years doing hands-on rescue work for the organizations.[40] She regularly fosters cats and hosted Kitten Rescue's annual Fur Ball Gala in 2008, 2009, and 2010.[41]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Channel 493 Rane
Born Champion Wendy Miller
2002 Les superficiales Itchy French Girl Short film
2003 Doggie Tales, Vol. 1: Lucky's First Sleepover Kelsey Voice
2004 Employee of the Month Whisper
Women, TheThe Women Leslie Short film
LolliLove Jenna Gunn Also director/co-writer
2005 The 40-Year-Old Virgin Woman #1 Uncredited
2006 Slither Shelby
2007 Blades of Glory Katie Van Waldenberg
Brothers Solomon, TheThe Brothers Solomon Michelle
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Darlene Madison
2008 Promotion, TheThe Promotion Jen Stauber
2009 Solitary Man Susan Porter
2010 Little Help, AA Little Help Laura Pehlke
2011 Hall Pass Maggie
2012 Giant Mechanical Man, TheThe Giant Mechanical Man Janice
2013 Are You Here Alli
2014 Kiss Me Vera
2017 Brad's Status Melanie Sloan
2018 The 15:17 to Paris Filming

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Undeclared Betty & Sorority Girl 2 episodes
Spin City Waitress Episode: "A Shot in the Dark: Part 2"
2002 Off Centre Melanie Episode: "The Backup"
What I Like About You Kim Episode: "Copy That"
2003 Strong Medicine Camille Freemont Episode: "Maternal Mirrors"
Miss Match Connie Episode: "Kate in Ex-tasy"
2004 Cold Case Dottie (1943) Episode: "Factory Girls"
2005 That '70s Show Stacy Wanamaker Episode: "Don't Lie to Me"
Six Feet Under Sharon Kinney Recurring role; 2 episodes
2005–2013 Office, TheThe Office Pam Beesly Main cast; 188 episodes
Also producer
2012 Dan Vs. Amber (voice) Episode: "Dan Vs. Anger Management"
2014 Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Episode: "Jenna Fischer Wears a Floral Blouse & Black Heels"
2015 Newsreaders Kelly Spears Episode: "The FMK Killer; Newsreaders: Behind the Scenes"
You, Me and the Apocalypse Rhonda MacNeil Main cast; 10 episodes
Also associate producer
2016 The Mysteries of Laura Jennifer Lambert Recurring role; 3 episodes
The Grinder Kelly Episode: "Genesis"
Drunk History Katharine Wright Episode: "Siblings"
2017 The Guest Book Dr. Laurie Galiff Episode: "Story Eight"
2018 Splitting Up Together Lena Main cast

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2004 St. Louis International Film Festival Screen Actors Guild Emerging Actor Award[citation needed] LolliLove Won
2005 TromaDance Film Festival Independent Soul Award (as director)[citation needed] Won
2007 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series The Office Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
2008 Won
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress Comedy Nominated
2009 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2010 Nominated
2010 St. Louis International Film Festival Outstanding Achievement in Film N/A Won[42]
2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series The Office Nominated

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Brady, James (November 21, 2007). "In Step With...Jenna Fischer". Parade Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ De La Hunt, Amy (November 18, 2015). "Jenna Fischer Dishes on Her New British Comedy-Drama". Alive Magazine. Retrieved February 25, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Georgia L. Stosberg Fischer Obituary: View Georgia Fischer's Obituary by St. Louis Post-Dispatch". Legacy.com. March 8, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  4. ^ St. Louisan Jenna Fischer is more than ready for "The Office", Post-Dispatch Television Critic, Thursday, March 24, 2005
  5. ^ Glaus, Heidi (May 16, 2015). "Nerinx Hall graduate Jenna Fischer is returning to NBC". USA Today. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Alumna works in "The Office" on NBC". Truman State University Index. April 7, 2005. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived June 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Myspace". Blogs.myspace.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Jenna Fischer, Keeping It Real at 'The Office'". NPR. June 3, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0706980/fullcredits/
  11. ^ "JAMES GUNN & JENNA FISCHER – tastes like chicken". Tlchicken.com. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  12. ^ [2] Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "The LolliLove Interview: Jenna Fischer". Playbackstl.com. December 16, 2005. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Jenna Fischer, Keeping It Real at 'The Office'". NPR. June 3, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ Ulster, Laurie (March 24, 2015). "'The Office' Cast: Where Are They Now?". Biography.com. The Biography Channel. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Jenna Fischer | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Emmys.com. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  17. ^ [3] Archived December 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "SERIAL KILLERS - Darque Magick". Sacred Fools. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Nerinx - AuctioNerinx". Nerinxalumnae.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ [4] Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "Jenna Fischer narrates Grilled Cheese Academy". OfficeTally. Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Jenna Fischer and husband Lee Kirk revive play 'Sad Happy Sucker'". scpr.org. September 10, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  23. ^ Brantley, Ben (June 11, 2013). "'Reasons to Be Happy,' by Neil LaBute - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Meteor Shower at the Old Globe". TheOldGlobe.org. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  25. ^ "The Office's Jenna Fischer Surprises Her Sister with the Most Amazing Home Makeover: 'She Is One of Those People Who Is Always Giving to Others'". People.com. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  26. ^ "The Office Cast Biographies - Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly". Nbc.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Office actress Fischer, husband separate". Reuters. September 5, 2007. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  28. ^ Trowbridge, Cecily (April 30, 2016). "James Gunn Shares Post on Ex Jenna Fischer, Says Not All Failed Relationships Make Enemies". Zimbio. Retrieved October 19, 2017. 
  29. ^ "A Conversation With Director James Gunn". St. Louis Magazine. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  30. ^ Wang, Cynthia (January 14, 2013). "The Office Star Jenna Fischer Is Engaged - Engagements, Jenna Fischer". People.com. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Jenna Fischer engaged!". OfficeTally. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Jenna Fischer Weds Lee Kirk". National Ledger. July 5, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Jenna Fischer marries; newlywed Megan Fox returns home". USA Today. July 5, 2010. 
  34. ^ Hammel, S (10/3/11) Jenna Fischer Welcomes Son People News
  35. ^ "Jenna Fischer Welcomes Daughter Harper Marie – Moms & Babies – Celebrity Babies and Kids - Moms & Babies - People.com". PEOPLE.com. 
  36. ^ "Baby News: Jenna Fischer Gives Birth". Entertainment Tonight. October 3, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  37. ^ Christie D'Zurilla (October 3, 2011). "Jenna Fischer of 'The Office' has a new baby son". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Jenna Fischer and Husband Welcome a Baby Girl—See Her Adorable Photo! - E! Online". E! Online. June 13, 2014. 
  39. ^ Harrington, Maureen. Jenna Fischer: 'A Little' Crazy About Cats, People, September 12, 2008.
  40. ^ "a 2008 Myspace blog entry by Fischer". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Jenna Fischer Hosts Fur Ball". Looktothestars.org. September 16, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  42. ^ "SLIFF 2010 Review: A LITTLE HELP". WeAreMovieGeeks. November 20, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 

External linksEdit