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Jenna Elfman

Jenna Elfman, October 2009
Born Jennifer Mary Butala
September 30, 1971 (1971-09-30) (age 38)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress/Producer
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Bodhi Elfman (m. 1995–present) «start: (1995)»"Marriage: Bodhi Elfman to Jenna Elfman" Location: (linkback: 2 sons
Official website

Jenna Elfman (born September 30, 1971) is an American television and film actress. She is known for her role as Dharma on the ABC sitcom Dharma and Greg.


Early life

Elfman was born Jennifer Mary Butala in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Sue (née Grace), a homemaker, and Richard Wayne Butala, a Hughes Aircraft executive.[1] Elfman attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts as a dance major and graduated in 1989. Her uncle is Tony Butala of The Lettermen. She studied with acting teacher Milton Katselas and Richard Lawson at the Beverly Hills Playhouse before beginning her television career.


Elfman began as a professional dancer, making an appearance in UK electronic group Depeche Mode's promotional video for their 1990 song "Halo". She also toured as a dancer with the group ZZ Top. She made a switch to acting in the early 1990s, appearing in the 1993 music video "Black Lodge" by heavy metal band Anthrax. In 1995, she appeared in the Chris Isaak music video "Somebody's Crying".


Elfman did extensive commercial work before landing her first series jobs, making guest appearances in the 1995–1996 season on the ABC series Roseanne, NYPD Blue, The Monroes, and Murder One, and the CBS sitcom Almost Perfect. A role as a drug counselor in the NBC made-for-TV movie Her Last Chance came in 1996 as well, before she landed a regular role as the boy-crazy Shannon, one of three young working class waitresses in the Molly Ringwald sitcom vehicle Townies. Although short-lived, Townies proved a big break for Elfman, who impressed ABC executives with her scene-stealing turn and signed her own sitcom deal before the last Townies episode aired.

This deal led to Elfman's starring role in the sitcom Dharma & Greg, which ran on ABC from 1997 to 2002. She won a Golden Globe Award for this role, and was nominated twice for an Emmy Award. In 1999, she co-hosted the Emmy Awards presentation with David Hyde Pierce.

In November 2005, CBS announced that the Elfman vehicle Courting Alex would be a midseason replacement, premiering in January 2006. It was announced in May that the show did not get picked up, and was thus cancelled. However, CBS immediately inked a new development deal with Elfman to create a comedy vehicle, as reported in The Hollywood Reporter on June 2, 2006.

Elfman's other television appearances include guest starring roles in two episodes of Two and a Half Men in 2004 and one episode of Brothers and Sisters in 2007. She made a guest appearance in the sixth episode of season four of My Name Is Earl as a cheer team leader.[2]

Elfman stars in the CBS comedy Accidentally on Purpose.[3] The show began airing in the 2009-2010 season. [4]


In 1999, Elfman appeared alongside Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in EDtv directed by Ron Howard. She then played the role of Anna Riley in the 2000 comedy Keeping the Faith, which marked Edward Norton's directorial debut. In 2004, Elfman produced and starred in a feature film called Touched.

Elfman's other film credits include Krippendorf's Tribe, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and Town & Country.

She is in two yet to be released films, one with Tim Allen entitled The Six Wives of Henry Lefay[5] and the other Love Hurts.[6]

Personal life

Elfman met her husband, actor Bodhi Elfman, at a Sprite commercial audition in February 1991. They married in 1995, making director Richard Elfman her father-in-law and noted composer Danny Elfman her uncle-in-law.

In January 2007, Elfman and her husband announced they were expecting their first child.[7] On July 23, 2007, their son, Story Elias, was born in Los Angeles, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces.[8] On September 16 2009, Elfman announced she is expecting her second child, and the pregnancy will help with her role in Accidentally on Purpose.[9] On March 2, 2010, their son Easton Quinn Monroe was born.[10]

Elfman visited her high school alma mater in May 2006 to urge students to set career goals and encourage them to persist in their chosen professions.[11]

Scientology-related activities

In 2005 she appeared at the Scientology-owned Citizens Commission on Human Rights' Psychiatry: An Industry of Death[12] museum grand opening and she and husband Bodhi are listed on the organization's website as members of the board of advisors from the arts, entertainment and media community.[13]

On May 24, 2006, she was the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Hero Award event in participation with the Scientology-affiliated groups Youth for Human Rights International and Artists for Human Rights (AFHR), an organization formed with the purpose of bringing artists together with the common cause of raising awareness of human rights around the world. The event took place in Washington, D.C. and was attended by members of Congress and the general public. Awards were presented to individuals who through their actions have brought about greater human rights.[14]

On March 27, 2008, she and Charlie Sheen co-hosted the Scientology-affiliated New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project Charity Event at Geisha House in Hollywood, California.[15]


In February 2006, Elfman donated an hour of her time to be auctioned off to the highest bidder on eBay as part of the "Lunch With A Leader" fundraiser, the proceeds of which benefit the work of Communities In Schools.[16] She participated in the auction in both 2007[17] and 2008[18] as well.

