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Jennifer Garner
File:Jennifer Garner at D23 expo 2011.JPG
Garner in 2011
Jennifer Anne Garner

(1972-04-17) April 17, 1972 (age 52)
EducationGeorge Washington High School
Alma materDenison University
  • Actress
  • film producer
Years active1995–present
Scott Foley
(m. 2000; div. 2004)
(m. 2005; separated 2015)

Jennifer Anne Garner (born April 17, 1972)[1] is an American actress and film producer. Her breakthrough film debut was in the comedy Dude, Where's My Car (2000). Following a supporting role in Pearl Harbor, Garner gained recognition for her performance as CIA officer Sydney Bristow in the ABC spy-action thriller Alias, which aired from 2001 to 2006. For her work on the series, she won a Golden Globe Award and a SAG Award and received four Emmy Award nominations.

While working on Alias, Garner gained a cameo role in Catch Me if You Can (2002), followed by a praised leading performance in the romantic comedy film 13 Going on 30 (2004). Garner has appeared in supporting as well as lead film roles including the superhero films Daredevil (2003) and Elektra (2005), the comedy-drama Juno (2007), and the fantasy romantic comedy The Invention of Lying (2009). In the 2010s, she appeared in the fantasy comedy-drama film The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), the biographical drama Dallas Buyers Club (2013), and the comedy Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014).

Garner works frequently as an activist for education, and has been an ambassador and, later, board member of Save the Children since the late 2000s. She is also an advocate for anti-paparazzi campaigns among children of celebrities. Following a four-year marriage to Scott Foley, Garner married actor Ben Affleck in 2005, with whom she has three children.

Early life[]

Jennifer Garner was born April 17, 1972 in Houston, Texas, the second of three daughters.[1][2] Her mother, Patricia Ann (née English), was a teacher from Oklahoma, who grew up poor,[3] and her father, William John "Bill" Garner, worked as a chemical engineer for Union Carbide. Garner and her two sisters were required to take piano and ballet; Garner also played the saxophone in the high school marching band, swam competitively and was an avid reader.[4] moved her family to Princeton, West Virginia,[5] and then Charleston, West Virginia, where Garner lived until her college years.[2] She has credited her older sister, Melissa Wylie, as a source of inspiration,[6] saying, "She is perfect. She won the state math competition every single year against Governor [Jay] Rockefeller’s son. She graduated with a 4.0, was head majorette, and the prettiest person in the world. It took me a while to grow into my face."[7]

Her younger sister is Susannah Carpenter.Template:Who[8] She is mostly of English descent.

Garner's father is "very conservative, but [her] mom is quietly blue."[9] She has said "I'd hate to say it was strict. [Dressing loosely] was just not condoned. I never felt hemmed in."[10] Garner attended George Washington High School in Charleston and graduated in 1990.[11] She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama from Denison University,[7][12] Granville, Ohio, where she was initiated into the sorority Pi Beta Phi.[13] In late 1993, she studied at the National Theater Institute (NTI) at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Garner says she did not plan on becoming an actress: "I wanted to be a doctor, a librarian. ... (Acting) wasn't possible to me. The more I learned what there was to learn about this field, the more hungry I became for it. It comes out of wanting to learn more, as opposed to 'I want to be a star.' I never felt that way," she said.[11]

Acting career[]

1994–2001: Career beginnings[]

In 1994, Garner appeared in Atlanta productions of two Shakespeare plays, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream, by the Georgia Shakespeare Company.[14]

In 1995, Garner started pursuing theater in New York City and earned $150 a week as an understudy in the play A Month in the Country for Roundabout Theatre Company.[6] She was then cast in her first television role as part of a made-for-television movie Zoya, based on the Danielle Steel novel. In the late 1990s, she made brief appearances in individual episodes of Spin City and Law & Order while also securing roles in two short-lived television series, Significant Others and Time of Your Life. During her time on Spin City, she met Stephen Colbert and became an occasional babysitter for his kids.[15]

In 1996, Garner appeared as Sarah Troyer, a young Amish woman, in Harvest of Fire, a made-for-TV movie starring Patty Duke.

