Few actresses have the charming appeal of Kristen Bell. Since debuting in the film Polish Wedding over 20 years ago, Bell has ascended to become one of the most universally recognizable film and TV stars.
The Golden Globe-nominated actress currently stars in the hit NBC series The Good Place and returns to the big-screen as Anna when Frozen II opens wide Friday, November 22nd. To get us in the mood for such a double-dose of Bell this winter, let's take a look back at her most memorable roles to date.
10 Leigh (The Lifeguard)
To be clear, The Lifeguard is not regarded as a very good movie. However, Bell is very good in the starring role of Leigh. The two aren't mutually exclusive!
In the rare opportunity to play a feature film lead, Bell shines as Leigh, a melancholic young woman who returns home after her promising life goes astray. As a former valedictorian, Leigh struggled to make it big as a reporter in NYC. She returns to her childhood home in Connecticut, where she takes a lifeguard position and becomes involved with an untoward teenager.
9 Annie Bean (Hit & Run)
Bell got the rare chance to star opposite her future hubby in the raucous road comedy Hit & Run. How many of you knew that Dax Shepard wrote and co-directed the film as well?
Bell plays Annie Bean in the film, girlfriend of former wheelman Charles Bronson (Shepard). When Bronson forgoes his status in the Witness Protection Program to transport Annie to Los Angeles, the couple is pursued by the police as well as Bronson's old crew. Bell provides genuine laughs as Annie, showcasing what incredible chemistry she and Shepard share on and off-screen.
8 Elle Bishop (Heroes)
How many of you remember Bell's recurring role on the hit show Heroes way back when? We sure do!
During a 12-episode arc spanning from 2007-08, Bell guest-starred as Elle Bishop in the hit NBC series. After meeting with writers of the show and expressing her fandom, the role of Elle was written specifically for Bell. Her character was meant to oppose the main cast members, who recently learned of their extrasensory abilities. Elle has known of her abilities for some time, yet is portrayed as being mentally volatile. Bell earned unanimous praise for her performance.
7 Kiki (Bad Moms)
Bell's brand of humor often comes with fast wit and pithy remarks, but in Bad Moms, she gets a chance to show how weird and awkward she can be, and we love it!
In Bad Moms and A Bad Moms Christmas, Bell plays Kiki, a timid oddball who is best friends with Amy (Mila Kunis) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn). The three exhausted and undervalued mothers throw responsibility to the wind and begin a mischievous lifestyle of hard-partying. At Christmastime, Kiki's doting helicopter-mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) arrives and demonstrates how Kiki became so strange.
6 Gossip Girl (Gossip Girl)
Although she's largely uncredited, how many of you knew that Bell voiced the title character of Gossip Girl back in the day?
Oh, but it's true. Bell narrated all 121 episodes of the show from 2007-2012. She even appeared onscreen as herself a time or two, which also went uncredited. The series follows opulent Upper Eastsiders in New York who navigate the social strata of the city that never sleeps. Glamorous socialites Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) take center stage, with Bell providing the running narration.
5 Jeannie Van Der Hooven (House Of Lies)
While her Showtime series House of Lies may have garnered a smaller audience than she's used to, Bell stood tall opposite Don Cheadle in the cynical cutthroat dramedy.
In the series, which lasted four seasons and 58 episodes from 2012-16, Bell played Jeannie van der Hooven, an employee of management consultant Marty Kaan (Cheadle). As part of Kaan's "pod," Jeannie is Marty's second in command, ranking ahead of Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson). The caustic humor in the series was tailor-made for Bell's sensibilities.
4 Eleanor Shellstrop (The Good Place)
It's hard to argue the impact The Good Place is currently having on Bell's career. The NBC series is not only critically acclaimed and popular among viewers, but it also marks the first time Bell has been nominated for a Golden Globe!
Currently in its fourth season, The Good Place follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell), one of four strangers who've been sent to live in a town resembling heaven. Over time, Eleanor realizes that there's been a mistake and she does not belong there. A head-spinning twist finale in season one redefined the meaning of The Good Place!
3 Sarah Marshall (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Anytime a character is iconic enough to crossover to multiple films, you know they're onto something good. For Bell, her character Sarah Marshall appeared in two films in as many years!
Bell first appeared as the title character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall as the girlfriend from hell who causes her ex Peter (Jason Segel) to flee to Hawaii and meet someone new. Bell reprised the role in Get Him To The Greek two years later, albeit in a much smaller capacity as a cameo appearance. Both films were directed by Nicholas Stoller.
2 Anna (Frozen)
It's not too often that an actor or actress becomes primarily known for an animated role, but given the smashing success of Disney's Frozen a few years back, there's no wonder why Anna ranks so high!
Bell voices the character of Anna in the film, sister of the newly-appointed Queen Elsa. When Elsa inadvertently uses her super abilities to turn everything she touches into ice, Anna must conceive a plan to alter the weather. After six long years, Frozen 2 finally arrives in theaters on Friday, November 22nd.
1 Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars)
Where are all the fellow Marshmallows at? Indeed, it's hard to think of another character as synonymous with Bell as Veronica Mars!
First airing in 2004, Veronica Mars is Bell's most extensive role to date. The amateur super-sleuth has appeared in four seasons and 72 episodes thus far, most recently continuing her story-arc in the 8-episode return in 2019. The character has also appeared in several spinoffs, including Veronica in the FBI, Play it Again, Dick, and the 2014 feature film adaptation. The question is, given the end of season 4, have we seen the end of Veronica Mars?