Ellen Kathleen Pompeo (born November 10, 1969) is an American actress, director, and producer. She is one of the highest paid actors in the world, having signed a $20 million annual contract with the American Broadcasting Company in 2017. Ellen is also the recipient of such accolades as a Screen Award, a Special Achievement in Entertaining by the National Italian American Foundation, and a nomination for a Golden Globe Award.
Born in Everett, Massachusetts, Ellen moved to Miami then to New York City, where she was discovered by a casting director who signed her for an advertisement campaign for L’Oreal. She made her screen debut with NBC’s legal drama Law & Order and then guest-starred in other television shows, including the comedy Strangers with Candy, the medical drama Strong Medicine and Friends. Pompeo made her feature film debut in 1999 with the romantic comedy Coming Soon, and went on to play minor roles in films like In the Weeds and Mambo Café but found little success initially. A turning point came in her career in 2002, when she gained wide recognition for her starring role in Brad Silberling’s drama Moonlight Mile.
Pompeo was then cast in ABC’s popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, and gained worldwide recognition for her portrayal of the title character Dr. Meredith Grey. The role on the long running series earned her a Golden Globe nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Award. The character became widely popular, making Pompeo one of the most renowned television actresses. In 2016, Pompeo was ranked fourth in the list of highest paid TV actresses by Forbes, with earnings of $14.9 million; she became the third highest paid female and the fifth highest paid actor overall in 2018 with earnings of $23.6 million. She was also the highest ranked actor from a drama series on the list.
Pompeo’s other notable film roles include the comedy Old School (2003), the superhero film Daredevil (2003), the caper film Art Heist (2004), and the comedy drama Life of the Party (2005). In addition to her acting career, she has directed two episodes for Grey’s Anatomy and also founded a production company Calamity Jane. Pompeo married Chris Ivery in 2007 and the couple have three children together.