- Category : Actress
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 3
Jennifer Mary "Jenna" Elfman (born September 30, 1971) is an American television and film actress. She is best known for her roles as Dharma Freedom Finkelstein Montgomery on the 1997–2002 American television sitcom Dharma & Greg and as Anna Riley in the 2000 feature film Keeping the Faith.
Elfman was born Jennifer Mary Butala in Los Angeles, California, the youngest of three children, to Sue (Grace) Butala, a homemaker, and Richard Wayne Butala, a Hughes Aircraft executive. Her father's younger brother, Elfman's uncle, is Tony Butala, lead singer since 1958 of the American vocal trio The Lettermen. She is of Croatian ancestry on her father's side and was raised Roman Catholic.
Taking ballet classes since the age of five, Elfman became a classically trained ballet dancer and attended high school at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She then attended college at California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
Elfman began her professional career as a dancer, appearing in the music video for "Halo", a song by Depeche Mode from the 1990 album Violator, a video that was exclusively included on the band's 1990 music video compilation Strange Too. She stars in the video for Anthrax's 1993 song "Black Lodge". She also danced in the video for Chris Isaak's 1995 single "Somebody's Crying" and toured with the rock band ZZ Top on their 1994 World Tour as a "Legs Girl".
After appearing in numerous national television commercials, most notably as the girl in the Honda ad who said "Regular or Decaf?", Elfman landed her first principal cast acting role on the short-lived 1996 American sitcom entitled Townies on ABC. Although the show didn't catch on with viewers, it did impress critics, particularly the performances of Elfman and co-star Lauren Graham. Soon after, 20th Century Fox began talking to Elfman about developing her own sitcom. Elfman thus started her five-year run as Dharma Freedom Finkelstein Montgomery in the American comedy series Dharma & Greg on ABC.
Elfman guest starred in two episodes of Two and a Half Men in 2004 and one episode of Brothers and Sisters in 2007. She made a guest appearance in the sixth episode of season four of My Name Is Earl as a cheer team leader.
Elfman starred in the CBS comedy Courting Alex in 2006, then starred in Accidentally on Purpose for CBS three years later during the 2009-10 television season. The show was canceled after a single (2009–2010) season.
She appeared in a supporting role in a feature film, Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, released in 2011. Also in 2011, she returned to do a cameo appearance on the Two and a Half Men Season 9 premiere episode reprising her "Dharma" character together with former co-star Thomas Gibson ("Greg").
Elfman acted in the season finale of Shameless on April 1, 2012.
She is appearing in a recurring role in Season 5 of Damages.
It was announced in May 2012 that Elfman will play a fictional version of the First Lady of the United States in 1600 Penn, a comedy series premiering on NBC during the 2012–13 television season.
In February 2006, Elfman donated an hour of her time to be auctioned to the highest bidder on eBay as part of the "Lunch With A Leader" fundraiser, the proceeds of which benefit the work of Communities In Schools. She also participated in the auction in 2007 and 2008.
Elfman donated her lip print for a limited edition U.S. postage stamp created by Zazzle to celebrate Valentine's Day in both 2007 and 2008. Proceeds for the "Kiss Stamps" went to support the programs of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). In February 2011, she filmed a PSA for The Humane Society of the United States to inspire people to donate to help animals.
As a criminal rehabilitation activist, Elfman has traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby for criminal reform. On April 5, 2007, she was presented with the Goodwill Ambassador Award for her work in human rights and criminal rehabilitation at the Women Ambassadors Foundation 12th Annual Conference. On April 9, 2008, she was a guest at the signing of a new bill by U.S. President George W. Bush that aimed to reduce prisoner recidivism, entitled the Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593).
In September 2008, Elfman joined the charity: water month-long "September Campaign," asking for donations in lieu of birthday gifts in order to raise money to build freshwater wells in Ethiopia. She ran a second charity: water birthday campaign in September 2011 to aid in funding a drilling rig for wells in Northern Ethiopia.
On January 22, 2010, Elfman donated her time to participate in the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon in Los Angeles, California.
On March 2, 2011, she participated in the National Education Association (NEA) Read Across America program by reading to school children in Compton, California in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday.
Elfman walked the catwalk in The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection 2012 Fashion Show in New York on February 8, 2012 to raise awareness for heart disease. The annual event is headed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
On March 6, 2012, Elfman hosted Laugh For Sight’s comedy show at The Improv in Los Angeles to benefit the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
On April 14, 2012, Elfman hosted an environmentally friendly themed charity event at her home in Los Angeles, California for the purpose of the party's attendees to learn more about the Healthy Child Healthy World "Healthy Child Party" program and Best for Babes, a breastfeeding advocacy organization.
Elfman met her husband, actor Bodhi Elfman, at a Sprite commercial audition in February 1991. They married on February 18, 1995, making director Richard Elfman her father-in-law and composer Danny Elfman her uncle-in-law.
On July 23, 2007, Elfman and her husband's first child, a son, Story Elias, was born in Los Angeles. On September 16, 2009, when Elfman announced she was expecting her second child, she suggested that the pregnancy would help with her role in Accidentally on Purpose. On March 2, 2010, their son, Easton Quinn Monroe, was born.