Marielle Heller is an American writer, actress, and director who is best known for directing the films The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019). In 2020, she struck stardom with Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ in which she played the role of Alma Wheatley. She is also the founder of a production company ‘Defiant By Nature.’
Marielle Heller was born on Monday, October 1, 1979 (age 41 years; as of 2020), in Marin County in California, United States. She did her schooling at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California. She is a former member of Alameda Children’s Musical, a performing arts theater in Alameda, where she performed in various plays like Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte’s Web, and The Magician’s Nephew during her childhood days. She pursued her graduation at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Thereafter, for a year, she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. After returning back to California, she worked as a screenwriter. She also pursued a six-week crash course in film direction at the Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs, Utah.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Color: Light Golden Brown
Eye Color: Black
Family & Ethnicity
Although Marielle Heller’s father belongs to a Jewish family, neither she nor her husband is a practicing Jew.
Parents & Siblings
Marielle Heller’s father, Steve Heller, is a chiropractor, and her mother and Annie Stiles-Heller, is an artist and art teacher.
She has two siblings, a brother, Nate Heller who is a musician and composer, and a sister, Emily Heller, a stand-up comedian and writer.
Relationships, Husband & Children
In 2007, Marielle Heller got married to Jorma Taccone, an American comedian, director, actor, and writer. The couple first met in 1999 while studying at UCLA. Her son’s name is Wylie Red Heller Taccone. In 2020, she gave birth to her second child.
As a Director
After graduating from the University of California, she spent eight years working as an actress. In 2015, Marielle Heller made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film The Diary of A Teenage Girl, which was recognized as the best first feature at the Independent Spirit Awards (2016).
In 2018, she directed her second film Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger, which turned out to be a breakout hit at the Telluride Film Festival. The film was based on the memoir of the scam artist Lee Israel, a celebrity biographer who fell on hard times and started forging letters by famous dead celebrities like Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker, and Lillian Hellman. In 2019, she directed the film ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.’
As an Actress
Marielle Heller made her television debut with a cameo role of one of the party people in White Power (2001). Thereafter, she appeared in various shows like Spin City (2002), All-For-Nots (2008), Single Dads (2009), etc. In 2010, Marielle Heller made her film debut with MacGruber in which she played the role of Clocky. Later, she appeared in various films such as A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), Paper Anchor (2016), Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016), etc. In 2020, Marielle Heller made her digital debut with Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit in which she played the breakout role of Alma Wheatley.
- Won International Feature Film Award at Zurich Film Festival (2015) for the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
- Won Best International Feature Film Award at Edinburgh International Film Festival (2015) for the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
- Won Best New Filmmaker Award at Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (2015) for the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
- Won Independent Spirit Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards (2016) for the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
- Won Best Director Award at FEST International Film Festival (2016) for the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
- Won Best Feature Film Award At Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival (2020) for the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
- In 2006, Marielle Heller’s sister gave her a copy of the book ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ as a Christmas gift. Mesmerized by the presentation of raw emotions of the novelist, Phoebe Gloeckner in the book ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’, Heller determined to acquire its stage rights. In 2010, after acquiring the stage rights, Heller produced an Off-Broadway multimedia show featuring herself in the lead role of Minnie, a 15-year-old girl who begins an affair with her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend. The play ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ was staged at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in Manhattan. Later, it took four years to turn it into a film for which Heller pursued a six-week crash course in film direction at the Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs, Utah.
- Marielle Heller also has various writing credits under her belt including Disney film Renegade X, ABC pilot ‘The Big Apple’