As her new movie "A Little Help" opens in theaters this Friday, the actress who plays Pam Halpert in "The Office" shows a deeper, darker side to her personality. In this indie dramedy, Jenna Fischer portrays a Long Island dental hygienist named Laura Pehlke, whose cheating husband dies of a heart attack. If that's not bad enough, her son tells everyone his dad was a firefighter who heroically died in 9/11, a ruse with which Fischer's character reluctantly goes along. Did we mention this mixed-up mom also has an affair with her sister's husband?
[See movie trailer for "A Little Help" with Jenna Fischer]
If it is hard for you to picture pretty Pam in such an emotional pickle, there could be a lot more you don't know about the actress who has played the grounded "Office" go-to girl since 2005. Here are five more factoids about Jenna Fischer you may find fascinating:
Jenna Fischer planned to be a lawyer in college. Like Matthew McConaughey of "The Lincoln Lawyer," Fischer fancied the idea of being a lawyer as an undergrad -- or at least studying to be one. "Fischer said she used to sit in Pickler Memorial Library surrounded by law books, imagining what a law student should look like and picturing a pair of studious-looking glasses perched on her nose," reports her college alumni magazine. The Indiana native, who grew up in Missouri, switched her major to theater before graduating from Truman State University and may one day get to play a lawyer in the movies, as McConaughey did.
Her real first name is not Jenna, it's Regina. The name on Jenna Fischer's birth certificate is Regina Marie Fischer. Though she went by Jenna early on, the name Regina was always on her teachers' attendance rosters. One time a substitute teacher accidentally pronounced her name Reg-eye-na, she told a reporter for Playboy. "All the kids on the school bus that day called me Reg-eye-na Vagina," she said. "But that was the only time. No permanent scarring." Coincidentally, another star who was born with the name Regina was Shania Twain, whose real name is Eileen Regina Edwards.
Jenna Fischer is a cat lady. Though her BFF and co-star Angela Kinsey plays the crazy cat lady on "The Office," in real life it is Fischer who is obsessed with felines. She has owned cats, fostered cats and even manned a cat crisis hotline. "That was like being a social worker for cats," she told People. "You feel totally responsible when someone calls about an abandoned kitten."
Jenna Fischer is surrounded by men named Jim. Not only is Fischer's character Pam married to a guy named Jim in "The Office," her father's name is Jim, her first husband's name was Jim and now James Spader will be joining the show as Sabre's new CEO, replacing Kathy Bates. Will the pregnant Fischer name her second baby Jim, too?
Jenna Fischer likes being normal. "I'm all about blending in," the girl-next-door actress told Woman's Health magazine. She has even refrained from getting plastic veneers on her teeth or getting them whitened, partly to keep her Pam character looking believable. And forget the thrill of strutting down the red carpet in designer stilettos. The fresh-faced Fischer told David Letterman one of the biggest perks to being a celebrity is getting VIP treatment from grocery store clerks when you're looking for tapioca pudding.
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- Pam Halpert
- Jenna Fischer
- Angela Kinsey
- Matthew McConaughey