The Stunning Transformation Of Kathryn Hahn

Hollywood actress Kathryn Hahn is a vision in WandaVision, so much so that Twitter has basically transformed into a Kathryn Hahn fan club. Need proof? "Kathryn Hahn needs to be in every movie and show from now until forever," one user tweeted. "Literally the perfect casting. I'm in love," another shared.

And to think there was a time when Hahn was just a fourth-grade prodigy acting on a children's show in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio! Yes, Hahn has undergone quite the transformation over the decades — going from child actor to TV supporting player, to big-screen best friend, to Emmy nominee who commands top billing — thanks to a lot of hard work on her part.

From her first onscreen role to her Marvel-ous turns on television, here's Katherine Hahn's evolution as an actor — and as a wife, a mother, and even a published author! There's a lot to know about her.

Kathryn Hahn grew up in Ohio

Kathryn Hahn was born in Westchester, Ill. on July 23, 1973, but grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio as the daughter of Karen and Bill, who owned a computer supply business. "What he's known for in my family is being the most frugal human being in America," Hahn said of her father with a laugh on Conan in 2014, "the cheapest person you can possibly imagine."

Hahn's parents encouraged her to take acting lessons at a young age. In the third grade, Hahn joined an acting program, Curtain Pullers, at the Cleveland Play House, as she told The Plain Dealer in 2014. She added that the theater was her "happy place" and that she loved communing with older actors.

That's also when Hahn found her calling as an actor. "It almost felt like it was decided for me, not by anyone in my life but just by the universe," she explained on Fresh Air in 2019. "Like, it was just that was what I was going to do with my life."

Kathryn Hahn got her start on the TV show Hickory Hideout

When Kathryn Hahn was a fourth grader, she got a series regular job as Jenny on the Saturday morning children's show Hickory Hideout, according to The Plain Dealer. "I certainly felt very professional and very proud. I took it very, very, very seriously," Hahn told Fresh Air. Recalling an episode in which Jenny's parents split up, she shared, "I really did a lot of, like, emotional digging."

The show aired from 1981 to 1991 around the country, but it filmed in a newsroom at Cleveland's WKYC TV station on a set made to look like a treehouse. Hahn's character, Jenny, would interact with squirrel puppets named Nutso and Shirley Squirrely and an owl character named Know-It-Owl. "The puppeteers were chain-smokers, and they hated each other," Hahn told Jimmy Fallon in 2017.

In 2019, WKYC began re-releasing Hickory Hideout episodes on YouTube to commemorate the show's impact on the community and to introduce new generations to the treehouse gang.

Kathryn Hahn attended an all-girls Catholic school

As a teen, Kathryn Hahn attended Beaumont School, an all-girls Catholic high school in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. During a 2018 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the actress showed off her high school yearbook photos and revealed that the nuns at the school "didn't know what to do" with her because she was a straight-A student who was "always getting in trouble."

Hahn also reflected on her high school experience in an interview with The Plain Dealer, saying that she loved going to an all-girls school and hoped to find a similar school for her daughter since there's a "freedom" without boys around and without the distractions of wearing anything but a school-sanctioned uniform.

She said on Fresh Air, however, that as much as she loved the "smart, amazing" nuns at the school, her Catholic faith had waned by the time she got to college. "It wasn't, like, a part of my life anymore," she said. "A lot of my family is gay, and they couldn't get married." She further explained, "Things started to become very clear to me that there are things that I did not agree with."

Kathryn Hahn went to Northwestern and Yale

Knowing she wanted a liberal arts education, Kathryn Hahn went to Northwestern University for her undergraduate degree, according to Northwestern Magazine. During her freshman year, she met her husband, Ethan Sandler, who costarred with her in several plays at the school. "It was such a rich, rich experience," Hahn told the magazine. "I think about that space — the theater building — as holding so much vibrating, creative energy and people just wanting to make."

After they graduated in 1995, Hahn and Sandler moved to New York City, and she later entered the MFA program at Yale. As she told CBS Local in 2019, she knew that she was giving up a few years in which she could be involved in projects, that the MFA program wasn't a guaranteed career boost, and that she was going to rack up a bunch of student loan debt, but she just wanted to focus on nothing but her acting. She also said she thought hers was the "greatest, scrappiest class in the history of Yale" filled with her "favorite performers [on] the planet."

Kathryn Hahn worked odd jobs as a struggling actor

During her years as a struggling actress in New York, Kathryn Hahn worked as a receptionist at the high-end hair salon Garren New York, waitressed at the Broadway hangout Joe Allen Restaurant, and even got a Dunkin' Donuts gig handing out bagel sandwiches, according to The New York Times.

Coincidentally or not, George Hahn, Kathryn's cousin, also worked at Joe Allen Restaurant and Garren New York. "We both charged New York's wealthiest Prozac-stoned women thousands of dollars for highlights, bang trims, and manicures that didn't make them look any younger," George wrote on his blog, reflecting on their time at the salon.