2001–05: Television breakthrough and transition to film[]

In 1998 Garner eventually got her first big break as nerdy Hannah Bibb in three episodes of J.J. Abrams' TV series Felicity.[7] In 2000, Garner appeared in the comedy Dude, Where's My Car? opposite Ashton Kutcher, playing the girlfriend of Kutcher's character. In 2001, she appeared as the supporting character of a nurse in the big-budget epic Pearl Harbor, starring her future husband Ben Affleck.

In 2001, J.J. Abrams approached Garner to audition for the role of Sydney Bristow in his new spy drama Alias. Garner, who up until then had mostly played weepy waifs, did not learn that she "might have to throw a punch or kick" until the first few days of the audition. Told that she "throws like such a girl" and with no background in martial arts or gymnastics, she enrolled in a month-long, private Taekwondo class to prepare for the audition.[16] Even as Garner was cast after several auditions, Abrams revealed that he remained panicked with the thought that she might not be able to pull off the role, especially as, on the first day of shooting, he was told by Garner herself, "I don't think I can do this."[17] Garner later commented, "I was such a girlie-girl then. I didn't even know how to punch."[18] While she performed many of the action sequences during the series herself, the dangerous explosions and complex fights were handled by her stunt double, Shauna Duggins.[19] The first few episodes of season one of Alias, which averaged about 10.2 million weekly viewers,[20] earned Garner the award for "Best Actress in a Television Series — Drama" at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards. Garner's salary for the show began at $40,000 an episode and rose to $150,000 per episode by the series' end.[21] During the show's run, Garner received four consecutive Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama nominations as well as Emmy Award[22] nominations for her lead performance. She won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series in 2005. That same year, during the fourth season, Garner directed the Alias episode "In Dreams", which aired in May. She received producer credit during the series' final season. The series concluded in May 2006 after a shorter fifth season that was abbreviated from 22 to 17 episodes due to Garner's pregnancy, which was written into the season's storyline.[23][24]

After the initial success of Alias, Garner made a big screen cameo in the Steven Spielberg film Catch Me if You Can in 2002; Spielberg had seen her on the show and wanted her to play that small role.[25] Her breakout film role came when she played Ben Affleck's love interest as Elektra Natchios in the action movie Daredevil (2003), an adaptation of the comic book. Garner stated that her training for Daredevil was more grueling than her work on Alias, and revealed that as she got hung up on wires several times during fight sequences, Affleck became "in charge of reaching up and saving [her]."[26] While Daredevil received mixed reviews, it was a box office hit.[27]

File:Jennifer Garner cropped.jpg

Garner in 2009 at a press conference for The Invention of Lying

Garner starred in her first leading role in 13 Going on 30 (2004), a moderate commercial success.[28] Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine praised her performance as "effervescent without ever being cloying",[29] and The Christian Science Monitor commented that "while Garner is no Tom Hanks, she's consistently appealing".[30] Her second lead role saw her reprising the character of Elektra in the 2005 Daredevil spin-off titled Elektra, a box office disaster that was panned by critics.[31] The Boston Globe stated, "Based on Garner's humorlessness, lack of vocal inflection, and generally bland disposition, 'the Way' she has yet to grasp seems to be that of acting,"[32] whereas USA Today concluded that "Jennifer Garner ... is far more appealing when she's playing charming and adorable, as she did so winningly in 13 Going on 30.[33]


Garner performed the Frank Loesser song "My Heart Is So Full of You" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars. She appeared in the films Catch and Release (2006) and the action thriller The Kingdom (2007) alongside Jamie Foxx, Jason Bateman, and Ashraf Barhom.

