Katherine Marie Heigl is an Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe nominated actress, best known for her starring roles in the feature films "The Ugly Truth", "27 Dresses" and "Knocked Up", as well as her portrayal of Dr. Isobel 'Izzie' Stevens in the television medical drama "Grey's Anatomy".
Heigl's film credits include the Garry Marshall directed ensemble "New Year's Eve", the dramedy "Life As We Know It" opposite Josh Duhamel, action comedy "Killers" with Ashton Kutcher, "The Ringer", "Valentine", "100 Girls", "Wish Upon A Star", "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory", and Steven Soderbergh's critically acclaimed depression-era drama, "King of the Hill". Her first leading role was in Touchstone Pictures "My Father the Hero", alongside Gérard Dépardieu in 1994. Further television credits include the WB sci-fi drama series, "Roswell", UPN's "The Twilight Zone" and "Love Comes Softly" for the Hallmark Channel.
In addition to her work in front of the camera, Katherine partnered with her mother and manager Nancy Heigl to form the production company Abishag in 2007. She has since served as an executive producer on a number big screen productions in which she has also starred, such as the Lionsgate release "One For The Money", based on the first novel in the Stephanie Plum series by author Janet Evanovich; the Greg Berlanti directed "Life As We Know It" and the smash hit romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth" with Gerard Butler. Under their Abishag banner, the Heigl's are also developing numerous projects, including an original TV series, "Trending" for The CW Network; the motion picture "Kill Switch" based on the debut novel by Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene, the producers of "Law & Order: SVU"; an adaptation of Ann Hood's novel the "The Knitting Circle" for HBO Films, and film versions of the best-selling dramatic story "Lost and Found" and the best-selling memoir "Escape".
Among her charitable endeavors, Katherine co-founded the "Jason Debus Heigl Foundation" with Nancy, an organization dedicated to animal welfare. In addition to working with children's organizations to raise awareness about the importance of adoption and fostering, she is also a public advocate of organ donation.
Most recently, Katherine completed filming on "The Wedding" alongside Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams. Written and directed by "The Bucket List" screenwriter Justin Zackham, the Millennium Films production will hit theaters in the Fall.
In her personal life, Heigl is married to singer-songwriter Josh Kelley and the couple have two children, daughters Nancy Leigh Mi-Eun and Adalaide Marie Hope. Katherine divides her time between homes in Los Angeles and rural Utah, where she resides with her family, seven dogs and three cats. She enjoys horse riding, knitting, sewing, reading, art, music and cooking in her spare time.
Katherine or 'Katie' as she is known affectionately was born in Washington, D.C., USA on November 24th, 1978 to parents Nancy and Paul. The family, which included elder siblings John (Holt), Jason and Margaret (Meg) moved several times when Katherine was very young, before settling in Connecticut when she was five years old.
The Heigl's moved into a large, old Colonial-style farmhouse in New Canaan, a small affluent community in Fairfield County, 8 miles (13km) northeast of Stamford. It was here that Katherine was to spend the majority of her childhood.
On September 23rd 1986, when Katherine was just seven years old, her family experienced an enormous tragedy when her fifteen-year-old brother Jason sustained massive brain injuries in a car accident. He was thrown from the back of a pickup truck while returning to New Canaan High School with friends and passed away in hospital a week later. The Heigl family unanimously agreed that organ donation was the best way to preserve Jason's legacy and help save the lives of others.
"It's hard for people to be thinking about organ donation for the first time in the midst of crisis, but organ donation is the most honorable way to preserve the memory of someone you love. I learned through difficult experience that this is the right and humanitarian thing to do. The need is always out there. Make sure the people around you know your feelings on organ donation, so your loved ones can fulfil those wishes without any doubt." Katherine Heigl, Spotlight Health - May 2002
In 1988, an aunt (Elaine Heigl), visited the family in New Canaan and took a number of photographs of her niece, then aged 9 - in series of poses to advertise a hair care product that she had invented. Upon returning home to New York and with permission from Katherine's parents, she sent the images to a number of modeling agencies. Katherine's looks were an immediate hit and within a few weeks she had been signed to the renowned international modeling agency Wilhelmina.
Heigl made her debut in a magazine advertisement almost immediately and was soon regularly advertising products for Sears and Lord & Taylor catalogs. An inaugural television appearance in a national commercial for Cheerios breakfast cereal followed and she auditioned for a number of shows including "As The World Turns" a sitcom about a mother and daughter which starred Cindy Williams.
After a number of commercials, modeling assignments and movie auditions, an eleven year old Katherine was cast in her first feature, "That Night", which also starred Juliette Lewis, C. Thomas Howell and Eliza Dushku. In 1993, Heigl appeared as Christina Sebastian in Steven Soderbergh's critically acclaimed depression era drama "King Of The Hill", before landing the leading role of rebellious teenager Nicole alongside Gérard Dépardieu's protective father in "My Father The Hero". The film was a remake of the French original "Mon père, ce héros", also starring Dépardieu. Katherine's performance in the move saw her nominated for a Young Artist Award in 1994.
In publicizing the release of "My Father The Hero", Heigl also conducted her first television talk show interview, when she appeared as a guest on "Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee" on February 3rd.
During this busy time, Katherine continued to attend Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School, balancing her academic studies with work on films and modeling, which she undertook during holidays, vacations and weekends. As many of the films were shot during the school year, Heigl often found herself away from classes for three months at a time and would be tutored on set. The balance between school and work was a difficult lesson for her to learn. Whilst she yearned to be a normal teenager and fit in with the high school crowd, her busy schedule made it almost impossible. In fact, the situation bothered her enough that during her sophomore year she kept her career on hold so that she could spend more time at school. During this time she formed some of the closest friendships of her life.
