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Jenna Elfman

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Basic Information

Jenna Elfman

Date of Birth: 30 September 1971
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth Name: Jennifer Mary Butala
Height: 5' 10" (1.78 m)


Jenna Elfman (born September 30, 1971) is an American television and film actress. She is known for her role as Dharma on the ABC sitcom Dharma and Greg.

Early life

Elfman was born Jennifer Mary Butala in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Sue (née Grace), a homemaker, and Richard Wayne Butala, a Hughes Aircraft executive. She is of Croatian ancestry on her father's side and was raised Roman Catholic.



The short-lived 1996 sitcom Townies didn't catch on with viewers but did impress critics, particularly the performances of Elfman and co-star Lauren Graham. The next year, Elfman started a five-year run as Dharma in Dharma and Greg. Elfman guest starred in two episodes of Two and a Half Men in 2004 and one episode of Brothers and Sisters in 2007. She made a guest appearance in the sixth episode of season four of My Name Is Earl as a cheer team leader.

Elfman starred in the CBS comedy Accidentally on Purpose. The show was canceled after a single (2009-2010) season.


She is in two yet to be released films, one with Tim Allen entitled The Six Wives of Henry Lefay and the other Love Hurts.

Personal life

Elfman met her husband, actor Bodhi Elfman, at a Sprite commercial audition in February 1991. They married in 1995, making director Richard Elfman her father-in-law and noted composer Danny Elfman her uncle-in-law.

In January 2007, Elfman and her husband announced they were expecting their first child. On July 23, 2007, their son, Story Elias, was born in Los Angeles, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces. On September 16 2009, Elfman announced she is expecting her second child, and the pregnancy will help with her role in Accidentally on Purpose. On March 2, 2010, their son Easton Quinn Monroe was born.

Elfman visited her high school alma mater in May 2006 to urge students to set career goals and encourage them to persist in their chosen professions.

Scientology-related activities

In 2005 she appeared at the Scientology-owned Citizens Commission on Human Rights' Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum grand opening and she and husband Bodhi are listed on the organization's website as members of the board of advisors from the arts, entertainment and media community.

On May 24, 2006, she was the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Hero Award event in participation with the Scientology-affiliated groups Youth for Human Rights International and Artists for Human Rights (AFHR), an organization formed with the purpose of bringing artists together with the common cause of raising awareness of human rights around the world. The event took place in Washington, D.C. and was attended by members of Congress and the general public. Awards were presented to individuals who through their actions have brought about greater human rights.

On March 27, 2008, she and Charlie Sheen co-hosted the Scientology-affiliated New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project Charity Event at Geisha House in Hollywood, California.


In February 2006, Elfman donated an hour of her time to be auctioned off to the highest bidder on eBay as part of the "Lunch With A Leader" fundraiser, the proceeds of which benefit the work of Communities In Schools. She participated in the auction in both 2007 and 2008 as well.

Elfman donated her lip print for a limited edition U.S. postage stamp created by Zazzle to celebrate Valentine's Day in both 2007 and 2008. Proceeds for the "Kiss Stamps" went to support the programs of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

As a criminal rehabilitation activist, Elfman has traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for criminal reform. On April 5, 2007, she was presented with the Goodwill Ambassador Award for her work in human rights and criminal rehabilitation at the Women Ambassadors Foundation 12th Annual Conference. On April 9, 2008, she was a guest at the signing of a new bill by U.S. President George W. Bush that aimed to reduce prisoner recidivism, entitled the Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593).

In September 2008, Elfman joined the Charity Water month-long "September Campaign," asking for donations in lieu of birthday gifts in order to raise money to build freshwater wells in Ethiopia.


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Tanya
1998 Dr. Dolittle Owl Voice
Can't Hardly Wait The Angel Uncredited
Krippendorf's Tribe Prof. Veronica Micelli
1999 EDtv Shari
Venus Venus
2000 The Tangerine Bear Lorelei Voice
Cyberworld Phig Voice
Keeping the Faith Anna Riley
2001 Town & Country Auburn
2003 Looney Tunes: Back in Action Kate
2004 Clifford's Really Big Movie Dorothy Voice
2005 Touched Angela Martin Executive producer
What's Hip, Doc? Supermodel Voice
2008 "Struck" Pregnant date Short film
2009 The Six Wives of Henry Lefay Ophelia
Love Hurts Darlene
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Murder, She Wrote Ballet Dancer in background 1 episode
1994 The George Carlin Show Psychedelic girl 1 episode
1995 The Monroes Lily 1 episode
Roseanne Garland 1 episode
1996 Townies Shannon Canotis 15 episodes, 5 unaired
Murder One Angela Scalese 1 episode
Almost Perfect Becky Toll 1 episode
1997 The Single Guy Jordan 1 episode
1997-2002 Dharma & Greg Dharma Finklestein Montgomery 119 episodes
2002 Obsessed Ellena Roberts Television movie
2004 Two and a Half Men Frankie 2 episodes
2006 Courting Alex Alex Rose 13 episodes


2007 Brothers & Sisters Lizzie Jones-Baker 1 episode
2008 My Name Is Earl Kimmi Himmler 1 episode
2009 Accidentally on Purpose Billie 18 episodes


  • Studied acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse with Milton Katselas.
  • Is a classically-trained ballet dancer.
  • Graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, class of 1989. She was senior class representative (dance dept), on Student Arts Council.
  • Niece of singer Tony Butala, who founded and performs with the vocal group The Lettermen.
  • She started taking classical ballet at the age of five, but by nine, she suffered a serious ankle injury, and at age 12, the tendon came off the bone. She later gave up ballet at the age of 16.
  • Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2004 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her performance in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003); however, she failed to receive a nomination.
  • Is of Croatian heritage.
  • Daughter-in-law of Richard Elfman and Marie-Pascale Elfman.
  • Was among the guests at Tom Cruise's and Katie Holmes' wedding ceremony in Italy.
  • At age 35, she gave birth to her first child. Son, Story Elias, was born July 23, 2007 in Los Angeles, weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz.
  • Susan Sullivan, who played the mother-in-law of her character, Dharma, in the series "Dharma & Greg" (1997), also played the mother of her character Lizzie, in the series "Brothers & Sisters" (2006).
  • Turned down a role in Minority Report (2002).
  • Gave birth to her son Easton Quinn Monroe Elfman, with husband Bodhi Elfman, in Los Angeles at 7.53am, weighing in at 7lbs 12oz (2 March 2010).
  • Was four months pregnant with her son Easton when she completed filming on the first series of "Accidentally on Purpose" (2009).
  • Returned to work four months after giving birth to her son Easton in order to begin filming Friends with Benefits (2011).