About Kat Dennings
Born Katherine Litwack on June 13, 1986 in the Bryn Mawr area just outside Philadelphia, PA, "Kat" was the youngest child of Gerald, a molecular pharmacologist, and Ellen, a poet and speech therapist. Home schooled throughout her entire academic career, she graduated from high school at the age of 14. Despite a somewhat reclusive home life and childhood, she had shown an early interest in acting and began landing commercial work by the age of 10. Having taken the stage surname of Dennings, she made her television acting debut in a 2000 episode of "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1994-2004) as a precocious 13-year-old who hires Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) to plan her lavish bat mitzvah. Her impressive, assured performance landed the actress a regular cast role as the spirited daughter of Bob Saget's recently-widowed character on the short-lived sitcom "Raising Dad" (The WB, 2001-02). Although the project tanked, the experience convinced Dennings to fully commit to acting as a profession and, to the dismay of her parents, she and her cautious yet supportive family made the move to Los Angeles in 2002.
Dennings soon began to land supporting roles in made-for-TV movies like the comedy-fantasy "The Scream Team" (Disney Channel, 2002), featuring Monty Python's Eric Idle. Over the course of the next two years, she also picked up several guest spots on police procedurals like "Without A Trace" (CBS, 2002-09) and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ), in addition to an appearance on the fish-out-of-water sitcom "Less Than Perfect" (ABC, 2002-06). Dennings then made her feature film debut in the Hilary Duff vehicle "Raise Your Voice" (2004). Cast as Sloane, a dour piano student at a Los Angeles music school, Dennings' performance was one of the few highlights in the otherwise forgettable coming-of-age musical drama. She went on to land more supporting roles in such films as the neo-Western drama "Down in the Valley" (2005), starring Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood, and in the drug-fueled drama "London" (2005), featuring Jason Statham and Chris Evans. While those two independent features were seen only in limited release, it was another film that same year that truly gave Dennings a substantial boost.
As Catherine Keener's perpetually sulking, embarrassed teenage daughter in writer-director Judd Apatow's comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2005), Dennings deftly gave voice to the teen's outrage at the injustice of having to remain a virgin while her mother has an illicit affair with the film's titular man-child (Steve Carell). Although her work in the hit summer film was not a fast-track ticket to major leading roles, it did allow Dennings to continue to hone her screen craft with a recurring role as Zoe Butler, a troubled teen involved with the older Dr. Ray Barnett (Shayne West) on the long-running medical drama "E.R." (NBC, 1994-2009), in addition to a guest turn in a 2005 episode of "CSI: New York" (CBS, 2004- ). Back in theaters, she picked up roles alongside preteen actress Chloë Moretz in Martin Lawrence's fat-suit sequel "Big Momma's House 2" (2006), then played Anton Yelchin's love interest and Robert Downey, Jr.'s daughter in the romantic comedy "Charlie Bartlett" (2007).
Dennings' screen presence increased with more prominent roles in such films as the girl-power comedy "The House Bunny" (2008), starring Anna Faris as a naïve, yet good-hearted playmate imparting her unique brand of wisdom to a group of sorority outcasts - with Dennings and fellow rising star Emma Stone among them. After playing a series of anti-social supporting characters, Dennings was given a shot as leading lady opposite Michael Cera in the indie romantic-comedy "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" (2008). Based on the 2006 novel of the same name, the charmingly simple film followed the unlikely emergence of the title characters' romance over the course of an unexpectedly eventful night on New York's Lower East Side. The following year saw Dennings with more supporting roles in a trio of diverse films: the romantic-comedy "The Answer Man" (2009), the Robert Rodriguez-directed kids' fantasy "Shorts" (2009), and the little-seen dark superhero comedy "Defendor" (2009), starring Woody Harrelson.
Dennings ended the decade with another starring role in the bleak comedy-drama "Daydream Nation" (2010), as a headstrong girl whose life takes a turn for the bizarre after relocating to a decidedly Lynchian small town, where she engages in an ill-advised sexual affair with her high school teacher (Josh Lucas). She began what would be her breakout year by lending comic relief to the superhero blockbuster "Thor" (2011), opposite Chris Hemsworth as the eponymous God of Thunder and Natalie Portman as his earthbound love interest. That Fall, Dennings returned to regular TV work as one of the two female leads on the sitcom "2 Broke Girls" (CBS, 2011- ), playing a waitress who aspires to open her own bakery with her co-worker, a recently destitute debutante (Beth Behrs). Co-created by "Sex and the City" mastermind Michael Patrick King and comedienne-actress Whitney Cummings, the show was one of the new season's few ratings winners.
|Ira David Wood. Brother of actress, Evan Rachel Wood; dated in 2005; no longer together|
|Matthew Gray Gubler. Began dating in 2007|
|Co-starred with Beth Behrs as a diner waitress on the CBS comedy "2 Broke Girls"|
|Portrayed a co-worker of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in Kenneth Branagh's big screen adaptation of "Thor"|
|Co-starred in the Robert Rodriguez-directed family adventure "Shorts"|
|Landed first romantic comedy lead in "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" along with Michael Cera|
|Played Anton Yelchin's love interest and Robert Downey Jr.'s daughter in the high school comedy "Charlie Bartlett"|
|Landed recurring role as Zoe Butler, a troubled eighth grader who sleeps with Dr. Ray (Shayne West) on NBC's "ER"|
|Cast in breakthrough role playing the rebellious daughter of Catherine Keener's character in the Judd Apatow-directed "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"|
|Appeared in the independent feature "Down In The Valley" with Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood|
|Made her feature film debut as a rebellious pianist in "Raise Your Voice" opposite Hilary Duff|
|Moved to Los Angeles with her family to pursue acting full time|
|Cast as Bob Saget's daughter on The WB's short-lived series "Raising Dad"|
|Made acting debut playing a 13-year-old Jewish-American princess on an episode of the HBO series "Sex and the City"|
|Began her career acting in commercials|