Although acting was now Heigl's passion and primary focus, she still modeled extensively for magazines such as Seventeen, appearing in her first cover feature when she fronted their August, 1994 issue.
In 1995, Katherine played opposite Steven Seagal in the role of Sarah Ryback in "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory", which represented her first action genre film. The publicity generated by the release of the movie led to television appearances on "The Tonight Show", "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Jon Stewart Show". The film grossed over $100 million at the box office worldwide.
Heigl was also part of the first "Kids Care Club", an organization founded in New Canaan in 1990 by Debbie Spaide as a vehicle for local elementary and middle school children to serve their communities and help others. A member since the organization's inception, she also acted as an official spokeperson, using her profile to help promote the 'Caring Is Cool' campaign as Kids Care grew in size and scope. Today, there are more than 1,800 registered Kids Care Clubs and over 100,000 children participate in the program internationally.
In 1996, Katherine took the lead role of Alexia Wheaton in "Wish Upon a Star". The film follows the lives of two sisters who unknowingly make the same wish to trade places while gazing upon a falling star. When the wish becomes true the events that follow soon descend into chaos. Directed by Blair Treu, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it starred a number of Mormon actors and was shot on location in Utah.
Heigl herself had a strict Mormon upbringing and was not allowed to date until she was 16. Her father a Lutheran and mother a Catholic, converted to Mormonism after her brother's death, finding comfort and answers in the tenets of the faith. Although Katherine no longer practices, she still has great affection for Mormon religion and theology.
"I am really supportive of the Mormon Church and so profoundly grateful for the childhood I had. It's hard work to grow and change and be honest with yourself about your mistakes, and I think the Mormons handle that beautifully. The faith I grew up with has influenced every decision I've made in my life - well, except for the bad ones!" Katherine Heigl, Glamour - July 2007
However, 1996 proved to be a difficult year for Katherine and her family. Her parents divorced and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She also had to make the decision between pursuing her acting career and furthering her studies. The choice was not an easy one, as it had always been Heigl's ambition to attend college, but the desire to establish herself as a successful actress proved to be too strong.
Heigl moved to Los Angeles in 1997 before finishing high school but soon completed the courses she required to graduate. Her mother Nancy, now cancer free having endured nine months of intensive chemotherapy, formerly added the role of business manager to her maternal responsibilities. The duo settled into a new house in Malibu Canyon, which enabled Katherine to focus solely upon acting with the guidance and support of her mother, who now managed her career.
Stepping back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood for her role in 1997's "Stand-Ins", Heigl took the part of Taffy Entwhistle - Rita Hayworth's stand-in, in an independent movie about a group of women with the dream of becoming famous, who find themselves working as substitutes to the glamorous stars of the era.
She was also cast as the beauteous Princess Ilene in "Prince Valiant", a European production shot on location in Wales, that also starred Stephen Moyer and Ron Perlman. The movie, adapted from the classic fantasy comic strip by Hal Foster and loosely based on Arthurian legend, was a tale of swords, sorcery and adventure.
The following year, Katherine branched into the world of William Shakespeare, co-starring with Peter Fonda in a re-working of the classic play "The Tempest". Updated with an American Civil War theme, the 1998 NBC television film saw her take on the role of Miranda Prosper, a young woman torn between the love for her father and that of a Union soldier.
Leading roles as Shannon Griffin in "Bug Buster", where she joined George Takei, James Doohan and Randy Quaid in a battle against mutant insects and as Jade in "Bride of Chucky", represented a first venture into the horror genre for Katherine. While both films could be described as tongue-in-cheek despite their gory emphases, "Bride of Chucky" was the better received, both critically and commercially. Playing opposite Brad Dourif as the infamous plastic doll Chucky and his girlfriend Tiffany played by Jennifer Tilly, Heigl's teenage newlywed character soon becomes an unwitting accomplice to the evil duo's plans to regain human form.
In 1999, Katherine made the decision to venture into the world of series television when she accepted the role of the haughty yet vulnerable Isabel Evans on "Roswell", a show which blended teen angst with sci-fi drama. In the series, created by Jason Katims, Isabel, her brother Max and their friend Michael are aliens passing as humans, living in Roswell, New Mexico. Desperate to hide their secret from government agencies, the people of Roswell and even their own adopted families, the trio come to realize that they must learn to trust their human friends in order to survive.
"Roswell" premiered in October 6th, 1999 and ran for three seasons, which included a switch of network from The WB to UPN for the show's final year. The last episode aired on May 14th, 2002.
To publicize her role on the show, Heigl graced the covers of magazines such as TV Guide, Maxim, and Teen. She was also a guest on a number of talk shows including "Later with Cynthia Garrett" and "The Craig Kilborn Show". Alongside her mother Nancy, Katherine also appeared on an episode of the SCI FI channel's "Crossing Over with John Edward", during which she spoke with Edward, a psychic medium, about her late brother.
In the three years "Roswell" was in production, Heigl also appeared in several films, shooting her scenes during the short breaks in the busy yearly television schedule. "100 Girls", an independent film released in 2000, told the story of a college freshman and his efforts to find the identity of a mystery dream girl whom he meets in an elevator during a black-out. Katherine had a cameo role in the movie as Arlene, the Competitive Tomboy.
"Valentine", a horror film starring David Boreanaz and Denise Richards, was released in theatres on February 2nd, 2001. Based upon the 1996 novel by Tom Savage, Katherine played Shelley, a medical student who meets a sudden demise. The screenplay for the picture was written by Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, who also worked with Heigl on "Roswell", writing several episodes of the show in the second and third seasons.
