Catherine Bell is a self-described “tough chick” who likes to push the envelope and is more than capable of taking on, and tackling, anything that comes her way, whether in real life or through the many Catherine Bell movies and TV shows she’s starred in. In the past, Bell has enjoyed — for instance — ski diving, bungee jumping with ankles tied together, and fearlessly hopping on to one of her motorcycles.
But since becoming a mom, she’s more into Pilates, golf, kickboxing and wake boarding. “I used to enjoy taking risks in life,” Bell admits to Woman’s World, “It wasn’t because of what I got out of it. I love life anyway, no matter what I’m doing — I’m a firm believer in living life to the fullest and trying everything at least once. Now I blow off steam and get excited playing golf.”
Today, Bell finds her challenges in normal motherhood events, cooking in her kitchen and wondering where her next job will come from. “But I hopefully learn from these situations,” she continues. “You either come out stronger if it goes well or, if it didn’t, then you learn from it.”
Born on August 14, 1968 in London, England, Catherine Lisa Bell was exposed to diverse influences. The family spoke Persian at home, but when she moved to Los Angeles, she came under the influence of California surroundings. “I am definitely a Valley Girl. I was a tomboy. I liked to skateboard, play football and push the envelope a little bit. Maybe do things that scared me.”
After enrolling at UCLA, where she considered a career in medicine or research, she was offered a modeling job in Japan, took it and left college during her second year. When she returned to the States, she set her sights on acting, which led to her studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse while simultaneously working as a massage therapist for eight years at the posh Peninsula Hotel.
Catherine Bell movies and TV shows kicked off with a one-line part on the short-lived 90s sitcom Sugar and Spice. Then, in 1994, she starred in the film Men of War. It was the following year that Bell had only three lines in one episode of the NBC series JAG, but when the show skipped over to CBS, Bell won the coveted role of Sarah MacKenzie. It was a part she played until the series ended in 2005.
Best Catherine Bell movies and TV shows
Beloved for her roles on JAG, Army Wives and as the enchanting Cassie Nightingale on The Good Witch series, Bell’s resume is dotted with various TV appearances and films as well. Here’s a look at some of the most unforgettable Catherine Bell movies and TV shows.
Men of War (1994)
As Grace Lashield, Bell took on this small roll about a former Special Ops soldier, Nick (Dolph Lundgren) leading a group of mercenaries to an island in the South China Sea. The mission is to obtain the rights to the unusual treasure that the island beholds. Sides are taken — are you with Nick or the greedy corporation?
Thrill Seekers (1999)
Bell is Elizabeth Wintern in this television sci-fi film, costarring with Casper Van Dien and Martin Sheen. Should two reporters, one being Bell, try to change the future when they know another global disaster is going to strike?
In one of the most memorable Catherine Bell movies and TV shows, the actress plays Major/Lieutenant colonel Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie on the long running adventure drama about an elite wing of officers trained as lawyers. Their job is to investigate, prosecute and defend those accused of crimes in the military.
Navy Commander Harmon “Harm” Rabb (David James Elliott) leads the JAG team while Mac is a by-the-book officer. Although the two hold themselves up to the same high standards, they often choose different routes to get to the same place. The unmistakable chemistry between Mac and Harm adds to the drama and suspense of the show.
(Click through to our sister site to see the entire JAG cast then and now!)
Army Wives (2007-2013)
This series boasts an ensemble group centering on the lives of a group of military spouses living on a U.S. Army base. Bell, who portrays Denise Sherwood, wife of a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, was a few months pregnant when filming began for the 2010 season, so “after six episodes Denise finds out she’s pregnant by her husband. I had told the producers the prior year I was thinking of having the baby so they wrote my pregnancy into my character.” Disturbingly, in the show’s final two seasons Sherwood endures domestic violence at the hands of her teenage son.
Good Witch (2015-2021)
With six seasons of Hallmark’s Good Witch, Bell feels much more like this character than others she’s played. “I’m happy, easy going and hard-working, much like Cassie,”she told Woman’s World. Besides starring in the leading role, Bell was also co-executive producer.
The Good Witch series was so popular that it spawned six movies that took viewers on a magical journey with Cassie Nightingale and her daughter, Grace. It all explores their lives in Grey House, which is supposedly haunted by former owner, and Cassie’s ancestor, Elizabeth Merrick. The Good Witch is set in the fictional small town of Middleton, which is definitely shaken up with Cassie’s arrival and her opening “Bell, Book & Candle,” a shop specializing in herbs and other curiosities.
The Do-Over (2016)
Bell secured a small part in this outrageous comedy as Dawn DiFazio. Two luckless guys decide to fake their own deaths and start over with new identities, but they end up in deeper trouble than before the charade.
Home for Christmas (2017)
As Jane McKendrick in the TV film, Bell took on the leading role and served as executive producer. The holiday film follows a widowed father who seeks help from a professional organizer to get his personal and professional life in shape. And guess what happens? The two begin an unplanned romance (be you never expected that).
Meet Me at Christmas (2020)
When Joan’s (Bell) son’s wedding planner quits, she is left with coordinating his Christmas Eve wedding with the help of the bride’s uncle Beau. Fates and histories are unexpectedly enmeshed.
NCIS: Los Angeles (2019-2020)
Appeared in a recurring role in three episodes as her original main character from JAG.
Jailbreak Lovers (2022)
Bell starred in this Lifetime film as part of the network’s Ripped from the Headlines series, which told the story of how Toby Dorr (Bell) got inmate John Manard out of prison in a dog crate.
Toby was a woman who never even ran a red light, married the only boy she ever dated and raised a church-going family. She loses her job and starts a non-profit to rehabilitate abused, rescued dogs at the local prison. No one would have ever imagined that straight-laced Toby would shack up with Manard and end up on the run. But she did!
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