Thursday, December 31, 2009
A petite actress with olive skin and pixie features, Russian-born Mila Kunis became a breakout teen star on the FOX sitcom That '70s Show, playing spoiled daddy's girl Jackie Burkhardt. The rare 15-year-old actress to be cast as a 15-year-old character, Kunis also demonstrated her maturity by mastering accent-free English only a few years after immigrating. Her command of slang and teen vocal mannerisms won her work even when her appearance was not being utilized, as she voiced another all-American teen on FOX's animated envelope-pusher, Family Guy.
Milena Markovna Kunis was born on August 14, 1983 in Kiev, Ukraine, then moved with her parents to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. Kunis credits listening to the simple vocabulary of Bob Barker on The Price Is Right with helping her develop a speedy fluency in English. She enrolled in acting classes at the Beverly Hills Studio, where she was discovered performing in a showcase. She quickly began appearing in commercials. Kunis filled out her early resumé with such pit stops as Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997), Krippendorf's Tribe (1998), and the infamous WB ratings cellar-dweller Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher (1996). She also played a younger version of Angelina Jolie in the HBO movie Gia (1998). But it was her casting in Mark Brazill's That '70s Show that earned Kunis notice, as her petulant teen queen soon became a standout, able to range from endearing to grating. Her aggravated whining rung true enough to earn her a voice-over role on Family Guy, taking over for Lacey Chabert as Megan Griffin during the 2000 season.
Kunis played a supporting role in the teen comedy Get Over It (2001) and a lead role as a deranged killer in the unlikely sequel American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002) while continuing as a TV regular. She also followed in Alicia Silverstone's footsteps by appearing in the Aerosmith video for "Jaded."
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