Briga Heelan is an American actor, best known as journalist Katie Wendelson from 'Great News.' A 'Cincinnati Conservatory of Music' alumna, she initially aspired to become a musical theater actor. However, Briga soon lost interest and turned toward comedy. She eventually stepped into the mainstream television and has appeared in several comedy series. She had a couple of guest- appearances and brief recurring roles on 'Jane by Design' and 'Cougar Town,' before she landed the main character in 'Ground Floor.' Some of her other notable works include 'Undateable,' 'Love,' and guest-starring parts in 'Man Up!,' 'Happy Endings,' and 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.'
Childhood & Early Life
Briga was born on April 2, 1987, in Andover, Massachusetts, to Kimball Heelan and Kevin Heelan. She grew up alongside her brother, Conor, in Essex County.
Briga went to 'Andover High School,' graduated from 'Walnut Hill School for the Arts,' and then attended the 'Cincinnati Conservatory of Music' for a year. She then enrolled at the 'University of Southern California.'
She lived in New York and pursued musical theater, a passion she had harbored since her first year in the conservatory. However, she eventually lost interest and realized that she was trying too hard to do things she was not supposed to. Around this time, she realised that comedy was her forte and then went on to pursue that.
Briga performed in 'Prospect Theater Company' production of 'Once Upon a Time in New Jersey,' in 2010. Earlier, she had performed in her high school stage production of 'Les Misérables,' in 2002.
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In 2011, Briga made a brief appearance in an episode of the 'ABC' sitcom 'Man Up!.' In her second television project, she was cast in a short recurring (five episodes) in the 'ABC Family' comedy-drama 'Jane by Design' (2012). She played ‘Amanda Clark,’ a flourishing actor and a drama teacher at the 'Whitemarsh High School,' where she was once a "popular girl." On the show, the character is shown having a romantic interest in one of the main characters, Ben (David Clayton Rogers).
In 2012, Briga landed her break-out role (7 episodes) on the 'TBS' sitcom 'Cougar Town.' Her character ‘Holly’ was introduced in the third season and also appeared in the sixth.
Briga had a single-episode appearance ‘Ryan’ in the 'ABC' sitcom 'Happy Endings' (2013), before she got her first central TV character on 'TBS' sitcom 'Ground Floor' (20 episodes, 2013-15). She was cast as ‘Jenny Miller,’ the maintenance-employee at the 'Remington Trust,' who develops feelings for the young and successful banker ‘Brody’ (Skylar Astin) after a one-night stand.
Her performance on 'Ground Floor' was highly appreciated by the critics and audience. 'The Los Angeles Times' commented that it was Briga's performance that made the series watchable.
Along with filming for 'Ground Floor,' Briga simultaneously shot for the 'NBC' sitcom 'Undateable' in which she played ‘Nicki,’ bar owner Justin Kearney's (Brent Morin) ex-girlfriend. The character was recurring (7 episodes) in the first season while had a guest appearance in the second one.
Both 'Undateable' and 'Ground Floor' were shot with multi-camera mode on, that require fewer production days as compared to that of single-camera shows. Hence it was easier for Briga to manage the filming schedules together.
Briga is credited for the recurring character ‘Heidi McAuliffe’ in the 'Netflix' rom-com 'Love.' She was contracted for the lead role of ‘Katherine "Katie" Wendelson,’ a segment producer at the fictional news channel 'The Breakdown' in the 'NBC' sitcom 'Great News.' Katie does not have a healthy relationship with her mother, Carol, (Andrea Martin), which worsens further when Carol joined Katie's channel as an intern.
Family & Personal Life
Briga's mother teaches at the 'Lowell Public Schools' while her father is a renowned playwright as well as dramatist. Hehas written and produced the mini-series '704 Hauser.' He has been a faculty member at 'Phillips Andover Academy,' a preparatory school, since 1983.
The name Briga is of Irish descent, meaning pagan Celtic goddess. She was named after her grandmother's Irish best friend. Initially, Briga's surname was O'Heelahan.
Briga got married to her 'Ground Floor' co-star Rene Gube on May 8, 2015, following a 7-month-long engagement. On October 31, 2016, the two announced Briga's pregnancy with their first child and welcomed a daughter, Bennet Alejandra Gube, on March 23, 2017.
Briga was in a relationship with singer-songwriter Martin Johnson from 'Boys Like Girls.' The two were 'Andover High School' mates.
Briga loves to take pictures of her 'Starbucks' cups.
She had met her 'Ground Floor' co-star Skylar Astin at a musical theater convention.
'Little Shop of Horrors' was the first musical she watched in which her mother starred.