Catherine Bell is widely recognized for being one of the biggest names on the Hallmark Channel thanks to her starring role in the popular TV show, Good Witch. Playing the mysterious Cassie Nightingale in the charming small town of Middleton has developed quite a following for its "feel-good" spooky vibe and classic Hallmark storytelling. Also well-known for her roles on JAG and Army Wives, Bell has been one of the most popular TV stars for years, but it took her a while to find her footing and eventually find a good fit in Hollywood as an actress.
Though she was born in London, Bell's family moved out to California when she was young and she grew up in the San Fernando Valley. She briefly attended UCLA before dropping out to pursue a modeling career in Japan. Bell decided that she hated modeling and opted to take an acting class to overcome her shyness. Once she got going, she never stopped. But it was a very long road for Bell to finally become a TV star. Her very first role was as Isabella Rossellini's body double in the Goldie Hawn/Meryl Streep film, Death Becomes Her which didn't really open many doors at first.
Bell admitted to Media Village that there was a point when she was just completely fed up with pursuing an acting career because she just wasn't making any money.
"I was so done with not making money, borrowing money from my mom to make rent. I was a terrible waitress. I got my massage license and worked at the Peninsula Hotel for eight years while going on auditions. I took a cocktail waitress job to make money a few months before that. Men grabbed my ass. I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I was crying at my dining room table with my husband at the time, and he was saying, "You are so close." Then an agent called and said, 'You are about to get an offer for JAG!'"
The popular CBS series (which later prompted spinoff series NCIS) ended up being a game-changer for the actress. She went on to play the leading role of Denise Sherwood in the Lifetime series Army Wives before landing the very first original movie on the Hallmark Channel in the Good Witch franchise. As Bell explained it, it ended up being the very first franchise of Hallmark movies ever. Cassie Nightingale was such a hit, she inspired more films and eventually, her own TV show.
"I have been with Hallmark for 12 years. The Good Witch was the first movie franchise they did. It makes me feel old! I've been fortunate enough to be on a few shows that have run a long time and you are heard to some degree, but when you have an executive producer title that is much more of a say."
So far, there have been six Good Witch films including The Good Witch's Garden, The Good Witch's Gift, The Good Witch's Family, The Good Witch's Charm, The Good Witch's Destiny, and The Good Witch's Wonder. Once the series began in 2015, James Denton was introduced as Cassie's new love interest and has starred in the series with Bell ever since. Though she's now best known for the Hallmark Channel, Bell has appeared in numerous other roles including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS: Los Angeles (reprising her role as Lt. Col. Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie from JAG), and various TV movies including Last Man Standing, Home For Christmas Day, and more.
The actress told the PC Principle that she loves playing Cassie because of all the people she's touched who are major fans of the Hallmark Channel. We hope this means that are more seasons to come with our favorite good witch!
"It's really amazing that Good Witch crosses so many generations and affects so many people and it makes me feel so good. I think that's the bottom line, Good Witch makes people feel good and unfortunately, there isn't much in the world right now that is making people feel good, whether it be film, television or the news. It's nice to have a show where you can put your slippers on, grab some popcorn, watch the show and feel good. Many people tell me they wish they could have Cassie as a friend."
Outside of work, Bell is a working mom raising her two children she shares with her ex-husband, Adam Beason -- Ronan and Gemma. When she's not filming her show up in Canada she is based in the sunshine of Los Angeles with her family.