Jennifer Westfeldt

Actress-writer-producer-director Jennifer Westfeldt enjoyed the rare opportunity to craft a career largely of her own design, outside the constraints of mainstream Hollywood. Although she found early success as regular cast member on the sitcom "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" (ABC 1998-2001), the ambitious Westfeldt walked away after only one season to pursue her grander goals. Looking to write her own ticket, she and longtime collaborator Heather Juergensen wrote, produced and starred in the indie romantic comedy hit "Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001). A lauded run in the Broadway musical "Wonderful Town" followed, although a return to television - this time as co-star on the pregnancy sitcom "Notes from the Underbelly" (ABC, 2007-08) - met with disappointment. Another effort as a writer-producer-star in the quirky marital comedy "Ira and Abby" (2007) was followed by a starring turn in the made-for-TV romance "Before I Say 'I Do'" (Hallmark Channel, 2009) and a recurring role on the final season of the long-running Kiefer Sutherland drama "24" (Fox, 2001-2010). The quadruple-hyphenate then took a turn in the director's chair for the first time with the ensemble comedy-drama effort "Friends with Kids" (2012), which featured an ensemble cast of comedy stars including Adam Scott, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig and Westfeldt's longtime boyfriend, actor Jon Hamm. A true renaissance woman, Westfeldt had enough talent, drive and experience to remain a notable presence in film and television for years to come.