Jennifer Westfeldt

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Jennifer Westfeldt
Jennifer Westfeldt TIFF 2, 2011.jpg
Jennifer Westfeldt at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
Born (1970-02-02) February 2, 1970 (age 49)
Alma mater Yale University
OccupationActress and writer
Partner(s) Jon Hamm (1997–2015)

Jennifer Westfeldt (born February 2, 1970) [1] [2] is an American actress and screenwriter known for the 2001 independent film Kissing Jessica Stein , her 2004 Tony nomination for Wonderful Town , and her 2011 film Friends with Kids .

Independent film Film done outside major film studio system

An independent film, independent movie, indie film or indie movie is a feature film or short film that is produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies. Independent films are sometimes distinguishable by their content and style and the way in which the filmmakers' personal artistic vision is realized. Usually, but not always, independent films are made with considerably lower budgets than major studio films.

<i>Kissing Jessica Stein</i> 2001 film directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld

Kissing Jessica Stein is a 2001 American independent romantic comedy film, written and co-produced by the film's stars, Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen. The film also stars Tovah Feldshuh and is directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. It is one of the earlier film appearances of actor Jon Hamm. The film is based on a scene from the 1997 off-Broadway play by Westfeldt and Juergensen called Lipschtick.

<i>Wonderful Town</i> musical

Wonderful Town is a 1953 musical with book written by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Leonard Bernstein. The musical tells the story of two sisters who aspire to be a writer and actress respectively, seeking success from their basement apartment in New York City's Greenwich Village. It is based on Fields and Chodorov's 1940 play My Sister Eileen, which in turn originated from autobiographical short stories by Ruth McKenney first published in The New Yorker in the late 1930s and later published in book form as My Sister Eileen. Only the last two stories in McKenney's book were used, and they were heavily modified.


Early life

Westfeldt was born in Guilford, Connecticut, the daughter of Constance "Connie" (née Meyers), a therapist, and Patrick McLoskey Westfeldt, Jr., an electrical engineer. [3] [4] [5] Westfeldt's mother is Jewish. [6] She graduated from Guilford High School and attended Yale University, where she sang with the a cappella group Redhot & Blue. [2]

Guilford, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Guilford is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, that borders Madison, Branford, North Branford and Durham, and is situated on I-95 and the Connecticut seacoast. The population was 22,375 at the 2010 census. In 2015 the population stands at approximately 22,413 people. It was named one of the top 100 places to live in the United States by Money magazine in 2005.

Guilford High School is a four-year public high school in Guilford, Connecticut.

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.

Acting career

Westfeldt started her career as a New York-based theater actor, and has starred in over 25 Off-Broadway and regional productions. She first came to Hollywood in 1997. That year, she co-wrote and starred in an Off-Broadway play with Heather Juergensen called Lipschtick: The Story of Two Women Seeking the Perfect Shade that caught the attention of Hollywood studios. It was optioned by Radar Pictures and made into Kissing Jessica Stein, in which Westfeldt and Juergensen starred.

Heather Julia Juergensen is an American actress and writer.

In 2001, Westfeldt starred as Jessica in Kissing Jessica Stein . The film was an extended version of one of the sketches Westfeldt and Juergensen had written for Lipschtick. [7] For her role, Westfeldt won the Golden Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Comedy, an Indie Spirit nomination for Best First Screenplay with Juergensen, and a Special Jury Prize for Writing and Acting at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. [8] The film also won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, the Audience Favorites Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Miami Film Festival, Best Feature at the Louisville Jewish Film Festival, and the GLAAD Media Award.

Chicago International Film Festival film festival in Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Chicago International Film Festival is an annual film festival held every fall. Founded in 1964 by Michael Kutza, it is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America. Its logo is a stark, black and white close up of the composite eyes of early film actresses Theda Bara, Pola Negri and Mae Murray, set as repeated frames in a strip of film.

GLAAD Media Award Award for LGBT representation in media

The GLAAD Media Award is an accolade bestowed by GLAAD to recognize and honor various branches of the media for their outstanding representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives. In addition to film and television, the Awards also recognize achievements in other branches of the media and arts, including theatre, music, journalism and advertising.

In 2004, Westfeldt starred opposite Paul Schneider in the film How to Lose Your Lover. Westfeldt wrote, produced, and starred alongside Chris Messina in Ira & Abby , which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2006, and was released by Magnolia Pictures in September 2007. Westfeldt won Best Actress at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival for her performance as Abby, and the film won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Jury Prize for Best Feature at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, and the Audience Award at The Boston Jewish Film Festival.

Paul Schneider (actor) American film actor

Paul Andrew Schneider is an American actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Dick Liddil in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and his role as Mark Brendanawicz on the first two seasons of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. He won a Best Actor in a Narrative Feature award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival for his performance in Angus Maclachlan's Goodbye to All That and the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Society of Film Critics for his performance as Charles Armitage Brown in Bright Star.

Chris Messina American actor

Christopher Messina is an American actor and film director. He has appeared in supporting roles in films such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Argo, Julie & Julia, Ruby Sparks, Celeste and Jesse Forever, and You've Got Mail. He starred in the film The Giant Mechanical Man. On television, he appeared in roles as Chris Sanchez in Damages, Reese Lansing in The Newsroom and as Danny Castellano in The Mindy Project, the latter of which earned him two nominations for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

<i>Ira & Abby</i> 2006 film

Ira & Abby is a 2006 American romantic comedy film directed by Robert Cary and released in the United States by Magnolia Pictures. The poignant love story stars Chris Messina and Jennifer Westfeldt in the title roles, and co-stars Fred Willard, Frances Conroy, Jason Alexander, Robert Klein, Judith Light and a small early role by Jon Hamm as Ronnie.

