Jessica Capshaw

Jessica Capshaw Headshot


Birth Date: August 9, 1976

Age: 47 years old

Birth Place: Columbia, Missouri

Parents: Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg

The daughter of actress Kate Capshaw and stepdaughter of Steven Spielberg, Jessica Capshaw essayed strong young professionals in a variety of television projects, including "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Grey's Anatomy" (2005- ). Indie films like "The Locusts" (1997), which co-starred her mother, provided her first exposure to the public, but television gave her the best showcase for her talents; in "Practice," "Grey's" and "The L Word" (Showtime, 2004-09), she shone as sexually confident young women who conduct their lives by their own terms. Success in features seemed to escape Capshaw, but her television work proved her to be one of the most capable small-screen performers of the new millennium.

Born Aug. 9, 1976 in Columbia, MO, she was the daughter of Robert Capshaw, a sales executive and high school principal, and Kathleen Sue Nail, who later retained her husband's name for her acting career. Her parents split when she was just three, and Jessica Capshaw relocated to Los Angeles when her mother began landing film and television roles. Not surprisingly, Capshaw began to develop her own interest in performing as a young girl. A natural performer at family gatherings, she began pursuing the craft in earnest while a student at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, where she appeared in several student productions. An opportunity to explore the professional side of film acting arose after Kate Capshaw married director Steven Spielberg in 1991 after falling for him on the set of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984). The acclaimed moviemaker - now her step-father - made her an intern on his 1993 Oscar-winning masterpiece, "Schindler's List."

After graduating from high school, Capshaw attended Brown University, where she studied acting in its acclaimed Theater Arts Program. She also spent a semester abroad at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, where she cut her teeth on the works of Shakespeare. While completing her studies, Capshaw made her professional on-screen debut on an episode of the short-lived adventure series "High Incident" (ABC, 1996-97), which was produced by Spielberg's Dreamworks SKG. Her feature debut came a year later with "The Locusts" (1997), a noirish drama starring Vince Vaughn, which afforded her the chance to act opposite her mother for the first time.

After completing training with New York acting coach Harold Guskin, Capshaw graduated from Brown in 1998 and began landing roles in earnest. Guest roles on television series like "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and small parts in features like her mother's project "The Love Letter" (1999) soon added to her growing resume. Additionally, she had a brief turn in series work with the hapless sitcom "Odd Man Out" (ABC, 1999-2000). More appearances in independent movies preceded her first substantial film role in the thriller "Valentine" (2001) opposite David Boreanaz and Denise Richards. The picture was not a success, but Capshaw's career continued to flourish with major supporting roles in films like Spielberg's "Minority Report" (2002) and David E. Kelley's legal drama "The Practice," where she enjoyed regular appearances between 2002 and 2004 as the amorous associate, Jamie Stringer.

Capshaw had a small role in the epic, Spielberg-produced miniseries "Into the West" (TNT, 2005) as the ill-fated sister of lead, Keri Russell. A supporting turn in Edward Burns' indie comedy "The Groomsmen" (2006) preceded a two-episode stint on "Bones" (Fox, 2005- ) as the regret-filled mother of David Boreanaz's son. She then returned briefly to television as the star of "Thick and Thin" (NBC, 2006), a short-lived comedy about a formerly overweight woman whose newly slimmed-down frame brings significant changes to her life, before the actress made the jump to cable for guest appearances on "The L Word" as one of Jennifer Beals' lesbian lovers.

In 2008, Capshaw began regular appearances as Dr. Arizona Robbins on "Grey's Anatomy." The newly appointed Head of Pediatrics at Seattle Grace Hospital, Robbins' cool-headed approach clashes mightily with Chandra Wilson's Dr. Miranda Bailey over the balance between science and emotion in the medical profession. Her skills eventually win over Dr. Bailey, while her forward nature confuses Sara Ramirez's Callie Torres, who interprets a kiss from Robbins as an invitation to date. As both she and the audience soon discovered, Dr. Robbins was already spoken for by another woman. The character's five-episode arc in season five proved popular enough for the network to extend her stay with the series, keeping her as a regular for the remainder of the season, with an option to join the show in the following season.

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