In the spring of 2001, Katherine was cast in "Ground Zero" a two-hour, original television thriller scheduled to be broadcast that fall on NBC. She played a brilliant and politically concerned college student, who builds a nuclear device to illustrate the need for change in national priorities. When she is betrayed by a fellow student, the bomb ends up in the hands of a group of terrorists and it is a race against time to prevent the destruction of San Francisco. Unfortunately, the telefilm, directed by Eric Laneuville, written by Tom Vaughan, and based on the bestseller, "The Seventh Power", by James Mills, was shelved when the storyline was deemed to be too close to the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
Shortly after that horrific attack took place, Heigl recorded a passionate public service announcement for the American Red Cross in an effort to help raise money for victims of the atrocity.
"Ground Zero" re-surfaced in 2003 under the new title of "Critical Assembly". The film premiered on NBC on July 12th almost two years after the planned original release date. It was not the only disappointment of 2001 for Katherine. College based feature, "Sorority Rule", the directorial debut of actress Ileana Douglas, in which Heigl was to star alongside Gretchen Mol, Amy Smart, and Selma Blair was cancelled due to a lack of funding.
Following the cancellation of "Roswell" in the spring of 2002, Heigl continued to work prolifically on a wide variety of projects, including an appearance on UPN's update of the classic television series, "The Twilight Zone". The episode, entitled "Cradle of Darkness", featured Katherine in the role of Andrea Collins, a woman who goes back in time in an attempt to kill one of the most notorious figures in history. She also completed another movie, "Descendant", a psychological thriller inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher". The film tells the story of a young novelist tormented by his family's history and haunted by the specter of his long-dead, more famous ancestor. When he meets and falls in love with Katherine's character, Ann Hedgerow, a distant relative of his ancestor, her friends and family begin to disappear mysteriously. "Descendant" was released to the home entertainment market in June 2003.
In the ABC / Touchstone film "Romy & Michele: Behind The Velvet Rope", Katherine was cast in the lead role of Romy White. The telepic, which followed two ditzy best friends who head to Hollywood after graduating from high school, was a prequel to the feature film - "Romy & Michele's High School Reunion", which starred Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow. Production wrapped towards the end of 2002 and the project was scheduled to air in 2003 under the new title of "Romy & Michele: In The Beginning". However, the film took much longer to debut on the small screen than expected, with ABC Family not broadcasting it until May 30th, 2005.
"Love Comes Softly", a telefilm for Hallmark Entertainment, saw Heigl portray Marty Claridge, a young, pregnant newlywed travelling west in the mid-19th century, who has to deal with both tragedy and the challenges of a new life. Based on the popular series of books by Janette Oke, it aired on cable's Hallmark Channel on April 13th, 2003 and was received by the largest audience in the station's history. The cast and production were also honored at the 2003 Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards for their work.
In early 2003, Katherine returned to the horror genre with "Evil Never Dies", a modern-day variation on the Frankenstein story which co-starred Thomas Gibson as a police officer who discovers that the executed murderer of his wife is being brought back to life as part of a professor's sordid experiment. Heigl played the role of the professor's assistant, whose motives are not as clear-cut as they first appear. The movie was shot in Melbourne, Australia, and broadcast on June 1st, 2003 as TBS Superstation "Movie Of The Week".
Katherine continued her worldwide travels when she was cast as Isabella Linton in MTV's contemporary take on Emily Bronte's classic novel "Wuthering Heights". Set along the Mendocino coastline but filmed in Puerto Rico, the movie, written by Max Enscoe and Annie deYoung, portrayed a modern vision of the tragic story of revenge and romantic love between the offspring of the Earnshaws, who live at Wuthering Heights, and their genteel, refined neighbors the Lintons. Production wrapped on "Wuthering Heights" in May 2003 and the film premiered on MTV on September 14th, with Heigl making an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" to promote the broadcast.
Despite this busy schedule, Katherine also signed-up for the pilot presentation of a new television show for UPN. Entitled "Vegas Dick", the program focused on a former con man, played by Vincent Ventresca, who becomes an in-house casino detective as reward for rescuing the owner's daughter from being kidnapped. Heigl played the daughter, who is also the casino manager and boss of the newly employed detective. However, the pilot never aired and the show was not picked up by UPN for the 2003 / 2004 season.
The First Annual "Share the Beat" Gala took place on September 20th, 2003 and Katherine was among the celebrity attendees advocating organ donation and promoting awareness. Both Heigl and her mother Nancy served as members of the planning committee for the event, that was hosted by the "James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness" and "Donate Life America".
In October 2003, Heigl was cast opposite Johnny Knoxville, as the female lead in Fox Searchlight Pictures' comedy "The Ringer". Shot in Austin, Texas and directed by Barry Blaustein, the Farrelly brothers' comedy saw Katherine portray Lynn, a beautiful Special Olympics volunteer and the love interest of Knoxville's character. The movie was released on December 23rd, 2005 and performed respectably at the box office grossing over $35 million domestically. This success was despite some initial concerns in the press about the premise of the project which revolved around Johnny Knoxville's character attempting to rig the Special Olympics by pretending to be intellectually challenged. These concerns were soon dispelled, as it became clear that the film had a very positive message and the support of the Special Olympics Committee.
