Kat Dennings’ career is definitely heating up. She started out primarily in the indie movie sphere, snagging roles in films like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Daydream Nation and Charlie Bartlett. She became a household name in 2011, when she snagged the role of sassy Brooklyn girl Max Black on the sitcom 2 Broke Girls. Every week, audiences got to enjoy Dennings’ hilarious portrayal of Max, and were able to check out her comedic chops. And, she also snagged a role in the coveted Marvel Comics universe as smart cookie Darcy Lewis in Thor and Thor: The Dark World. So, let’s just recap here – she can hold her own in a comedy sitcom, in indie films, and in blockbuster action movies. There’s pretty much nothing this girl can’t do. Plus, with her curvy physique, dark hair and pale skin, she’s definitely a breath of fresh air from the blonde, bronzed California girls that dominate the entertainment industry.
A large part of Dennings’ time right now is tied up with filming her television show, but whenever 2 Broke Girls wraps, we have a feeling that Dennings’ career will explode almost immediately. She’ll snag another huge television show, or start starring in countless films – either way, she’s definitely one to watch.
Here are 15 things you may not have known about Kat Dennings.
15. Kat Dennings Isn’t Her Real Name
It’s no secret that there are a lot of individuals in the entertainment industry who adopt stage names. Some, like Lady Gaga, are a complete change of pace and designed to help create a certain type of persona. Some, like Mindy Kaling, are a slightly altered version of their actual name (Kaling’s real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam). Dennings falls into the latter category. She was born Katherine Litwack, but according to Dennings, her family name was just “a little hideous.” She wasn’t feeling Litwack for the entertainment industry, so she decided to shorten her first name to make it a bit snappier, and swap out her last name to make herself more marketable in the entertainment industry. Some have questioned her decision to essentially erase her Jewish-sounding last name, but hey – if that’s what she needed to make herself feel confident and like she could take on the intimidating world of Hollywood, more power to her.
14. She’s An Incredible Writer
It’s becoming increasingly common for actors and actresses to dabble in pursuits behind the camera – some opt to direct or produce, some become involved in writing the show they’re starring on, and more. After all, spending that much time in front of the camera likely gives you a unique perspective on what how you’d want to handle the other side of the process. Dennings, it turns out, is quite the writer, and may very well turn to writing once she gets tired of being a leading lady. Back it 2008, Dennings and her brother Geoffrey Litwack penned a screenplay together, entitled Your Dreams Suck. Actually putting together a full screenplay is an impressive achievement in and of itself, but Dennings’ work actually ended up on the Hollywood Black List. For those who don’t know, the Black List is a survey that identifies the best unproduced screenplays that agents receive every year. Many of the works on the list eventually end up being turned into feature films; maybe someday Dennings will star in the screenplay she wrote in her youth.
13. She’s Not Into The Party Scene
The same situation happens with alarming frequency – an aspiring actor or actress moves from the middle of nowhere, USA to Los Angeles to be a star, they start going to all the hottest clubs and parties because they figure that’s what a glamorous life in Hollywood is all about. Soon, they end up getting in over their heads and instead of walking the red carpet they’re walking into rehab. There’s very little chance that’ll happen to Dennings, though. Despite getting her start at a fairly young age, Dennings has never really enjoyed the party scene. As she has stated before, “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I don’t like being around people who do.” That’s right – not only does Dennings not participate in the party scene, she’d rather find friends (like partner Josh Groban and Broke Girls bestie Beth Behrs) who aren’t all about that party life either. In an industry where things like substance abuse and bad behaviour are rampant, Dennings’ attitude is refreshing.
12. She’s Had Some Pinterest Mishaps Just Like Us
You know how it happens. You’re scrolling through Pinterest, looking for something, and you stumble across a certain beauty treatment that promises to achieve the same results as an expensive product – and you have all the ingredients right in your kitchen! Dennings apparently found a recipe for coffee hair dye on Pinterest, and decided to give it a go. She shared the adventure on her Instagram page, captioning it “tried dyeing my hair with coffee today. I used conditioner and 6 packs of instant Starbucks. The results are barely noticeable but now I smell like ITALIAN ROASTTTTT.” That’s right – though she likely had a beauty team on the show that would gladly take her brunette locks a shade darker if she wanted, she opted to test drive a Pinterest recipe, just like the rest of us. And honestly, even though it didn’t work, having your hair smell like delicious coffee isn’t the worst result in the world.
