Keri Russell is an American actress and dancer best known for her starring role as Felicity Porter in the television drama series Felicity, appearing in 84 episodes from 1998-2002.
The role garnered Russell critical attention and a Golden Globe Award during the show's first season for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama.
She currently stars as Elizabeth Jennings, a Russian KGB spy living under an assumed identity in suburban Washington, in the period drama television series The Americans, since 2013.
Although born in Fountain Valley, California, Russell attended high school outside Denver, Colorado. It was in the Rocky Mountain state that Russell discovered her love of dance, and began intense study in ballet, jazz, lyrical and street dancing.
She won several scholarships that allowed her to study in various arts programs, often for as much as seven hours a day.
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 in the last year co-starred with future pop stars Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake.
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 in the same year.
In 1994, she appeared in Jon Bon Jovi's music video Always with Jack Noseworthy and on Married With Children.
From 1998 to 2002, Russell starred as the title character on the successful 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-directed 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.
When Felicity ended, Russell took a break from acting and even considered quitting the profession. She moved to New York City and took two years off to avoid the business of Hollywood, spending time with friends.
Russell subsequently made her off-Broadway stage debut in 2004, appearing opposite Jeremy Piven, Andrew McCarthy, and Ashlie Atkinson in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig.
In 2005, she returned to television and film, beginning with an appearance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie Magic of Ordinary Days and in the theatrical film The Upside of Anger, in which she appeared alongside Kevin Costner, Joan Allen and Evan Rachel Wood.
Russell's other television credits include the miniseries Into the West, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Simon Wincer, and the Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation The Magic of Ordinary Days.
In 2005, Russell made her Off-Broadway stage debut in Neil LaBute's play, Fat Pig, opposite Jeremy Piven.
Although a number of her Felicity co-stars went on to appear in producer J.J. Abrams' series Alias, Russell declined invitations to be part of the show.
In a seminar at the Museum of Television and Radio, Abrams said, "I've asked Keri if she would ever do it, and I usually get this, sort of like, giggle — and then she hangs up".
In 2005, Abrams asked Russell to join the cast of Mission: Impossible III, a film he directed, and she accepted. The film was released on May 5, 2006.
In the summer of 2006, Russell was chosen to be a celebrity spokeswoman for CoverGirl Cosmetics.
Before she was in Mission Impossible: III she was screen tested for the role of "Lois Lane" in Superman Returns but lost the role to Kate Bosworth, whom she co-starred with in The Girl In The Park.
Russell also starred in three films in 2007: Waitress, an independent film in which she plays a pregnant waitress in the American South; 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.
Russell's other film credits include August Rush, The Girl in the Park, Mission Impossible III, The Upside of Anger, We Were Soldiers, Mad About Mambo, Dead Man's Curve and Eight Days A Week.
Russell starred in the independent film Leaves of Grass opposite Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, Goats opposite Vera Farmiga and David Duchovny and directed by Christopher Neil, and Extraordinary Measures alongside Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford.
Before that, she starred opposite Adam Sandler in Bedtime Stories, and she received rave reviews for her starring role in the Fox Searchlight romantic comedy Waitress.
Keri also had a starring role as Emmy Kadubic in the short-lived comedy series Running Wilde, from 2010-2011.
Russell married carpenter Shane Deary at the Harrison restaurant in NYC's West Village on Valentine's Day, 2007, before 10 immediate family members.