"It's natural for people to be wary. Everybody seems to have that same first impression, but I filmed it and I know it's not spiteful and hurtful at all. The Special Olympics is fully behind this film, and without their support, we wouldn't be able to use their brand.... I wouldn't want to be part of a movie like that. This is really heartfelt and has a great message." Katherine Heigl, CiN Weekly - December 21st, 2005
Reprising her role as Marty Claridge, Heigl appeared in the 2004 telefilm, "Love's Enduring Promise", the second novel in the Janet Oke series and Hallmark's sequel to "Love Comes Softly". Debuting on the 20th November, the film focused on the relationship between Marty's stepdaughter Missie played by January Jones and two suitors vying for her attention.
On March 10th, 2004, production began on a pilot medical drama for ABC based on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors at a Seattle hospital. The pilot, which was given numerous titles including "Under The Knife" and "Surgeons", was eventually assigned the name "Grey's Anatomy". Katherine was cast as Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, a small-town girl who grows up in poverty and in spite of paying for her medical career by modeling, struggles with her self-esteem.
During the summer of 2004, while she waited for ABC to decide upon the fate of "Grey's Anatomy", Katherine accepted the lead role in a low budget independent feature called "Side Effects". Based on the director and writer Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau's own experiences as a sales representative in the prescription drugs business, "Side Effects" revealed the journey of Karly Hert, a young woman struggling with love, ethics and a discontented career in the pharmaceutical industry. The movie premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival on March 12th, 2005 and made a limited theatrical debut on September 9th of the same year. Heigl also served as an executive producer on the picture.
Announced in October 2004 and cast alongside Tom Sizemore and Leo Grillo, Katherine was presented with the challenging task of portraying two very different characters within the same role, when she played Marissa in the unusually titled "Zyzzyx Rd.". When Marissa's enraged boyfriend Joey catches her having a one-night stand with Grant, a married middle-aged accountant, a fight breaks out and he is killed. Faced with the harsh reality of betrayal and murder, Grant and Marissa hatch a plan to drive the corpse to an isolated road in the desert and bury it. However, when they open the trunk of the car to dispose of the body it has mysteriously vanished and mayhem soon erupts. The film was released internationally in 2006 for the television and home entertainment markets.
Selected by the studio as a series presentation, "Grey's Anatomy" finally debuted with a mid-season premiere on March 27th, 2005, almost a year after the original episode had been made. Originally scheduled for a four week run in the Boston Legal post-Desperate Housewives Sunday night slot on ABC, the show drew such huge audiences that the station extended the run to 9 episodes – the full first season.
ABC subsequently ordered 24 episodes for the second season of the medical drama based on the strength of the first - which was ranked as the highest rated midseason show since electronic ratings began.
To support and publicize her role, Katherine appeared in numerous magazines and as a guest on a variety of talk shows. Visiting New York in May 2005 to promote the medical drama at the 'upfronts', Heigl made guest appearances on "The Tony Danza Show" and "Last Call with Carson Daily". She also co-hosted an episode of ABC's award winning daytime program "The View".
Katherine also took the opportunity to use her heightened public profile to record a public service announcement promoting awareness of organ and tissue donation. The broadcast was tied to an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" entitled "Winning The Battle, Losing The War", which tackled the subject matter as part of the storyline.
In a marked departure from her previous on-screen work, Heigl chose to star in a music video for musician Josh Kelley in the summer of 2005. Entitled "Only You", the video was shot in Venice Beach, California on May 27th and was taken the singer-songwriter's album "Almost Honest".
The premise of the video was the classic boy meets girl scenario. Played out across the alleyway between their respective apartments, the pair flirt with each other before eventually meeting on the beach. After the shoot, Kelley insisted that Katherine join him for dinner and soon life mimicked art as romance blossomed between the couple.
Public awareness of their relationship followed when Kelley accompanied Heigl and her mother to an event in Los Angeles on June 13th. Katherine and Nancy where honored by "The Coalition on Donation (Donate Life America)" as joint recipients of the prestigious Dr. James S. Wolf Courage Award. The award, named after the founder of the organization, is presented annually to an individual or individuals, outside the professional transplantation and donation community, who play the most significant role in helping to educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation.
A year later, on June 16th, 2006, Katherine Marie Heigl and Joshua Bishop Kelley formally announced their engagement.
The summer of 2005 saw Katherine attend the "Second Annual Celebration For Children's Rights" event held to benefit First Star, a non-profit organization for abused and neglected children. In July, she also participated in a celebrity poker tournament in Hawaii to support US troops. The 'thank you to the troops' was held for the 110,000 men and women of the U.S. military in Hawaii, many of whom were awaiting or returning from deployment in the Middle East.
Cast as Laura alongside Mena Suvari and Marsha Thomason, the John Cosgrove directed comedy "Caffeine" represented another independent movie project for Katherine. The film, which revolved around a London café and a group of people who each had intriguing stories to tell, required Heigl to adopt an English accent. It was a daunting experience for her, particularly as she had very little time to prepare for the role.
"I always joke around and speak in a British accent just here and there because I love the accent and I love playing with it, but when you're actually put to the test and on film doing it where British people may see it, it was terrifying. It was probably the most nervous I had been acting in a long, long time. Which was kind of cool, because it's nice being challenged. I was hired three days before I had to work so I only had a day to work with the dialect coach." Katherine Heigl, N:Zone - December 12th, 2005
"Caffeine" premiered on the film festival circuit in 2006 before receiving a limited theatrical run in March 2007.
Ahead of the second season of "Grey's Anatomy", Katherine adorned the cover of Razor magazine and appeared in a fashion feature for the September issue of In Style, a photo shoot which re-united her with former "Roswell" co-star Emilie De Ravin.
