|August 9, 1985|
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Born Aug. 9, 1985 in Portland, ME, Kendrick discovered her passion for acting at the age of 10, and was soon making regular trips to New York to audition for stage productions; brother Michael Cooke Kendrick followed in her footsteps and later appeared in the 2000 film "Looking for an Echo." At 13, she landed the role of precocious daughter Dinah in "High Society," a musical based on the play "The Philadelphia Story" and "High Society" (1956), the Cole Porter-penned musical it inspired. Kendrick bowled over the New York critical community, who honored her with a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actress, which made her the second youngest actress ever to receive such recognition. Kendrick also received a Drama World and Theater World Award for her performance, continuing to prove her talent in productions of "A Little Night Music" opposite Jeremy Irons.
Following the blitz of publicity surrounding her Tony nomination, Kendrick naturally began to field offers for roles in films and television. She made her debut in 2003's "Camp," Todd Graff's amusing musical drama about the backstage drama and romances at a performing arts summer camp. As Fritzi, a former devoted follower of the camp's queen bee who becomes her bitter rival, Kendrick's spirited performance received a Best Debut nod from the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards. Kendrick was off-screen for the next four years until returning in a big way with 2007's "Rocket Science." A bittersweet indie drama about a young man with a stutter who joins a high school debate team, Kendrick impressed as the team's ambitious champion and earned her second Independent Spirit Award nomination. That same year, Kendrick showed off her vocal talents in an episode of the short-lived musical drama series "Viva Laughlin" (CBS, 2007).
In 2008, Kendrick joined the cast of the highly-anticipated film adaptation of "Twilight," the first in a series of Gothic romance novels by Stephenie Meyer. Though illness nearly cost Kendrick the movie - she became sick during an audition and was forced to leave - the producers called her back and eventually awarded her the role of Jessica Stanley, chatty best friend to the film's female lead, Bella (Kristen Stewart). The character was featured in several of the subsequent novels by Meyer, which virtually assured Kendrick of more screen time in the future.
The buzz around "Twilight" was nearly equaled by the news about Kendrick's casting in three major motion pictures slated for 2008 and 2009. In "The Marc Pease Experience" (2008), Kendrick was cast as a high school senior and musical devotee who romances the title character (Jason Schwartzman) - an older man unable to let go of his high school glory days. The thriller "Elsewhere" (2009) gave Kendrick her first shot at a starring role as a high schooler who searches for her best friend after she goes missing. And in 2008, Kendrick was announced as a cast member of Jason Reitman's follow-up to "Juno" (2007), an adaptation of the Walter Kim novel "Up in the Air" (2009) with George Clooney cast as Ryan Bingham, a corporate hatchet man who spends most of his personal time flying around the country. Kendrick played a brash frequent flyer who strikes up a mid-air romance with Bingham, a role that earned the young actress Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress.