10 Things You Didn’t Know about Merrin Dungey

Merrin Dungey

Merrin Dungey, born in Sacramento, California, on August 6, 1971, is an actress who has had a variety of roles on both television and film. Her highest-profile performances have been on TV with characters in such series as “Alias,” “Malcom in the Middle,” “Kings and Queens,” and “Summerland,” particularly remarkable. Here are some quick facts about her that go beyond go professional life.

1. Her background

Dungey was born and raised in the Californian city of Sacramento. She is the second of two daughters born to Don, a general services manager, and Judith Dungey. She began performing early in life, becoming a good performer in ballet dancing and playing the piano in her teens. Dungey then joined the University of California, Los Angeles in 1990, taking a Bachelor of Arts degree. She began studying English as her major. However, when she won the highly coveted American Theater Award as a sophomore, she changed her major to theater. Merrin’s older sister, Channing Dungey, has a career in the entertainment industry as well. In 2016, Channing was named the president of ABC Entertainment Group, becoming the first ever African-American to rise to the apex of management of a major broadcast network in the United States.

2. Spouse and children

Dungey is married to Matthew Drake. They got married in May 2007 in a fairytale Mariachi themed wedding in the Mexican resort city of Cancun. The couple has two daughters, one born in 2008 and the other one in 2011.

3. She has only had minor roles on film but has excelled on TV

While there is no doubt about Dungey’s acting prowess and talent, it is something of a misnomer that she has never landed a significant role in the film. In over two decades of acting, she has appeared in 9 movies. According to IMDb, her part in these roles has been almost exclusively minor. Her portrayal of Mrs. Wallace in the science fiction horror film “The Diabolical” is the only clear supporting role she has had on the big screen. It is, however, on TV that Dungey has thrived as an actress. Since her maiden appearance on an episode of the Fox sitcom, “Martin” in 1995, she has perennially been cast in a variety of capacities to date. Her first significant TV role came in 2001 when she appeared as Francie Calfo, whose actual name is later revealed to be Allison Doren, in ABC’s action thriller “Alias.”

4. Her net worth

Thanks to her long and varied career as an actress, Dungey has amassed a good fortune. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Dungey’s net worth by the end of 2018 was over $3 million. As she is still cast in significant roles on television as well as on film, Dungey is sure to increase her net worth considerably in the years ahead.

5. Her basic profile and appearance

Dungey is of African American heritage and has a chocolate complexioned skin tone, black hair, and dark eyes. She is 5-foot 6-inches tall. Her lean, athletic figure and regular features have been a boost as she has landed role after role in many television shows for decades. She has also graced the cover of some leading magazines, including People and Ebony.

6. Her star sign

As someone born in early August, Merrin Dungey’s zodiac sign is Leo the Lion. People born under the distinctive constellation of the lion have a regal bearing and are comfortable in taking power and authority. One only needs to look at some of the prominent Leos in public life to see how true this is. According to The Famous People, they include Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jenifer Lopez, Jason Momoa, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Whitney Houston. Leo women, in particular, are bubbly, outgoing, and tenacious. In her various roles on TV and film, Dungey has effortlessly played characters who were ambitious and uncompromising.

7. Her social media life

Merrin Dungey is a prolific influence on all the major social media platforms. She is particularly active on Twitter and Instagram. Her posts are relatable and personal, making it clear that she does the jobs herself and not some scripted publicity team. Twitter is, by far, her most active social media channel. Her account handle, @RealMerrinD, has accumulated about 13,000 tweets, and she has over 27,000 followers.

8. She juggled three jobs before her Hollywood break

To keep going in the late ’90s, Dungey was forced to juggle multiple jobs. In a November 2001 interview with Bruce Fretts of Entertainment Weekly, Dungey let out that before she earned a recurring role in the ABC sitcom “The King of Queens,” she could barely make ends meet. While she had a position as a personal assistant to an executive at Warner Bros studios, she was forced to supplement her income with gigs delivering Zone food and as a waitress.

9. She considers her supporting role in “Alias” as her best-ever performance

When asked about what she believes to be the role she has enjoyed the best in her long career on television, Dungey does not hesitate. She is adamant that playing Francie Calfo in Alias is the role she has enjoyed the most to date. It is hard to argue with that opinion; indeed, many critics agree that playing the best friend of CIA double agent Sydney Bristow allowed the fledgling actress to blossom. The development of the character in the second season of “Alias” was vital in bringing out Dungey’s latent prodigious talent to the fore. She quotes as a highlight the episode in which Francie Calfo was killed, and she had to morph her character to fit an evil double as the most memorable experience in her TV career.

10. She was obsessed with the idea of playing a detective from childhood

Talking to Sactown Magazine, Dungey conceded that she has always wanted to play the part of a detective or police officer. Growing up with her sister Channing in the city of Sacramento, they both loved playing “Charlie’s Angels” as they rode bikes. Riding around a cul-de-sac in the neighborhood, they would playback audio of episodes of “Charlie’s Angels” they had recorded on cassette tape and collect clues to solve crimes. This made her role as Maxine Bohen, a former NYPD detective in ABC’s legal drama “Conviction,” a fascinating venture.

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