Worked With:

Owen Wilson

Scott Aukerman

Jane Lynch

Ed Helms

Jay Leno

Jimmy Kimmel

Chris Messina

Chris O'Donnell

D.L. Hughley

Jenna Fischer Biography

Home > Actresses > F > Fischer, Jenna > Biography

Birth Name: Jenna Fischer
Born: 03/07/1974
Birth Place: Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Born on March 7, 1974 in Fort Wayne, IN, Fischer was raised by her father, Jim, and her mother, Anne, a former acting teacher, both of whom started calling her Jenna despite naming her Regina. The family soon picked up stakes from Indiana, however, and settled in St. Louis, MO. Meanwhile, Fischer showed an interest in acting from a very young age, attending her first acting class - taught by her mother - at six years old. After going to Pierremont Elementary School, she attended Nerinx Hall High School, a private, all-girls Catholic school in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves. Following high school, she earned a bachelor's degree in theater from Truman State University and soon after moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. To support herself, she worked as an office temp for five years - an experience that no doubt helped her play Pam on "The Office." But before she landed the role, Fischer struggled through numerous casting calls, and even found herself the victim of a fraudulent audition. Thinking she was up for a role as a member of "International Spice Girls," she came to the slow realization that the producer who hired her was really a pimp in a high-end prostitution ring. She quickly changed all her phone numbers and never heard from the "producer" again.

Fischer had a rather unconventional entry into professional acting when she landed a role in a sex education video made for mental patients who were being discharged from the UCLA Medical Center. She was paid $100. Soon enough, Fischer began to appear in more legit roles in films and on television during the late 1990's. One of her first feature appearances was in "The Specials" (2000), a gentle superhero spoof written by Fischer's future husband, James Gunn. Fischer had known Gunn for most of her life, since she took acting classes with his brother, Sean, at the age of six. The life-long friends eventually dated and were married on Oct. 7th, 2000. Meanwhile, Fischer became more prevalent on television in the new millennium, appearing on episodes of "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002), "What I Like About You" (The WB, 2002-06) and Judd Apatow's "Undeclared" (Fox, 2001-02). During her pre-"Office" period, Fischer also directed her first film, "Lollilove" (2004), a mockumentary about a prosperous young Hollywood couple (Fischer and Gunn) who endeavor to help the homeless. The film was eventually released on DVD in 2006.

In 2005, Fischer landed her defining role as Pam Beesly in "The Office" (2005-), an NBC comedy based on the original BBC series. The British "Office" (2001-03) was a dry, often-awkward sitcom about the day to day lives of office workers at a paper supply company. Created by Ricky Gervais, who also starred as obnoxious office manager David Brent, and Stephen Merchant, the wildly popular show won a slew of awards in Britain and elevated Gervais to superstar status. Gervais and Merchant also served as executive producers when NBC remade the show in the U.S., which debuted on March 24th, 2005 and starred Stephen Carell in the Gervais role as the clueless Michael Scott. While Carell earned the most laughs, the heart and soul belonged to the show's young, star-crossed lovers: salesman Jim Halpert (Jim Krasinski) and receptionist Pam Beasley (Fischer). Working against conventional Hollywood wisdom, Fischer decided to play Beesly as somewhat folksy, frumpy and modest. The gamble worked and after a shaky first season, "The Office" soon rocketed to NBC's number one show.

"The Office" quickly turned Fischer into a star. But through it all, she remained remarkably down-to-Earth, a reflection of her Midwestern upbringing. While filming the show, Fischer maintained a chatty, confessional MySpace blog detailing life on the set and forged lasting friendships with her costars, particularly with Angela Kinsley, who played Pam's sometimes-nemesis Angela Martin. Between "Office" seasons, Fisher upped her profile, appearing in Gunn's monster movie, "Slither" (2006), while promoting "Lollilove," which had been released on DVD. By the third season of "The Office," Fischer began to reap the rewards of her work. The show won its first of many various awards, while Fischer herself was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category. She also made appearances in several high-profile films, including "Blades of Glory" (2007), "The Brothers Solomon" (2007), and "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (2007). In the latter, a fictional documentary about faded singing star Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), Fischer costarred as Cox's glamorous second wife, Darlene, and even performed a song with Reilly despite her admittedly limited vocal range.

While 2007 proved to be a watershed year for Fischer's career, the year was also marked with its share of misfortune. On May 15th, 2007, Fischer fell down a flight of stairs while attending the upfronts for "The Office" at a bar in New York City and fractured her back in four places. Fischer was laid up for twelve weeks, but still managed to make it to the "Office" in time to start work on the show's fourth season. In September of that year, Fischer and James Gunn both announced via their respective MySpace blogs that they were going to separate. The divorce was finalized six months later. Meanwhile, she again costarred alongside John C. Reilly, this time in "The Promotion" (2008), which preceded yet another successful year of "The Office." In September of 2008, People magazine reported that Fischer was dating actor and screenwriter Lee Kirk. Kirk was a longtime friend and associate of Gunn who appeared with Fisher in "The Specials." In 2009, the two were engaged, while Fischer returned to "The Office" in 2009 for its sixth season.