Elizabeth Claire Kemper, born May 2, 1980, is an American actress and comedian. She first gained prominence for her starring role as receptionist Erin Hannon in the NBC comedy series The Office. Take a look below for 28 more interesting and fun facts about Ellie Kemper.
1. She gained critical acclaim for her starring role in the Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, for which she has received two nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
2. Kemper is known for her roles in the movies Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street.
3. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the second of four children of Dorothy “Dotty” Ann Jannarone and David Woods Kemper, a son of one of the wealthiest families in Missouri.
4. Her father was the chairman and chief executive officer of what is today’s Commerce Bancshares, a bank holding company founded by the Kemper family.
5. She’s the granddaughter of Mildred Lane Kemper, namesake of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis, and great-great-granddaughter of banker, insurance man, and railroad magnate William Thornton Kemper, Sr.
6. She’s the older sister of television writer Carrie Kemper.
7. Kemper has Italian, from her maternal grandfather, English, French, Kemper is the Breton name of the city Quimper, and Germany ancestry.
8. She was raised and remains a practicing Roman Catholic.
9. Her family moved to St. Louis when Kemper was five years old.
10. Kemper attended Conway Elementary School in the affluent suburb of Ladue and then high school at John Burroughs School, where she developed an interest in theater and improvisational comedy.
11. One of her teacher at John Burroughs School was actor Jon Hamm, with whom she appeared in a school play.
12. In 1999, Kemper made her debut at the Veiled Prophet Ball, where she was named the Veiled Prophet Queen of Love and Beauty.
13. Kemper graduated from Princeton University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
14. She played on Princeton’s 1999 national championship field hockey team, maintaining that she she sat on the bench, “roughly 97 percent” of the time before moving on the following year to focus on theater.
15. She attended the University of Oxford, where she studied at Worcester College towards a graduate degree in English.
16. She’s an alumna of the P.I.T. in New York City and performed there with many improvisers including Kristen Schaal, Kurt Braunohler, Chris Caniglia and Joe Lipari.
17. While attending Princeton, she was a member of Quipfire!, a renowned improvisational comedy group, and also the Princeton Triangle Club, a touring musical comedy theater troupe.
18. She’s a contributing writer for the satirical newspaper The Onion. She has also been published in McSweeney’s, the literary journal founded by Dave Eggers.
19. She announced on December 7, 2011, on Conan O’Brien’s show that she was engaged to former Conan writer, Michael Koman.
20. Like Amy Poehler and other Saturday Night Live cast members Bobby Moynihan and Kate McKinnon, she performed at Manhattan’s Upright Citizens Brigade improvisational comedy group, usually for free.
21. In 2015, she was voted Sexiest Sense of Humor by Victoria Secret’s annual What is Sexy list.
22. She was three months pregnant with her son James when she completed filming the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
23. She gave birth to her first child at the age of 36, a son named James Miller Koman in July 2016. The child’s father is her husband, Michael Koman.
24. Kemper earned her Screen Actors Guild card by doing commercial advertising of a one-week sale of tents at Kmart.
25. She regularly appeared in comedy sketches on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in the late 2000s, and has made guest appearances on Important Things with Demetri Martin, and E! Television’s The Gastineau Girls.
26. In 2007, she appeared in How to Kick People, a performance combining comedy and literary performances.
27. In 2018, Kemper was one of the actors who voiced the audiobook A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.
28. In the summer of 2015, Kemper served as a temporary co-host of The Today Show alongside Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Tamron Hall and Willie Geist.