Sarah Chalke

Sarah Chalke Headshot

Actress

Birth Name: Sarah Louise Christine Chalke

Birth Date: August 27, 1976

Age: 47 years old

Birth Place: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

A comedically-gifted performer and a veteran of major network television series, actress Sarah Chalke's first claim to fame was as Lecy Goransen's replacement as the troubled daughter, Becky Conner, on the seminal sitcom, "Roseanne" (ABC, 1988-1997). Chalke would later shine even brighter on another popular sitcom, a one-two punch most television actors experience just once if they are lucky.

As the deadpan and adoringly lovelorn Dr. Elliot Reid on the NBC dramedy "Scrubs" (NBC/ABC, 2001-2010), Chalke mastered the deadpan delivery and goofy antics the hit medical comedy was known for, as well as held her own alongside such seasoned comic actors as Ken Jenkins (Dr. Kelso) and John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox). She also managed to make strides in the feature world with "Mama's Boy" (2007) and "Chaos Theory" (2008), but it was the small screen that remained her bread and butter. By the time she landed a recurring role on the popular comedy "Cougar Town" (ABC, 2009-12; TBS, 2013-15), Chalke had established a reputation as a dependable and endearing supporting player.

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Aug. 27, 1976, Sarah Cassandra Chalke was the middle child of three. Raised by their parents to enjoy culture and have an appreciation for the arts, Chalke and her two sisters participated in local stage shows and musical theater productions throughout her childhood. At 16, she got her first job in front of the cameras as an on-air reporter for a popular television show in Canada called KidZone (CBC, 1992). Chalke's screen acting debut, a small role in a made-for-TV movie called "City Boy" (1992), was enough to establish her credentials in casting circles.

In 1993, when Lecy Goransen, one of the stars of the hit comedy "Roseanne," announced she was leaving the show to attend college, producers were left in a quandary. Goransen's character of Becky, the eldest of the Connor clan's children, had been conceived as a core element of the show. Rather than write the character out completely, producers decided to simply recast the role and hope for the best. Chalke was one of the young actresses who auditioned, but considered herself a long shot due to her own limited resume and Canadian nationality.

To her complete shock, Chalke won the role. Seemingly unintimidated in her audition, Chalke's natural spunk and instant chemistry with star Roseanne Arnold had sealed the deal. The fact that Chalke bore little physical resemblance to Lecy Goransen was a non-issue and was, in fact, even played for laughs. Without ever addressing the issue directly, producers invited audiences to share in on the joke by deciding to reshoot the classic "Roseanne"' opening, with the Connors sitting around the table. The sequence, which used morphing technology to show the actors' progressions over the seasons, had Becky's face literally begin as Goransen's before changing to Chalke's - one of many knowing winks of acknowledgement to viewers at home.

Chalke graduated high school in 1995 while shooting the seventh season of "Roseanne" - her last full season before Goransen returned to resume the role. At one point, the two actresses even alternated playing Becky towards the end of the run, as the show's tone started heading into more surreal territory.

For instance, the eighth season premiere kicked off with Goransen (as Becky) entering the living room, prompting her family to chide, "Where the hell have you been? It feels like you've been gone for three years!" To which Becky responds, "Why does everyone keep saying that?" The matter of Chalke's exit/ Goransen's return as Becky continued to be a running gag until Chalke's last show.

After "Roseanne," Chalke appeared in a handful of television movies; the most notable being "Stand Against Fear" (1996), in which she played a teenage cheerleader who must stand up alone against sexual harassment. In 1997, Chalke returned to Canada to shoot a made-for-TV film called "Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy," based on the book by author Richmond P. Hobson. Chalke was singled out by critics for her performance as lovelorn teen Gloria McIntosh and the movie did well enough to spawn a brief weekly CBC series of the same name. Chalke reprised her role, but the show lasted only one season and went off the air in 1999.

In 2000, the actress seriously considered taking a break from acting to attend college. As fate would have it, at that same moment of indecision, Chalke landed the biggest role of her career to date: Dr. Elliot Reed on the medical comedy-drama "Scrubs." The story of three interns learning the ways of love, life, and medicine in a fictional hospital, "Scrubs" was an immediate hit with critics and fans alike. By the end of its first year, its audience had grown exponentially, making it one of NBC's most popular shows and one of the last of the peacock network's successful 1990's holdover sitcoms. By Susan Clarke

Credits

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News aboutSarah Chalke

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