Kelly Rowan
Birth Date:
May 20, 1905
Birth Place:
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
5' 7
Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Canada
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The O.C.


Actress and former fashion model Kelly Rowan is most famous for playing Kirsten Cohen on the popular Fox dramatic series “The O.C.,” (2003-2007) from which she won a 2006 Prism Award and shared two Teen Choice nominations with costar Peter Gallagher, who portrayed her onscreen husband Sandy. She also took home a Gemini Award after playing Eliza Terrio in the Canadian TV film “Adrift” (1994). Relocating from Canada to Los Angeles, California, in 1990, she has since worked in a variety of roles on film and television. Her movie credits include Steven Spielberg's hit “Hook” (1991), the Sylvester Stallone vehicle “Assassins” (1995), “One Eight Seven” (1997), “Three to Tango” (1999), “Proximity” (2001), “Mount Pleasant” (2006) and “Jack and Jill vs. the World” (2007). On the small screen, in addition to her award winning roles in “The O.C.” and “Adrift,” Rowan, who made her TV series debut in the Canadian series “Mount Royal” during the 1980s, has appeared in countless TV films, including “Exclusive” (1992), “A Match Made in Heaven” (1997), “When He Didn't Come Home” (1998), “Anya's Bell” (1999), “The Truth About Jane” (2000), “Eight Days to Live” (2006, also an executive producer), “In God's Country” (2007, also executive produced) and “The Good Times Are Killing Me” (2009). She also made guest appearances in such television series as “Dallas,” “The Outer Limits,” “Da Vinci's Inquest,” “Boomtown” and “Flashpoint.”

Outside the spotlight, Rowan has volunteered with the Young Storytellers Program. On June 20, 2007, she became engaged to Canadian billionaire and media mogul David Thomson. The couple planned to marry before the end of 2007 but separated after the birth of their daughter in 2008.


Childhood and Family:

Kelly Rowan was born on October 26, 1965, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She grew up in Toronto and attended Northern Secondary School. After graduation, she studied English Literature at the University of Western Ontario, but left before she could attain her degree to pursue a career in acting. Kelly later studied acting at London's British American Drama Academy and after returning to North America, moved to New York to hone in on her craft at the celebrated Neighborhood Playhouse.

Kelly currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Her daughter was born on April 28, 2008 (father is billionaire David Thomas).



Kelly Rowan began modeling in college and received her first taste of acting working in commercials. When she was 20, Rowan left college in order to join the cast of the Canadian series “Mount Royal,” which starred Patrick Bauchau, Domini Blythe, Guylaine St-Onge and Jonathan Crombie. She went on to appear in the movies “The Gate” (1987), a horror film that starred Stephen Dorff, and “The Long Road Home” (1989), costarring Denis Forest. She also appeared in such TV films as “The Kidnapping of Baby John Doe” (1987) and in the soap opera “Another World” (1988), as Suzie Strathmo, before heading to Los Angeles in 1990 to more professionally pursue her career.

After moving to Hollywood, Rowan landed a part in an episode of the sitcom “Growing Pains” (1990) and a recurring role in the popular series “Dallas” (1991). Also in 1991, the young actress netted her first major role in the Steven Spielberg directed “Hook,” playing the mother of Peter Pan. Her costars in the blockbuster film included Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts and Bob Hoskins. She followed that up with supporting parts in the Patty Duke starring TV film “Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive” (1992) and “Exclusive” (1992), a thriller starring Suzanne Somers as TV journalist Marcy Singer.

The following year, Rowan returned to Canada to costar with Kate Jackson, Kenneth Welsh and Bruce Greenwood in the Canadian television film “Adrift” (1994), directed by Christian Duguay. As Eliza Terrio, one of a shipwrecked couple, she was handed a Gemini for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series.

Rowan resumed her movie career in 1995 when she was cast as Annie Tarrant in Bill Condon's “Candyman II: Farewell to the Flesh,” along side Tony Todd, and appeared as Julianne Moore's neighbor, Jennifer, in Richard Donner's “Assassins,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas. She next starred with Tim Roth in the 25-minute short “Mocking the Cosmos” (1996). During that same time, Rowan starred as Mattie Shaw in the Canadian series “Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years,” a spin-off of “Lonesome Dove: The Series,” which ran from 1995 to 1996.

For the rest of the 1990s, Rowan continued to alternate between television and film work. On the small screen, she acted in such TV films as “Rag and Bone” (1997, with Dean Cain and Robert Patrick), “A Match Made in Heaven” (1997, opposite Olympia Dukakis and John Stamos), the Canadian flop “Loving Evangeline” (1998, costarred with Nick Mancuso), the based-on-true-story “When He Didn't Come Home” (1998, as the daughter of Rosemary Dunsmore and Barry Flatman), “Late Last Night” (1999) and the award winning “Anya's Bell” (1999, as Jeanne Rhymes). She also guest starred in series like “The Burning Zone” (1997), “The Outer Limits” (1998) and “Da Vinci's Inquest” (1998). On the silver screen, she supported Samuel L. Jackson and John Heard in “One Eight Seven” (1997), playing a tough teacher named Ellen Henry, and appeared with Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott and Oliver Platt in the romantic comedy “Three to Tango” (1999).

Entering the new millennium, Rowan starred opposite Stockard Channing and Ellen Muth in the TV film “The Truth About Jane,” appeared in the Canadian award winning television movie “Scorn” (both 2000) and was featured as Claire in the Showtime miniseries “A Girl Thing” (2001). After costarring with Rob Lowe in the thriller “Proximity” (2001), she took on the recurring role of Marian McNorris, the wife of detective David McNorris (played by Neal McDonough), in the critically acclaimed “Boomtown” (2002-2003).

After leaving the series, Rowan scored a huge breakthrough when she won the regular role of Kirsten Cohen on the hit Fox series “The O.C” (2003-2007), opposite Peter Gallagher, Tate Donovan, Adam Brody, Benjamin McKenzie and Melinda Clarke. Playing the recovering alcoholic mother of Seth (played by Adam Brody) and wife of Sandy (played by Gallagher), she picked up a Prism in 2006 for Best Performance in a Drama Series Episode. With Gallagher, she jointly received Teen Choice nominations for Choice TV Parental Units in 2005 and 2006.

Despite her hectic TV schedule, in 2006 Rowan made her debut as an executive producer with the TV film “Eight Days to Live,” in which Rowan also starred as a mother whose son turns up missing after his car falls off a steep hill. The same year, she also portrayed Anne Burrows in the independent film “Mount Pleasant,” a Canadian drama written and directed by Ross Weber. She then lent her producing talent to the television movies “In God's Country” and “She Drives Me Crazy” (both 2007). Also in 2007, she costarred with Freddie Prinze Jr., Taryn Manning and Vanessa Parise in the comedy movie “Jack and Jill vs. the World” and in 2009, was seen in “The Good Times Are Killing Me.”


  • Prism: Best Performance in a Drama Series Episode, “The O.C.,” 2006

  • Gemini: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series, “Adrift,” 1994

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