Danica McKellar facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
McKellar at the 2018
National Book Festival
Danica Mae McKellar
January 3, 1975
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles (BS, Mathematics)|
|Occupation||Actress, mathematics writer, education advocate|
Michael "Mike" Verta
(m. 2009; div. 2012)
Danica Mae McKellar (born January 3, 1975) is an American actress, mathematics writer, and education advocate. She played Winnie Cooper in the television series The Wonder Years from 1988 to 1993, and since 2010 has voiced Miss Martian in the animated superhero series Young Justice.
In 2015, McKellar was cast in the Netflix original series Project Mc2. She appears in several television films for Hallmark Channel. She is the current voice of Judy Jetson from The Jetsons since 2017 following Janet Waldo's death in 2016.
In addition to her acting work, McKellar later wrote six non-fiction books, all dealing with mathematics: Math Doesn't ..., Kiss My Math, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape, which encourage middle-school and high-school girls to have confidence and succeed in mathematics, Goodnight, Numbers, and Do Not Open This Math Book.
Early life and education
McKellar was born in La Jolla, California. She moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was eight. Her mother Mahaila McKellar (née Tello) was a homemaker; her father Christopher McKellar is a real estate developer; her younger sister Crystal (b. 1976) is a lawyer. She is of paternal Scottish, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch descent and her mother is of Portuguese origin via the Azores and Madeira islands.
McKellar studied at the University of California, Los Angeles where she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and earned a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in Mathematics in 1998. As an undergraduate, she coauthored a scientific paper with Professor Lincoln Chayes and fellow student Brandy Winn titled "Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on ." Their results are termed the "Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem". Later, when Chayes was asked to comment about the mathematical abilities of his student coauthors, he was quoted in The New York Times, "I thought that the two were really, really first-rate." For her past collaborative work on research papers, McKellar is currently assigned the Erdős number four, and her Erdős–Bacon number is six.
The Wonder Years and early acting career
At age seven, McKellar enrolled in weekend acting classes for children at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. In her teens, she landed a prominent role in The Wonder Years, an American television comedy-drama that ran for six seasons on ABC, from 1988 to 1993. She played Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper, the main love interest of Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage) on the show.
Later acting career
McKellar has said that she found it "difficult" to move from being a child actress to an adult actress. Since leaving The Wonder Years, McKellar has had several guest roles in television series (including one with former co-star Fred Savage on Working), and has written and directed two short films. She appeared in two Lifetime TV movies in the Moment of Truth series, playing Kristin Guthrie in 1994's Cradle of Conspiracy and Annie Mills Carman in 1996's Justice for Annie. She briefly returned to regular television with a recurring role in the 2002–03 season of The West Wing, portraying Elsie Snuffin, the half-sister and assistant of Deputy White House Communications Director Will Bailey.
McKellar was featured in the video for Debbie Gibson's eighth single from the Electric Youth album, "No More Rhyme", which was released in 1989. She plays the cello in the beginning of the video.
In 2006, McKellar starred in a Lifetime movie and web-based series titled Inspector Mom about a mother who solves mysteries.
On the August 1, 2007, edition of the Don and Mike Show, a WJFK-FM radio program out of Washington, D.C., McKellar announced that the producers of How I Met Your Mother were planning to bring her back for a recurring role (she guest-starred on the show in late 2005 in "The Pineapple Incident" and again in early 2007 in "Third Wheel"). She also made an appearance on the show The Big Bang Theory, in the episode "The Psychic Vortex".
In 2008, she starred in Heatstroke, a Sci-Fi Channel original movie about searching for alien life on Earth and in 2009 she was one of the stars commenting on the occurrences of the new millennium in VH1's I Love the New Millennium and was the math correspondent for Brink, a program by the Science Channel about technology. In 2013, she played Ellen Plainview in Lifetime's reimagining of the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film The Wrong Man.
McKellar has also worked as a voice actress, having provided the voice of Jubilee in the video game X-Men Legends (2004), and Invisible Woman in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006) and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009). She provided the voice of Miss Martian in the TV series Young Justice.
In 2012, she starred in the Lifetime movie Love at the Christmas Table with Dustin Milligan.
In January 2013, she starred in the Syfy movie Tasmanian Devils with Apolo Ohno.
On August 20, 2013, Canadian singer Avril Lavigne released the music video for her single "Rock N Roll" from her self-titled fifth album, which features McKellar as "Winnie Cooper".
On March 4, 2014, she was announced to be competing on season 18 of Dancing with the Stars. She paired with Valentin Chmerkovskiy. McKellar and Chmerkovskiy were eliminated on Week 8, finishing in 6th place.
She had a guest appearance in the Impractical Jokers season four episode six titled "The Blunder Years". She made another guest appearance in the season seven episode ten titled "Speech Impediment".
In 2015, she starred in the Netflix original series Project Mc2 as The Quail.
She has starred in several Hallmark Channel movies, including Crown for Christmas, My Christmas Dream, Campfire Kiss, Love and Sunshine, Christmas at Dollywood, and You, Me & the Christmas Trees as well as the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series The Matchmaker Mysteries.