Garner then appeared in the Jason Reitman-directed comedy/drama feature Juno, which became a sleeper box office hit, grossing over $230 million from a production budget of $7.5 million.[34] Kyle Buchanan of New York Magazine described the film as a turning point in Garner's career: "She came into the movie a steely figure, and left it as the mother you'd give your own child to. He said a scene in which she spoke to her potential adoptive child in her mother's stomach as "Garner's best screen work ever ... writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman expertly deploy Garner's innate humanity as a trump card."[35] Entertainment Weekly declared Garner's work the best female supporting performance of the festival, saying, "The star of Alias and The Kingdom does no butt-kicking in this sweet comedy. Instead, as a young wife desperately hoping to adopt, she's funny, a bit tough, and unbelievably touching."[36] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said, " I don’t think Jennifer Garner has ever been lovelier or more affecting than in her turn as Vanessa."[37] Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times found Garner "touchingly awkward" in the "beautiful" scene in which Garner's character spoke to Juno's unborn baby.[38]

File:Jennifer Garner Butter premiere 2011 Toronto FIlm Festival (cropped).jpg

Garner at the premiere of Butter in 2011

Garner made her Broadway debut on November 1, 2007, playing Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac alongside Kevin Kline at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway.[39] The show was originally set to run until December 23, 2007, but it was extended through January 6, 2008, due to the Broadway stagehand strike in late 2007.[40] She then had the starring role alongside Matthew McConaughey in the 2009 romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, that came out to negative reviews but was a modest commercial success.[41][42] Also, in the 2009, she had the lead in Ricky Gervais' directorial debut The Invention of Lying. A romantic comedy, the movie was released to favorable feedback from critics and audiences alike and modest earnings at the box office.[43][44] During a promotional interview for the movie, Garner remarked why she was drawn to the project: "When I first read it [the script], I just laughed out loud, and that's the most important thing. I loved the way my character was introduced. I loved the challenge of looking at a scene and thinking, I have to play this with no subtext, no irony, no sarcasm and just be as straightforward as I could possibly be. I think that's a really interesting acting challenge".[45]

In 2010, Garner appeared in the ensemble romantic comedy Valentine's Day, directed by Garry Marshall, which also starred Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, former Alias co-star Bradley Cooper, and Patrick Dempsey among others.[46] She portrayed the girlfriend of Dempsey's character.[47] The film was a commercial success, grossing over $215 million worldwide.[48]

She starred in Arthur, a remake of the 1981 film. The film received poor reviews and failed at the box office with a total gross of $45 million on a $40 million budget.[49][50] In the same year, Garner was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[51] The following year, she appeared in the drama The Odd Life of Timothy Green, as Cindy Green.[52] The film is about a magical pre-adolescent boy whose personality and naïveté have profound effects on the people in his town.[53] It received mixed reviews from critics and had modest ticket sales in its theatrical run.[54][55][56]

In 2005, Garner and her colleague of four years, Juliana Janes, founded a production company called Vandalia Films.[57] The first film she produced was Butter, released in American theaters in 2012 to mixed feedback from critics and poor earnings at the box office.[58][59] Despite the reception for the film, several reviews like those for Austin Chronicle and Variety expressed praise for Garner's performance.[60][61]

Garner reunited with Matthew McConaughey in the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club, which received positive reviews and was a box office success with a worldwide gross of $55 million over a production budget of $5 million.[62][63] On April 24, 2013, Garner began filming Summit and OddLot Entertainment's dramedy Draft Day in New York City and Cleveland, Ohio. The film also stars Kevin Costner, was directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, and was released in 2014.[64] Garner also co-starred with Steve Carell and Ed Oxenbould in the 2014 Disney adaptation of the popular children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.[65]

Garner starred in the 2015 comedy-drama film Danny Collins alongside Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, and Christopher Plummer.[66]

In 2014, Garner was recognized by Elle magazine during The Women in Hollywood Awards, honoring women for their outstanding achievements in film, spanning all aspects of the motion picture industry, including acting, directing, and producing.[67]

Product endorsements[]

In 2007, Garner became a spokesperson of skin care brand Neutrogena.[68] In 2013, Garner became the first celebrity spokesperson of Max Mara.[69]

Garner has been a spokesperson for food company Luvo since 2012.[70] In late 2014, Capital One signed Jennifer Garner as their spokeswoman for their Capital One Venture Air Miles credit card, replacing Alec Baldwin. Her television commercials began airing in September.[71][72][73] In 2016, her father, William Garner, appeared with her in one of the campaign's commercials.[74]