Talking to CBS Local, Hahn said the salon job was an "awesome gig," but she really wanted to act. So she'd scour the casting calls in Backstage magazine. "We used to laugh about the 'no pay nudity' ads," she added. "'Oh, please!'"

Kathryn Hahn landed a starring role on Crossing Jordan

Kathryn Hahn got a big break in 2001 when she was cast as grief counselor Lily Lebowski in the NBC crime drama Crossing Jordan, starring opposite Jill Hennessy and future Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. She even stayed in the main cast for all six seasons of the show.

Even better, Hahn's husband, Ethan Sandler, played her love interest on Crossing Jordan, and she told PopEntertainmment.com in 2007 that it was a joy for the couple to go to work together. "I mean he'd tell you that I am just as bossy on screen as I am off," she quipped at the time. "There's a lot of eye-rolling going on here by Ethan. It's just like vacation. I can't believe I can drive in together with him in the morning. It's so fun."

Creator Tim Kring later told Inverse that one of Hahn's action scenes on Crossing Jordan— a scene in which she defends herself against a mugger — inspired his next NBC show, the hit drama Heroes. "I thought, that's a cool idea: What if super-ordinary people could do something really extraordinary?" he said.

Kathryn Hahn started a family with husband Ethan Sandler

Kathryn Hahn and Ethan Sandler eloped on their 10-year anniversary, according to Northwestern Magazine, and they later welcomed two children — Leonard and Mae — who sometimes accompany her to red carpet events.

In a 2016 Esquire interview, Hahn said becoming a parent taught her the capacity of one's heart. "You can't believe it," she said. "I couldn't believe after having my first that I could ever love anything as much as him. And then when I had my daughter — your heart just expands. There's so much room in it. It's been a nuts, chaotic mess and I love it."

Her family schedule was still chaotic by the time she spoke to Today in 2018. She explained that she felt like a "sherpa driving all over the place" as her kids accumulated more and more after-school activities, but she was getting used to the constant upheaval. "I've learned to delegate, delegate and delegate, so do that if you can," she recommended at the time. "I would try to do everything. And now I ask for help."

Kathryn Hahn endured a "best friend" chapter of her career

In a 2017 roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter, Kathryn Hahn observed that there was a "best friend chapter" of her career, during which she was cast the "quirky best friend to various blonde stars." She played second fiddle to Kate Hudson in the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, to Christina Applegate in Anchorman, and to Cameron Diaz in The Holiday, for example.

Faced with such typecasting, Hahn commiserated with Judy Greer, similarly an onscreen "best friend" in films like 13 Going on 30 and 27 Dresses. During the roundtable, Hahn revealed that she and Greer were often "neck and neck" for BFF parts in movies. "My husband was like, you guys should do like a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-type movie, where it's like the best friends, and every so often, you see Kate Hudson running around behind," Hahn added with a laugh.

The actress talked about that chapter of her filmography in a 2015 Elle interview, as well. "Those best friend parts were not satisfying," she said at the time. "No, no, they just weren't."

Kathryn Hahn caught the eye of frequent collaborator Joey Soloway with this role

Before writer and producer Joey Soloway added Kathryn Hahn to the casts of TV shows like Transparent and I Love Dick, they spied Hahn's talent in Hung. In that HBO comedy-drama, Hahn had a three-episode arc as Claire, a pregnant client of the male sex worker protagonist. "I thought, 'Who is this person who does not seem like anybody I've ever seen on TV before?'" Soloway told The Wall Street Journal in 2017. "She just felt so real."

Soloway spotted Hahn days later at a farmers' market in Los Angeles but was too scared to approach the actress. But when Soloway was casting the 2013 comedy-drama film Afternoon Delight, everyone told them to cast Hahn in the lead part.

And for her part, Hahn was delighted by the prospect, especially because it broke her streak of playing supporting friend roles. "I had never been asked in my on-camera career to be a lead in anything," Hahn told the Journal. "It felt like I literally wasn't complete as a creative bird until she gave me that chance."

Kathryn Hahn earned an Emmy nomination for her work on Transparent

In 2014, Kathryn Hahn started playing rabbi Raquel Fein on Transparent, another one of Joey Soloway's creations, and she earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for her performance in the Amazon comedy-drama.

Chatting on the podcast Unorthodox in 2015, Hahn admitted that the role of a rabbi immediately overwhelmed her. Despite playing Jewish roles in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Afternoon Delight, and then Transparent, Hahn was raised Catholic. But she found inspiration after meeting with the "really rad" Los Angeles rabbi Susan Goldberg and taking note of her "beautiful eye contact." "It's so disarming," Hahn added. "She just sees you."