McKellar is a judge on Fox’s Domino Masters premiering March 9, 2022.
McKellar has authored several mathematics-related books primarily targeting adolescent readers interested in succeeding at the study of mathematics:
Her first book, Math Doesn't ...: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, was a New York Times bestseller, and was favorably reviewed by Tara C. Smith, the founder of Iowa Citizens for Science and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa. The book also received a review from Anthony Jones, writing for the School Librarian journal, who described the book as "a trouble-shooting guide to help girls overcome their biggest maths challenges," noting what he described as "real-world examples of great mathematics in action." In an interview with Smith, McKellar said that she wrote the book "to show girls that math is accessible and relevant, and even a little glamorous" and to counteract "damaging social messages telling young girls that math and science aren't for them".
McKellar's second book, Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss, was released on August 5, 2008. The book's target audience is girls in the 7th through 9th grades. Her third book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed! covers algebra topics, while the previous two titles were intended as "algebra-readiness books." Hot X was published on August 3, 2010. Her fourth book, Girls Get Curves – Geometry Takes Shape, focuses on the subject of geometry, and attempts to make the subject more accessible.
Three of McKellar's books were listed in The New York Times children's bestseller list. She received Mathical Honors for Goodnight, Numbers.
Chayes, L; McKellar, D; Winn, B (1998). "Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on ". Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General 31 (45): 9055–9063. doi:10.1088/0305-4470/31/45/005. http://www.danicamckellar.com/pdf/percolation.pdf.
Awards and honors
McKellar was named Person of the Week on World News with Charles Gibson for the week ending August 10, 2007. The news segment highlighted her book Math Doesn't ... and her efforts to help girls develop an interest in mathematics, especially during the middle school years. In January 2014, she received the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award. The citation credited her books, blog, and public appearances for encouraging "countless middle and high school students, especially girls, to be more interested in mathematics."
McKellar married composer Michael "Mike" Verta on March 22, 2009, in La Jolla, California; the couple had dated since 2001. They had their first child, a son named Draco, in 2010. McKellar filed for divorce from Verta in June 2012.
McKellar has homeschooled Draco his entire life, and many of her math books’ themes are inspired by at-home instruction.
On July 16, 2014, she became engaged to her boyfriend Scott Sveslosky, a partner in the Los Angeles legal firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. On November 15, 2014, they married in Kauai, Hawaii.
|2001||Good Neighbor||Molly Wright|
|XCU: Extreme Close Up||Sarah|
|Speechless...||Dana Woodman||Short film|
|2002||... and the Teenage Mind||Debbie|
|Reality School||... Sally||Short film|
|Jane White Is Sick & Twisted||Tiffany|
|The Year that Trembled||Pam Hatch|
|Hip, Edgy, ... , Cool||Sissie|
|2004||Raising Genius||Lacy Baldwin|
|Quiet Kill||Pet Shop Girl|
|2009||21 and a Wake-Up||Jenny Valentine|
|2010||Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo||Madelyn Dinkley||Voice role; direct-to-video|
|Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam||Sally||Voice role; direct-to-video|
|2012||Flatland 2: Sphereland||Aero||Direct-to-video|
|2014||Where Hope Grows||Susan Malcolm|
|2017||The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!||Judy Jetson||Voice role; direct-to-video|
|2018||The Fiddling Horse||Leslie Heart||Feature film|
|2018||Lego DC Super Hero Girls: Super-Villain High||Frost||Direct-to-video|
|2018||DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis||Frost||Direct-to-video|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Nola (age 10)||Episode: "Her Pilgrim Soul"|
|1987||Deidre Dobbs||Episode: "Shelter Skelter"|
|1988–1993||The Wonder Years||Winnie Cooper||Main role (Seasons 1-6)|
|1989||The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!||Patty||Episode: "Day of the Orphan" / "King Mario of Cramalot"|
|1990||Camp Cucamonga||Lindsey Scott||Television film (NBC)|
|1992||Captain Planet and the Planeteers||Lisa (Voice)||Episode: "A Formula for Hate"|
|1994||Babylon 5||Aria Tensus||Episode: "The War Prayer"|
|Moment of Truth: Cradle of Conspiracy||Kristin Guthrie||Television film (NBC)|
|Walker, Texas Ranger||Laurie Maston||Episode: "Stolen Lullaby"|
|Sirens||Alison Trent||Episode: "Victims"|
|1996||Justice for Annie: A Moment of Truth Movie||Annie Mills Carman||Television film (NBC)|
