Busy Philipps

Elizabeth Jean "Busy" Philipps (born June 25, 1979)[1] is an American actress, writer, producer, and director. She is best known for her roles on the television series Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000), Dawson's Creek (2001–03) and ER (2006–07), and for her portrayal of Laurie Keller on the ABC series Cougar Town (2009–15), for which she received a Critics' Choice Television Award.[2] She has also appeared in supporting roles in numerous films, such as The Smokers (2000), Home Room (2002), White Chicks (2004), Made of Honor (2008), He's Just Not That into You (2009), The Gift (2015), and I Feel Pretty (2018).

Busy Philipps
Philipps speaking at South by Southwest 2019
Elizabeth Jean Philipps

(1979-06-25) June 25, 1979
Alma materLoyola Marymount University
  • Actress
Years active1999–present

Early life

Philipps was born in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.[1][3] She received the nickname "Busy" as a child; sources conflict on whether the nickname came from her parents[4] or a babysitter named Susie.[5] Busy stated on her late-night talk show, Busy Tonight, that her mother gave her the nickname, but stated during her book tour that her babysitter gave her the nickname.

She attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona.[6] In her memoir she revealed that she was raped at age 14 by her then-boyfriend, whom she refers to as "Trey" in the memoir.[7] Though she found the event emotionally scarring, she did not consider it rape until decades later.[4] She disclosed in her book and in Busy Tonight, that she had an abortion at 15.[8]

She attended Loyola Marymount University at the same time as Freaks and Geeks costar Linda Cardellini and Colin Hanks; she dated Hanks for several years after they left school.[3][9][10][11]


While still in high school, Philipps worked the toy-fair circuit as a real-life Barbie ("Cool Teen Skipper").[5] Among the people who saw her at a toy convention was actress Sharon Stone, who was impressed with Philipps' performance and told Philipps that she would be a star.[4]

Her first major role was Kim Kelly in the 1999-2000 comedy-drama TV series Freaks and Geeks; Philipps appeared in all but one of the show's 18 episodes (the exception being the episode "Chokin' & Tokin'").[3][11] She made her film debut in the comedy The Smokers in 2000, and had various small appearances on television.

In 2001, Philipps was cast as Audrey Liddell in the teen drama Dawson's Creek.[3][12] She was a series regular in seasons 5 and 6, appearing in 46 episodes, before the show finished in 2003. Her portrayal of Audrey earned Philipps a Teen Choice Awards nomination in the category of "TV - Choice Sidekick".[13]

Philipps then appeared in several films, including Home Room (2002) and White Chicks (2004). She was cast in the UPN sitcom Love, Inc., in a role originally intended for Shannen Doherty.[14] The show lasted for one season (2005–2006). In 2006, she had a major recurring role as Hope Bobeck on ER, alongside her Freaks and Geeks co-star Linda Cardellini.[3][12]

During her second year on ER, her character headed to South America to "fulfill her Christian mission".[15] Philipps had a co-credit for the storyline of the 2007 comedy film Blades of Glory.[3][12][16] A year later, Philipps returned to being in front of the camera with a supporting role in Made of Honor.[3]

Philipps also made appearances in He's Just Not That into You as the character of Kelli Ann and on an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

From 2009 to 2015, Philipps portrayed Laurie Keller in the television series Cougar Town.[12] She routinely contributed to the Thrilling Adventure Hour, a live stage radio show.[17] Her primary recurring character is the Red Plains Rider.[18]

On a 2010 appearance on Chelsea Lately, Philipps commented that she auditioned for the hit television show Glee just one week after giving birth, following a pregnancy during which she gained 80 pounds.[19]

Philipps starred on the HBO series Vice Principals, which premiered in 2016.[20]

In 2017, Philipps signed on as co-lead opposite Casey Wilson in Tina Fey's comedy pilot, The Sackett Sisters, for NBC, but the series was not picked up.[21]

In 2018, Phillips played the role of Sheba in Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Philipps had a late-night talk show called Busy Tonight, which premiered on October 28, 2018 on E![22]


Philipps' memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, was released October 18, 2018.[7] Her memoir includes a passage in which the actress describes a physical altercation that took place between James Franco and herself while on the set of Freaks and Geeks. Distressed by the amount of attention drawn to just this incident within her story, Philipps hopes the audience will see the bigger picture she is addressing about women's equality on set and off.[23]

Political views

After the Alabama Legislature's May 14, 2019 passage of House Bill 314 (also known as the 'Human Life Protection Act'), Philipps advocated that women speak out if they had abortions. On May 14, she invoked the hashtag, #YouKnowMe (established on February 18) to her 370,000 followers on Twitter, with her call for testimonies:[24]

