Julie Bowen is one of America's most beloved actresses. From 2009-2020 she appeared on ABC's comedy "Modern Family," winning critics and audiences over with her undeniable charm as Claire Dunphy, the hilarious and overbearing mother of three. By the end of the show's run, Bowen had received six nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – winning the prestigious award in 2011 and 2012.
Her career started early. After college she was landing roles while studying at the ‘Actors Studio,' including her first professional role, which was in a soap opera titled "Loving." During the 1990s, Bowen began to establish herself with some mainstream success, which included her memorable role in the 1996 film "Happy Gilmore." But it wasn't until 2000 that Bowen landed that breakout role in NBC's comedy/drama, "Ed," which allowed her to take advantage of her sly smarts and impeccable comedic timing. Bowen, who continues to be one of Hollywood's most sought-after actresses, began her own production company in 2021: Bowen and Sons. The production company recently made its first deal with Universal Television.
When Bowen arrived at Brown University in 1987, she knew that she enjoyed performing but never considered acting to be a feasible career. Instead, she focused on the Italian Renaissance. This helped her a lot when she decided to study a semester abroad in Florence, Italy during her junior year. Bowen liked the experience so much, she decided to stay a full year, and upon her return stateside, she was perfectly fluent in Italian. Along the way, Bowen was slowly falling in love with acting and all the work that went behind creating a stage production. At Brown, Bowen starred in "Guys and Dolls," "Stage Door," and "Lemon Sky." Before graduating, she also had the lead role in the independent film "Five Spot Jewel." In 1991, she graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Renaissance studies – but by then her heart was already set on a different career.
In 2012, the successful actress returned to her alma mater to speak directly with the Brown community. Joining Bowen on stage was Lowry Marshall, Professor of theater arts and performance studies, who asked if the Hollywood actress had any insight on how to make it in the acting world after graduation. "Create your own content," Bowen told the students, many of whom were aspiring actors and actresses. "Those who can work on their own keep busier and enjoy more jobs."
Meanwhile, others in attendance were more interested in Bowen's thoughts on their shared alma mater. "Most people have never had the luxury of this," Bowen said of a Brown education. "You've been in this amazing, wonderful, academic, social, psychosexual bubble!"