New York native Moira Kelly, well-known as the voice of Nala in Disney's Lion King and as Kate Moseley in the 1992 romantic comedy The Cutting Edge, has captivated film and television audiences worldwide with her voice, beauty, and talent since the early '90s. On television, she is recognized as Mandy Hampton, media consultant of President Josiah Bartlett (played by Martin Sheen), in the first season of The West Wing and as Karen Roe, the loving single parent of Lucas Scott (played by Chad Michael Murray) on One Tree Hill.
Born to Irish immigrants in Queens, New York, Moira spent three of her childhood years in Ireland before her family moved back to the US and settled in Ronkonkoma, New York, where she was raised in a strict, middle-Catholic household. Influenced by her father who is a professional musician, she became an accomplished violinist, drummer, and flutist at a young age. She competed in opera and performed in the school production of Annie while at Connetquot Senior High School from where she graduated in 1986. Moira then attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City but had to work part-time to support her education since her parents couldn't afford to.
After graduating from college, Kelly and her friends packed their bags and went on a New York-to-L.A. road trip. Within a month of graduation, she filmed her first movie, The Boy Who Cried B!tch (1991). In 1992, Moira got her first leading role in The Cutting Edge as the rich, spoiled champion figure skater Kate Moseley, who was partnered with skillful and arrogant hockey player Doug Dorsey (played by D.B. Sweeney). That same year, she landed her first major role alongside Robert Downey, Jr. in Richard Attenborough's Charlie Chaplin biography, Chaplin. In the movie, she portrayed two characters -- the legendary comedian's first love, 15-year-old Heady, and his last wife Lady Oona Chaplin. In 1994, she was tasked to voice Adult Nala in Disney's blockbuster animation The Lion King and in its sequels and video game counterparts in the following years.
On television, Moira's first stint as a series regular came in 1998 as she played the newly-wed Annie Cornell on the short-lived CBS romantic family drama To Have & To Hold. The following year, she starred as White House media consultant Dr. Madeline Hampton on The West Wing. However, her character was taken out of the show after only one season. In 2003, Moira moved to the small town of Tree Hill as cafe owner and single mother Karen Roe on CW's (then WB) popular teen drama One Tree Hill. Overall, this angel-faced devout Irish Catholic who once dreamed of becoming a nun has established a solid acting career that will be remembered by film and television fans for years to come.… Expand
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