11. She Was Homeschooled And Graduated At Just 14
It may seem like Dennings got her start at a fairly young age, and she did – because she didn’t have to worry about things like going to class and graduating high school in her late teen years. Apart from spending half a day at a regular school, Dennings was homeschooled by her parents her entire life, and the smart cookie ended up graduating at only 14 years old. This allowed her to move down to Los Angeles with her family to try to pursue her dream of becoming an actress without worrying about things like exams and squeezing in study time. So, when you see Dennings playing very different characters like Max Black and Darcy Lewis, know she’s more like the bookish girl who wins the hearts of superheroes than the loud party girl Max. There are a handful of actors and actresses who decided to pursue acting careers at a young age who dragged out their schooling or ended up never graduating at all, so Dennings’ achievement is super admirable.
10. Her Parents First Thought Her Acting Career Was An Awful Idea
Imagine you’re a regular parent, raising your children in Pennsylvania and having a normal life. Then, your daughter makes the announcement – she wants to be an actress, and she wants to move from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, California to pursue her dream. That’s basically what Kat Dennings’ parents went through, and as Dennings herself said in a 2007 interview, her parents initially thought that her acting dream was “the worst idea ever.” Given that a large majority of aspiring actresses end up ‘aspiring’ forever, eventually giving up on balancing auditions with a serving job and pursuing a different career, it makes sense that her parents would be hesitant. However, Dennings started booking roles fairly quickly, and has ended up being one of the few success stories amongst the girls who move to Los Angeles to be a star, so they probably no longer think it’s the worst idea in the world – now, they probably get a kick out of seeing their baby girl on television every week.
9. She Practices Transcendental Meditation
When a celebrity plays a character for an extended period of time, such as for several years on a television show, sometimes it can be tempting to blur the line between the actress’ personality and her character’s personality. So, after watching her playing Max on 2 Broke Girls for so long, you might think that Dennings is a loud, in your face, chaotic whirlwind of a woman. Not exactly. It turns out Dennings is a lot more zen than you might assume, and she’s a regular practitioner of transcendental meditation. Balancing her television gig and her various film roles definitely makes for a high stress life – when she was filming Thor: The Dark World, Dennings was actually flying between Los Angeles to shoot her television show and London to shoot the movie. She always seems very calm and collected at press events and in public, so maybe the whole transcendental meditation thing actually works!
8. She’s Dating Josh Groban
So, let’s just sum a few facts up – Kat Dennings doesn’t like the party scene, she doesn’t drink, she’s super intelligent, and she’s a bit of a nerd. So, when you think of who she might be dating, you likely don’t immediately jump to a typical buff leading man. Sure, she’s absolutely drop dead gorgeous and could get any guy she wanted, but it would take a certain kind of guy to truly capture her heart. And, it turns out, that guy is Josh Groban. Dennings’ co-star and BFF Beth Behrs introduced the two, because she figured both were huge nerds and would at least have that in common, and she was totally right. The two are absolutely adorable together, and seem to have just as much fun at home as they do on the red carpet. On an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dennings told a story of how the two make up songs together and during a cleaning spree Groban made up the song ‘”Steam Cleaner Girl” for Dennings. If that’s not love, we don’t know what is.
7. One Of Her First Big Roles Was On Sex and the City
Over its years on the air, Sex and the City had a lot of guest stars, but there’s one in particular you may have forgotten all about because her role was relatively small – we’re talking about Kat Dennings! Back in 2000, Dennings snagged a role in the episode “Hot Child in the City” as a 13-year old Jewish-American teen named Jenny who hired Samantha to plan a luxe bat mitzvah celebration for her. Dennings’ character is precocious and hilarious, calling Carrie Bradshaw “f***ing fabulous” throughout the episode, and basically just being the perfect teen who thinks she’s an adult. And, get this – at the time Dennings snagged the role, her family didn’t even have cable TV. They got it right when Dennings earned the role so that they would be able to watch her on-screen. If you don’t remember the episode, we suggest you go back and watch it right now – Dennings is young, but proves that she’s got some great comedic chops and definitely a ton of presence on-screen.
