Ellie Kemper was born in St. Louis, MO. The future star attended Princeton University, where she was a member of the renowned improv comedy group, Quipfire; the musical theater troupe the Princeton Triangle Club; and the field hockey team. Kemper graduated from Princeton in 2002 with an English degree, and continued studying her field for a year at the University of Oxford. Kemper made a leap into an acting career by appearing on sketches of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (NBC, 1993-2009) and "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central, 2005-2015). She also wrote sketch comedy shows with fellow comic and Princeton graduate Scott Eckert, contributed to the national satirical publication, The Onion, and had her essays published in McSweeney's Literary Journal.While living in New York City, Kemper made a name for herself in the improv comedy circuit, appearing on stage with the People's Improv Theater and the Upright Citizens Brigade. She created further buzz in 2008 with her two one-woman shows, "Dumb Girls" and "Feeling Sad/Mad with Ellie Kemper," as well as a viral video hit in which she played a young woman preparing to perform oral sex on her boyfriend, during which her attempts at provocative dirty talk become increasingly strange and unsettling. The hilarious and squirm-inducing clip received millions of hits on YouTube and CollegeHumor.com. In August 2008, the actress auditioned to be a featured player on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975-), but was turned down. Kemper told Variety that her "SNL" audition consisted of her portraying outrageous characters, but she was more comfortable playing humorous versions of herself.Even though she did not land a cast member spot on "SNL," Kemper's career took off in 2009 after she was cast on NBC's primetime comedy hit, "The Office." The actress was a huge fan of the show and was thrilled when she scored the part of Erin Hannon, the sweet-natured receptionist for the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Kemper had big shoes to fill as she was brought in to replace former receptionist and fan favorite Pam (Jenna Fischer) during the fifth season. No one was more excited to play Erin than Kemper herself, who emailed her mom, "I'm at Pam's desk right now!" during one of her first days of filming. Her character shared Pam's friendly demeanor, but was a little more naive when it came to the company's offbeat dynamics. Critics loved Kemper's performance on "The Office," praising the actress for her cheerful appeal and for adding freshness to the long-running series. Fans also welcomed Kemper with open arms, even calling her office romance with Dunder Mifflin's pompous salesman Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) as "the new Jim and Pam" - the show's central love story since the show's beginnings. In March 2010, over seven million viewers tuned in to for the episode titled "New Leads" to witness the first kiss between Erin and Andy. That same year, Kemper acted opposite Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in the comedy feature, "Get Him to the Greek." She also appeared in the comedy/drama "Somewhere," a film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. After a breakthrough role in the massive comedy hit "Bridesmaids" (2011), Kemper co-starred in the big-screen reboot "21 Jump Street" (2012). When "The Office" came to a close, she appeared in a recurring role on Mindy Kaling's "The Mindy Project" (Fox 2012-) and had supporting roles in the box office disappointments "They Came Together" (2014) and "Sex Tape" (2014). Kemper scored her first starring role as the title character in Tina Fey and Robert Carlock's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (Netflix 2015-), a young woman who moves to New York after spending 15 years trapped in an apocalyptic cult. Between seasons, Kemper essayed voice roles in the animated comedies "The Secret Life of Pets" (2016), "The Lego Batman Movie" (2017), and "Smurfs: The Lost Village" (2017). In 2018, Kemper published her first book, an essay collection called My Squirrel Days about her childhood and adolescence in Kansas City.
All Apple Originals.
New Apple Originals every month. Watch on Apple devices, streaming platforms and smart TVs.