Ellen Becker-Gray: From Marblehead to the Movies

You saw her in “30 Rock,” “Pink Panther 2,” “Gone, Baby, Gone,” “Evening,” “The Women,” “21,” “The Great Debaters,” and more than 35 other films, television shows, and commercials.

She’s played a beautician, a flirt, a legislator, a drunk, a Celtics fan, a wedding guest, and a hundred other characters, and has appeared in films with Meg Ryan, Glenn Close, Annette Benning, Kevin Spacey, Mel Gibson, and a rainbow of other high-visibility stars. Shortly, you’ll see her with Richard Gere, Joan Allen, and Jason Alexander in “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story.” The list keeps growing.

But wait: she was your child’s real-life kindergarten teacher in Marblehead not so long ago.

Sound like a movie plot? It’s not. Ellen Becker-Gray is anything but fiction and acting is no fantasy life for her. Today this feisty Marblehead native is a hard-working actor based in Rhode Island who, after an established career in elementary education — as kindergarten teacher Ellen Becker-Gray in Marblehead’s Eveleth School — decided to follow a lifelong passion and make a career out of acting.

Her progression from one career to another, and her success in her new life, might be called meteoric. In fact, in the space of a few short years, Becker-Gray’s filmography looks like cells rapidly dividing: her list of appearances covers two single-space typed pages, topped most recently by a principal role in “Tricks of a Woman,” now on its way to the Cannes Film Festival; she plays the hairdresser of Dessi, played by Elika Portnoy, the film’s lead female. (The film just won a Best Picture Award at the Monaco International Film Festival.) …. (from Ellen Becker Gray: From Marblehead to the Movies, Marblehead Reporter, March 2009)