- NAME: Portia de Rossi
- OCCUPATION: Animal Rights Activist, Film Actress, Television Actress
- BIRTH DATE: January 31, 1973 (Age: 40)
- EDUCATION: University of Melbourne
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Horsham, Victoria, Australia
- Originally: Amanda Lee Rogers
- Full Name: Portia Lee James DeGeneres
- AKA: Amanda Rogers
- AKA: Portia de Rossi
- AKA: Portia DeGeneres
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aquarius
Best Known For
Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres, is known for playing the cold and calculating Nelle Porter on Ally McBeal and Lindsay Bluth-Funke on Arrested Development.
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Australian actress Portia de Rossi was born in 1973, and starred in her first film, Sirens (1994), at age 11. She later moved to California to try and forge an acting career, and landed her big break in 1998 when she was cast as the cold-hearted Nelle Porter on Ally McBeal. Other notable TV credits include Arrested Development (2003-06, 2013), playing Lindsay Bluth-Funke, the self-centered sister of Michael,
Gob and Buster Bluth. De Rossi is also known for being one half of a Hollywood power couple; she and comedian Ellen DeGeneres wed in 2008.
Actress Portia de Rossi was born Amanda Lee Rogers in Horsham, Victoria, Australia, on January 31, 1973, to Barry Rogers, who died when de Rossi was 9, and Margaret Rogers. With Margaret struggling to provide for de Rossi and her brother, the 11-year-old girl embarked upon a career in the entertainment industry, working as a model and an actress in TV commercials.
By the age of 15, she legally changed her name to Portia de Rossi—taking "Portia" from the heroine in the Shakespearean play The Merchant of Venice, and the Italian surname "de Rossi" because it sounded more exotic. De Rossi would later state that her desire to change her name at such a young age may have stemmed from her struggle with her sexual identity.
After graduating from high school, de Rossi studied law at the University of Melbourne, but didn't complete her degree due to landing a role on the 1993 comedy film Sirens (her work in a commercial hade made a big impression on a casting agent, who subsequently contacted her about the part). She accepted the role and stunned audiences with her film debut, in which she was required to be completely nude and co-starred with Hugh Grant and Elle Macpherson.
After filming the edgy movie, de Rosse left Australia for Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She soon found roles on several series that failed to launch, including Too Something (1995) and Nick Freno, Licensed Teacher (1996), and in the film Scream 2 (1997), but it was her role on Ally McBeal that gave de Rossi the exposure to American audiences that she needed. The actress fit in perfectly as a cast member during the hit show's second season, taking on the role of Nelle Porter, the typical "ice queen" character, and starring opposite lead actress Calista Flockhart. De Rossi remained on the series until it was canceled in 2002. Not only did her role on Ally McBeal give de Rossi the opportunity to show off her comedic chops, she—along with the rest of the cast—won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 1999 for her work on the series.
Several roles followed, but none came close to the success she garnered with Ally McBeal until she landed a part on another TV comedy, Arrested Development (2003-06, 2013), playing Lindsay Bluth-Funke, the self-absorbed twin sister of Michael (Jason Bateman), Gob (Will Arnett) and Buster Bluth (Tony Hale). This character couldn't differ more from de Rossi's character on Ally McBeal, but the actress still played the part convincingly, captivating audiences with her dysfunctional relationship with on-screen husband Tobias Funke, played by comedic actor David Cross.
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America was introduced to the newest—and possibly the most dysfuctional—family to premiere on television with Arrested Development in 2003. The wealthy Bluths saw their lives come crashing down before them after the arrest of family patriarch George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor). Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is left to pick up the pieces and keep his family together, creating a hilarious dynamic between the ragtag cast, including Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross, Michael Cera and Will Arnett. Several years after its 2006 cancelation, the series came back into the spotlight in 2013—due in no small part to its enormous, cult-like following.
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