Season two of "Grey's Anatomy" premiered on September 25th, 2005 to a huge audience. Having dominated the ratings, the show was given a further boost when it was announced that a special episode would air in the prestigious time slot following Superbowl XL on February 5th, 2006. The Superbowl episode was watched by 38 million viewers and cemented "Grey's Anatomy's" place as one of the most popular programs on television. Domestic success was followed by international recognition as the show was broadcast around the world.
Critical acclaim also mirrored audience enthusiasm for the medical drama and the show received multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations. Heigl walked the red carpet at the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards early in 2006 and in late February appeared alongside her fellow cast mates at the NAACP Image Awards, where "Grey's Anatomy" collected the prize for Outstanding Drama Series.
December 2005, saw the publication of Celebrity Scarves, a project that allowed Heigl to utilize her passion for knitting to raise money for the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade to help find a cure for breast cancer. She had learned to knit on the set of "Roswell" to pass time between scenes. The book featured scarves designed and created by Tinseltown's favorite knitters. Magazine cover shoots for TV Guide and Hollywood Life also followed in the first few months of 2006, as did red carpet appearances at the "Grey's Anatomy Season 1 DVD Launch Party" and the "William S. Paley Television Festival".
In April, Katherine attended the "Westside Family Health Center Gala" where she was presented with a Community Leader Award and the following week participated in a fundraiser sponsored by Old Navy to benefit "Much Love Animal Rescue Shelter". As a long-time animal lover and rescue advocate, Heigl served on a panel of celebrity judges to help find Old Navy a new canine mascot.
Katherine featured in numerous magazines including cover shots for publications such as Life, Jezebel, Shop, Prevention and CO-ED as the popularity of "Grey's Anatomy" soared. HGTV and Entertainment Tonight both featured stories on her Los Angeles home and she also appeared on the cover New Canaan Darien, a magazine based in her childhood Connecticut hometown.
When the ABC medical drama returned from a brief hiatus in March 2006 to conclude it's second series, the focus was on Heigl's character Izzie Stevens whose dramatic storyline formed the cornerstone of the May season finale. On May 15th, the evening of the broadcast, Katherine appeared as a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", for a special edition of the talk show that celebrated the episode.
Cast as up-and-coming entertainment journalist Allison Scott in writer / director Judd Apatow's film "Knocked Up", Katherine took the lead female role in the comedy about a one-night stand with unexpected consequences.
Shot in California during the summer 2006 hiatus between the seasons of "Grey's Anatomy", the movie, which co-starred Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, was released to both critical and commercial acclaim. It premiered in June 2007 and grossed $149m at the domestic box office and over $200m worldwide. In conjunction with the continued national and international success of "Grey's Anatomy", "Knocked Up" helped to establish Heigl as a leading actress and household name in both film and television. She would receive several 'Best Actress' nominations for her performance including the 2008 MTV Movie Awards and the 2007 Satellite Awards.
"Grey's Anatomy" received 11 nominations for the 2006 Emmy Awards which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Hollywood on August 27th. At the event, Heigl presented the awards for 'Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special' and for 'Outstanding Writing' in the same category.
Four days later, "Donate Life America" hosted a special benefit concert at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles. Katherine, her Grey's Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight and former Roswell alum Majandra Delfino were among the VIP guests in attendance to demonstrate their support for the concert to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation. The event was headlined by Josh Kelley and Alex Band.
A month after her appearance at the concert, Heigl fronted the October 8th issue of Parade magazine where she explained how her role on "Grey's Anatomy", which had just begun its third season, had given her a platform to talk about organ donation as it was an issue that the medical drama confronted on a regular basis. Heigl explained that she wanted to let the world know the importance of organ donation - and how deeply it had affected her and her family.
To promote the third season of "Grey's Anatomy", Heigl made her first appearance on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and in November joined her castmates for a special feature edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" devoted to the ABC medical drama. The month also saw Katherine attend a dinner party held in her honor by Cosmopolitan magazine to celebrate a December cover shoot and interview.
Heigl received her first Golden Globe nomination in 2006 when she was shortlisted for 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role' for her role as Dr. Isobel 'Izzie' Stevens in "Grey's Anatomy". It would be an achievement that she would repeat 12 months later for her performances in 2007, once again being nominated in the same category for her work on the ABC show.
At the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony on January 15th, 2007, Katherine celebrated with the cast and creators of the 'Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series' award when the show won the 'Best Television Series - Drama' honor. This followed their 'Best TV Drama' award at the 33rd Annual People's Choice Awards on January 9th. Less than two weeks later, Heigl and her co-stars were once again recognized, winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for 'Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series' at the 13th Annual Awards ceremony.
Electronics giant Samsung chose Katherine to promote the launch of their new Blackjack range of cellular phones with a series of press and online advertisements in 2007. A number of other commercial endorsements followed during the year. Coty Inc., the worlds largest fragrance company, announced that Heigl would be the face and spokesmodel for the first new women's fragrance from Nautica called 'My Voyage' and Peaches Uniforms partnered with Katherine to launch a new line of fashionable medical apparel, the 'Katherine Heigl Collection'. The premium line, which debuted in the Fall, offered a high level of style and sophistication for women who wished to express their own personal style in the workplace.
A passionate dog advocate, Katherine held court inside a giant Pedigree dog house set in the middle of Times Square, New York on February 8th, 2007, in an effort to raise awareness and generate support for the millions of shelter dogs in the United States. Heigl was the spokesperson for the 3rd Annual Pedigree Adoption Drive, an educational and fundraising campaign aimed at finding dogs loving homes. As part of her role she also appeared as a guest on "The Martha Stewart Show", "The Late Show with David Letterman", "Good Morning America" and "Live! with Regis and Kelly" during her visit to help publicize the adoption program.
