Kristen Anne Bell is an American actress best known for playing the title role in the television show Veronica Mars, from 2004-2007.
She also stars as management consultant Jeannie Van Der Hooven in the dark comedy television series House of Lies.
Bell, who is of Polish and Irish descent, was born and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a suburb about three miles north of Detroit. As a child she once broke both wrists at once, while playing hockey.
She went to her first audition at age 11 and won a dual role as a banana and a tree in a suburban Detroit theatre's production of Raggedy Ann and Andy.
She attended Shrine Catholic High School in nearby Royal Oak, where she took the starring role in the school's 1997 production of The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy Gale.
She also appeared in Fiddler on the Roof (1995), Lady Be Good (1996), and Li'l Abner (1998).
In 1998, the year of her graduation, she was named the yearbook's "Best Looking Girl" by senior class vote. The same year, she appeared in the locally filmed movie Polish Wedding.
In 2006, PETA named Kristen "Sexiest Vegetarian".
Bell was in her senior year at New York University in 2001 when she left to take a key role as Becky Thatcher in the short-lived Broadway musical of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
That same year she made her officially credited film debut in Pootie Tang (though her appearance exists only in the credit sequence).
As well, she auditioned for the Smallville TV role of Chloe Sullivan, a part eventually won by Allison Mack. In 2002, she appeared in the Broadway revival of The Crucible.
Bell then appeared in a handful of television shows as a special guest before landing a role in the Hallmark movie The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay in 2003. A year later, she appeared in the television movie Gracie's Choice.
In 2004, Bell made her big-screen debut, appearing in David Mamet's Spartan as Laura Newton, the kidnapped daughter of a high-ranking U.S. government official, acting alongside Val Kilmer.
Following this, she won the role of the title character in UPN's drama Veronica Mars, which was launched in the fall of 2004. The show earned positive reviews from television critics, as did Bell's performance, which some critics have mentioned as worthy of an Emmy nomination.
In 2006 the show was renewed for a third season, and returned on a newly created network, The CW. On May 17, 2007, The CW canceled this program. The two-hour series finale aired in the U.S. on Tuesday, May 22, 2007.
Bell also has guest-starred on HBO's drama Deadwood in a two-episode story arc: the episodes "Bullock Returns to the Camp" and "Suffer the Little Children".
Bell received major publicity in 2005 when she was chosen to perform the theme from Fame on the "Emmy Idol" portion of the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Bell's performance was very well received by fans and critics.
Kristen Bell and Veronica Mars were nominated for two Teen Choice Awards in 2005: "Choice Breakout Actress" and "Choice Breakout TV Show". Bell won the Saturn Award in 2006 for "Best Actress on Television". Veronica Mars also was nominated for "Best Network Television Show".
Bell appeared as Gracie in Fifty Pills, a Tribeca Film Festival entry which premiered in April 2006. In the spring of 2006, she finished filming Fanboys, which is slated to be released in early 2008.
Bell now lives in Los Angeles and has made several appearances on popular late-night television shows.
A film version of her off-Broadway musical Reefer Madness (a spoof of the 1936 exploitation film of the same name, which was in turn based on an anti-marijuana propaganda film entitled Tell Your Children) debuted on the Showtime network in April 2005, with Bell reprising the role which she played in the musical.
She appeared in a short independent film called The Receipt. She also had roles in the 2006 films Roman and Pulse, the latter being an American remake of the Japanese horror film Kairo.
She also lent her voice and likeness to the video game Assassin's Creed, which was released in 2007 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Kristen has also been featured in Maxim's Annual "Hot 100" list. In the article she is said to have "single-handedly saved the CW from becoming the worst network ever".