Moira Kelly

This article is about the American actress. For the Australian humanitarian, see Moira Kelly (humanitarian).
Moira Kelly
Born (1968-03-06) March 6, 1968
Queens, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Steve Hewitt (m. 2000)
Children 2

Moira Kelly (born March 6, 1968) is an American actress. She is best known for the role of Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, replacing Lara Flynn Boyle in this prequel to the 1990 TV Series Twin Peaks. She is also known for portraying Kate Moseley in the 1992 film The Cutting Edge, as well as single mother Karen Roe on the teen drama One Tree Hill, Dorothy Day in Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story, White House media consultant Mandy Hampton in the first season of The West Wing, and the voice of Simba's love interest Nala in The Lion King and its sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. She also played Hetty Kelly and Oona O'Neill in Chaplin (1992).

Early life

Kelly was born in Queens, New York, a daughter of Irish immigrants. Her father, Peter, was trained as a concert violinist, and her mother, Anne, is a nurse. Kelly is the third of six children and was raised in Ronkonkoma. She was brought up as a Catholic.[1] Kelly attended Connetquot Senior High School in Bohemia, Long Island, graduating in the class of 1986. Later, she attended Marymount Manhattan College.

In her youth, Kelly was cast in a small role in her high school's 1984 production of Annie. Due to illness, the girl playing Miss Hannigan was replaced, causing a series of cast changes leading to her choice of career. A faithful Catholic, Kelly had to decide between acting and her childhood ambition of becoming a nun.[2]


Kelly made her professional acting debut in the made-for-TV movie Love, Lies and Murder, playing as a teenage murderer. She went on to have small roles in the films The Boy Who Cried Bitch, Hi-Life, and Billy Bathgate before being cast as Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. For that film, she went home and got permission from her priest because of an explicit sex scene.[2] In the same year, she starred opposite D. B. Sweeney in the romantic comedy The Cutting Edge and played two roles opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in Chaplin. According to a TV Guide interview, before taking on her role in Daybreak, Kelly once again asked her priest for advice: "Being a Catholic, I wondered if it would be against my religion to play a girl who has premarital sex." The priest told her "it was okay, as long as my artistic intentions were true and I wasn't doing it for the notoriety or the money."[3]

She has since appeared in the movies With Honors, Little Odessa, The Tie That Binds and Dangerous Beauty amongst others, and provided the adult voice of Nala in Disney's The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and The Lion King 1½. In her independent film career, Kelly had the starring role of activist Dorothy Day in Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story and starred alongside Glenn Close in The Safety of Objects. She played Helen Keller in the made-for-TV movie Monday After the Miracle, which broadcast on November 15, 1998, on CBS.

Kelly starred in the CBS drama To Have & to Hold opposite Jason Beghe before playing Mandy Hampton in the first season of The West Wing. In 2003, Kelly began playing single mother Karen Roe on the teen drama One Tree Hill. She also directed two episodes of the series: "Resolve" (2007) and "I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" (2006). In the fifth season, she ceased to be a regular cast member, but made guest appearances in the 100th episode and the sixth season finale. She has made guest appearances in television shows such as Heroes, Law & Order, and Numb3rs. Kelly has also appeared in the films Remember the Daze, A Smile as Big as the Moon and Taken Back: Finding Haley.

Personal life

In 2000, Moira Kelly married Steve Hewitt, a Texas businessman. They have two children: son Eamon (born 2003) and daughter Ella (born 2001).[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Boy Who Cried Bitch Jessica
Love, Lies and Murder Cinnamon TV movie
Billy Bathgate Rebecca
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Donna Hayward
The Cutting Edge Kate Moseley
Chaplin Hetty Kelly / Oona O'Neill
1993 Daybreak Blue TV Movie
1994 The Lion King Adult Nala Voice Only
With Honors Courtney Blumenthal
1995 Little Odessa Alla Shustervich
1996 Unhook the Stars Ann Mary Margaret
Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story Dorothy Day
1997 Drive, She Said Nadine Ship
1998 To Have & to Hold Annie Cornell TV Series: 13 Episodes
Hi-Life Susan
Love Walked In Vera
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Nala Voice Only
Dangerous Beauty Beatrice
1999–2000 The West Wing Mandy Hampton TV Series: 22 Episodes
1999 Henry Hill Cynthia
2002 The Twilight Zone Elizabeth Carter / Bess Wicker TV Series: Episode: "Found and Lost"
Hack Vanessa Griffin TV Series: 1 Episode
2003 The Safety of Objects Susan Train
2003–2009 One Tree Hill Karen Roe TV Series: 90 Episodes
2004 The Lion King 1½ Adult Nala Voice Only
2006 Two Tickets to Paradise Kate
2007 Remember The Daze Mrs. Ford Alternative Title: The Beautiful Ordinary
2008 Law & Order Catherine Donovan TV Series: 1 Episode
2009 Heroes Abby Collins TV Series: 1 Episode: "Building 26"
2010 Numb3rs Mary Paulson TV Series: 1 Episode
2012 A Smile as Big as the Moon Darcy Kersjes TV Movie
Taken Back: Finding Haley Karen TV Movie
2013 Drop Dead Diva Cindy Kasper TV Series: 1 Episode


  1. Giles, Jeff (1993-01-03). "Moira Kelly; Playing Two Roles in 'Chaplin' While Dreaming of Joan of Arc". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-20. She is an ardent Roman Catholic...
  2. 1 2 Buchanan, Jason. "Moira Kelly > Biography". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  3. "A Message from Marrs". This Rock. February 1993.

External links

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