Best known as the husky-voiced, no-nonsense Lt. Sally Solomon on the hit NBC fantasy sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001) -- a role she played, opposite heavyweights John Lithgow and Jane Curtin, for the entire six-year run of the series -- fair-haired Kristen Johnson parlayed her success from that effort into a handful of A-list cinematic releases, beginning in 1999. After 3rd Rock wrapped in spring 2001, Johnston's movie activity crescendoed dramatically, and she became ever-present as a character player in the supporting casts of Hollywood feature films.
Born January 20, 1967, in Washington, D.C., Johnston moved with her family to Wisconsin and attended high school in suburban Milwaukee, where prescient classmates voted her "Biggest Ham" and "Most Likely to be a Celebrity." Unusually tall for her age (6 ft. at age 13), with a booming, authoritative voice and an outsized personality, Johnston stood out from the crowd and reportedly struggled with self-doubt as a result; she later termed her height "incredibly distressing." The aspiring actress learned self-acceptance early on, however, as she attended NYU and studied drama there. For almost ten years, Johnston struggled as an up-and-coming actress, holding down assorted jobs and working on Broadway and off-Broadway productions, until an NBC executive noticed her and was instrumental in enlisting her as Sally on 3rd Rock.