One of the most recognizable young actresses of the late 1990s, Keri Russell gathered popularity and received acclaim while portraying the title character of an angst-ridden college freshman in WB’s hit series "Felicity" (1998-2002), in which she took home a 1999 Golden Globe Award. Since her winning performance, Russell has dotted her impressive resume with big screen movies such as Mad About Mambo (2000), the biopic film We Were Soldiers (2002, opposite Mel Gibson) and Mike Binder's drama The Upside of Anger (2005, with Kevin Costner). She has also worked for several television projects, including Cinderelmo (1999), The Magic of Ordinary Days (2005) and "Into the West" (2005). Russell fans should not pass over her performance in the forthcoming thriller Butterfly, a Grimm Love Story (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006, alongside Tom Cruise) and Waitress (2006).
One of People magazine's '50 Most Beautiful' in 1999, Russell, with green eyes, clear skin, and a head of hair that any pre-Raphaelite would be jealous of, has robbed the hearths of several men, including actor Tony Lucca, whom she dated from 1991-1999, and Felicity costar Scott Speedman, together from 2000-2001.
Childhood and Family:
Keri Lynn Russell was born on March 23, 1976, in Fountain Valley, California. She is the middle child of three siblings to David (Nissan executive) and Stephanie. Her older brother is Todd and her younger sister is Julie. Keri spent most of her early years in Texas before her family relocated to Mesa, Arizona. As a child, she knew she was interested in entertainment. First finding a knack for dancing while a student at Poston Jr. High school, Keri quickly took ballet and jazz classes to perfect her talents. Her involvement with such dance groups as Mesa Stars Dance and Drill Team opened up her chance to tour throughout the country. Just before she began high school, her parents decided to move to Denver, Colorado, where she was educated at Highlands Ranch High School.
5' 4'' inch tall Keri Russell, whose nickname is Care Bear, now lives in a Los Angeles’ Tony Pacific palisades suburb. A model for the Jon Bon Jovi music video "Always," Keri enjoys photography, a hobby that consumes much of her leisure time.
Mission: Impossible III
"Dance is definitely what I love doing much more than anything else." Keri Russell
An accomplished dancer, young Russell toured the states as a part of the Mesa Stars Dance and Drill team, but it was a performance on Star Search that put her on the radar of Disney talent scouts. Russell got her first break when she was invited to join, as a regular, Disney’s variety series The All New Mickey Mouse Club, in 1991. She stayed with the show until 1993, with her last year seeing the introduction of soon-to-be pop singers Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. During her two-year stint, Russell landed her first film role in Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992), playing ill-fated babysitter Mandy Park.
A series of television roles followed after her contract with the show ended. Russell portrayed Andrea McKinsey in the drama series "Emerald Cove" (1993), was seen in the short-lived CBS sitcom "Daddy's Girls" (1994, as Phoebe Walker), made a TV-movie debut in Clerks (1995) and landed one of her largest roles (before Felicity), as Michele Winston in the little-seen The Babysitter's Seduction (1996), costarring Stephen Collins. Also in 1996, she starred as Chloe Walker on the Aaron Spelling’s drama Malibu Shores, but the series was immediately axed due to the low ratings. Kei then picked up role in the 1996 television film The Lottery (1996).
The following year, director Michael Davis cast her in the lead role of Erica, opposite Joshua Schaefer, in his 1997 comedy film Eight Days a Week. She reappeared on the small screen with the made-for-television movie When Innocence Is Lost (1997), and played the supporting role of Emma in her third big screen film, Dead Man's Curve (1998, starring Matthew Lillard and Michael Vartan).
"The media aspect of all this is very bizarre. The truth is most people don't even know if I'm really any good, but the word has spread. Can we live up to the hype? Luckily, we have a really good show with a great cast, and I don't think people will be disappointed." Keri Russell on the publicity over Felicity
Full television stardom arrived that same year when Keri won the title role of Felicity Porter, a bewildered collage student, in the coming-of-age drama "Felicity" (1998-2002). Chosen by the creators of the show because of her natural beauty and charm, which perfectly fit the Felicity’s character, Russell garnered praise and critical accolades during her four-year tenure. In 1999, she nabbed a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role--Drama Series or Television Movie. Following the success of the series, the actress became the object of media’s attention. She was interviewed by many magazines and her lovely face graced a number of magazines covers. The victory also opened the door for her to read more roles for movies.
After starring in the made-for-cable Cinderelmo (1999), Russell teamed up with William Ash, Maclean Stewart and Tim Loane for director/writer John Forte’s comedy Mad About Mambo (2000). Two years later, she played the supporting role of an American serviceman’s wife who takes part in the first war between U.S and Viet Cong forces in We Were Soldiers (2002, starring Mel Gibson).
When Felicity ended in 2002, Russell decided to take some time off and once thought about quitting acting. She then relocated to New York and enjoyed her two-year hiatus spending time with friends. In 2004, Russell was back acting when she debuted on Broadway with Neil LaBute's” Fat Pig.” The play also starred Andrew McCarthy, Jeremy Piven and Ashlie Atkinson.
The actress recently made her return to the cinematic industry with her supporting part of Emily Wolfmeyer in The Upside of Anger (2005), starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen. The same year, she also had her first television project (after her comeback) in The Magic of Ordinary Days (2005, with Skeet Ulrich), and was among the cast members of Steven Spielberg's television miniseries “Into the West” (2005). Russell will soon star in the psychological horror-thriller Butterfly, a Grimm Love Story (2005). In 2006, she can also add the upcoming Mission: Impossible III (2006, with superstar Tom Cruise) and Waitress (2006) to her resume.