Danica McKellar (born January 3, 1975) is an American actress,
mathematics author and education advocate. She is best known for her role as
Winnie Cooper in the television show The Wonder Years, and now as author of the
two New York Times bestsellers, Math Doesn't Suck, and Kiss My Math, which
encourage and empower middle-school girls with mathematics know-how.
Born in La Jolla, California, Danica moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was eight. Her family is "a big mix of Western Europe." Her mother's ancestry is Portuguese via the Azores and Madeira islands and her father's ancestry is Scottish (via Ireland), French, German and Dutch. Danica and sister Crystal Danica both maintained professional acting careers as children, but with a strong emphasis on education as a priority. As a result, Crystal became a lawyer, and Danica majored in mathematics in college.
Danica had a leading role in The Wonder Years, an Emmy Award–winning American television comedy-drama that ran for six seasons on ABC, from 1988 to 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988 after ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXII.
Danica played Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper, Fred Savage's main love interest on the show. In an episode entitled "The Accident" and in the final episode, it is stated that every important event in Kevin's life somehow involved Winnie. She lives on the same block as Kevin. Their first kiss plays an important part of the pilot episode, as does her older brother's death while serving as a soldier in the Vietnam War. In one episode, her parents decide to get separated because of their grief over the death of their son. According to the epilogue in the final episode, Winnie studies art history in Paris. Kevin and Winnie write one letter to each other every week for eight years until her return. Despite their life-long romance, they never marry.
McKellar's first kiss was with Fred Savage in an episode of The Wonder Years. She later said, "My first kiss was a pretty nerve-wracking experience! But we never kissed off screen, and pretty quickly our feelings turned into brother/sister, and stayed that way."
Danica has admitted the transition from "child actor to adult actor was a little bumpy." Since leaving The Wonder Years, Danica 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 briefly returned to regular television with a recurring role in the 2002–03 season of The West Wing, portraying Elsie Snuffin, the sister and assistant of Deputy White House Communications Director Will Bailey.
Danica appeared in lingerie for a pictorial in the July 2005 edition of Stuff Magazine after readers voted her the '90s star they would most like to see in lingerie. Danica explained that she agreed to the shoot in part to obtain "grittier roles".
In June 2006, Lifetime Television announced that Danica will star in a Lifetime movie and web-based series titled Inspector Mom about a mother who solves mysteries. In an interview in the November 17, 2006 issue of TV Guide, Danica said that two TV movies and ten webisodes of Inspector Mom were being produced.
Danica has provided the voices for characters in two video games: Jubilee in X-Men Legends (2004), and Invisible Woman in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006).
On the August 1, 2007 edition of the Don and Mike Show, a WJFK-FM radio program out of Washington, D.C., Danica announced plans 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). She appeared in the October 8, 2007, episode titled "Third Wheel".
In 2008, she starred in Heatstroke, a Sci-Fi Channel original movie about searching for alien life on Earth.
McKellar, as of June 23, 2008 (2008 -06-23), is one of the stars commenting on the occurrences of the new millennium in VH1's I Love the New Millennium, and as of 2009 is the math correspondent forBrink a program by the Science Channel about upcoming technology.
Danica studied at UCLA, majoring in mathematics. While at UCLA, she became a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She graduated summa cum laude in 1998. As an undergraduate, she coauthored a scientific paper with Professor Lincoln Chayes and fellow student Brandy Winn. Their results are termed the 'Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem' Referring to the mathematical abilities of his coauthor students, Chayes was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "I thought that the two were really, really first-rate."
Danica is the author of the book Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail (ISBN 1594630399), which encourages girls in middle school to enjoy and succeed at mathematics. The book has been favorably reviewed by Tara C. Smith, the founder of Iowa Citizens for Science and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa. In an interview with Smith, Danica 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. As of September 28, 2008 (2008 -09-28), both of Danica 's books have held for several weeks on the New York Times children's bestseller list.
Danica 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 Suck and her efforts to help girls develop an interest in mathematics, especially during the middle school years.
This Danica McKellar Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub