Kat Dennings’ first role was in an ad for potato chips in 2000.
“They were like poison, and we weren’t even allowed eat them for the commercial,” she said a decade later. “They’d open the bag, and then dump them and replace them with other chips. It showed me, right then, how this whole industry is full of crap.”
Yet, Kat remained in the industry — and we’re so thankful she did. Since then, the Jewish actress has gone on to star in the rom-com Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, the sitcom 2 Broke Girls, Marvel’s WandVision, and so much more.
Ready for 18 things to know about Kat Dennings? Let’s go.
1. Kat was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Jewish parents Ellen Litwack and Gerald Litwack. She’s the youngest of five siblings.
2. Kat’s real name is Katherine Victoria Litwack. She decided on the stage name Kate Dennings because “I didn’t want to use my family name because I thought, A, it was a little hideous, and B, I wanted to know when someone really knew me or they didn’t. I was a precocious youngster.” She added that Kat Litwack “is a sturdy Polish-Jewish name.”
3. Her mom Ellen is a poet and speech therapist; her dad Gerald is a molecular pharmacologist and a college professor. “People used to tell me that my dad was the king of pharmacology. I deduced in my little-girl head that I was the princess of biochemistry, and I felt extremely superior,” she recalls.
4. Kat said she is “a billion percent Jewish” and “I don’t think I have any relatives who aren’t Jewish.” Judaism, she continued, “is an important part of my history, but, as a whole, religion is not a part of my life.”
5. Kat was homeschooled and she graduated from high school at age 14.
6. On her breakout role as Norah in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Kat said she is very different from her except that they are “both brunettes and Jewish.” Yet, “I liked that Norah was a strong and unique female lead, not the type of girl I was used to seeing in films like this. I liked that she was Jewish — it’s different from what I’ve seen in the past.”
7. Besides the aforementioned potato chip commercial, she made her actual TV debut on Sex and the City in 2000, in the episode “Hot Child in the City.” Kat played the 13-year-old who hires Samantha to do publicity for her bat mitzvah.
8. She continued in TV, starring in Raising Dad on the WB, The Scream Team on the Disney Channel, and ER. Then, in 2004, she made her film debut in the Hilary Duff film Raise Your Voice as a piano student:
A bunch more movies followed — 40-Year-Old Virgin, Down in the Valley, Charlie Bartlett, The House Bunny, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
9. In 2011, 2 Broke Girls, a sitcom starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, premiered. It would run for six seasons. Kat’s role was developed with her in mind — creator Michael Patrick King said, “I don’t think there’s anybody else like her so we basically hunted her down for this. She has a kind of amazing outsider edge. It made everything else fall into place.”
10. Here’s how she felt when 2 Broke Girls was cancelled:
Anyone who watched 2 Broke Girls might like to know that when we were canceled I went to clean out my dressing room and the last thing I said before closing the door, as a tribute to Max, was “bye bitch”
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) December 2, 2020
11. Kat stared in Thor as Darcy, Jane’s research assistant (Jane is famously played by Natalie Portman). “We kind of created her through the rehearsal,” she explains. “I think that Darcy was originally a guy in the film, was written for a man, and they changed their minds. I didn’t get the script until a month after I got hired. So that was a big question mark, and I wasn’t quite sure who I was or what I was doing. I think that no matter where she is she’s got something else on her mind. So a lot of it came from my real life relationship with Natalie. I think that they just observed us and added some of that cuteness in. One of my best friends is her friend, and we met through him and we really liked each other. I really respect and love her, and I think that they came out through Darcy, because I think that Darcy loves and respects Jane.”
She also appeared in the sequel, Thor: The Dark World.
12. After eight years of not being in Marvel films/shows, in 2021, she appeared in Marvel’s WandaVision in a key role.
On returning, she said, “Very wild, really incredible and unexpected. When I got the phone call, I was like, ‘What?’ I was so excited. I was excited to be in one movie let alone two, let alone this, so I’m so excited. And it’s such a cool show and so unique from anything Marvel’s ever done.”
13. Before she reprised her role, she rewatched the first two Thor films to remember “Darcy’s essence.” “Only once, that’s all I can take of myself on screen, but it was really fun to look back. God, the sense memory of that, it was such a wonderful experience so it was a pleasure.”
14. She also starred in the Hulu show Dollface, about a woman who is dumped by her long-term boyfriend:
15. And she appeared on Drunk History numerous times:
16. Though she has starred on so many TV shows, Kat was not allowed to watch TV as a child. Instead, she watched old movie musicals; Bernadette Peters and Madeline Kahn are two of her favorite actresses.
17. She has a cat who regularly appears on her Instagram:
18. She loves Twitter, and is great at it:
Jewish girl on Christmas exfoliates, buys a desk online and finally cleans bathtub
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) December 26, 2014
I had this giant tub of hummus, it was totally full of hummus by a lot. And then it miraculously whittled away in secret
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) November 5, 2020
The first thing I’m doing after the vaccine is flying to nyc and going to Russ and Daughters to eat an entire smoked salmon
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) November 9, 2020
And per twitter, she recently cut her own bangs, and regrets it.
This is the sign you’ve been waiting for. DO NOT CUT YOUR OWN BANGS
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) February 8, 2021
Let these bangs be a lesson to you pic.twitter.com/mR6qmfs2Sa
— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) February 9, 2021