In April, Heigl attended the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. She also appeared at the 9th Annual Young Hollywood Awards held at the Music Box in Hollywood and was the recipient of the 'Superstar of Tomorrow' award. People magazine also placed Katherine in its annual list of 'Most Beautiful' stars.
When production wrapped for the summer hiatus and the end of the third season of "Grey's Anatomy", Katherine headed to the Rhode Island and New York City sets of the Aline Brosh McKenna scripted romantic comedy "27 Dresses". The film told the story of Jane, a single woman who had taken the old adage 'always a bridesmaid, never a bride' to a whole new level. Heigl was cast as the main protagonist, who, having already served as a bridesmaid an amazing 27 times, is once again saddled with the task. However, this time it is an unusually painful experience - her sister is marrying the man she is secretly in love with. Starring with James Marsden, Edward Burns and Malin Akerman, the movie was released in January 2008 and grossed over $160 million at the box office worldwide.
During the "27 Dresses" shoot, Katherine took time out to attend the world premiere of "Knocked Up" and promote the movie with guest appearances on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", "The Early Show" and the "The Today Show". In July, after wrapping principal photography for "27 Dresses", she returned to Los Angeles to begin production on the fourth season of "Grey's Anatomy".
For many years Katherine had expressed a desire to work on both sides of the camera and form her own production company. In 2007, this ambition was fulfilled when she partnered with her mother and manager Nancy to form Abishag Productions. The company, named after a character in a poem by Robert Frost about the transient nature of beauty and fame in Hollywood, announced its first project in August. The premise of the project, tentatively titled "Drawn Together" and since renamed "Girl Most Wanted", is an action comedy about a man who meets the girl of his dreams in a most unusual way.
"I work hard to constantly change my outlook and not become attached to one idea of where I'm going. I love the idea of having a production company because I love the idea of having some control over decisions and choices that are made." Katherine Heigl, The Times - March 30th, 2008
A month later Abishag purchased the film rights to Jacqueline Sheehan's best selling novel "Lost and Found". The novel, which tells the story of a psychologist who heads to a quiet island off the coast of Maine to work in an animal hospital after her husband dies, is a sensitive and honest portrayal of loss and the journey toward healing and demonstrates the profound bond that exists between humans and animals. In mid-2008, "Alpha Moms", a Ryan Shiraki scripted comedy for Warner Bros., would also be added to the list of Abishag production projects for the Heigl's. It would appear alongside the feature film adaptation of "Escape", the bestselling memoir of Carolyn Jessop, whose testimony helped convict polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.
The 59th Annual Primetime Time Emmy Awards were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on September 16th. Heigl was nominated in the 'Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series' category for her performances on "Grey's Anatomy" alongside her co-stars Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson.
Katherine took to the stage twice during the telecast, once to present the award for 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie' to Thomas Hayden Church and again a few minutes later to collect the Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy from Eva Longoria and the cast of HBO's Entourage. In her acceptance speech, she dedicated the win to her mother:
"This is for you, this is because of you. I wouldn't want to be here without you. Thank you."
Katherine Heigl, 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - September 16th, 2007
In October, Heigl was named as one of the "Ten Most Fascinating People of 2007" by Barbara Walters in her annual television special and also featured in a special triple-cover edition of InStyle magazine that focused on her forthcoming wedding.
The WGA writers strike, which began in Hollywood in November and continued until February 2008, saw production come to a halt on "Grey's Anatomy". The dispute with the studios focused on profit participation for DVDs, internet streaming and other new media formats. Heigl joined the picket line outside of Prospect Studios where the ABC medical drama was filmed to show her support for the writers grievances and in December she would meet with picketers outside Paramount Studios to demonstrate solidarity with their cause.
Katherine Marie Heigl married Josh Bishop Kelley on December 23rd, 2007 at the Stein Erikson lodge in Deer Valley, Utah. The private winter wonderland themed ceremony was attended by family and friends. In January, OK! magazine published an exclusive cover feature on the wedding, with photographs of the nuptials and an interview with the newlywed couple.
The premiere of "27 Dresses" took place in Los Angeles on January 7th, 2008 and as Katherine walked the red carpet she was presented with the People's Choice Award for 'Favorite Female TV Star' and also for her part in the success of "Knocked Up" which was voted 'Best Comedy'. After appearances on domestic talk shows such as "The Late Show with David Letterman", "Live! With Regis and Kelly", "The Today Show", "The Martha Stewart Show" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show", Heigl headed to Europe to push the wedding themed romantic comedy in international markets. Katherine was a guest on UK chat shows "Richard and Judy" and "T4" and the French program "La Méthode Cauet". She also visited Germany and Spain during her international tour. Cover features for Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan magazines were published in support of the release.
Heigl returned to Los Angeles to present at the 80th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where she handed the Oscar for 'Best Makeup' to French film La Vie en Rose. A few days later, on February 29th, the cast of "Grey's Anatomy and spin-off show Private Practice held a charity benefit at UCLA's Royce's Hall to assist crew members of television and film productions affected by the WGA strike. Entitled "Good Medicine", Katherine and her co-stars took to the stage to perform for the public at the event, with proceeds from ticket sales going to the strike Solidarity Fund.
