Jenna Elfman
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Jenna Elfman
Jenna Elfman
Jenna Elfman (cropped).JPG
Elfman posing during a break from filming The Six Wives of Henry Lefay in New Milford, Connecticut, October 15, 2007
Born Jennifer Mary Butala
(1971-09-30) September 30, 1971 (age 46)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, producer
Years active 1990-present
Bodhi Elfman (m. 1995)
Children 2

Jennifer Mary "Jenna" Elfman (née Butala; born September 30, 1971) is an American actress, best known for her performances in television comedies. Her first leading role was in the short-lived ABC sitcom Townies in 1996, before making her film debut in the 1997 comedy Grosse Pointe Blank.

Elfman is best known for her leading role as Dharma on the ABC sitcom Dharma & Greg (1997-2002), for which she won Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1999, and was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Later, she went to star in the comedy films Krippendorf's Tribe (1998), EDtv (1999), Keeping the Faith (2000), and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

Elfman made her return to series television with a leading role in the CBS sitcom Courting Alex in 2006, it was cancelled after one season. She went to star in sitcoms Accidentally on Purpose (2009-10), 1600 Penn (2012-13), Growing Up Fisher (2014), and Imaginary Mary (2017), all were cancelled after single seasons. She had a recurring role in the FX legal drama Damages in 2012, and in 2018 is a series regular on the AMC horror drama Fear the Walking Dead.[1]

Early life

Elfman was born Jennifer Mary Butala in Los Angeles, California, the youngest of three children, to Sue (Grace) Butala, a homemaker, and Richard Butala, a Hughes Aircraft executive.[2] Her father's younger brother, Elfman's uncle, is Tony Butala, lead singer since 1958 of the American vocal trio The Lettermen. She is of Croatian ancestry on her father's side[3] and was raised Roman Catholic.[4]

Elfman attended high school at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and then attended college at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).[5] From a very young age, she trained in ballet.


Elfman in March 2018

Elfman began her professional career as a dancer, appearing in the music videos for Depeche Mode ("Halo" in 1990), Anthrax (1993's song "Black Lodge"), Chris Isaak (1995's "Somebody's Crying") and toured with the rock band ZZ Top on their 1994 tour as a "Legs Girl". After appearing in television commercials, Elfman was cast in the short-lived 1996 American sitcom entitled Townies on ABC. In 1997 Elfman was cast in Dharma & Greg on ABC, as Dharma Freedom Finkelstein Montgomery. The show ran for five seasons until its cancellation in 2002.

In 2012, Elfman and her husband Bodhi started their podcast, Kicking and Screaming by Jenna and Bodhi Elfman.[6]

In 2013, Elfman appeared in two NBC comedy series (1600 Penn, and Growing Up Fisher) which were cancelled after a single season.[7]

In 2016, Elfman was cast in the ABC comedy series Imaginary Mary. Like 1600 Penn and Growing Up Fisher, the series was cancelled after its first season.[8]

Personal life

Elfman met her husband, actor Bodhi Elfman, at a Sprite commercial audition in February 1991. They married on February 18, 1995.

On July 23, 2007, Elfman and her husband's first child, a son, Story Elias, was born in Los Angeles.[9] On March 2, 2010, their son, Easton Quinn Monroe, was born.[10]


Elfman is a member of the Church of Scientology.[11]

In 2005, Elfman appeared at the Scientology-backed 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 advisers 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.

On March 27, 2008, Elfman and Charlie Sheen co-hosted the Scientology-affiliated New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project Charity Event at Geisha House in Hollywood.[14]

Fundraising activities

Elfman has participated in a number of fundraising activities, including: donating an hour of her time for auction;[15] donating a print of her lips;[16] participating in a telethon fundraiser;[17] hosting a comedy show;[18] and, asking for charity donations instead of birthday presents.[19]

Elfman has also participated in awareness-raising initiatives including: modelling for a fashion show;[20] reading to schoolchildren as part of the National Education Association Read Across America program; and, hosting a party at her house to raise awareness for a number of causes headed by the Environmental Working Group.

Elfman is on the Board of Directors of the Dizzy Feet Foundation.[21]



Year Title 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 Tangerine Bear, TheThe Tangerine Bear Lorelei Voice
CyberWorld Phig Voice
Keeping the Faith Anna Riley Nominated--Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress - Comedy/Romance
Nominated--Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
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 Six Wives of Henry Lefay, TheThe Six Wives of Henry Lefay Ophelia
Love Hurts Darlene
2011 Friends with Benefits Annie
2014 Big Stone Gap Miss Iva Lou Wade
2016 Barry Kathy Baughman


