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Calista Flockhart - Biography

The Ally McBeal and The Birdcage actress was born in 1964

Calista Flockhart smiling at a red carpet photo shoot© Getty Images
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: July 13, 2023
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Calista Kay Flockhart was born on November 11, 1964, in Freeport, Illinois, to Kay Calista, a school teacher, and Ronald Flockhart, an executive at Kraft Foods. The family moved often, and Calista, which means 'most beautiful' in Greek, was constantly dubbed 'the new girl' in the many schools she attended. 

Career beginnings

Calista studied acting at Rutgers University in New Jersey and after graduating she traveled the country doing regional theatre work. In 1994, the former cheerleader and bowling aficionado made her Broadway debut in a celebrated production of The Glass Menagerie opposite legendary actress Julie Harris and scored a Theatre World Award for her interpretation of Laura Wingfield. Two years later she was back on the New York stage in Chekhov's The Three Sisters alongside future Hollywood heartthrob Billy Crudup of Almost Famous. 

Onscreen success

Then came Ally...Calista was enjoying the theatre life in New York and wasn't even interested in TV work at the time, but a friend passed her the Ally McBeal script and persuaded her to audition. She got the part, and overnight she was the US version of Bridget Jones and part of the zeitgeist. Suddenly, young professional women looking for love had a heroine, and Calista had a $100,000-a-week job - a welcome change from the days when she'd be hard pressed to pay two months' rent at one time.

Since Ally, Calista has enjoyed a successful career, starring on TV in Brothers & Sisters from 2006 to 2011 and Supergirl from 2016 to 2021, and earning film roles in 1999's A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Last Shot in 2004. She has also returned to the stage, and starred opposite Zachary Quinto in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2022 at Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse.

Personal life

On January 11, 2001, Calista adopted a baby boy, Liam. A year after adopting Liam, she met Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford at an awards ceremony in October 2002 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. The got engaged in 2009, and married in June 2010.

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