By the moment she was twenty-four years old, actress Kristen Bell had actually a resume that many seasoned performers would envy. She had actually starred top top Broadway while tho in college and had several film credits under she belt by the beforehand 2000s. Yet it was thanks to the small screen and also her debut together a teenager supersleuth on cable channel UPN's fight drama, Veronica Mars, that shot Bell native obscurity to stardom. Return the show, which premiered in September 2004, did no fare well in the ratings,it struck a chord through a core team of watchers who automatically launched numerous fan sites. And also even the most pessimistic critics to be wowed by the quirky new program, its exciting dialogue, and especially the smart and sassy Bell.




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indigenous Detroit to brand-new York

Kristen Bell to be born ~ above July 18, 1980, in Huntington Woods, a suburb the Detroit, Michigan, come mom, Lorelei, a registered nurse, and dad, Tom, a TV news director. Although she parents divorced when she was still a toddler, in interviews Bell recalls that her childhood to be a happy one. Her father remarried as soon as she was 4 years old however still remained close to his just child. Bell developed a bond v her brand-new stepmother and also two stepsisters. "I really feel close to both families," the actress revealed to Michelle Caruso in a brand-new York day-to-day News interview, "because i was break-up pretty evenly between the two."

the was noticeable from early on that Bell had actually a talent because that performing. Indigenous kindergarten with eighth grade, she attend Detroit's Burton International, a multicultural institution for gifted children. She additionally took to sing lessons and tap-dancing lessons. Bell admitted to Caruso that her initial make the efforts at exhilaration were less than spectacular. As soon as she auditioned because that her an initial part in a community theater manufacturing of Raggedy Ann and Andy, the would-be demonstrate "flipped out" and cried. Regardless, Bell joined the cast "in the complicated dual role of the banana in the first act and also the tree in the 2nd act."

if attending Shrine High institution in imperial Oak, one more Detroit suburb, Bell ongoing to sharpen her acting skills by performing with Stagecrafters, a ar theater troupe based in the same city. By age fourteen, Bell even had her own agent but, as she called the Detroit News , the budding actress determined to remain in metro Detroit so the she might "live like a genuine kid." Plus, Bell was starting to do a surname for herself locally. Follow to she high school principal, thomas Kirkwood, " was an extremely enthusiastic, driven and entertaining. It to be clear the she would certainly be one entertainer."

Shortly prior to high college graduation Bell was welcomed to the Tisch school of the art at brand-new York university (NYU). Her


"Veronica has this inner stamin that says, 'I to be woman, hear me roar!'"


joy, however, was short-lived. In 1998, right before her eighteenth birthday, Bell's ideal friend, Jenny DeRita, was eliminated in a automobile accident. Jenny had been a fellow Stagecrafter, and she was the one who really propelled Bell to seek acting. "My whole civilization was rotate upside down," Bell told Michelle Caruso. The upper heart teen remained in her room for days and also even taken into consideration not going come NYU. V the assist of her family members Bell regulated to pull herself together and also headed for brand-new York in the loss of 1998, a various person. As she told Caruso, "I realized my perspective had changed. Ns don't take points for granted anymore. That was precise the begin of my adulthood."


From stage to display

A trained soprano (high-pitched vocals), Bell learned musical theater at NYU, appearing in numerous campus productions, consisting of the music Hair. In 2001, throughout her an elderly year, she was lured come the Broadway stage when she to be tapped because that the duty of Becky Thatcher in The Adventures that Tom Sawyer. Bell made decision to quit school just 4 credits shy of graduating through her degree. As she commented to Jennifer Armstrong of entertainment Weekly, "The weird point is they provided me credit for bringing people coffee as an intern, however they wouldn't provide me credit transaction for gift on a Broadway phase every night."

In 2002, Bell continued her Broadway acting, appearing in The Crucible with Oscar-nominated actors Liam Neeson (1952–) and also Laura Linney (1964–). She likewise starred in one off-Broadway production of Reefer Madness. later on that year, at the urging the friends, Bell made decision to head because that Los Angeles. In ~ weeks, she landed a part in the season premier that the police drama The Shield; she also had a costarring duty as Alison dodge in the Hallmark hall of Fame tv movie The King and Queen the Moonlight only (2003).

~ that, Bell's job skyrocketed. In early on 2004, having remained in California for little over a year, she take it the title function in the lifetime original movie Gracie's Choice, the story of a courageous high-school student who fights to take on her younger siblings after your drug-addicted mom abandons them. The role was Bell's

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very first big break, and also the character of Gracie touched her heart. The twenty-three-old Bell turn in a mesmerizing performance, and critics predicted she would certainly be an actress to be reckoned with.


soil in Neptune

Bell additionally began 2004 v a recurring function as Flora Anderson in HBO's wild west drama, Deadwood. Bell's following leap to be to the huge screen, wherein she showed up in the thriller Spartan, written and directed by legend American playwright David Mamet (1947–). Back her function as Laura Newton, the kidnapped daughter of the chairman of the unified States, was relatively small, it lugged Bell a good deal that exposure. In fact, the film attracted the fist of producer and writer Rob thomas (1965–), who was spreading a new television series called Veronica Mars.