1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don't know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let's do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let's share it and start to end the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth.[25]

On the previous week she revealed on her Busy Tonight TV show that she had an abortion at age 15.[26]

On June 4, 2019 Philipps gave a testimonial before the House Judiciary Committee, defending the right for women to have access to safe abortions.[27][28] In doing so, Philipps talked about her own experience with abortion, saying:

I am a human being that deserves autonomy in this country that calls itself free, and choices that a human being makes about their own bodies should not be legislated by strangers who can’t possibly know or understand each individual’s circumstances or beliefs.[29]

Personal life

Philipps married screenwriter Marc Silverstein in 2007.[3][12][30] They have two daughters.[31][32][33][34][35]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Smokers Karen Carter
2002 Home Room Alicia Browning
2004 Mummy an' the Armadillo Carol Ann
2004 White Chicks Karen Googlestein
2005 Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story Additional Voices Voice
2008 Made of Honor Melissa
2009 He's Just Not That into You Kelli Ann
2010 Revolution Emily Short film
2011 I Don't Know How She Does It Wendy Best
2012 The Reef 2: High Tide Cordelia Voice
2012 Made in Cleveland Shannon
2013 A Case of You Ashley
2014 Jason Nash is Married Busy Philipps
2015 The Gift Duffy
2016 FML Amanda
2018 I Feel Pretty Jane


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Saving Graces Mindy TV series
1999–2000 Freaks and Geeks Kim Kelly 18 episodes
2000 Malcolm in the Middle Meghan Episode: "High School Play"
2001 Anatomy of a Hate Crime Chasity Pasley TV movie
2001 Spring Break Lawyer Jenny TV movie
2001 Dead Last Tracy Sallback Episode: "Death Is in the Air"
2001–2003 Dawson's Creek Audrey Liddell 39 episodes
2002 Undeclared Kelly 2 episodes
2003 Criminology 101 Polly TV movie
2004 Foster Hall Peg Hall TV movie
2005 Life As We Know It Alex Morrill 2 episodes
2005 Testing Bob Madison 'Maddie' West TV movie
2005 American Dad! Dana Voice
Episode: "Threat Levels"
2005 Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Korlianne Voice
Episode: "Girl Trouble"
2005–2006 Love, Inc. Denise Johnson 22 episodes
2006–2007 ER Dr. Hope Bobeck 19 episodes
2007 Entourage Cheryl Episode: "Dog Day Afternoon"
2007 How I Met Your Mother Rachel Episode: "Third Wheel"
2008–2009 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Kacy Corbin 5 episodes
2009 Kath & Kim Whitney Episode: "Competition"
2009–2015 Cougar Town Laurie Keller 96 episodes
2011 Community Greendale Team Member Episode: "For a Few Paintballs More"; uncredited
2011 Fish Hooks Clamanda Voice
Episode: "We've Got Fish Spirits"
2012 Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 Busy Philipps Episode: "A Reunion..."
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself (guest judge) Episode: "RuPaul's Gaff In"
2013 Arrested Development Joan Episode: "Borderline Personalities"
2014–2018 Drunk History Various 3 episodes
2014 Garfunkel and Oates Karen Episode: "Hair Swap"
2015 Bottom's Butte Beverly Bottom Voice
2016 New Girl Connie Episode: "300 Feet"
2016 Angie Tribeca Courtney Woodpatch-Newton Episode: "Miso Dead"
2016–2017 Vice Principals Gale Liptrapp 14 episodes
2016 Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Cate Kates Episode: "Spiritual Gurus"
2017 The Odd Couple Natasha Episode: "Should She Stay or Should She Go?"
2017 Chopped Junior Herself (guest judge) Episode: "Curry Hurry"
2017 The Sackett Sisters Mandy Sackett NBC sitcom pilot
2017 Beat Bobby Flay Herself (guest judge) Episode: “Tame the Flame”
2018–2019 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sheba Goodman 2 episodes
2018–2019 Busy Tonight Herself (host) Also executive producer
2018 Camping[36] Allison Episode: "Up All Night"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Work Category Result
2003 Teen Choice Awards Dawson's Creek "Choice TV: Sidekick" Nominated
2011 Critics' Choice Television Awards Cougar Town Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Won[13]


