Ellen’s career had a serendipitous start to it. In 1986, her mother read an article in the paper about an an open casting call for a new untitled Adrian Lyne film. They were looking for girls ages six to eight, and prior acting experience wasn’t required. Ellen’s family had never considered getting her into the business, but she was just about six at the time, and it sounded like a fun thing to try. She competed against over a thousand other girls, and despite not having the “look”, Ellen’s natural talent won her the part of Michael Douglas and Anne Archer’s daughter in Fatal Attraction.
After Fatal Attraction was released, Ellen’s career started to take off. She appeared in numerous movies, TV shows, and even on Broadway. But possibly her most memorable role was as Randy Quaid’s daughter “Ruby Sue” in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Considered one of the greatest Christmas movies of all-time, this film still captures the hearts and funny bones of millions around the globe. Ellen won over audiences with her classic scene where she mistakes Chevy Chase for Santa Claus, uttering the now infamous line “Shittin’ bricks”.
At age 15, Ellen left her hometown in New York for boarding school in Vermont, which inadvertently ended her career. After graduation, she decided to keep the door closed on her acting and pursue a normal life. Ellen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts, and eventually started working. She worked in various fields, such as hospitality, travel, advertising, publishing, and startups. But her passion for entertainment never went away.
Today, Ellen is living in Los Angeles and producing a podcast about her experiences as a child star, as well as those of her peers. Her show “Watched” is a look behind the curtain of the child acting industry, delving deep into the realities of a childhood lived in front of the camera.
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