Bell, however, was not a clear an option for the role of the lively seventeen-year-old detective. When Thomas created the series, he had not envisioned a five-foot-two, perky blonde with a sunny smile. Instead, the thought lot darker. According to Bell, that spoke through Craig Byrne's NeptuneSite, Thomas defines Veronica as a cross in between pair Peaks, one edgy drama from the beforehand 1990s, and Dawson's Creek, the teenager soap opera that Thomas created for in the so late 1990s. Nevertheless of her blonde, girl-next-door looks, Bell beat the end seventy other hopefuls and won the part of the teenager sleuth that is wise beyond her years. And also Thomas was glad he actors her. Together he said Jennifer Armstrong, "Without Bell, Veronica wouldn't it is in the wry delight that that is."

The present is set in the upper-class, seaside city of Neptune, California, where every little thing is not as picture-perfect as it seems. Veronica's ideal friend, Lilly Kane, is killed, and her sheriff dad, Keith Mars, accuses Lilly's an effective tycoon father of gift the killer. Veronica's world is shattered. Her mother abandons the family, and Veronica, once one the the most famous girls in ~ school, is all of sudden an outcast. By work she bravely stands as much as the taunts of her cruel classmates through the help of her new sidekick, nerdy Wallace Fennell. By night she turns into a savvy sleuth who helps she father in his new private investigation business. She biggest instance is figuring out who really eliminated Lilly.

once Veronica Mars debuted top top September 22, 2004, critics went wild and also heaped praise on cutting board for his elaborate plot twists and also clever characters. Barry Garron that the Hollywood Reporter called it "one of TV's just bright spots." He additional enthused the the show "has comedy, deathly serious drama, parody and danger, ingredient not typically mixed together. The an outcome is a brand-new TV flavor, and also it's delicious." The press was specifically kind to newcomer Bell. According to Variety's Phil Gallo, Bell "gives a multilayered performance, and also is together charismatic as she is tough and also intelligent." After just a few episodes, Kristen Bell to be a large hit top top television.


fan favorite

as soon as the show moved come its permanent time slot on Tuesday nights, more and more viewers started tuning in until there was a faithful following. Thousands of Web sites, such as The temple of Veronica Mars, sprang up almost overnight. UPN launched the main Veronica Mars Site, whereby fans can log ~ above to chat


The initial Teen Detective: Nancy drew

Veronica Mars might be the brand-new girl sleuth that the twenty-first century, however the initial teen detective, Nancy Drew, is currently over seventy-five year old. Although Nancy attracted originally appeared in print in 1929 she still shares many similarities with her 2005 counterpart. Prefer Veronica, Nancy was initially a blonde; she originates from a single-parent home; she works carefully with her father, Carson Drew, a famous attorney; and she commonly solves cases assisted through her two friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne. More importantly, according to "The history of Nancy Drew," Nancy, like Veronica, is "the embodiment of independence, pluck, and also intelligence."

Nancy drew was the product the American author Edward Stratemeyer (1862–1930) and his Edward Stratemeyer Syndicate, a writing firm that churned out popular collection for young people. Favorite characters, such together the Rover Boys, Tom Swift, and also the Bobbsey Twins, appeared in publication after book, and also eventually became literary heroes. Because readers gobbled increase the stories, and also Stratemeyer can not possibly keep up through the demand, he rental a crew the ghostwriters (authors whose occupational is attributed to someone else) who fleshed out his initial outlines.

Young female heroines to be featured in previous Stratemeyer series, however they to be usually reasonably traditional. Through the introduction of Nancy Drew, a new kind of independent mrs was born. The credit is provided primarily come Mildred A. Wort Benson (1905–2002), who wrote twenty-three the the initial thirty Nancy drew stories. (Although the name "Carolyn Keene" shows up on the book covers, it was just the pen surname mutual by the many writers the Nancy Drew collection had end the years.) according to "The background of Nancy Drew," Benson was exhausted of what she dubbed the "namby-pamby layout of girls' collection books, and also she had actually no on purpose of characterizing Nancy as namby-pamby." The feisty ghostwriter believed that girls could do anything boys might do, and also she instilled that same feistiness in her character.

