In 2018, some people were surprised when actor Jenna Fischer responded to protesters at a talk she was giving by donating her fee to several organizations fighting for social justice. While some may believe that being a celebrity of any degree means you should speak out to help others, doing so risks alienating an audience by taking sides. But you can speak up, donate, and even act up, and so far, Fischer has done so with grace and care and seen her career soar.
Fischer was born Regina Marie Fischer on May 7, 1974, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The family moved to Missouri, and Fischer attended Missouri schools from primary through college. Her father, James E. Fischer, was an engineer and currently constructs exhibits for The Magic House, the St. Louis Children’s Museum, while her mother leads field trips about the U.S. at the same venue. Her mother, Anne Miller Fischer, not only taught history but also led acting workshops at Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis. It was at one of these workshops where six-year-old Fischer got a taste of acting.
Fischer majored in theatre at Truman State University, a public liberal arts and sciences school in Missouri, but she also minored in journalism. While in college, she was part of a touring Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre that traveled around the country.
Fischer was discovered by an agent soon after moving to Los Angeles in 1998 while she was performing with the Zoo District Theatre, but the roles continued to be minor. Fischer, of course, took minor roles, but in 2004, she also wrote, produced, and directed a mockumentary entitled LolliLove. This got her noticed as an actress but also taught her that directing wasn’t for her. By 2005 her career was taking off and hasn’t slowed down, with film and television series credits every year.
Fischer currently has 47 television and film acting credits to her name. While she seems open to all types of acting roles, she lands primarily comedic ones, ranging from the silly to the more serious. Her most widely recognized role was “Pam Beesly” on “The Office,” for which she received numerous nominations and awards.
Fischer has taken a break from acting once so far. Beginning in 2015, she put her minor in journalism to use by conducting interviews for her 2017 book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, to which she also contributed her own experiences. The book was given high praise by other actors for candor and comedy as well as practicality.
Fischer has supported numerous charities through performances such as on Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2006, through donations to several groups, and even fostering for Kitten Rescue. The charities she associates with fall into two primary groups – pet care and helping people overcome poverty. Several of her charitable causes benefit women, such as “The Heart Truth” and “Dress for Success.” She has identified as a feminist and a supporter of equality, though she does not publicly align with any specific feminist organizations. Even though she can get fired up when she sees wrong around her, Fischer shows grace even when attacked, a skill that should help her achieve her social goals while enjoying a wonderful career. She also rejects roles that she feels make no sense or that are exploitive of women.
Fischer was married to fellow actor James Gunn from 2000-2008, then was married to director and screenwriter Lee Kirk from 2009-2013. She has two children with Kirk and balances motherhood with her acting career and helping society through her words and actions.