Moira Kelly

Recent Role:

Star on Taken Back: Finding Haley


3/6/1968, Queens, New York, USA

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • New York native Moira Kelly, well-known as the voice of Nala in Disney's Lion King and as Kate Moseley in the 1992 romantic comedy The Cutting Edge, has captivated film and television audiences worldwide with her voice, beauty, and talent since the early '90s. On television, she is recognized as Mandy Hampton, media consultant of President Josiah Bartlett (played by Martin Sheen), in the first season of The West Wing and as Karen Roe, the loving single parent of Lucas Scott (played by Chad Michael Murray) on One Tree Hill. Born to Irish immigrants in Queens, New York, Moira spent three of her childhood years in Ireland before her family moved back to the US and settled in Ronkonkoma, New York, where she was raised in a strict, middle-Catholic household. Influenced by her father who is a professional musician, she became an accomplished violinist, drummer, and flutist at a young age. She competed in opera and performed in the school production of Annie while at Connetquot Senior High School from where she graduated in 1986. Moira then attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City but had to work part-time to support her education since her parents couldn't afford to. After graduating from college, Kelly and her friends packed their bags and went on a New York-to-L.A. road trip. Within a month of graduation, she filmed her first movie, The Boy Who Cried B!tch (1991). In 1992, Moira got her first leading role in The Cutting Edge as the rich, spoiled champion figure skater Kate Moseley, who was partnered with skillful and arrogant hockey player Doug Dorsey (played by D.B. Sweeney). That same year, she landed her first major role alongside Robert Downey, Jr. in Richard Attenborough's Charlie Chaplin biography, Chaplin. In the movie, she portrayed two characters -- the legendary comedian's first love, 15-year-old Heady, and his last wife Lady Oona Chaplin. In 1994, she was tasked to voice Adult Nala in Disney's blockbuster animation The Lion King and in its sequels and video game counterparts in the following years. On television, Moira's first stint as a series regular came in 1998 as she played the newly-wed Annie Cornell on the short-lived CBS romantic family drama To Have & To Hold. The following year, she starred as White House media consultant Dr. Madeline Hampton on The West Wing. However, her character was taken out of the show after only one season. In 2003, Moira moved to the small town of Tree Hill as cafe owner and single mother Karen Roe on CW's (then WB) popular teen drama One Tree Hill. Overall, this angel-faced devout Irish Catholic who once dreamed of becoming a nun has established a solid acting career that will be remembered by film and television fans for years to come.moreless



    Birth Place:

    Queens, New York, USA

  • Photos (4)
  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (12)

    • Moira: (on choosing roles) I read it, and realize if it's a character I can commit to. I usually know by, say, the fifteenth page, whether or not I want to do the script. There's a lot I won't do. I've done films that were violent and films with nudity, but there's a fine line between what's necessary and what's not. I'll ask myself, 'Does it glorify it? Are these characters that grow and learn from it?'

    • Moira: I would vote for anyone who is willing to clean house in Washington and get back to the actual issues at hand rather than getting bogged down by involving themselves in people's personal lives.

    • Moira: Growing up Catholic has been a gift. Being in the movie business is hard. There are a lot of battles to face, and if I didn't have that religious core -- that base to turn to - I would be truly lost.

    • Moira: (on voice acting) As an actor, when you're just relying on your voice, it's just a nice dynamic to focus on. Rather than the full picture, it's just one unique element of performance.

    • Moira: (on working with the young stars of "One Tree Hill"; in a 2004 interview) I think I'm very easy on a set. I don't demand too much. I just love to work, and I love the interaction with fellow actors. Maybe the kids feel that ease. I wouldn't say I'm on their level, because I've realized on this show that there definitely is a gap between 21 and 36, but they're really excited. For a lot of them, this is their first big show. When we all get together and have a big scene that we're enjoying, I think that comes across.

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    Trivia (19)

    • Her parents are Peter, a music teacher and trained concert violinist who played with The Shannonaires, and Anne, a nurse. She was the third among six siblings -- two of whom are in the military, one studied Physical Therapy, one is a music teacher, and another considering a film career.

    • Film and TV Movie Credits: • Love, Lies and Murder (1991) as Cinnamon Brown • The Boy Who Cried B!tch (1991) as Jessica • Thirty Below Zero (1992) as Lucy • Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996) as Dorothy Day • Love Walked In (1997) as Vera • Drive, She Said (1997) as Nadine Ship • Monday After the Miracle (1998) as Helen Keller • Hi-Life (1998) as Susan • A Woman Reported (2004) as Woman • Two Tickets to Paradise (2006) as Kate • The Beautiful Ordinary (2007) as Mrs. Ford

    • In 2001, Moira won a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for The West Wing. She was also nominated at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards in the category Choice TV Parental Units for playing Karen Scott, mother of Lucas Scott, on One Tree Hill.

    • Moira would love to have the opportunity to sing in a Disney movie.

    • Moria received critical accolades for her performance as Helen Keller in the television movie Monday After the Miracle.

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