Julie Bowen

Julie Bowen Biography.com

Television Actor, Film Actor/Film Actress(1970–)
Julie Bowen is best known for playing Claire Dunphy on the ABC TV series 'Modern Family.'


Julie Bowen was born on March 3, 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended Brown University and acted in college plays. After some early success in television, Bowen moved to Los Angeles to further her acting career. More TV success followed and in 1996 she moved onto the big screen with a splash in the comedy Happy Gilmore. While her TV career continued to thrive, she appeared in such films as Multiplicity and An American Werewolf in Paris. In 2009 she joined the cast of the new series Modern Family, which has led to two Emmys, four SAG awards and a legion of fans.

Background in Acting and Italian Studies

Julie Bowen was born on March 3, 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland. Even as a child, Bowen loved to act, and she and her sisters put on plays around the house and in their back yard. After high school, Bowen moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where she enrolled at Brown University and majored in Italian Renaissance studies. Of course, all of her time was not taken up hitting the books, as her love of acting had moved north with her as well.

In fact, Bowen kept very busy with thespian activities, and she starred in productions of Guys and Dolls, Stage Door and Lemon Sky. She also managed to go abroad for a year, heading to Florence, Italy, where she became fluent in Italian. Upon returning to Providence for her senior year, Bowen stepped off the stage to appear in the independent film Five Spot Jewel (1992). This role would be the first of many for the young actress, and she quickly found a home on TV.

Early Film and TV Roles

Bowen hit the airwaves for the first time in 1993, appearing in both Life Stories: Families in Crisis and Class of ’96. These roles gave her the confidence to move to Los Angeles, where she soon landed a role on Acapulco H.E.A.T. as well as the lead in the Showtime drama Runaway Daughters, part of a series called Rebel Highway. At this point, the TV roles just kept coming, and Bowen appeared on Where Are My Children (1994; TV movie), Extreme (seven episodes in 1995), Party of Five (1996) and Strange Luck (1996).

With the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore, though, Bowen’s star really began to rise, as her leading lady role gave her exposure to Sandler’s huge fan base and launched her film career.

Emmy Wins for 'Modern Family'

With Happy Gilmore under her belt, Bowen began appearing more regularly in movies, including Multiplicity (1996), An American Werewolf in Paris (1997) and the TV movie The Last Man on Planet Earth (1999), in which she had a starring role. The end of the decade and the beginning of the next brought more television success to Bowen’s doorstep, as she had recurring roles on both ER (1999) and Ed (2000-2004), on which she appeared in scores of episodes.

After appearing in solid parts in a variety of shows such as Lost, Weeds and Boston Legal, in 2009 Bowen found the part that had been waiting for her all along: that of Claire Dunphy on the comedy series Modern Family. As part of a lively and acclaimed cast, Bowen has been nominated for a host of awards and has walked away with two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and four SAG awards for her ensemble work. In 2015 she received an Emmy nod once again for her work as Claire.

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