Apr. 2nd, 1987
Briga Heelan's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles
Briga Heelan (/ˈbriːɡɑː/) (born April 2, 1987), is an actress/comedian known for her work on the sitcoms Cougar Town, and Ground Floor.
Heelan was born in Andover, Massachusetts, the daughter of an actress and Lowell Public Schools teacher mother Kimball Heelan and a playwright father, Kevin Heelan. She has a brother, Conor.
Heelan's father, as well as being a dramatist, has been a faculty member at Phillips Andover Academy since 1983. Her parents met when her father was getting his Master's degree at Smith College.
She attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Natick, Massachusetts, and studied for a year at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music before transferring to the University of Southern California.
Heelan initially thought she was going to be in musical theatre "all the way, from beginning to end, and then it started not to feel right after my first year at conservatory. It was like, 'I think there’s another route for me,' and then comedy just happened — and I’m so happy that it did!"
Heelan's break-out TV role was as Grayson’s flighty baby mama on Cougar Town.
Heelan said that she first met her Ground Floor co-star, Skylar Astin, at a musical theatre convention.
Heelan was able to shoot both Bill Lawrence-helmed Ground Floor and Undateable simultaneously, as both comedies are multi-camera, which require fewer production days than single-camera days. Although part of the ensemble of the show, Heelan is credited as being a recurring character on Undateable and appears in three episodes plus the pilot.
On Heelan's role in Ground Floor: TV critic Alan Sepinwall said Heelan is "simply terrific as Jenny: warm and quirky while always feeling like a strong and independent character. (This is no Manic Pixie Dream Girl story.) Friends created the false illusion — and one that helped lead to the marginalization of multi-cam comedy — that any attractive young actor or actress could effectively deliver a punch line and carry a sitcom; Heelan is the rare one who lives up to that idea." The Los Angeles Times, said Heelan "makes 'Ground Floor' watchable," advising viewers that Heelan "is remarkably alive and in the moment; she makes real all that she touches. I could easily recommend tuning in just to watch her work — and hereby do."
Heelan currently lives in Los Angeles.
On her unusual name: "It’s an Irish name. In fact, my last name was O’Heelahan back in the day. And Briga, I read somewhere, is some pagan Celtic goddess, which sounds great, so I really like saying that. But I was named after my grandmother’s best friend, who lives in Dublin."
On October 16, 2014, Heelan became engaged to her Ground Floor co-star Rene Gube.
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