6. She’s Near-Sighted
You almost never catch Dennings wearing glasses in public, and most of her on-screen characters don’t need glasses either, with the exception of Darcy in the Thor series. However, it turns out she has more than just a nerdy side in common with her boyfriend Josh – she, too, needs glasses! Dennings has a prescription for glasses because she is near-sighted, and though she likely rocks contacts for things like red carpet events, or for roles when she’s playing characters who have 20/20 vision, when she gets home from a long day of work she likely slips into some comfy clothes and slips on her glasses. Although, quite frankly, if you’ve ever seen Dennings wearing glasses, you’d agree that she should definitely rock them in public more often – her curves and gorgeous lips mean that glasses really just amp up her sex appeal, giving her a bit of a sexy librarian vibe.
5. She Loves To Read And Is A Collector Of Old Books
Many celebs claim that they’re bookworms, but in Kat Dennings’ case, it’s actually true. Dennings is apparently a voracious reader who absolutely loves spending time curled up with a good book, and she’s even a collector of old books. She even incorporates her love of all things literary into her social life. She recently dished on The Ellen DeGeneres Show about the book club that she, Beth Behrs, and a group of their friends started, wittily named Grape Expectations. Sure, a large part of the book club gatherings is to drink wine with girlfriends (as you may have guessed, given the title), but they also tackle some serious reads. And, if that wasn’t enough, Dennings also apparently loves to collect old books, so if you’re ever lucky enough to get a tour of her house, you may want to pay extra attention to the bookshelves – they’re probably filled with fascinating treasures.
4. She Was A Blogger/Vlogger
Generally, the world of celebrities and the world of bloggers/vloggers are two separate spheres. Sure, some bloggers and vloggers might be lucky enough to achieve red carpet status where they attend a few events and even break into the acting world. However, in general, you won’t find many A-List stars spilling their guts in a vlog, or sharing all their thoughts in a blog. Enter Kat Dennings. Dennings blogged at her website, katdennings.com, for nearly a decade – from about 2001 to 2010, and she’s also done some vlogs on YouTube. Now, the vlogs and blogs were done years before she truly hit it big, but you can still search them and find a younger Dennings spilling all her hilarious thoughts online. That’s something you can’t really find for many stars, who decide to wipe their online identities clean when they start to make it big and decide to only have a carefully curated online presence.
3. She Took The 2 Broke Girls Role Because She Was Sick Of Doing Indie Roles
Every actor and actress takes a different journey, and has different goals – some want to be the next big thing in comedy, while others want to be an indie darling who has never seen the set of a blockbuster film. Dennings is now a little bit of both. While she had a few comedy roles here and there, a lot of her acting was done in low-budget indie flicks – and she was growing a little bit frustrated. As Dennings says, “I think it got to a point where I have done so many small films, and I’ve worked really, really hard, and these things sometimes they just disappear. Four months of your life never gets seen, and you start to feel kind of tired.” She had just wrapped an incredible draining film that had her emotionally and mentally exhausted, and 2 Broke Girls came along like a breath of fresh air. Well, we’re glad she took the role – we can’t imagine anyone else playing the unique Max Black.
2. She’s The Youngest Of 5 Children
It can be tough to picture celebrities with siblings because, unless their sibling is also a celebrity, chances are the public won’t really get to know them. Dennings worked on a screenplay with her brothers Geoffrey, but the rest of her siblings are fairly separate from her Hollywood life. So, you may be surprised to hear that Dennings has not just one, not two, not three, but four siblings – and she’s the baby of the family! The youngest child is often thought of as being the darling of the family, and we’re betting that Dennings capitalized on her cuteness by putting on her fair share of shows for her family and forced them to watch her performances. One thing is for sure – holidays in the Dennings household are probably a pretty packed affair, with five siblings, their various spouses or partners or friends, and all that entails. The more the merrier, right?
1. She Was Raised Jewish
Religion is a bit of a tricky thing in Hollywood. Some celebrities are Mormon, some are Christian, some are staunch atheists, some are scientologists, some follow Buddhism, the list goes on and on. While a select few celebrities are very outspoken about their religion and make it a huge part of their lives, most celebrities keep their religion pretty low key, because quite frankly, it’s not always relevant in Hollywood. They’re there to play a character, and to promote their latest project – not necessarily to preach about their beliefs. Dennings, like many of her co-stars over the years, was raised Jewish. However, she confessed in The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles that her relationship with religion is different now that she’s grown up. “[Judaism] is an important part of my history, but as a whole, religion is not a part of my life,” Dennings says. We have to confess, though – it’s kind of perfect that the Jewish-raised Dennings’ first big role was playing a young teen prepping for her Bat Mitzvah.