Calista Flockhart - Biography & Career
Calista Flockhart was born November 1l, 1964, in Freeport, Illinois. The daughter of Ronald, a former Kraft Foods business executive, and Kay, a teacher, Calista was raised in Iowa, Minnesota and New York State, before finally settling down in Medford, New Jersey.
While a student at Shawnee High School, Calista (which means "most beautiful" in Greek) showed her school spirit by being an executive on the student council and a member of the cheerleading squad. Once a high school graduate, Calista went on to study Fine Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. By the time she graduated in 1987, she had already trained under acting coach William Esper and appeared in numerous student theater productions.
Calista then decided to pursue acting full-time and headed to New York to follow her dreams. She got a quick start, with roles in a Williamstown Theater Festival presentation of Death Takes a Holiday, and off-Broadway productions of Wrong Turn at Lungfish, Sophistry, and All for One, and audiences were beginning to take notice.
She then moved to television with bit parts on several soap operas (namely Guiding Light), and finally a supporting role in 1991's Darrow, co-starring Kevin Spacey. In 1992, she was cast in the lead role of a woman with an eating disorder in the segment of "The Secret Life of Mary-Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic", in the HBO series Lifestories: Families in Crisis (Ironically, Calista is constantly denying allegations that her thinness can be attributed to an eating disorder).
Her job as an aerobics instructor supplemented her income, and she soon hired an agent and a manager. While she was gaining praise in theater circles, especially after roles in Beside Herself and Three Sisters, she had not yet broken through in the real moneymakers: television and film.
Doomed to a very tight-budget life, Calista finally made it to Broadway with her award-winning role in The Glass Menagerie. With a Theater World Award and a Clarence Derwent Award to her name, she appeared in her first feature film -- albeit a very small role -- in Quiz Show. But it was thanks to her role in The Loop that she was cast in a supporting role in the 1996 hit comedy, The Birdcage.
After her name went up in Broadway lights yet again, this time in another production of Three Sisters, television producer David E. Kelley heard about Calista, who was becoming known as a reputable Broadway actress. After much encouragement from her friends -- Calista was not keen on going back to television -- she finally went to the audition, and was cast as the lead in Ally McBeal right away.
Kelley's intuition that Calista was the perfect actress to play the romantic, neurotic lawyer forever searching for Mr. Right wasn't too far off. Audiences immediately took to the quirky show, which was receiving sky-high ratings and critical praise. Calista's Ally McBeal role has garnered her the 1998 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV series, and the Q Award in the same category. She has also been nominated for an Emmy in 1998, and Golden Globe and People Choice Award in 1999, to name a few.
Named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998, Calista has been keeping busy with other projects since the start of Ally McBeal in 1997. She appeared in the romantic comedy Milk and Money in 1997, and co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer (incidentally David E. Kelley's wife) in the film adaptation of a A Midsummer Night's Dream. She was most recently seen in 2000's Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, co-starring Cameron Diaz. She also returned to her theater roots and starred in the Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues.
Now single after a courtship with Gary Shandling, Calista has recently adopted a baby boy, an addition to her first "child," a terrier named Webster.