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Murder, She Wrote Ballet Dancer in background Uncredited; Episode: "Dance Diabolique"
1994 George Carlin Show, TheThe George Carlin Show Psychedelic girl As Jenna Butala; Episode: "George Does A Bad Thing"
1995 Monroes, TheThe Monroes Lily Episode: "Bottoms, Up"
1995 Roseanne Garland Episode: "The Getaway, Almost"
1996 Townies Shannon Canotis Main cast; 15 episodes
1996 Murder One Angela Scalese Episode: "Chapter Seventeen"
1996 Almost Perfect Becky Toll Episode: "Being Fired Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry"
1996 NYPD Blue Patty Snow Episode: "The Nutty Confessor"
1997 Single Guy, TheThe Single Guy Jordan Episode: "Just Friends?"
1997-2002 Dharma & Greg Dharma Freedom Finkelstein Montgomery Main cast; 119 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1999)
TV Guide Award for Favorite Actress in a Comedy (1999, 2000)
Nominated--American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication (1999)
Nominated--Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1998, 1999, 2000)
Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1998, 2000)
Nominated--Satellite Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (2000, 2001, 2002)
Nominated--TV Guide Award for Favorite Actress in a Comedy (2001)
2002 Obsessed Ellena Roberts Television film
2004 Two and a Half Men Frankie 2 episodes
2006 Courting Alex Alex Rose Main cast; 13 episodes
2007 Brothers & Sisters Lizzie Jones-Baker Episode: "Game Night"
2008 My Name Is Earl Kimmi Himmler Episode: "We've Got Spirit"
2009-2010 Accidentally on Purpose Billie Main cast; 18 episodes
2011 Two and a Half Men Dharma Montgomery Episode: "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt"
2012 Shameless Jill Episode: "Fiona Interrupted"
2012 Damages Naomi Walling 7 episodes
2012-2013 1600 Penn Emily Nash Gilchrist Main cast; 13 episodes
2013 Royal Pains Lacy Episode: "Open Invitation"
2014 Growing Up Fisher Joyce Fisher Main cast; 13 episodes
2014 So You Think You Can Dance Herself Guest judge[22]
2015 The Perfect Stanleys Ellen Television film
2017 Imaginary Mary Alice Main cast
2018-present Fear the Walking Dead Naomi Main cast; 4 episodes


  1. ^ "'Fear the Walking Dead' Recruits Jenna Elfman as Season 4 Regular". Retrieved 2018. 
  2. ^ "Jenna Elfman Biography (1971-)". Retrieved 2013. 
  3. ^ Elfman, Jenna. (November 21, 2003). "Elfman happily shows her 'Looney' side", Interviewed by Angela Dawson, Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on April 23, 2010. Jenna Elfman says of her maiden name (Butala) origin, "It's Croatian. My great-grandparents are from Croatia. My dad visited Croatia and I'd love to go too someday. He met some relatives who have survived some really incredible, traumatic experiences. He was just so blown away by their stamina - their spiritual stamina - to keep going and to survive and create that life no matter what ... It's really commendable."
  4. ^ "Jenna Elfman". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2010. Elfman was raised in a Roman Catholic home. 
  5. ^ Campus Facts: Notable CSUN Alumni Archived July 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Rockin' Libsyn Podcasts: Kicking and Screaming by Jenna and Bodhi Elfman". February 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 7, 2012). "2ND UPDATE: '1600 Penn', 'Animal Practice', 'New Normal', 'Revolution' & 'Save Me' Picked Up To Series At NBC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2012. 
  8. ^ Cruz, Gilbert. "Which Network TV Shows Have Been Canceled?". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2017. 
  9. ^ Chiu, Alexis (July 30, 2007). "Jenna Elfman Welcomes a Baby Boy". People. Retrieved 2009. 
  10. ^ "Jenna Elfman Welcomes Second Son". People. March 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  11. ^ Reitman, Janet (February 8, 2011). "Inside Scientology". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016. 
  12. ^ "New L.A. Museum Targets Psychiatry as an Industry of Death". CCHR International. December 17, 2005. Archived from the original on February 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007. 
  13. ^ "Citizens Commission on Human Rights Board of Advisors". CCHR International. April 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009. 
  14. ^ "Jenna hosts NY Rescue Workers Detoxification Project Charity Event". March 27, 2008. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved 2008. 
  15. ^ "Grammy Award-Winning Singers Alicia Keys and Patti LaBelle, Actress Jenna Elfman Top the List of Entertainers to Participate in Online Celebrity Auction". Retrieved 2013. 
  16. ^ "Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Other Celebs Offer Kiss Stamps for Charity - January 28, 2007". January 28, 2007. Retrieved 2013. 
  17. ^ "George Clooney explains 'Hope for Haiti' celebrity phone bank". USA Today Ann Oldenburg. January 22, 2010. Retrieved 2012. 
  18. ^ "Jenna Elfman Interview". Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved 2013. 
  19. ^ "Jenna Elfman Charity Biography". 
  20. ^ "Red Dress fashion show draws attention to heart disease". February 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013. 
  21. ^ "Dizzy Feet Foundation Board Members". 
  22. ^ "So You Think You Can Dance - 2014 Casting Guide with Call Dates". Retrieved 2014. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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