  1. "Busy Philipps Biography". TVGuide.com. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  2. "Awards". IMDb.
  3. Heldman, Breanne L. (April 25, 2008). "'Made of Honor' star Busy Philipps has a lot on her plate". NY Daily News. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  4. Heawood, Sophie (October 21, 2018). "Busy Philipps: 'I've been on three big TV shows but was broke by the age of 28'". The Observer.
  5. "Busy Philipps". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  6. Angelowicz, Ami (July 27, 2012). "All The Famous People Who Went To Our High Schools". The Frisky. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  7. Philipps, Busy (2018). This Will Only Hurt a Little (Touchstone ed.). New York. ISBN 9781501184710. OCLC 1047694480.
  8. Tonight, Busy (May 7, 2019). "Thank you for your strength in sharing your story, @BusyPhilipps. #BusyTonightpic.twitter.com/Ryqz7WGEVN". @BusyTonightTV. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  9. Soriano, César G. (January 10, 2002). "Colin Hanks follows his dad's lead". USA Today. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  10. Turner, Lauren (February 12, 2016). "66 Celebrity Couples You Most Definitely Forgot About". Pop Sugar. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  11. Kaufman, Amy (March 14, 2011). "Judd Apatow's 'Freaks and Geeks' gang reminisces -- and mocks James Franco". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  12. O'Toole, Lesley (February 4, 2015). "Busy Philipps Pours One Out for 'Cougar Town'". Backstage. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  13. "Awards for Busy Philipps". IMDb. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  14. Brownfield, Paul (September 22, 2005). "Don't make a date with 'Love, Inc.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  15. Mitovich, Matt (August 31, 2007). "Busy Busy Philipps Checks Out of the ER". TV Guide. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  16. Halterman, Jim (September 29, 2009). "COUGAR TOWN's Busy Philipps on being a troublemaker". Jim Halterman. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  17. Weber, Sarah (March 17, 2015). "Preparing for the end of 'Thrilling Adventure Hour'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  18. Arnold, Joel (February 5, 2014). "Inside 'The Thrilling Adventure Hour' Podcast with Ben Acker and Ben Blacker". SplitSider. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  19. "Busy Philipps on Chelsea Lately". YouTube. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  20. Andreeva, Nellie (January 30, 2015). "Busy Philipps Joins HBO Comedy Series 'Vice Principals'". Deadline. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  21. Andreeva, Nellie (February 17, 2017). "'Sackett Sisters': Busy Philipps To Star In NBC Comedy Pilot Produced By Tina Fey". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  22. Iannucci, Rebecca (August 16, 2018). "Busy Philipps' Late-Night Talk Show Gets October Premiere at E!". TVLine. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  23. Barna, Dan. "Busy Philipps Is 'Bummed' at How the Media Is Covering Her Story About James Franco". Glamour. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  24. Rozina Sini, "Alabama abortion bill ignites women's stories with #youknowme," BBC News, May 16, 2019 https://www.bbc.com/news/48286795
  25. Busy Philipps, Twitter, May 14, 2019 https://mobile.twitter.com/BusyPhilipps/status/1128515490559610881?p=v
  26. Valeriya Safronova, "Thousands of Women Have Shared Abortion Stories With #YouKnowMe. She Was First.," 'The New York Times,' May 15, 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/style/busy-philipps-abortion-youknowme.html
  27. CNN, Eli Watkins. "GOP lawmaker questions actress Busy Philipps on abortion in House hearing". CNN. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  28. "Busy Philipps testified about reproductive rights, and she expertly shut down a congressman who questioned her". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  29. Silver, Jocelyn. "Watch Busy Philipps Testify to Congress: The Reason I Had an Abortion "Shouldn't Matter"". W Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  30. Pearson, Jennifer (June 16, 2015). "'Here's to 80 more years': Busy Philipps celebrates eighth wedding anniversary to Marc Silverstein with gorgeous flashback photo". The Daily Mail. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  31. Grossberg, Josh (August 14, 2008). "Busy Phillips' Little Bundle of Joy". E Online. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  32. "Update: Actress Busy Philipps expecting first child, a girl". People. March 12, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  33. Finn, Natalie (July 4, 2013). "Busy Philipps Welcomes a Baby Girl With Husband Marc Silverstein". E! Work. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  34. Ehrich Dowd, Kathy (July 10, 2013). "Busy Philipps Names Daughter Cricket Pearl". People. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  35. Rothman, Michael (June 5, 2014). "Busy Philipps: My Husband Used Our Wedding Vows in a Channing Tatum Movie". ABC News. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  36. Gelman, Vlada (May 16, 2018). "TVLine Items: Elisabeth Shue Joins Amazon's Boys, Kimmy Trailer and More". TV Line. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
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