Optimistic and down-to-earth actress Jenna Elfman (1971-) was born Jennifer Mary Butala on this day in Los Angeles, California and as a child was a classically-trained ballerina who would "practice acceptance speeches for awards shows in the bathroom mirror."
Like her character in the TV series Dharma & Greg, Elfman celebrates life with passion. "If you get excited about something, it's totally okay to show it," she said.
After touring as a dancer with ZZ Top, Elfman appeared in her first feature film Gross Pointe Blank (1996), then landed a role in ABC's Townies (1996). "If what you're doing is going to actually create a good effect on someone, good. Do it!" she once advised.
In 1998, the exuberant star won a Golden Globe for her role as Dharma, the free spirit raised by hippie parents and married to a conservative lawyer. The show aired through 2002.
About her unique persona, she said, "I think I'm good at being me and not worrying how I come off."
Her authenticity is a gift that she continues to share, exploring new ways to connect with her audience. In 2003, she played the spirited role of Carla in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of Nine, the musical loosely based on Fredrico Fellini's 1963 film 8 1/2.
An advocate for literacy, Elman is a big supporter of the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project, (H.E.L.P.). The organization teaches thousands of children and adults to read.
Keep it simple: Enjoy life.