Real name: Keri Lynn Russell
Birthdate: March 23, 1976
Partner: Scott Speedman
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Russell was born in Fountain Valley, California to Stephanie (née Stephens) and David Russell, a Nissan Motors executive. She has an older brother, Todd, and a younger sister, Julie. Russell grew up in Dallas, Texas; Mesa, Arizona; and Denver, Colorado, moving frequently because of her father's job.
Russell first appeared on television as a cast member of the New Mickey Mouse Club variety show on the Disney Channel. She was on the show from 1991 to 1993 and co-starred with future pop stars Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, JC Chasez, and Justin Timberlake. In 1992 she appeared in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid alongside Rick Moranis. Russell subsequently appeared in several film and television roles, including the 1996 made-for-television film The Babysitter's Seduction. She also had a role on the short-lived soap opera series Malibu Shores the same year. In 1994, she appeared in Jon Bon Jovi's music video "Always" with Jack Noseworthy and on Married with Children. Russell has also appeared in the sitcom Boy Meets World as Mr. Feeny's niece.
From 1998 to 2002, Russell starred as the title character on the successful WB Network series Felicity; she won a Golden Globe for the role in 1999. Russell's long and curly hair was one of her character's defining characteristics, and a drastic hairstyle change at the beginning of the show's second season was considered to be the cause of a significant drop in the show's ratings. As a result, new policies were enacted at the network requiring hairstyle changes by cast to be approved by the network's executives. Felicity 's ratings drop also coincided with the show's move to a Sunday night time slot, so it is unclear exactly how much effect the hairstyle change actually had. During the show's run, Russell appeared in the films Eight Days a Week, The Curve and Mad About Mambo, all of which received only limited releases in North America. Her next role was in the Mel Gibson-starring film We Were Soldiers, playing the wife of an American serviceman. The film was released in March 2002, two months before the end of Felicity 's run.Russell as Felicity Porter in Felicity, 1999
Russell has also appeared in three films that have yet to be released in the United States: August Rush, a drama, and Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story (titled Rohtenburg for its German release), in which she plays Katie Armstrong, a graduate student who writes a thesis paper on an infamous cannibal murder case, and the thriller The Girl In The Park, opposite Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth and Alessandro Nivola.
In 2005, several reports claimed that Russell was set to adopt Scientology, after working with actor Tom Cruise, who is a Scientologist, on Mission: Impossible III. Russell's representative subsequently threatened to sue the reporter who first made the claim. Stories about the incident had noted that Russell is of Jewish heritage and religion; older reports, which had originally suggested her conversion to Scientology, had mentioned that she was once a member of the Mormon church.
As of 2007, Russell resides in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. Russell and Shane Deary, a carpenter she met through mutual friends, became engaged in 2006 and were married on February 14, 2007 in New York. Russell gave birth to a boy, named River Russell Deary, on June 9, 2007. Russell had a midwife-assisted hospital birth; she has described her pregnancy experience as "real great and easy".