Childhood & Early Life
Emily Kaiser Wickersham was born on April 26, 1984, in Kansas, US, to John Atwood Wickersham and Amy Wickersham. She was the youngest child in the family. She grew up with her elder brother, Adam. Soon after her birth, the family shifted to New York. There, Emily started her education. Her father worked as a mechanic, and her mother was a homemaker.
She gained interest in acting quite early in life. After completing high school, she attended ‘Muhlenberg College.’ However, her dream of becoming an actor soon took over, and she dropped out of college after two years. Following this, she moved to Los Angeles to start working as a professional actor.
She did not know anybody there. She struggled a lot in her initial years in the industry. She was not too confident in front of the camera and was severely anti-social. To tackle these issues, she joined acting and public-speaking classes as soon as she landed in the city.
Although she was initially uncomfortable, she finally began enjoying her classes.
She came across a modeling agent at a restaurant, and he approached her with a few modeling offers. She accepted the offers and also asked him if he could fix an acting audition for her. A few days later, Emily found herself auditioning for a small role in the popular crime-drama series ‘The Sopranos.’ She got the role, and her career in the entertainment industry began.
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Before ‘The Sopranos’ went on air, she appeared in a single episode of the popular talk show ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ in 2006. She played the role of ‘Jules’ in a comedy skit on the show. The same year, she was seen making a guest appearance in an episode of ‘Parco P.I.,’ titled ‘Just Another Pretty Face.’
With ‘The Sopranos,’ she marked her grand arrival in the arena of acting. The series was universally acclaimed, and Emily’s appearance as ‘Rhiannon Flammer’ in four episodes of the show did not go unnoticed. This major break helped Emily score auditions for several other films and TV series.
In 2007, she appeared in an episode of ‘The Bronx is Burning,’ titled ‘Caught!,’ which featured her as ‘Suzy.’ She then made an unnamed guest appearance in the series ‘The Gamekillers.’ Her next TV project that year was a TV film titled ‘Mitch Albom’s for One More Day.’
In 2007, she also made her film debut, with the role of ‘Kate’ in the film ‘Gardener of Eden.’ The comedy–drama film received average critical response and earned very little profit at the box office.
In 2008, she appeared in yet another small role, in the romantic drama ‘Definitely, Maybe,’ starring Ryan Reynolds in the lead role. The film featured her as an unnamed intern and was a major critical and commercial success. The film is now hailed as a cult classic.
In 2009, she played a small part in the TV drama ‘Taking Chance.’ The low-budget film was praised by critics. However, prior to that, the film had traveled to several national and international film festivals such as the ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ The same year, she appeared in single-episode guest roles in three series: ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent,’ ‘Bored to Death,’ and ‘Trauma.’
Despite her performances receiving critical acclaim, her acting career was not progressing as planned. In 2010, she appeared in the film ‘Remember Me,’ starring Robert Pattinson. She had a very small role in the film. The film received poor response from reviewers, but it did not harm the film’s prospect of earning a decent profit at the box office.
In 2011, Emily starred as ‘Nicole’ in the science-fiction action–thriller ‘I Am Number Four.’ The film was a box-office success but a critical failure. The same year, Emily appeared in a single episode of ‘Gossip Girl,’ playing the role of an unnamed leading lady.
In the 2012 film ‘Gone,’ Emily played the supporting role of ‘Molly Parrish.’ The next year, she appeared in the series ‘The Bridge,’ playing the recurring character of ‘Kate Millwright’ in three episodes. This performance helped her bag the biggest breakthrough role of her career the following year.
In 2013, Emily was offered the role of ‘Special Agent Eleanor Bishop’ in the police-procedural series ‘NCIS.’ She took over the role from Cote de Pablo, who had to quit the series for personal reasons. Initially, Emily’s role was written as a three-episode role, but following the success and popularity of the character, she was made part of the regular cast for the subsequent seasons of the series.
In 2015, Emily played a major role in the independent film ‘Glitch,’ and in 2016, she appeared in ‘NCIS: New Orleans,’ portraying her character of ‘Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop’ from ‘NCIS’.
Emily Wickersham married musician Blake Hanley in November 2010 at a private ceremony in the Florida Keys. Unfortunately, the couple separated in 2018.
Emily once stated that had she not been an actor, she would have established her own fashion brand and collaborated with other fashion designers.
She plays football in her free time.