Entertainment

Michael Landon Helped Hallmark Star Kellie Martin Get Her Start In Hollywood

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Hallmark Channel fans no doubt recognize Kellie Martin from her Hailey Dean Mystery series and Mystery Woman films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as well as multiple Christmas films like Christmas in Montana and The Christmas Ornament. But the actress has had a steady career in Hollywood since she was just a young child all thanks to one iconic TV star.

Martin was born in Riverside, California with two parents who didn't work in the entertainment industry. Her mother was a kindergarten teacher and her father was a retail executive. But she did have one connection. Her aunt happened to be the nanny for Michael Landon's children so she was able to help a young Kellie get her first gig appearing in a guest spot on Landon's show Father Murphy as well as Highway to Heaven. 

Throughout the 80s and 90s, Martin continued to appear on a slew of TV shows -- Dallas, thirtysomething, Life With Lucy, Life Goes On, Baywatch, and her own show on CBS playing Christy Huddleston on Christy. She also appeared in numerous films like Jumpin' Jack Flash, Troop Beverly Hills, A Goofy Movie, and Malibu's Most Wanted. But Martin tells Bustle that one of the roles she's most proud of in her acting career is playing teen Becca Thatcher in ABC's Life Goes On with Patti LuPone, a role that people still recognize her from. The role even earned Martin an Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

"She [LuPone] taught me how to cry and she taught me how to be kind of funny and I just watched her," Martin explained. "I have so many amazing memories from that show and it makes me so happy when people to this day still say, 'I grew up watching you on Life Goes On.'"

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Big ER fans also remember her role as medical student Lucy Knight in seasons 5 and 6 of the medical drama. Viewers are still not over her gruesome death getting stabbed by a patient. 

"It's very sweet that people are still so traumatized by my death," Martin says. "Not a day goes by on Twitter where I don't get a bunch of messages about people being traumatized that Lucy got stabbed."

Somehow, while she was busy with her career, Martin made time to attend Yale University where she studied art history, inspired to go there because it was Jodie Foster's alma mater. She even married her Yale classmate and Columbia Law School grad, Keith Christian, in 1999. Christian is from Montana so he influenced the family to live on a farm where they currently raise pigs and goats with their two daughters Olivia and Maggie. 

Martin definitely hasn't slowed down since becoming a mom. She's appeared on Grey's Anatomy, Drop Dead Diva, Ghost Whisperer, Army Wives as Army Captain Nicole Galassini, Mad Men, The Guest Book, and the TV movie Death of a Cheerleader, a remake of Martin's 1994 film A Friend to Die For. She's also the executive producer of her Hailey Dean Mystery films.

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Michael Landon Helped Hallmark Star Kellie Martin Get Her Start In Hollywood