Elfman donated her lip print for a limited edition U.S. postage stamp created by Zazzle to celebrate Valentine's Day in both 2007[19] and 2008.[20] Proceeds for the "Kiss Stamps" went to support the programs of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

As a criminal rehabilitation activist, Elfman has traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for criminal reform. On April 5, 2007, she was presented with the Goodwill Ambassador Award for her work in human rights and criminal rehabilitation at the Women Ambassadors Foundation 12th Annual Conference.[21] On April 9, 2008, she was a guest [22] at the signing of a new bill by U.S. President George W. Bush that aimed to reduce prisoner recidivism, entitled the Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593).[23]

In September 2008, Elfman joined the Charity Water month-long "September Campaign," asking for donations in lieu of birthday gifts in order to raise money to build freshwater wells in Ethiopia.[24]


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Tanya
1998 Dr. Dolittle Owl Voice
Can't Hardly Wait The Angel Uncredited
Krippendorf's Tribe Prof. Veronica Micelli
1999 EDtv Shari
Venus Venus
2000 The Tangerine Bear Lorelei Voice
Cyberworld Phig Voice
Keeping the Faith Anna Riley
2001 Town & Country Auburn
2003 Looney Tunes: Back in Action Kate
2004 Clifford's Really Big Movie Dorothy Voice
2005 Touched Angela Martin Executive producer
What's Hip, Doc? Supermodel Voice
2008 "Struck" Pregnant date Short film
2009 The Six Wives of Henry Lefay Ophelia
Love Hurts Darlene
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Murder, She Wrote Ballet Dancer in background 1 episode
1994 The George Carlin Show Psychedelic girl 1 episode
1995 The Monroes Lily 1 episode
Roseanne Garland 1 episode
1996 Murder One Angela Scalese 1 episode
Almost Perfect Becky Toll 1 episode
1997 The Single Guy Jordan 1 episode
1997-2002 Dharma & Greg Dharma Finklestein Montgomery 119 episodes
2002 Obsessed Ellena Roberts Television movie
2004 Two and a Half Men Frankie 2 episodes
2006 Courting Alex Alex Rose 13 episodes
2007 Brothers & Sisters Lizzie Jones-Baker 1 episode
2008 My Name Is Earl Kimmi Himmler 1 episode
2009 Accidentally on Purpose Billie 15 episodes


  1. ^ Jenna Elfman Biography (1971-)
  2. ^ "Exclusive! Jenna Elfman Hooks Up With Earl". E! Online - Watch with Kristin. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Jenna Elfman, Amy Smart on pilot duty." Hollywood Reporter. February 19, 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Six Wives of Henry Lefay at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Love Hurts at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ "Jenna Expecting a Baby Elfman". E! Online. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  8. ^ Chiu, Alexis (2007-07-30). "Jenna Elfman Welcomes a Baby Boy". People.,,20048814,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  9. ^ "Jenna Elfman Expecting Second Baby!". US. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  10. ^ "Jenna Elfman Welcomes Second Son". People Magazine. 2010-03-05.,,20346448,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  11. ^ "Jenna Revisits Her High School". Edie Films Inc.. 2006-05-22. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  12. ^ "New L.A. Museum Targets Psychiatry as an "Industry of Death"". CCHR International. 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  13. ^ "CCHR Board of Advisors". CCHR International. 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  14. ^ The Human Rights Hero Awards 2006 - Washington, D.C.
  15. ^ Jenna hosts NY Rescue Workers Detoxification Project Charity Event. March 27, 2008.
  16. ^ Grammy Award-Winning Singers Alicia Keys and Patti LaBelle, Actress Jenna Elfman Top the List of Entertainers to Participate in Online Celebrity Auction
  17. ^ date=2007-02-06 Your Chance to have lunch with Jenna in person!
  18. ^ Communities in Schools Lunch With a Leader - Jenna Elfman
  19. ^ Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Other Celebs Offer Kiss Stamps for Charity - January 28, 2007
  20. ^ Seal It With a Kiss This Valentine's Day Using Zazzle Custom Stamps, Reuters - Jan 14, 2008
  21. ^ Women Ambassadors at Howard
  22. ^ Bush signs prisoners' Second Chance act
  23. ^ President Bush Signs H.R. 1593, the Second Chance Act of 2007
  24. ^ Charity Water September Campaign - Jenna Elfman

External links

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