In a Marie Claire interview around the same time, the actress elaborated on her meetings with Goldberg. "I really have so enjoyed my relationship with her that it's awoken something in me, that I have the Book of Torah in my own life," she said. "I don't know if it's Judaism, but it is something I've been looking for, just in terms of cracking something open and asking questions again."

Inspired by her daughter, Kathryn Hahn wrote a children's book

In 2018, Kathryn Hahn released My Wish for You: Lessons from My Six-Year-Old Daughter, a Scholastic children's book with illustrations by Brigette Barrager. The book — which the publisher calls a "touching meditation on the inherent power every girl has deep inside herself" — earned praise from Kirkus Reviews and rave reviews from many of Hahn's famous colleagues, including Joey Soloway, Mila Kunis, Lena Dunham, and Jenni Konner.

The book stemmed from an illustrated essay she wrote for Dunham and Konner's online newsletter Lenny Letter — an essay that, in turn, was inspired by her daughter Mae's "big gorgeous id," which was on full display once when Mae, then 6, was talking about her day. "I was struck by how authentic and full she was — how sure of her own voice and loud and self-respecting," Hahn told Entertainment Weekly in 2017, recalling Mae's monologue that day. "And I thought of how those qualities can start to disappear as a young girl grows up."

Kathryn Hahn was a breakout star of Bad Moms

Anyone who writes a children's book about the wisdom she learned from her 6-year-old has to land on the "good moms" list, but Kathryn Hahn nevertheless enjoyed her scene-stealing role in the 2016 comedy Bad Moms. In the film — also starring Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell — Hahn plays the unapologetic and frank Carla, who escapes the rigors of motherhood by throwing back drinks at a bar (or chugging chocolate milk at a grocery store) with her pals.

And the character was inspirational in a sense. "There is always something a little bit aspirational I think that I can never really be in my real, normal life in a lot of these parts," Hahn told CBS Local as she promoted the film. "There's something a little aspirational for all these people that I get to play that I just don't have the bravery in my real life to be."

For the hit film's sequel, 2017's A Bad Moms Christmas, Hahn wrote Susan Sarandon a letter to convince her to play her character's mother, telling Sarandon that she felt it "in [her] ovaries" that the Oscar winner would be the right choice for the film, as Hahn revealed to Rachael Ray in 2017.

Kathryn Hahn became a true TV star

Her days as simply a supporting player are long behind Kathryn Hahn. After adding recurring parts on Parks and Recreation and Girls to her resume, Hahn headlined or co-headlined the television series Happyish, I Love Dick, and Mrs. Fletcher between 2015 and 2019.

In Showtime's Happyish, Hahn starred opposite Steve Coogan and played Lee Payne, an artist, mother, and wife struggling to find work-life balance and fend off her own intrusive mother. In Amazon's I Love Dick, she played filmmaker Chris Klaus, who moves with her husband to Marfa, Texas and becomes infatuated with an artist and rancher named Dick, played by Kevin Bacon. And in HBO's Mrs. Fletcher, she played the title character, a single mother who explores her sexuality after a divorce.

In 2019, Hahn reflected on her roles in a New York Times interview. "I certainly didn't set out to be the poster person for women's sexuality over 40," she said. "Sexuality is a piece of it. An important and splashy piece, but not the whole thing. It's the desire and hunger I'm attracted to. A woman who wants."

Kathryn Hahn voiced baddie Doc Ock in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Not only has Kathryn Hahn won fans with her live-action performances, but she also has a number of voice acting credits to her name, including parts on the TV shows Robot Chicken, Bob's Burgers, Chozen, and American Dad and the movie Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. Plus, she and Bad Moms costar Kristen Bell reunited in the Apple TV+ animated comedy Central Park in 2020.

In 2018, Hahn voiced Olivia "Doc Ock" Octavius, a new version of Spider-Man's legendary nemesis Doctor Octopus, in the Oscar-winning animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, making a foray into the world of Marvel superhero adaptations.

Hahn later told ComicBookMovie.com what it was like working with directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman. "That was just a blast," she said, "to just play in a booth with those guys for a while and figure her out and it was so much fun."

Kathryn Hahn can't think of a "cooler part" than Agnes in WandaVision

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continued onto the small screen with the 2021 miniseries WandaVision, Kathryn Hahn was along for the ride: She plays Agnes, a "nosy neighbor" to Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany's Vision in those two superheroes' sitcom-inspired suburban reality.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hahn met with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and co-president Louis D'Esposito to talk about a possible collaboration shortly before she was contacted to do WandaVision. And that was a rare event, as Feige explained to the magazine, since he often doesn't have time for meet-and-greets with prospective colleagues.

Hahn was excited to sign on the dotted line to play Agnes, a character who turns out to have a significant twist in the show. "To know that it was going to be something that the MCU has never done before — and that I was going to enter this world through a 1950s sitcom — all of those reasons together made it irresistible," she told the mag. "I couldn't have dreamt a cooler part, honestly. I was thrilled."