Calista Flockhart Biography

Television Actress, Actress (1964–)
Actress Calista Flockhart played the title role on the popular television show Ally McBeal.


Calista Flockhart was born on November 11, 1964, in Freeport, Illinois. She studied drama at Rutgers University. She struggled to make ends meet early in her career, taking roles on and off Broadway. In 1997, she landed the title role on the popular television series Ally McBeal, which ran until 2002. Four years later she starred in the series Brothers & Sisters. Flockhart married actor Harrison Ford in 2010.

Early Life

Actress Calista Kay Flockhart was born on November 11, 1964, in Freeport, Illinois. Flockhart is best known for her portrayal of the character Ally McBeal in the highly successful television drama of the same name.

Born to a teacher and Kraft Foods employee, Flockhart moved around a great deal in her youth, finally settling in Medford, New Jersey. After graduating from high school in Medford, she attended nearby Rutgers University, where she studied drama.

Early Career

Flockhart graduated in 1987 and spent roughly seven years shuttling between on- and off-Broadway productions, often paying the bills through small roles in daytime soap operas. In 1991, she got a small break with an appearance in the biographical television movie Darrow, which starred the still-emerging Kevin Spacey. An appearance in an HBO drama about bulimia soon followed.

But Flockhart's rise to stardom was slow and steady. She spent much of the 1990s fighting for progressively larger roles, including an award-winning performance in a Broadway run of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (1994).

'Ally McBeal'

But it wasn't until Flockhart caught the eye of producer David E. Kelley in 1997 that she became a household name. Kelley cast the relatively unknown Flockhart in the lead role of his new series, Ally McBeal. Ally became an immediate popular success, but Flockhart's portrayal of the character a successful lawyer who is at once an independent career-woman and a mass of insecurity regarding relationship and family issues became the subject of heated controversy. While detractors claimed the character played on classic female stereotypes, many found the troubled McBeal a realistic and human version of modern womanhood.

After Ally McBeal's inaugural season, Flockhart won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. The show ended its run in May 2002.

Later Roles

Flockhart's acting career slowed down dramatically after the conclusion of Ally McBeal. She acted in two films after her stint on television as the sassy lawyer, starring in The Last Shot (2004) along with Matthew Broderick and Fragile (2005), before she found her way back to primetime television. While Flockhart turned down the role of Susan Delfino in Desperate Housewives (2004-12)—a part that eventually went to Teri Hatcher—she went on to star in the primetime series Brothers & Sisters (2006-11) with Sally Field and Rob Lowe. She remained on the series for five seasons until it was canceled.

Flockhart returned to the primetime in 2015 with the plumb role of media mogul Cat Grant on Supergirl.

Personal Life

Flockhart married actor Harrison Ford in June 2010 after more than eight years together. The couple adopted son, Liam, in 2001.

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