Christina Hendricks

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Biography

After nearly a decade working her way up the ranks from guest actress to regular player, Christina Hendricks finally made her mark as Joan Holloway, the curvaceous, titian-haired secretary with many tricks up her sleeve, on AMC's Emmy-winning period series, "Mad Men" (2007- ). Channeling screen sirens from the 1950s, Hendricks earned praise for her performance while becoming a role model for full-figured women, thanks to her oft-discussed …
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Job Title

Actor, Music

Born

May 3, 1975

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After nearly a decade working her way up the ranks from guest actress to regular player, Christina Hendricks finally made her mark as Joan Holloway, the curvaceous, titian-haired secretary with many tricks up her sleeve, on AMC's Emmy-winning period series, "Mad Men" (2007- ). Channeling screen sirens from the 1950s, Hendricks earned praise for her performance while becoming a role model for full-figured women, thanks to her oft-discussed hourglass figure that harkened back to the days of Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner. Prior to her breakthrough on "Mad Men," she cut her teeth in episodes of "Undressed" (MTV, 1999-2002) and "Angel" (The WB, 1999-2004), before landing her first significant part as a career-climbing intern on the showbiz satire "Beggars and Choosers" (Showtime, 1999-2001). From there, Hendricks appeared on Joss Whedon's short-lived cult hit "Firefly" (Fox, 2002-03) and the equally brief drama "Kevin Hill" (UPN, 2004-05), while guest starring on more stable shows like "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09) and "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010). But everything turned on a dime after Hendricks was cast on "Mad Men," leading to widespread acclaim and awards nominations, as well as career-expanding feature roles in "Drive" (2011) and "I Don't Know How She Does It" (2011). Whether playing a demure waif or a smoldering vixen, the always striking Hendricks defined a new style of old-school glamour while bringing her finely honed skills to every role.

Born May 3, 1978 in Knoxville, TN, Hendricks was raised by her British-born father, Robert, who worked for the United States Forest Service, and her mother, Jackie, a psychologist. She spent her early childhood in Twin Falls, ID before relocating as a teenager to Fairfax, VA, where her mother encouraged her to take part in school plays. Hendricks quickly caught the acting bug, landing parts in the Junior Musical Playhouse productions of "Bye Bye Birdie," "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "All My Sons" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." Taking up a career in modeling after high school, Hendricks graced the pages of magazines such as Elle and Harper's Bazaar, before setting her sights on an acting career. She landed parts in a number of commercials and soon made her television debut in the television movie "Sorority" (1999). Showing a talent for her craft, she quickly landed small roles on MTV's "Undressed" (1999-2002) and the cult "Buffy the Vampire" spin-off, "Angel" (The WB, 1999-2004). Landing her first recurring role in 2000, Hendricks portrayed career-climbing intern Kelly Kramer on Showtime's short-lived showbiz satire "Beggars and Choosers" (1999-2001).

Hendricks went on to appear in a number of memorable guest appearances, portraying a battered housewife given refuge by Maura Tierney on "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and a seductive con artist who wreaks havoc on the crew of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" (Fox, 2002-03). Landing her first regular role on a television series, she portrayed attorney Nicolette Raye opposite Taye Diggs on the courtroom drama "Kevin Hill" (UPN, 2004-05). Though the series received favorable reviews, it slid in ratings after its first season and failed to be renewed. Hendricks' acting career continued to progress however, as she went on to land guest spots on "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09), "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010), and "Life" (NBC, 2007-09), before finally landing her breakout role on AMC's critically acclaimed original series, "Mad Men" (2007- ). Cast as buxom office manager Joan Holloway, Hendricks' performance was equal parts sexy sass and almost masculine swagger. Centered on fictional advertising agency Sterling-Cooper, the series captured the visual style and social satire of Madison Avenue in the early 1960s, on its way to being hailed by critics for its historical accuracy and poignant depiction of sexual politics in the workplace.

For her part, Hendricks received widespread acclaim for her performance as Joan, with critics and fans in agreement that a large part of the show's appeal came in the shapely form of the only woman at Sterling-Cooper who not only understood it was a man's world, but learned to play by their rules while still maintaining her dignity. Her performance on the show was only part of her appeal, however, as fans and critics practically salivated over her shapely form always on display. In fact, her hourglass figure - a throwback to old school Hollywood glamour once represented by actresses like Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell - became a hot topic for discussion in interviews and Internet forums, with many citing her as being a role model for full-figured women. Much to the dismay of her many male fans, Hendricks married actor Geoffrey Arend in New York City in 2009. Meanwhile, she finally received her critical due when Hendricks was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2010, repeating the same feat the following two years. She branched out beyond "Mad Men" into features with a small, but high-profile turn as the moll of a gangster (James Biberi) who participates in a heist with an unnamed Driver (Ryan Gosling) that goes horribly wrong in the acclaimed indie thriller "Drive" (2011). After co-starring with Adrien Brody and James Caan in the indie drama "Detachment" (2011), Hendricks played best friend to Sarah Jessica Parker in the critically panned romantic comedy "I Don't Know How She Does It" (2011), which co-starred Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan.

By Shawn Dwyer

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