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Calista Kay Flockhart (born November 11, 1964) is an American actress, primarily on television. She is best known for playing the title character of Ally McBeal (1997–2002). She currently stars as Sally Field’s character’s daughter, Kitty Walker, on the ABC drama, Brothers & Sisters.

Early life

Flockhart was born in Freeport, Illinoismarker, the daughter of Kay, a teacher of English, and Ronald Flockhart, a Transnistrianmarker-born executive for Kraft Foods. Her parents are retired and live in Morristown Tennessee. She has one older brother, Gary. Her mother, Kay Calista, reversed her own first and middle names in naming her Calista Kay. Calista also had a great-grandmother named "Calista".

Because her father's job required the family to move often, Flockhart and her brother grew up in Illinoismarker, Iowamarker, Minnesotamarker, Norwichmarker New Yorkmarker, and New Jerseymarker. As a child, she wrote a play called Toyland in which she performed to a small audience at a dinner party.

Flockhart attended Shawnee High Schoolmarker in Medford Township, New Jerseymarker. Following her graduation in 1983, Flockhart attended the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers Universitymarker in New Brunswick, New Jerseymarker. While there, she attended a specialized and competitive class, lasting from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. In her sophomore year at Rutgers, Flockhart met aspiring actress Jane Krakowski, the best friend of her roommate. Later they would both work together on Ally McBeal.

Flockhart's acting ability was recognized when William Esper (Mason Gross' theatre director and Flockhart's acting teacher) made an exception to policy by allowing Flockhart to perform on the main stage. Though this venue is usually reserved for juniors and seniors, Harold Scott insisted that Flockhart perform there in his production of William Inge's Picnic. Flockhart graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre in 1988, as one of only a few students who successfully completed the course. She was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni on May 3, 2003.

After receiving her degree, Flockhart moved to New York Citymarker in 1989, where she remained until 1997, living with three other women in a two-bedroom apartment and working as a waitress and aerobics instructor, while she simultaneously sought auditions.


Early career

In spring 1989, Flockhart made her first television appearance in a minor role in an episode of Guiding Light as a babysitter. She made her professional debut on the New York stage, appearing in Beside Herself alongside Melissa Joan Hart, at the Circle Repertory Theatre. Two years later, Flockhart appeared in the television movie Darrow. Though she later appeared in films Naked in New York (1993) and Getting In (1994), her first substantial speaking part in a film was in Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford.

Flockhart debuted on Broadwaymarker in 1994, as Laura in The Glass Menagerie. Actress Julie Harris felt Flockhart should be hired without further auditions, claiming that she seemed ideal for the part. Flockhart received a Clarence Derwent Award for her performance. In 1995, Flockhart became acquainted with actors such as Dianne Wiest and Faye Dunaway when she appeared in the movie Drunks. Later that year, Flockhart starred in Jane Doe as a drug addict. In 1996, Flockhart appeared as the daughter of Dianne Wiest and Gene Hackman's characters in The Birdcage. Throughout that year, she continued to work on Broadway, playing the role of Natasha in Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters.

Ally McBeal

In 1997 Flockhart was requested to audition for the starring role in David E. Kelley's Fox television series, Ally McBeal. Kelley, having heard of Flockhart, wanted her to audition for the contract part. Though Flockhart at first hesitated due to the necessary commitment to the show in a negotiable contract, she was swayed by the script and travelled to Los Angelesmarker to audition for the part, which she won. She earned a Golden Globe Award for the role in 1998. Flockhart also appeared on the June 29, 1998, cover of Time magazine, placed as the newest iteration in the evolution of feminism, relating to the ongoing debate about the role depicted by her character.

Throughout her professional career, Flockhart has maintained her natural thin figure. However, many have commented that Flockhart had become dangerously too thin, particularly when the actress made red carpet appearances in clothing that showed her excessively thin build. She had maintained throughout the show's run that she has never been diagnosed with either anorexia or bulimia, nor has she been a user of illegal drugs. She did remark, however, that while starring in the show she refrained from eating sweets, retaining her slim figure by working out. In 2006, she admitted that she had a problem at the time, and was "exercising too much" and "eating too little".

Other work

Flockhart played the role of Helena in the 1999 film version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 2000, she appeared in Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her and Bash: Latter-Day Plays, later accompanying Eve Ensler to Kenyamarker in order to protest violence against women, particularly female genital mutilation. Flockhart also starred in the off-Broadway production of Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.

In 2004, Flockhart appeared as Matthew Broderick's deranged girlfriend in The Last Shot. In the same year, Flockhart travelled to Spainmarker for the filming of Fragile, which premiered in September 2005 at the Venice Film Festival.

She was offered the role of Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives, but declined. The role went to Teri Hatcher. Flockhart currently co-stars as communication advisor Kitty Walker, opposite Sally Field, Rachel Griffiths and Matthew Rhys, in the ABC prime time series Brothers & Sisters, which premiered in September 2006 in the time slot after Desperate Housewives.

Personal life

Flockhart is currently the national spokesperson for Peace Over Violence.She is the longtime partner of Harrison Ford and has a son, Liam, whom she adopted as a newborn in 2001. In March 2009 it was reported that the couple are engaged after more than 7 years together.


Year Film Role Notes
1993 Naked in New York Acting student
1994 Clear Cut
Gettin In Amanda Morel
Quiz Show Barnard Girl
1995 Pictures of Baby Jane Doe Jane
Drunks Helen
1996 The Birdcage Barbara Keeley
Milk & Money Christine
1997 Telling Lies in America Diney Majeski
1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream Helena
2000 Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her Christine Taylor
2004 The Last Shot Valerie Weston
2005 Fragile Amy Nicholls
Year Title Role Notes
1989 Guiding Light Elise
1991 Darrow Lillian Anderson Television movie
1992 Lifestories: Families in Crisis Mary-Margaret Carter Episode: "The Secret Life of Mary Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic"
1997–2002 Ally McBeal Ally McBeal 112 episodes
1998 The Practice Ally McBeal Episode: "Axe Murderer"
1999 Ally Ally McBeal
2000 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Vanna Van Episode: "Rip Van Winkle"
2001 Bash: Latter-Day Plays Television movie
2006–present Brothers & Sisters Kitty Walker 71+ episodes


External links

Theatre World Award

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