Benson to be twenty-four when she created the very an initial Nancy Drew an enig in 1929, The an enig of the Old Clock, and she ongoing to breath life right into her favorite girl detective because that the following thirty years. When she quit the syndicate in 1959, Edward Stratemeyer's daughter, Harriet, took up the pen and also wrote the majority of the original series, which consists of 175 books. The early on Nancy drew mysteries are still being reissued by Simon … Schuster, i m sorry purchased the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1984. The firm also produces a modern-day version the the series called Nancy Drew: Girl Detective, and also other spin-off series, consisting of The Nancy drew Notebooks and also The Nancy attracted Files.


through their favorite teenager detective. Through the end of 2004, however, the fate of the show was in question. Although over 2.7 million viewers to be watching the present every week, that was no doing fine in the Nielsen ratings, comes in a disappointing 122 out of 133 programs. (Nielsen ratings were developed by the Nielsen Media research study firm in the at an early stage 1960s, and also are supplied to gauge what television mirrors Americans watch throughout what times.)

regardless of the lukewarm ratings, UPN gave the green light to a complete season the episodes. A gleeful Bell celebrated by buying she very first house, located in Los Angeles. And although committing come a weekly collection meant lengthy hours, periodically stretching right into fifteen-hour occupational days, the twenty-something actress was no complaining. "I simply feel an extremely lucky to be where I am ideal now," she told ray Richmond that the Hollywood Reporter. Bell felt especially fortunate to be working through such a exorbitant cast and also crew. She became particularly close to actor Enrico Colantoni (1963–), that plays she father top top the show. "He's among the most generous individuals I've ever met," Bell told Craig Byrne, "and has actually really favor taken ~ above the role of dad in my life."

Bell also felt lucky to be playing Veronica, who she considered to it is in a solid female character and a definite role model for young girls. " Veronica Mars is not like anything rather on television," she commented throughout a conversation on E!Online. "It's rarely to see girls the empowered. She's therefore scrappy and such the firecracker. It's pretty to be able to hold your own in a 'man's world'."


Feet still planted ~ above the soil

choose Veronica, Bell is typically described together energetic in her own right. And in 2005, she was setting the entertainment civilization ablaze. In addition to her television program, she starred in two feature films, Fifty Pills, a university comedy, and also the thriller Deepwater. Bell likewise appeared in Showtime's musical comedy Reefer Madness. together she told Michelle Caruso, however, she priority was to "act her heart out to make Veronica Mars a hit."

offered her hectic work-related schedule, Bell has small time for anything else, however she does enjoy getting together with friends to sing karaoke. She is committed to her dog, Lola, who perches under the director's tent while she is working. She additionally carves the end time to spend with her boyfriend, Kevin Mann, a high institution swim coach and also independent movie producer. And, regardless of all the celebrity hype, the actress stays grounded. I'm not associated in the business of ending up being famous," Bell told the Detroit News , "And that's the advice I offer to younger aspiring actors. Work onstage and also do the tiny roles. In the finish it's not vital to it is in seen. It's necessary to do."




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Periodicals

Armstrong, Jennifer. "Bell the the Fall." entertainment Weekly (December 10, 2004): p. 36.

Flynn, Gillian. "Life on 'Mars'." entertainment Weekly (October 29, 2004): p. 59.

Gallo, Phil. "Review the 'Veronica Mars'." variety (September 20, 2004): p. 70.

Garron, Barry. "Review the 'Veronica Mars'." Hollywood Reporter (September 20, 2004): p. 20.

Richmond, Ray. "Spotlight: Kristen Bell (UPN's Veronica Mars)." Hollywood Reporter (December 2004): p. 26.


web Sites

Byrne, Craig. "Interview with Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)." NeptuneSite (January 10, 2005). http://www.neptunesite.com/bellinterview.htm (accessed on august 10, 2005).

Caruso, Michelle. "Kristen Bell ring True: Why Star the 'Veronica Mars' can Take TV by Storm." brand-new York everyday News (September 12, 2004). http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain-ment/story/230876p-198293c.html (accessed on august 10, 2005).

"The background of Nancy Drew." The Nancy attracted Sleuth Unofficial web Site. http://www.nancydrewsleuth.com/history.html (accessed on respectable 10, 2005).

Madden, Mekeisha. "Huntington Woods aboriginal Is over the Moon starring in UPN's 'Veronica Mars'." Detroit News (September 22, 2004). http://www.detnews.com/2004/screens/0409/22/d01-280930.htm (accessed on august 10, 2005).

Nguyen, Lan N. "Kristen Bell's a hard Act come Follow." iVillage Entertainment. http://entertainment.ivillage.com/celebs/interview/0,,73r3smcc,00.html (accessed on august 10, 2005).

" Veronica Mars' Kristen Bell Chats girlfriend Up!" E!Online (November 8, 2004). Http://www.eonline.com/Gossip/Kristin/Trans/Veronica Mars/index.html (accessed on august 10, 2005).

Veronica Mars web Site. http://www.upn.com/shows/veronica_mars (accessed on march 26, 2005).