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As a quick-witted teen detective on “Veronica Mars” and the possibly sociopathic superheroine on “Heroes,” Kristen Bell is undoubtedly a cult TV darling. Still, if you ask us, the petite, über-talented and extremely beautiful blonde is destined for even bigger things. Her acting matches and exceeds the best theatrical heavyweights in the business and has enough talent to fuel several careers. She’s not a bad singer, either.
Born in 1980, Kristen Bell grew up near Detroit, Michigan where she developed a knack for musical theater at a young age, eventually nabbing the role of a Dorothy in a high school production of “The Wizard of Oz” during her sophomore year. “Li’l Abner” followed in her senior year, and so did her first film appearance – an unaccredited role in the indie comedy-drama, “Polish Wedding.”
With college time rolling around, Kristen headed east for NYU’s prestigious theater department. While still there, the 21-year-old was cast as 12-year-old Becky Thatcher in an unsuccessful Broadway musical version of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” After that came a small role in comedian/director Louis C.K.’s timeless cinematic classic, “Pootie Tang,” the lead in a 2001 off-Broadway production of “Reefer Madness” (a musical parody of the infamous 1936 anti-marijuana flick), and a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.
2004 turned out to be a very big year as Kristen relocated to Los Angeles. Her serious acting chops certainly helped her land a large role as the U.S. President’s kidnapped daughter in David Mamet’s “Spartan,” and she got to show off her singing, dancing and stripping skills in the too-little-seen Showtime film of “Reefer Madness.” Then came a compelling two-episode turn on HBO’s “Deadwood” and, finally, her lead role on Rob Thomas’s cult TV classic, “Veronica Mars.” She also found time to star in a few quickly forgotten thrillers, including the Japanese horror remake, “Pulse.”
Though “Veronica Mars’ never became a ratings hit, it hung on for three seasons on the strength of a number of diehard fans and gaga critics. In that time, Kristen got plenty of opportunity to show of her range as an actress playing the witty, cynical detective whose ingenuity and hard outer shell couldn’t protect her from life’s heartbreaks. “Veronica Mars” also benefited from more than its share of nerd appeal, even attracting ubergeek gurus Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon for cameo roles.
So, when the show was finally cancelled, there was a kind of logic to it when a friendly train ride back to L.A. from San Diego’s Comic-Con turned fateful when writers for NBC’s “Heroes” not so jokingly suggested they’d like to see her on the show. Before long, Kristen had signed on for a 13-episode commitment as the morally ambiguous Elle Bishop — as well as an unaccredited gig as the narrator of the CW’s “Gossip Girl.”
Her career is going great, but for Kristen’s fans the questions continue. Will her “Heroes” character survive for another season? Will that rumored “Veronica Mars” feature film ever materialize? Will we ever get to hear her sing again? Will she stay an enthusiastic, animal loving vegetarian, or be corrupted by a handsome fishmonger? We don’t have the answers, but, nearing her late twenties, Kristen is clearly a pro in the best sense of the word. The only real question is whether she’ll become a superstar, or merely one of show businesses nation’s most respected performers.
Kristen Bell Slideshows
The pint-sized blonde stars on Showtime's new original series "House of Lies," but we've been following her ever since "Veronica Mars." Check out some of our favorite photos.
Kristen Bell Videos
Kristen shows off her amazing figure as she does a sexy bedroom dance in Showtime's "House of Lies."
Kristen Bell on the Web
Kristen Bell at Maxim
You have to love the youthful, sexy look that Kristen Bell pulls off in spades with every appearance. Maxim put together a Kristen Bell gallery that will blow you away.
An online database of Kristen’s career.
Photos, interviews and news, as well as Kristen’s latest TV appearances.
A detailed bio, photos and the latest on Kristen’s films career here.
Kristen Bell Network
A fan site with the latest on Kristin — including lots of photography from her very hot, very leggy recent photo shoot for Complex.
Another fan site with an up-to-date news blog and a few pictures.
The Sweetest Pieces of Irish Lass
Asylum.com included Kristen in its tribute to Irish beauties.
On the Screen
Okay, we’re fans, we admit it. And we have a hard time singling out anything in particular. Her turn on “Deadwood” was chilling as she morphed before our eyes from a seeming innocent to a budding femme fatale with a complete lack of remorse. Her comic work in the underrated “Reefer Madness” is definitely worth a look as the adorable Kristen sings sweetly and dances her heart out, while excelling at some pretty outrageous comedy as her chirpily innocent Mary Lane morphs into a half-naked harlot from hell. Still, out of everything, we’ll take her “Veronica Mars” scenes with Enrico Colantoni as her P.I. father. Whether they were bantering, fighting, or actually being honest with each other, it remains possibly the most endearing onscreen father-daughter relationship we’ve seen. Other notable credits include "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Scream 4," "Frozen" and recurring gigs on shows like "Heroes," "Parks and Recreation" and "House of Lies."
On being a vegetarian:
"I have always been an animal lover. I had a hard time disassociating the animals I cuddled with — dogs and cats, for example — from the animals on my plate, and I never really cared for the taste of meat. I always loved my Brussels sprouts!"
On being clothing-optional:
"I rarely wear clothes when I'm home by myself. I love making breakfast naked. But you've got to make sure the gardener's not coming that day."
On being profanity-optional:
“I have the mouth of a sailor. I have to remember not to drop F-bombs when I'm ordering my lunch.”
On “Heroes” and her career:
“It is all part of my plan for world domination — and by ‘world,’ I mean Fanboy World.”