Toplining the battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth" for Sony Pictures and Lakeshore Entertainment, Heigl took the role of Abby Richter, an ambitious, romantically challenged morning show producer whose search for Mr. Perfect has left her hopelessly single. When bosses team her with Gerard Butler's chauvinistic TV personality Mike Chadway, Abby is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by the obnoxious self-proclaimed relationship expert. However, Chadway's clever ploys to help Abby land her dream guy lead to some unexpected results. Katherine's once again combined her TV commitments with work on the big screen, shooting "The Ugly Truth" during the summer hiatus between the fourth and fifth seasons of "Grey's Anatomy". Released in July 2009, the movie grossed almost $90m domestically and over $200m worldwide and saw Heigl nominated for a second 'Best Actress' honor at the 2009 Satellite Award's for her performance. Under her Abishag banner, she also served as an Executive Producer on the "The Ugly Truth".
At the 7th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball, Heigl was among the celebrity guests who helped raise around $1 million to benefit Chrysalis employment programs, which help thousands of poor and homeless people across Los Angeles to become self sufficient. She also attended the "Third Annual Hot In Hollywood Benefit" in August, lending her support to help charities providing HIV / AIDS prevention education and social services. Katherine also visited the Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC) in Canyon Country, California in November of 2008, to raise awareness for the plight of the animals that reside there. The center is a rescue, rehabilitation and placement facility for abused and abandoned Pit Bulls.
"The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation" was founded by Nancy and Katherine Heigl to increase awareness of inhumane animal treatment and support efforts for rescue, medical care, training and placement needs in the Greater Los Angeles area. The Heigl's passion for animals, which had seen them lend their support to numerous rescue shelters, sanctuaries and programs, inspired them to form an organization dedicated to animal welfare that would also be a lasting legacy to the compassion, kindness and memory of a beloved son and brother.
2009 began with an a honor, as Katherine joined cast and creators to collect the 'Favorite Movie Comedy' trophy for "27 Dresses" at the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards on January 7th. Three weeks later, she made a public appearance at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control with her mother Nancy. The Heigl's visited the rescue facility at Baldwin Park to promote the "Best Friends Animal Society" 'Pup My Ride' program. It was announced that the "The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation" would provide a grant to fund the initiative which saves at-risk, small-breed dogs in Los Angeles shelters by transporting them to communities where the demand for small dogs is high but the supply is low. Access Hollywood was on hand to record the event which saw Katherine and Nancy joined best Friends' staff and volunteers to help transfer 33 small dogs on the first stage of their journey to new homes in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A number of other initiatives would be announced by "The Heigl Foundation" during 2009, including 'The Heigl Hounds Of Hope' program which focuses on rescuing medium to large dogs from shelters. Under the program dogs are sent to "Doggy Boot Camp" where they are trained to prepare them for a new home and family.
February saw Katherine continue her animal advocacy work, teaming up with "Last Chance For Animals" to record a public service announcement to help change the way the people look to obtain their companion pets. The focus of the message was to encourage the public to adopt or rescue a dog rather than purchase one from a traditional pet store, where the animals almost inevitably come from substandard commercial breeding programs known as puppy mills. To support the anti puppy mill message, Heigl attended the 'Mutts To Melrose' event to celebrate the grand opening of Orange Bone, a pet store where all of the occupants are rescue animals.
During a brief break in the production schedule for the fifth season of Grey's Anatomy in April 2009, Katherine spent a week in the Côte d'Azur shooting scenes for the action comedy "Killers". She would return briefly to wrap the end of year finale for the ABC medical drama and celebrate the 100th episode, before spending her summer hiatus from the television show completing principal photography on "Killers" in Atlanta.
Cast as Jen Kornfeld, Katherine played a computer specialist who falls for the man of her dreams when the two meet on holiday in the South of France. Unbeknown to her, Spencer, played by Ashton Kutcher, is a government assassin who decides to quit the killing game after his romance with Jen blossoms. The couple is soon married and settle down to an idyllic lifestyle in suburbia, only for the illusion to be shattered when Spencer discovers there is a contract out to kill him. The film follows the couple as they attempt to evade would-be assassins and resolve some major trust issues when Spencer's secret past is revealed.
The film saw Heigl reunite with helmer Robert Luketic and when production wrapped on "Killers" in July, Katherine returned to Los Angeles to promote the theatrical release of the "The Ugly Truth" which she had shot the previous year with the director. Appearances on chat shows including "The Late Show with David Letterman", "Live! with Regis and Kelly", "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "Good Morning America" were supplemented by a cover features for InStyle magazine and Marie Claire to advertise the romantic comedy. The premiere took place on July 24th at the Arclight Cinemas Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Promotion then shifted to the international arena, with Katherine attending the European premiere of the "The Ugly Truth" at the Vue West End Cinema in London's Leicester Square on August 4th, 2009.
Katherine appeared as a guest on the September 11th, 2009 edition of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to announce that she and husband Josh Kelley had adopted a 10 month old baby girl from Korea. The couple named their daughter Nancy Leigh Mi-Eun or 'Naleigh' for short, after Katherine's mother Nancy and her sister Margaret Leigh, with the Korean element of her name - 'Mi-Eun' meaning beautiful grace.
Adoption had always been a hugely important and significant aspect Heigl's life and was a topic she raised with her husband before their engagement to ensure that he was similarly likeminded.
"It's really important to me. It's been a big part of my life and my family. My sister is Korean and my parents adopted her back in the 70's and
so I just always knew that this is something I wanted to do. I made that really clear because not everybody is down with that. Not everybody thinks that. I just wanted
to make sure that I was marrying a guy who understands that this was going to have to happen."
Katherine Heigl, The Ellen DeGeneres Show - September 11th, 2009
Naleigh was born with a congenital heart defect that required open heart surgery to repair when she was 3-months old. As a result of her special needs, the adoption process that Heigl and Kelley had started over a year earlier was finalized much sooner than they had anticipated.
