Laura Bell Bundy
Laura Ashley Bell Bundy (born April 10, 1981) is an American actress and singer who has performed in a number of Broadway roles, including the original Amber Von Tussle in the musical version of Hairspray, the original Elle Woods in the musical version of Legally Blonde, and Dr. Jordan Denby on television's Anger Management. She signed to Mercury Records Nashville and released her first country music single, "Giddy On Up", on February 20, 2010. The album's second single, "Drop on By", was released to country radio on August 9, 2010.
Bundy was born in Euclid, Ohio, and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Her mother, Lorna Bundy-Jones (née Lorna Ann Bell), is a Lancome Beauty Advisor at Ulta, and her father, Don Bundy, is an electrical engineer. Her parents divorced in 1997 when she was 16 years old; both have since remarried. She took dance lessons at Town and Village School of Dance in Paris, Kentucky. When she was nine, she appeared in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York City. She graduated from Lexington Catholic High School. She is the niece of Marcia Malone Bell, Miss Kentucky 1978 and 1979 Top Ten Miss America semifinalist. Bell Bundy was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was about 18 years old. In 1995, at the age of 14, Bell Bundy appeared in the film Jumanji, playing the younger version of Bonnie Hunt's character, Sarah Whittle.
Bundy originated the role of Tina Denmark in Ruthless! The Musical which opened Off-Broadway in 1992. For this role, she was nominated for a 1993 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. In 2002, at the age of 21, she made her Broadway debut in the musical Hairspray, originating the role of Amber Von Tussle. Bell Bundy was next a Glinda standby for Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked.
From 2007 to July 2008, she starred on Broadway in Legally Blonde: The Musical where she originated the lead role of Elle Woods, receiving her first Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.
Bundy's theatre credits outside of New York City include the national tour of The Sound of Music and Gypsy with Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey (1998).
Bundy reprised the role of Elle Woods in the U.S. national tour of Legally Blonde: The Musical as a temporary replacement for the injured Becky Gulsvig. She began her brief run on January 13, 2009, and ended on February 22, 2009. She was to play Elle again during the Nashville engagement of the national tour from June 23–28, 2009. However, she fractured her arm during the June 27, 2009, performance, finished the show, and was rushed to the hospital immediately after.
On September 27, 2008, she participated in a benefit concert for Anaheim, California's the Chance Theatre with fellow Wicked alum Eden Espinosa and with Spring Awakening alum Lea Michele for the Broadway Chance Style: Up Close and Personal concert.
She appeared as Trixie Norton in a new musical The Honeymooners, based on the television comedy The Honeymooners. The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, New Jersey on September 28, 2017, running through October 29. Directed by John Rando, the musical also starred Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden, Michael Mastro as Ed Norton, and Leslie Kritzer as Alice Kramden.
Film and television
Bundy was a judge at the Miss America 2009 pageant.
Bundy released her debut country music album, titled Longing For a Place Already Gone, in 2007.
After leaving Legally Blonde: The Musical in July 2008, she moved back to Nashville to work on her second album, Achin' and Shakin'. Achin' and Shakin' was released on April 13, 2010. It debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart as well as number 28 on the all-genre Billboard 200. As of June 26, 2010, the album has sold over 70,000 copies in the United States. It also charted internationally, where it reached number 34 on the Norwegian Albums Chart. Bell Bundy also appeared in fellow country artist Miranda Lambert's music video for "Only Prettier," as one of Lambert's friends alongside Kellie Pickler and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Bell Bundy began as the spokesperson for the Selected Chevrolet Dealers of Middle Tennessee in September 2011. Bell Bundy released a new single, "That's What Angels Do", in 2012.
In December 2015, Bundy announced her engagement to TBS executive Thom Hinkle after four years of dating. They were married on June 3, 2017, in Arcadia, California. On February 25, 2019 she announced that she was pregnant with her first child. Their son was born in May 2019.
In March 2020, Bundy announced on social media that she had tested positive for COVID-19 but has recovered since then.