JENNIFER GARNER Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Jennifer Anne Garner was born on April 17, 1972 in Houston, Texas, to a chemical engineer father and an English professor mother. She was the second of three daughters, all of whom were a young age when the family relocated to Charleston, West Virginia. The Garner household was a conservative one, wherein makeup and earrings were prohibited, making for a great discrepancy between the appearances of the young Jennifer and the older one that television audiences have come to know.


As a child, Jennifer was an aspiring ballerina, practicing for up to six hours a day. Over the course of her youth, this passion for performance translated into an interest in acting and, after graduating from George Washington High School in Charleston, Jennifer enrolled in a theater program at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.


Jennifer’s love for acting blossomed fully during her undergraduate years, and she shunned the traditional college party lifestyle in favor of honing her craft. Upon her 1994 graduation from Denison, Jennifer decided to forego her previous plans to extend her theater studies at Yale University, opting instead to move to New York City. Her plan was to try her hand at some auditions to see how far her training to date would take her.


Whether attributable to good schooling, innate talent, extremely photogenic looks, or a more likely fusion of all three, it did not take Jennifer long to find stage work. Within a month of her arrival in New York, Jennifer landed an understudy role in a Broadway production of A Month in the Country. Now fully conscious of her capabilities as an actress, Jennifer moved to Los Angeles to seek out television and film work. Again, success did not elude her, and she soon made her screen debut in the made-for-television movie Zoya.


Over the next two years leading up to 1998, Jennifer found consistent screen work. Although the roles she landed were often small ones, their situation among popular sitcoms and successful films raised Jennifer’s profile in Hollywood. Guest spots on the programs Spin City and Law and Order, and appearances in films such as Deconstructing Harry and In Harm’s Way all contributed greatly to Jennifer’s acting resume. In 1998 she was cast in a leading role on the Fox drama series, Significant Others.


Due to poor ratings, Significant Others was pulled off the air after only a month. Out of work, Jennifer auditioned for a spot on the popular WB series Felicity and, after four further auditions, won the job. Her role, that of Noel Crane’s meddling ex-girlfriend Hannah, was initially forecast as a onetime guest spot, but Felicity producer J.J. Abrams (a.k.a. Jeffrey Abrams) was sufficiently impressed with her performance to call Jennifer back for several additional appearances.


Felicity provided Jennifer with more than consistent work: it was on the set of the show that her relationship began with actor Scott Foley (who portrayed her fictional ex-boyfriend, Noel), which led to the couple’s marriage in the fall of 2000.


Jennifer got a second stab at a leading role in 1999, when she was cast in the Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle, Time of Your Life. Although Jennifer’s individual performance was critically acclaimed, the Party of Five spin-off shared the same fate of Significant Others, and was canceled after a brief stint on the air. Despite its failure, Jennifer’s appearances on the show had contributed to her ever-heightening visibility, and she went on to portray roles in such large-scale projects as the films Pearl Harbor (as Nurse Sandra) and Dude, Where’s My Car? (as Ashton Kutcher’s girlfriend).


In 2000, Jennifer was approached by then familiar Felicity producer J.J. Abrams with an offer to audition for his new project, an action series he was putting together for ABC. Her interest was aroused by his description of the show, called Alias, and she enrolled in martial arts classes in preparation for her audition. Jennifer’s perseverance paid off, and a month later she was cast in the leading role of Sydney Bristow, a CIA agent who juggles multiple identities as well as a host of slinky get-ups.


In a welcome change from Jennifer’s previous experiences, Alias has enjoyed respectable ratings, a strong critical reception and an extension into a second season. The program has spawned a loyal fan base and, in February of 2002, Jennifer was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama.


Alias is under contract with ABC through the 2002-03 season, and as the program’s popularity continues to soar, there seems to be little doubt that another contract renewal will follow. In the meantime, Jennifer has continued to expand her acting experience, and will appear alongside Ben Affleck in a film adaptation of the comic book Daredevil, and in a small role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in an upcoming Steven Spielberg feature, Catch Me If You Can.