The early arrival of her daughter coincided with the start of production on a new film for Katherine. In "Life As We Know It", she portrayed a caterer who is left to raise an orphaned baby girl with a network sports director with whom she once shared a nightmare date. The duo are named as caregivers for the child after the unexpected death of their mutual best friends in a car accident. The film was shot in Atlanta between September and November of 2009 during a leave of absence she had agreed with the producers of "Grey's Anatomy", which was now in its sixth season. Life imitated art for Heigl on the set of the romantic drama as she found herself in the role of a new mother both on and off camera.
In October, Katherine would return Los Angeles to shoot an episode of Grey's Anatomy before heading back to Atlanta to complete work on "Life As We Know It" - a film that she would also executive produce with her mother Nancy. Production wrapped on the movie in mid-November and towards the end of month Heigl shot another installment of the ABC Medical drama, shortly before production shut down for the Christmas break. Katherine then took maternity leave from the show to bond with her baby daughter and a complete break from Hollywood life when she headed to her home in rural Utah to spend time with her family.
On January 6th, 2010 Heigl was the recipient of the 'Best TV Drama Actress' award at the 2010 People's Choice Awards and in February it was announced that she would receive the prestigious 'Female Star of the Year' honor at the 2010 ShoWest Motion Picture Industry Convention in Las Vegas on March 18th.
In "One For The Money", which was announced in February, Katherine took the role of Stephanie Plum, the central character in the movie adaptation of the best selling novel by author Janet Evanovich. Once again, Heigl would act as an executive producer on the picture, which saw her reunite with Columbia Pictures and Lakeshore Entertainment with whom she had worked on "The Ugly Truth".
After over 100 episodes and six seasons playing Dr. Isobel 'Izzie' Stevens in Grey's Anatomy, Katherine made the difficult decision to leave the medical drama and on March 11th it was announced that her departure had been agreed with producers. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in April, Katherine explained her decision to exit the show was primarily motivated by a change in her own priorities and a desire to spend more time with her family.
"I went on my family leave and spent three months in Utah and just got to be a mom, and it changed my whole perspective. That was really the turning point for me." Katherine Heigl, Entertainment Weekly - April 2nd, 2010
At the ShoWest convention, where Katherine duly collected her 'Female Star Of The Year' trophy at the Final Night Banquet and Award Ceremony, she would also attend a Warner Bros. special preview of "Life As We Know It" taking to the stage to introduce the film to attendees and industry professionals with co-star Josh Duhamel and director Greg Berlanti. Heigl also explained to reporters that her departure from Grey's Anatomy would allow her to balance her career with family commitments - allowing her to focus on film and take several months off between projects to be with her loved ones.
The ASPCA honored Katherine and her mother Nancy at the 13th Annual ASPCA Bergh Ball in New York on April 15th, for their dedication to animal welfare and for the work of the "Jason Debus Heigl Foundation". Heigl also visited "The Martha Stewart Show" during her trip to The Big Apple where she discussed the work of the foundation and family life.
Katherine would return to New York City the following month to promote the release of "Killers" on the talk show circuit, with guest spots on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "Live! with Regis and Kelly". In Los Angeles, she would appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and attend the world premiere of the movie at the Arclight Cinerama Dome with her co-stars Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara. Heigl also shot a glamorous old-Hollywood style cover shoot for the June 2010 issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine. She then turned her attention to the international stage, with a visit to London for the European Premiere of "Killers" at the Odeon West End Cinema in Leicester Square and several days of press interviews which included an appearance on the BBC chat show "Friday Night With Jonathan Ross".
Production began on "One For The Money" on July 12th in Pittsburgh and wrapped in the second week of September. The film, based on Janet Evanovich's first novel tells the story of Stephanie Plum, who is newly-divorced, recently laid-off and living with her hamster in Trenton, New Jersey. Broke and desperate, Plum lands a job working for her slimy cousin and his bail bond business. In need of fast cash she latches on to his biggest case - a local cop wanted for murder who just happens to be the guy that broke her heart in high school - and is swept up in a suspenseful world of murder, deceit and occasional romance. Directed by Julie Anne Robinson and based on a screenplay by Liz Brixius, "One For The Money" is scheduled to be released in theaters on January 27th, 2012.
"I really want to deliver this character to the fans because I'm obsessed with the books and I have this idea in my head for Stephanie,
and I know how disappointing it is to have your favorite book turn into a movie and it not be what you hoped for. And I know how exhilarating it is when they
nail it...And I wanted to do that for the fans of this book."
Katherine Heigl, ShoWest - March 18th, 2010
At a press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on September 23rd, Katherine, accompanied by the "Jason Debus Heigl Foundation Board", launched a major companion pet initiative - "The Compassion Revolution". The aim of the program - to unite diverse groups and individuals under one alliance to initiate programs that will directly address the pet overpopulation crisis in Los Angeles and set a precedent for similar programs across the United States. At the event, the "Heigl Foundation" pledged $1 million for spay / neuter and supporting programs in the City and County of Los Angeles and neighboring communities.
The following day, Heigl headed to New York City to support the October 8th release of "Life As We Know It". She guested on "Live! with Regis and Kelly", "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "The Martha Stewart Show", before attending the world premiere of the film at the Ziegfeld Theatre on September 30th. She was also the cover feature for the October issue of InStyle and the November edition of Redbook magazine. The day before "Life As We Know It" hit theatres, Katherine also made an appearance on "The Tonight Show" in Los Angeles to chat with host Jay Leno about the picture and the launch of the "The Compassion Revolution".
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