Worked With:

Judd Nelson

Wendy Davis

Rebecca Romijn

Mariska Hargitay

Brian Van Holt

David James Elliott

Mike O'Malley

Jim Carrey

Jimmy Kimmel

Tawny Kitaen

Lisa Kudrow

Brian Benben

Catherine Bell Biography

Home > Actresses > B > Bell, Catherine > Biography

Birth Name: Catherine Bell
Born: 08/14/1968
Birth Place: London, England, GB

Catherine Lisa Bell was born on Aug. 14, 1968 in London, England to a Scottish father and Iranian mother. Upon her parents' divorce when she was two years old, the future star moved to California with her mother, where she began her career as a commercial child model. Bell briefly attended the University of California in Los Angeles to study biology, but later dropped out to pursue modeling in Japan. While in her early twenties, Bell discovered she had thyroid cancer and underwent surgery to remove the gland. The actress later said she never covered her scar from the surgery because she thought it was "kind of cool." Back in Los Angeles, Bell studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and was cast in supporting roles on television. Her big break came in 1992 when she was cast as Isabella Rossellini's body double in the comedy feature "Death Becomes Her." On the set, she met her future husband Adam Beason, a writer and director Robert Zemeckis' assistant at the time. The couple married in 1994.

Bell became a household name after she was cast in a starring role on the television drama "JAG." She originally played the girlfriend of U.S. Navy Judge Advocate Harmon Rabb, Jr. (David James Elliott) who was found dead in the final episode of the first season. The actress then wrote a letter to series creator and producer Don Bellisario, asking him to write a lead part for her in the second season. Her plan worked. The actress returned to the show as Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie, a tough and feisty attorney in the U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps who resembled Rabb's dead girlfriend. "JAG" was inspired by successful military courtroom dramas such as "A Few Good Men" (1992) and "Clear and Present Danger" (1994), but failed to reach commercial expectations during its debut season. NBC dropped the series in 1996, but was rescued by rival network CBS in 1997. After a slow start, "JAG" spent 10 seasons on air and even spawned the spin-off "Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service" (CBS, 2003- ). The success of the show also turned the actress into a thinking man's sex symbol, often appearing on Maxim and FHM magazines' annual list of the "Sexiest Women in the World," alongside the likes of film stars Anjelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.

In 2003, Bell moved to the big screen and winningly played a local news anchor opposite a then-unknown Steve Carell in the blockbuster comedy "Bruce Almighty," about a self-centered journalist (Jim Carrey) who is given unlimited powers by God himself (Morgan Freeman). The actress reprised her role in the 2007 sequel "Evan Almighty," where Carell as the scene-stealing Evan received his own visit from God and learns he must build an ark of Biblical proportions to save his town from a flood. Off-screen, the Farsi-speaking Bell, who was raised a Roman Catholic, was member of the controversial Church of Scientology. She strongly supported the organization's anti-psychiatry and pro-human rights stance, even appearing in the 2006 music video "United" alongside her fellow celebrity Scientologists Isaac Hayes, Jenna Elfman and Erika Christensen. In 2008, Bell produced and starred in the television film "The Good Witch" (The Hallmark Channel), in which she portrayed Cassandra "Cassie" Nightingale, a mysterious woman who moves into a haunted mansion and opens a shop filled with occult items, causing the local townspeople to wonder whether she is a good or an evil witch. Bell reprised the role in "The Good Witch's Garden" (2009).

The actress found her most challenging role on Lifetime's "Army Wives" as Denise Sherwood, the wife of a U.S. Army major who suffers from domestic violence at the hands of her teenage son Jeremy (Richard Bryant). Her character, a registered nurse, also ends up having an affair with one of her patients while her husband is stationed in Iraq. The ensemble series, which also starred Kim Delaney and Sally Pressman, was a hit in the ratings for the female-centric network. Its 2007 debut was the most watched series premiere in Lifetime's history.

By Candy Cuenco