Early childhood education[]

File:Jennifer Garner 2013.jpg

Garner at a Save the Children event in 2013

Since 2014,[75] Garner has served on the board of trustees for Save the Children,[7][76] the United States branch of the British children's charity,[77] advocating for early education.[78] She had been an ambassador for six years, and frequently visits with families involved in the organization's Early Steps to School Success program, which coaches families to help children learn in the early years.[79] In 2011 she partnered with Frigidaire as part of her work with Save The Children.[80] In 2013, Garner took her eldest daughter Violet to a Save The Children gala in New York: "My husband and I have never taken our kids to a public event before, but I brought my daughter Violet, because ... I want her to see the passionate commitment Mark Shriver and Hillary Clinton have to make the world a better place for everyone."[81]

In 2014, she joined the Invest in Us campaign.[76]

In January 2015, she appeared in A Path Appears, a PBS documentary which focuses on rural poverty among children in West Virginia.[82]

Political activities[]

In 2006, Garner spoke at a rally in support of Democratic Congressional candidate Jerry McNerney in Pleasanton, California.[83] In 2014, Garner donated $25,000 to the campaign of Democratic politician Wendy Davis.[84] During the 2016 presidential campaign, Garner hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in Bozeman, Montana[85] and attended voter registration and phone bank events for Clinton in Reno, Nevada.[86]

Anti-paparazzi campaign[]

Garner has campaigned for laws to protect her children from paparazzi. "There's an idea that because our pictures are everywhere that we are complicit in it. When really what happens is they're waiting outside our door every single day. My kids take karate for example, and we have our classes at the same time every week. So the guys know when we have karate, and so 20 of them wait there for us every single class. So that's a lot of energy coming at little, little kids."[87] In August 2013, Garner testified alongside Halle Berry before the California Assembly Judiciary Committee in support of a bill that would protect celebrities' children from harassment by photographers.[88] The bill passed in September 2013 and is now California law.[89]

Personal life[]


Garner met her first husband Scott Foley, on the set of Felicity in 1998. They married in October 2000.[7][90] They announced their separation in March 2003.[90] Garner filed for divorce in May 2003 citing irreconcilable differences.[91] It was finalized in March 2004.[90] Subsequently, Garner briefly dated her Alias co-star Michael Vartan.[23]

File:Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner 2013 Golden Globe Awards (8378777915) (cropped).jpg

Garner with then-husband Ben Affleck at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

Garner subsequently began dating her Pearl Harbor and Daredevil co-star Ben Affleck, and the two made their first public appearance as a couple by attending the Boston Red Sox's opening World Series games in October 2004.[92][93][94][95] Called "Bennifer 2," they married on June 29, 2005, in a private ceremony at the Parrot Cay resort on the Turks and Caicos Islands, officiated by Garner's Alias co-star Victor Garber.[96] Garner and Affleck have three children: daughters Violet (born 1 December 2005)[97] and Seraphina Rose (born 2009),[98][99] and son Samuel (born 2012).[100][101] The family lived in the $45 million Cliff May-designed Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles estate that previously belonged to Gregory Peck and producer Brian Grazer.[7] Affleck and Garner announced they were divorcing on June 30, 2015,[102]

In an interview about the release of her faith-based film Miracles from Heaven (2016), Garner stated that she and her children attend a Methodist church every Sunday.[103] Following her divorce, Garner has stated that she dealt with her sadness by returning to familiar pastimes from childhoood, such as going to church, writing poetry, and playing the piano.[7]

Stalking incident[]

