Moira Kelly is an American actress, who is best known for her work on the movie The Cutting Edge and the TV show The West Wing.
She was born on March 6th, 1968, in Queens, New York City. Born the third of six children to Peter and Anne Kelly, Moira Kelly is of Irish descent, as her parents are immigrants.
Her father, Peter, was a concert violinist, and her mother, Anne, was a nurse. Moira was raised in Ronkonkoma, New York, and was raised Catholic. She attended Connetquot Senior High School in Bohemia, Long Island, graduating in 1986. She would then attend Marymount Manhattan College.
While growing up, Moira Kelly was interested in acting or becoming a nun. She pursued acting due to a series of casting changes in her high school production of Annie in 1984.
Her first professional role was as Cinnamon Brown in the tv movie Love, Lies and Murder in 1991. She played a teenager coerced into killing her stepmother by her father.
She was also cast as Polly Pry in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Cannibal! The Musical, but was talked out of it by her agent.
In 1992 she was cast as Donna Hayward in the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, taking over the role from Lara Flynn Boyle from the television drama.
Moira Kelly, a devout Catholic, sought out permission from her priest to take part due to a sex scene in the film.
That year she was also supposed to play the role of Kit in 1992’s A League of Their Own but missed out on the opportunity due to an injury taken on the set of one of her more notable roles.
The Cutting Edge
1992 was a significant year for Moira Kelly as she took a lead role in the romantic comedy The Cutting Edge, playing a figure skater opposite D.B. Sweeny. Her ankle injury during production prevented her from taking on the part of Kit in A League of Their Own.
The same year, however, she would play opposite Robert Downey Jr. in Richard Attenborough’s fantastical biopic Chaplin. Kelly would play two roles in the film. Hetty Kelly and Oona O’Neil Chaplin both loves of Charlie Chaplin.
The Lion King
In 1994, Moira Kelly voiced the character of Nala, the lioness, in the Disney animated film The Lion King. She would continue to voice Nala over her career in sequels and spinoffs.
In 1998, she starred in a 13-episode run of the drama To Have & to Hold, where she played an attorney married to a police officer.
The West Wing
In 1999 to 2000, Moira Kelly played the role of Mandy Hampton in the political drama The West Wing. Mandy Hampton, Ph.D., worked as a political Media Consultant and eventually the White House Media Director for the Jed Bartlet Administration on the show.
She only appeared in 22 episodes of the show’s first season and was not seen again in later seasons.
Her character was intended as a romantic foil to Bradley Whitford’s Josh Lyman, but that storyline never played out.
Moira Kelly’s sudden and strange departure from the series resulted in the trope of characters being put on the bus to “Mandyville.”
What is Mandyville?
The trope “Mandyville” refers to prominent characters written out or left out of a show without acknowledgment.
The trope is named for Moira Kelly’s character Mandy in The West Wing. Still, the show also had numerous other characters who appear and are suddenly written out without acknowledgments or farewells. This trope has also expanded beyond The West Wing as well.
However, Mandy was not an overly popular character among fans, which may explain why showrunner Aaron Sorkin chose to move beyond her in the second season.
One Tree Hill
Following her time on The West Wing, she landed a significant role in the drama One Tree Hill. She would play the part of ‘Karen Roe’ and appeared in 90 episodes from 2003 to 2009.
After her role in “One Tree Hill,” Moira Kelly continued her acting career in both film and television. She made guest appearances in television shows such as “Heroes,” “Law & Order,” and “Numb3rs.” Kelly also appeared in tv movies like “Remember the Daze,” “A Smile as Big as the Moon,” “Taken Back: Finding Haley,” and “Girl in the Bunker.” In 2019, she appeared in the TV series “The Resident” for three episodes.
What is Moira Kelly doing now?
Today, Moira Kelly is still a busy actress and has continues to work in film and television. In 2021 she appeared in seven episodes of "Panic" on Amazon Prime. In 2022, she had a part in the Hallmark movie, "My Southern Family Christmas" and played the part of Jennifer Bergeron, alongside notable actor Bruce Campbell.
In 2022 she landed a significant role in the Amazon Prime series “Citadel.” Moira Kelly plays the character Jo, who is the ex-wife of Bernard Orlick, a character portrayed by Stanley Tucci. Jo, along with her wife, is tasked with the responsibility of protecting Mason Kane’s (played by Richard Madden) wife and daughter while he is hunting down Manticore, a syndicate of wealthy elites.
She also reprised the voice-over role of Nala from The Lion King in the Disney video game Disney Dreamlight Valley.
Mora Kelly is married to Texas businessman Stephen Eric Hewitt. The two have been married since August 2000.
Moira Kelly and Stephen Eric Hewitt have two children. They have a daughter named Ella, born in 2001. They have a son named Eamon, born in 2003.
Moira Kelly’s only confirmed social media presence is on Instagram.