Playing a beloved television character for 19 seasons is no easy feat—but Ellen Pompeo has accomplished that, and so much more, in her nearly 22-year career in Hollywood.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Ellen eventually made the move to New York City, and then to Los Angeles. After making her TV debut in 1996, higher profile roles soon arrived, including a turn on Friends and several films: Catch Me If You Can (2002), a breakout role in Touchstone Pictures’ Moonlight Mile (2002), Old School (2003), and 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment’s Daredevil (2003).
In 2005, Ellen was cast as Dr. Meredith Grey, a surgical intern starting her residency at the fictitious Seattle Grace Hospital, on the new ABC medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy.
She has played the title role on Grey’s Anatomy—the longest-running primetime TV medical drama of all time—for its entire run. Ellen has also been nominated for a Golden Globe® Award and won three People’s Choice Awards. Additionally, Ellen has risen through the ranks to become an executive producer on Grey’s and has directed several episodes. She is additionally a producer on the Grey’s spinoff, Station 19.
Grey’s has inspired countless people to pursue a career in medicine. Ellen herself has used social media platforms to advocate for healthcare workers and equity in the healthcare space. In 2021, she co-founded Betr Remedies, an over-the-counter medicine company whose mission is to improve medication access in America. For every single product purchased, Betr Remedies donates a medication for an American in need.
From its very first season in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy has been a cultural juggernaut, delivering heartfelt storytelling week after week to millions of homes around the globe. The series has been licensed in more than 200 territories across the world and has been translated into more than 60 languages. All told, it should come as no surprise that the time spent on such a monumentally groundbreaking series has been, for Ellen, nothing short of extraordinary. “Grey’s Anatomy makes people feel, and it makes people think,” she has said. “We’re able to touch and move people, and all these years later, that’s incredible.”
In that spirit, Ellen created the podcast “Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo,” where she engages with some of today’s brightest minds and most creative thinkers to continue on her mission of understanding how people think and feel. Next up, Ellen will star in and executive produce an eight-episode Hulu Original limited series currently known as Untitled Orphan Project through her production banner Calamity Jane, which she launched in 2011.