Full name: Ellen Kathleen Pompeo
Grey's character: Dr. Meredith Grey
Nickname: The Pencil (Can you guess why?)
Date of birth: November 10, 1969
Hometown: Everett, Massachusetts
Currently residing in: Los Angeles, California
Education: No higher education or formal training — which just makes her talent all the more impressive!
Bet you didn't know... Ellen had roles in two hit films, Daredevil and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but her scenes were cut from the theatrical versions of both films!
A tragic childhood followed by a promising career — it must be easy for Ellen Pompeo to identify with her best-known character to date, Meredith Grey. Ellen was born in Everett, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston that she describes as "like Brooklyn... a very blue-collar, working-class Irish-Italian neighborhood." Tragically, her mother died when Ellen was 4 years old. As a teenager, Ellen started serving drinks, first in Miami (where she met photog boyfriend Andrew Rosenthal) then later in New York City. While working at a restaurant on the Upper West Side, she was scouted by a talent agent who loved her look and encouraged her to begin acting.
Ellen moved to the City of Angels in 2001, where she had a brief flirtation with a young Jake Gyllenhaal. She says of the friendship, "I didn't know what else to say, because he'd come over with these compliments and he's much younger than I am. I just said, 'Well maybe we'll work together someday.'" But someday came sooner rather than later — shortly thereafter, Ellen was cast in a small but memorable turn as his girlfriend in her feature film debut, Moonlight Mile, for which she received positive reviews. Following that, she had small roles in several films, but mainstream success wasn't in the cards just yet!
In 2005, she landed her first major role: playing title character Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy. The show, which aired as a low-expectations midseason replacement, was a surprise smash, and Ellen was catapulted into the spotlight. The next year, her longtime boyfriend Chris Ivery proposed. In 2007, they married. That same year, Ellen was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series and received a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble. In September 2009, she gave birth to her first child, Stella Luna Pompeo Ivery. After several years of craziness for Meredith and Derek, fans are relieved to know that the two are finally happily partnered, which means that life and art are aligned again for Ellen: domestic bliss and a successful career!
Gallery: Ellen Pompeo Then and Now
Ellen Admits Crush on Elmo
Meredith Grey's Best Quotes
Video: Does Ellen Have 6 Toes?
Gallery: Ellen Out and About in LA
MORE ON ELLEN POMPEO BELOW!