In 2011, she wrote, produced, starred and made her directorial debut in Friends with Kids . The cast included Westfeldt's boyfriend, Jon Hamm. The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, and was released by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions in March 2012.

<i>Friends with Kids</i> 2011 film by Jennifer Westfeldt

Friends with Kids is a 2011 American romantic comedy film written, produced, and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, who also stars in the film. Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Edward Burns, Megan Fox and Jon Hamm also star in the film.

Jon Hamm actor

Jonathan Daniel Hamm is an American actor, best known for playing advertising executive Don Draper in the AMC television drama series Mad Men (2007–2015).

Toronto International Film Festival annual film festival held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. Since its founding in 1976, TIFF has grown to become a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, located in downtown Toronto. TIFF's mission is "to transform the way people see the world through film."

Westfeldt was cast in a series regular role for Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place alongside Ryan Reynolds, Traylor Howard and Richard Ruccolo during its first season on ABC in 1997. In 2001 she was featured in three episodes of Judging Amy . In 2007, she was cast as the lead of ABC's Notes from the Underbelly , directed and executive produced by Barry Sonnenfeld. Notes ran for two seasons on ABC. Her recent television credits include memorable arcs on ABC's hit Grey's Anatomy , as well as starring in the TV movie Before You Say I Do (2009) opposite David Sutcliffe. [9] Additional television credits include appearances in The Gene Pool, Dante , Hack , Snoops , and The Untitled New York Project.

In 2010, she was a guest star on Numb3rs and the show 24 . She first appeared in the first four episodes of season eight and returned in the final episodes of the series.

She provided the voice of Kit Luntayne in the Martha Speaks episodes "Cora! Cora! Cora!" and "Cora Encore!"

Westfeldt has starred in over 25 Off-Broadway and regional productions.[ citation needed ] She made her 2004 Broadway debut in a revival of Wonderful Town . Her performance won her a Theatre World Award,[ citation needed ] a Drama League Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut[ citation needed ] and a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. [10] Her stage work includes the world premiere of Joe Gilford's Finks at the Powerhouse Theater, opposite Josh Radnor (2008); the world premiere of Cusi Cram's A Lifetime Burning Primary Stages (2009); Three Sisters at LA Theaterworks (2011) and the world premiere of Stephen Belber's The Power of Duff at the Powerhouse Theater, opposite Greg Kinnear (2012). In 2014 she starred alongside Chloë Grace Moretz in the Off-Broadway play The Library directed by Steven Soderbergh. [11] [12] [13]

She played Pauline Brooks in the TV Lands TV series Younger in 2017.

Personal life

In 1997, Westfeldt began a relationship with actor Jon Hamm. They owned homes in Los Angeles and the Upper West Side in New York City. In an interview discussion about his relationship with Westfeldt, Hamm said: "We may not have a piece of paper that says we're husband and wife, but after 10 years, Jennifer is more than just a girlfriend. What we have is much deeper and we both know that. To me, people [should] get married when they're ready to have kids, which I'm not ruling out." In April 2009, Hamm and Westfeldt formed their own production company, Points West Pictures. Hamm and Westfeldt are advocates of animal rescue and have adopted a mixed breed dog named Cora from the Much Love Animal Shelter in California. In September 2015, Hamm and Westfeldt announced they were ending their relationship.



2001 See Jane Run UnknownFilm debut
2001 Kissing Jessica Stein Jessica SteinAlso co-producer/writer
Los Angeles IFP/West Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay
Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay
2004 How to Lose Your Lover Val
2005 Keep Your Distance Melody Carpenter
2006 Ira & Abby Abby WilloughbyAlso executive producer/writer
Boston Jewish Film Festival Award for Audience award
US Comedy Arts Festival Award for Best Actress
2011 Friends with Kids Julie KellerAlso director/producer/writer
201610 CrosbyElegant WomanShort film
2016LemonPenelopeShort film
2017Circus KidsDocumentary; Producer


1998 Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place Melissatelevision debut
series regular; 13 episodes
1998-2001 Holding the Baby Kelly O'Malleyseries regular; 13 episodes
1999 Snoops Irene HollisEpisode: "Separation Anxiety"
2000 Judging Amy Leisha Eldon3 episodes
2001The Gene PoolJane AndersonTelevision Movie
2003 Hack Emily Carson2 episodes
2003Untitled New York PilotCatherineTelevision Movie
2005 Numb3rs Dr. Karen FisherEpisode: "Man Hunt"
2005DanteunknownTelevision Movie
2007 Wainy Days NoraEpisode: "Dorvid Days"
2007-2010 Notes from the Underbelly Lauren Stoneseries regular; 23 episodes
2009 Private Practice Jen HarmonEpisode: "Ex-Life"
2009 Before You Say 'I Do' Jane GardnerTelevision Movie
2009 Grey's Anatomy Jen Harmon3 episodes
2010 24 Meredith Reedrecurring role; 6 episodes
2012 Martha Speaks Kit (voice role)Episode: "Cora! Cora!/Cora Encore!"
2012 Childrens Hospital Jessica MeetcherEpisode: "Behind the Scenes"
2014 Girls Annalise Pressler-GoingsEpisode: "Only Child"
2017 Younger Paulinerecurring role; 9 episodes


2003-2004 Wonderful Town Eileen SherwoodBroadway musical

Further reading

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  13. Rooney, David (January 16, 2014). "Steven Soderbergh to Direct Off-Broadway Play Starring Chloe Grace Moretz". The Hollywood Reporter.