|1998||Love Boat: The Next Wave||Mary Dutton||Episode: "How Long Has This Been Going On?"|
|Working||Jolie||Episodes: "As Bad As It Gets", "She Loves Me Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"|
|1999||Random Play||Daughter||Episode: "1.4"|
|2000–2004||Static Shock||Freida Goren (Voice)||Recurring role (Seasons 1-4)|
|2001||The Division||Wendy||Episode: "Don't Ask"|
|Even Stevens||Sandrine||Episode: "Sibling Rivalry"|
|The Weakest Link||Herself||TV Child Stars Special Edition|
|2002||Justice League||Sapphire Stagg (Voice)||Episode: "Metamorphosis" (parts 1 & 2)|
|2002–2003||The West Wing||Elsie Snuffin||Recurring role (Season 4)|
|2004||King of the Hill||Sharona / Misty (Voice)||Episodes: "My Hair Lady", "Cheer Factor"|
|Game Over||Elsa / Renee (Voice)||Recurring role (Season 1)|
|Century City||Sally||Episode: "Without a Tracer"|
|Eve||Claudia||Episode: "Friend or Foe?"|
|2005||NCIS||Erin Kendall||Episode: "Witness"|
|Jack & Bobby||Keirsten||Episode: "And Justice for All"|
|NYPD Blue||Rosemary||Episode: "Moving Day"|
|Strong Medicine||Natalie Pascal||Episode: "Feeling No Pain"|
|Path of Destruction||Katherine Stern||Television film (Syfy)|
|How I Met Your Mother||Trudy||Episode: "The Pineapple Incident"|
|2006||Inspector Mom||Maddie Monroe||Television film (Lifetime)|
|Cyberchase||Wanda (Voice)||Episode: "Designing Mr. Perfect"|
|2006–2007||Inspector Mom||Maddie Monroe||Recurring role (Season 1)|
|2007||Random! Cartoons||Katerina "Kat" Metropoulos (Voice)||Episode: "Girls on the Go!"|
|How I Met Your Mother||Trudy||Episode: "Third Wheel"|
|2010||The Big Bang Theory||Abby||Episode: "The Psychic Vortex"|
|Young Justice||Miss Martian, Marie Logan, Tuppence Terror, Hawkwoman, Angel O'Day (Voice)||Main role (57 episodes)|
|2010-2013||Generator Rex||Claire (Voice)||Episode: "Operation: Wingman", "Haunted", and "Hermanos"|
|2010||G.I. Joe: Renegades||Sister Leia (Voice)||Episode: "Brothers of Light"|
|2012||The Nerdist: Tribute to Science||Herself||Talk show|
|Love at the Christmas Table||Katherine "Kat" Patton||Television film (Lifetime)|
|2013||Tasmanian Devils||Alex||Television film (Syfy)|
|The Secret Life of the American Teenager||Herself||Episode: "Interference"|
|Nerdist: Course of the Force||Bounty Hunter||Episode: "Michael Rooker & CM Punk: Lighstaber Hunt"|
|The Wrong Woman||Ellen Plainview||Television film (Lifetime)|
|2014||Transformers: Rescue Bots||Hayley||Voice role; 2 episodes|
|Dancing with the Stars||Herself||Contestant on season 18; finished in sixth place|
|2015||King of the Nerds||Herself||Judge|
|Impractical Jokers||Herself||3 episodes|
|2015||Perfect Match (aka A Perfect Wedding)||Jessica Summers||Television film (Hallmark)|
|Miss America 2016||Herself||Judge|
|Crown for Christmas||Allie Evans||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2015–2017||Project Mc2||The Quail||Main role (Seasons 1–2,4–5)
Netflix original series
|2015–2018||DC Super Hero Girls||Frost (Voice)||Recurring role (Seasons 1-5)|
|2016||My Christmas Dream||Christina||Television film (Hallmark)|
|Wedding Bells||Molly||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2016–2018||Shimmer and Shine||Layla (voice)||Recurring role; 3 episodes|
|2017||Mommy, I Didn't Do It||Ellen Plainview||Television film (Lifetime)|
|Campfire Kiss||Dana||Television film (Hallmark)|
|Coming Home for Christmas||Lizzie||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2018||Very, Very, Valentine||Helen||Television film (Hallmark)|
|Love in Design||Hannah||Television film (Hallmark)|
|Christmas at Grand Valley||Kelly||Television film (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)|
|2019||Love and Sunshine||Ally Craig||Television film (Hallmark)|
|The Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement||Angie Dove||Television film (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)|
|Christmas at Dollywood||Rachel||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2020||Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance||Angie Dove||Television film (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
|Christmas She Wrote||Kayleigh King||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2021||Matchmaker Mysteries: The Art of the Kill||Angie Dove||Television film (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)|
|2021–2022||Home Economics||Allison||2 episodes|
|2021||You, Me & the Christmas Trees||Olivia Arden||Television film (Hallmark)|
|2022||The Winter Palace||Emily Miller||Television film (GAC Family)|
|The Wonder Years||Winnie Cooper||Episode: "Love & War"|
|Christmas at the Drive-In||Television film (GAC Family)|
|1989||"No More Rhyme"||Girl Playing Cello||Debbie Gibson|
|2013||"Rock n Roll"||Winnie Cooperre||Avril Lavigne|
|EverQuest II||Lolla Cotgrove / Pona|
|2006||Marvel: Ultimate Alliance||Invisible Woman|
|2009||Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2||Invisible Woman|
|2013||Young Justice: Legacy||Miss Martian, Batgirl|
- In Spanish: Danica McKellar