Ellie Kemper is an American actress who is known for her comedic roles in the television comedy ‘The Office’ and the comedy film ‘Bridesmaids.’ Her latest appearance in the American TV comedy series ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ where she is seen in the lead role has earned her much popularity as well as appreciation. Kemper, who had initially made several guest appearances in television shows, started her career in films with the 2009 comedy film ‘Mystery Team’, where she played a supporting role. Her first significant television role was in ‘The Office’. She played the supporting role of a sweet and quirky receptionist, a role which earned her much popularity. She worked with the series till it concluded in 2013. She was also cast in guest appearances in many shows such as ‘Robot Chicken,’ ‘The Mindy Project,’ ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ and ‘The American Dad.’ Her fame touched newer heights in 2015 after she started playing the lead role in the popular show ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’ Her outstanding performance in the show earned her an Emmy Award nomination in 2016. She is also a writer and often contributes to ‘The Huffington Post.’
Childhood & Early Life
Elizabeth Claire "Ellie" Kemper was born on 2 May 1980, in Kansas City, Missouri into one of the wealthiest families in the state. Her father David Woods Kemper was the chairman and chief executive officer of a bank holding company named Commerce Bancshares. Her mother’s name is Dorothy Ann.
Kemper is of Italian, English, and German, descent. She is the second of four siblings. Her younger sibling Carrie Kemper is a well-known television writer.
She started performing at quite a young age. She attended John Boroughs School where she developed an interest in theater and comedy. Around this time she got acquainted with the popular American actor John Hamm, with whom she appeared in a play as well.
Kemper studied English at Princeton University, where she was quite involved in acting as well. After her graduation in 2002, she went to the Oxford University in England. Later, she moved to New York to develop her skills even more.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Ellie Kemper began her career by doing comedy during her time at Princeton. She also became a member of a touring musical comedy theatre troupe known as Princeton Triangle Club.
In the early days of her career, she mostly did commercials. She did commercial advertisement for a one-week sale of tents at Kmart, after which she earned the ‘Screen Actor Guilds’ card.
After doing guest appearances in several television shows such as ‘Redeeming Rainbow’ and ‘Important Things with Demetri Martin’, she appeared in the popular TV show ‘The Office’ in 2009 as a sweet and quirky receptionist, a role which captured wide attention and earned her much popularity. Though initially her character was supposed to appear only for a few episodes, her tenure was extended due to the resounding popularity she received.
After appearing in cameo roles in a few movies, her first significant role was in the 2011 American comedy ‘Bridesmaids’ which was directed by Paul Feig. The story was about a girl named Annie Walker and the problems she faced in her life one after the other. The film turned out to be a success, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, as well as multiple other accolades.
Ellie Kemper appeared in a supporting role in the 2014 American romantic comedy ‘Laggies.’ The film, which was directed by Lynn Shelton, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 17.
She worked in a few other films in the mid-2010s, including ‘They Came Together’ (2014), ‘The Nobodies’, (2016), and ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ (2016).
Meanwhile she had also made guest appearances in television shows such as ‘Robot Chicken’ (2012), ‘The Mindy Project’ (2012-2013), ‘Sofia the First’ (2013-2016), and ‘American Dad’ (2014).
Ellie Kemper’s career success peaked to new heights after she began playing the lead role in the American television program ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’. The show was directed by Tina Fey and has been airing since 6 March 2015 on NBC television network. The show was later sold to Netflix. The series was a huge success, winning several awards.
The American television comedy ‘The Office’ can be regarded as the first significant work in Ellie Kemper’s career. While Kemper herself started appearing in the series only in 2009, the show had started airing much earlier, from March 2005, on NBC network. The series focused on the everyday lives of different employees of a fictional company. It was initially met with mixed reviews from critics, but later the show became successful, and was not only received positive reviews, but also won several awards and nominations as well.
Kemper’s first significant appearance in films was in the 2011 American comedy ‘Bridesmaids’ directed by Paul Feig. The film centers on a girl named Annie and a series of misfortunes that she encounters one after the other. The film was a commercial success, grossing $26 million in its opening weekend. Internationally it made a total of $288 million. It mostly received positive reviews. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award, and it received several accolades as well.
She appeared in a supporting role in ‘They Came Together’ a 2014 American satirical romantic comedy. The film was directed by David Wain, and premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film festival. The film focuses on two youths who initially hate each other, but later fall in love. It wasn’t a commercial hit, but received mostly positive reviews.
The American TV show ’Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, where Kemper plays the role of a 29-year-old lady named Kimmy Schmidt, is also a significant work in her career. Having received eleven Primetime Emmy Awards, the show has turned out to be quite popular, loved by both critics and audience. It won her an award and four nominations. The story focuses on the life of Kimmy, who after her escape from a cult, tries to restart her life in New York City where she makes new friends, as well as encounters new adventures and misadventures.
Awards & Achievements
Despite being quite young and having done only a few significant roles, Ellie Kemper has won numerous awards and nominations in her career so far. For her role in ‘The Office’, she won several nominations. She also won the ‘Golden Nymph Award’ in 2010 for ‘Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.’
In 2012, for her role in ‘Bridesmaids’, she received several nominations as well as four awards, which included Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Ensemble Cast, MTV Movie Award for Best Jaw Dropping Moment, New York Film Critics Online Award and Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble.
For her performance in ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, she won the Webby Award for Best Actress in 2015, along with four other award nominations.
Personal Life & Legacy
Ellie Kemper got married to her boyfriend Michael Koman in 2012. She revealed in April 2016 that she was pregnant with their first child. The child, who they named James Miller Koman, was born the same year.