Ellen Pompeo is an American actress best known for her role of Dr. Meredith Grey in the TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. Well established in her career, she is one of the highest paid television actresses in America. Born in Everett, Massachusetts, she moved to New York City in search of better prospects. There she was discovered by a casting director who offered her the chance to appear in an advertisement campaign for L’Oreal. She eventually ventured into acting and over the next few years appeared in many TV series such as ‘Strong Medicine’ and ‘Friends’. Her first important role on the big screen was in the 2002 romantic drama film ‘Moonlight Mile’. Though the film was a commercial failure, her performance was praised by critics and considered worthy of an Academy Award. Other works that brought her fame include a supporting role in the superhero film ‘Daredevil’ which was based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Her popularity reached new heights after she started playing the lead role in the medical drama series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. The show, which has been running since 2005, has gained huge popularity worldwide. Her performance earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award among other accolades.
Childhood & Early Life
Ellen Kathleen Pompeo was born on 10th November 1969 in Everett, Massachusetts to Joseph E Pompeo and Kathleen B Pompeo. Her family was Roman Catholic. She has three sisters and two brothers. She lost her mother at the early age of five.
She worked as a barmaid in Miami before moving to New York City where she started appearing in various commercials.
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Ellen Pompeo’s career began with guest roles in TV series, such as ‘Law & Order’, ‘Strangers with Candy’ and ‘Friends’. She made her feature film debut with a minor role in the 1999 crime film ‘Coming Soon’.
In 2002, she played an important role in the romantic drama film ‘Moonlight Mile’. The film was a commercial failure and was met with mixed reviews. However, Pompeo’s performance was appreciated and the critics felt that she deserved an Academy Award for this role.
She appeared in the biographical crime film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ in 2002. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks in lead roles. The movie was based on the life of the infamous con-man named Frank Abagnale. The film was a commercial success and also received positive reviews. It earned several awards and nominations as well.
In 2003, Ellen Pompeo appeared in the American comedy film ‘Old School’ in an important role. The film was a huge commercial success and was met with mixed reviews. She next appeared in the superhero film ‘Daredevil’ which was based on the popular Marvel superhero of the same name. The film did well commercially. The same year, she also appeared in the psychological thriller ‘Undermined’.
In 2004, she appeared in the film ‘Art Heist’ in the lead role. She also played a cameo role in the superhero film ‘Spider-Man 2’. In 2005, she was seen in the movie ‘Life of the Party’.
Ellen Pompeo is also active on television. In 2005, she started portraying the role of Dr. Meredith Grey, the lead character in the TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. The role has earned her international popularity and has also made her one of the highest paid TV actresses worldwide. She has also directed one episode and has been serving as a producer since 2017.
In 2017, she voiced the character of Willow in one episode of ‘Doc McStuffins,’ an animated children’s television series. The following year, she appeared as a special guest in ‘Station 19,’ an action-drama TV series.
‘Moonlight Mile,’ a 2002 American romantic drama film, is one of the most important works in Pompeo’s career. Written and directed by Brad Silberling, the film was loosely inspired on the true story of his life. Other actors in the film were Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, and Holly Hunter. Though the film was a commercial failure, Pompeo’s brilliant performance was praised by the critics.
Pompeo played a main role in the 2004 film ‘Art Heist’ which was directed by Bryan Goeres. The movie also featured the actors William Baldwin, Abel Folk, and Simon Andreu. The film was a commercial success, but was met with negative reviews from critics. The film was about the well-planned robbery of a famous and expensive painting from a museum in Spain.
The actress played the lead role in the medical drama TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. The series premiered in March 2005. It revolves around the personal and professional lives of surgical interns, residents, and attending physicians, as they become seasoned doctors. The series is a major hit among the audience and has also been appreciated by the critics. It has won several awards including five Emmys.
Awards & Achievements
Ellen Pompeo has won several awards throughout her career. She received the ‘Satellite Award’ for Best Actress (2007) and three ‘People’s Choice Awards’ for Favorite TV Drama Actress (2013, 2015, and 2016) for her role in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
In 2015, she received the Taormina Arte Award at the Taormina Film Festival.
She was ranked fourth in the list of Forbes magazine’s list of highest paid TV actresses in 2015.
Ellen Pompeo first met her future husband Chris Ivery in a grocery store in 2003. This chance meeting led to a romantic relationship. They eventually got married four years later. They have three children, Stella, Sienna, and Eli Christopher. Their second daughter Sienna was born with the help of a surrogate mother.
Pompeo suffers from asthma and has several allergies. She loves dogs and has two toy poodles.