Garner was stalked in 2002 by Steven Burky, who was eventually arrested in December 2009, after violating a 2008 restraining order.[104] Burky was charged with two counts of stalking, to which he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity; in March 2010, he was ruled insane and sent to the California state mental hospital with a court order to stay away from the Affleck family for 10 years if released from the hospital.[105]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 In Harm's Way Kelly
Deconstructing Harry Woman in Elevator
Washington Square Marian Almond
Mr. Magoo Stacey Sampanahodrita
1998 1999 Annabell
2000 Dude, Where's My Car? Wanda
2001 Stealing Time Kiley Bradshaw
Pearl Harbor Nurse Sandra
2002 Catch Me If You Can Cheryl Ann Cameo appearance
2003 Daredevil Elektra Natchios
2004 13 Going on 30 Jenna Rink
2005 Elektra Elektra Natchios
2006 Catch and Release Gray Wheeler
2007 The Kingdom Janet Mayes
Juno Vanessa Loring
2009 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Jenny Perotti
The Invention of Lying Anna McDoogles
2010 Valentine's Day Julia Fitzpatrick
2011 Arthur Susan Johnson
2012 Butter Laura Pickler Also producer
The Odd Life of Timothy Green Cindy Green
2013 Dallas Buyers Club Dr. Eve Saks
2014 Draft Day Ali Parker
Men, Women & Children Patricia Beltmeyer
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Kelly Cooper
2015 Danny Collins Samantha Leigh Donnelly
2016 Miracles from Heaven Christy Beam
Mother's Day Dana Barton
Nine Lives Lara Brand
2017 The Tribes of Palos Verdes Sandy Mason In post-production
Wakefield Diana Wakefield In post-production
2018 Amusement Park (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Danielle Steel's Zoya Sasha Movie
1996 Harvest of Fire Sarah Troyer Movie
Dead Man's Walk Clara Forsythe Miniseries
Swift Justice Allison Episode: "No Holds Barred"
Law & Order Jaime Episode: "Aftershock"
Spin City Becky Episode: "The Competition"
1997 The Player Celia Levison Movie
Rose Hill Mary Rose Clayborne Movie
1998 Significant Others Nell Glennon 6 episodes
Felicity Hannah Bibb 3 episodes
1999 Aftershock: Earthquake in New York Diane Agostini Movie
The Pretender Billie Vaughn Episode: "Pool"
1999–2000 Time of Your Life Romy Sullivan 19 episodes
2001–2006 Alias Sydney Bristow 105 episodes
2003 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Jennifer Garner/Beck"
The Simpsons Herself Episode: "Treehouse of Horror XIV"
2013 Martha Speaks Jennifer Episode: "Too Many Marthas"
2017 Llama Llama Mama Llama

Awards and nominations[]

Year Association Category Work Result
2002 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Alias Won
Online Film & Television Association Best Actress in a New Drama Series[citation needed] Won
Best Actress in a Drama Series[citation needed] Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action/Drama Nominated
2003 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Female Performance Daredevil Won
Best Kiss (shared with Ben Affleck) Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series Alias Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Action/Drama Daredevil Nominated
Choice Movie: Female Breakout Star Nominated
Choice Movie: Chemistry (shared with Ben Affleck) Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Action/Drama Alias Nominated
Television Critics Association Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated
2004 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Female Butt Kicker Daredevil Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series Alias Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
ShoWest Awards Female Star of Tomorrow Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action/Drama Alias Won
Choice Movie Actress: Comedy 13 Going on 30 Nominated
Choice Hissy Fit Nominated
Choice Movie: Blush Nominated
Choice Movie: Liplock (shared with Mark Ruffalo) Nominated
Choice Movie: Chemistry (shared with Mark Ruffalo) Nominated
2005 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Alias Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Musical Performance (shared with Mark Ruffalo) 13 Going on 30 Nominated
Best Kiss (shared with Natassia Malthe) Elektra Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Hair Won
Favorite Leading Actress 13 Going on 30 Nominated
Favorite Female TV Performer Alias Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Female Red Carpet Fashion Icon Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Action/Thriller Elektra Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Drama Alias Nominated
Choice TV: Chemistry (shared with Michael Vartan) Nominated
2006 People's Choice Awards Favorite Female Action Star Elektra Won
Favorite Hair Nominated
Favorite Female TV Performer Alias Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Actress Nominated
2007 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Cast Juno Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Acting Ensemble Juno Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2012 ShoWest Awards Female Star of the Year[citation needed] Won
2014 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Dallas Buyers Club Nominated
2015 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Nominated
2016 2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Drama Miracles from Heaven Nominated


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