Claire Dunphy
played by Julie Bowen
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio


CHILDREN: Haley, Alex and Luke

As Jay's only daughter and Mitchell's older sister, Claire is the linchpin that keeps the entire clan going. Claire can be uptight, but at least she knows it. She’s got to be with two teenage daughters, a son about to enter his teens—that is if he doesn’t injure himself first—and a husband who sometimes can be more of a kid than their children. She’s a fiercely devoted mother and wife. Occasionally, though, Claire regresses into the competitive sister with her brother Mitchell and the attention-needing daughter of Jay. But her contradictions and complexities are what make her lovable to her family. 

Julie Bowen is now a two-time Emmy nominee, following the sophomore season of hit series "Modern Family."

Raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Bowen caught the acting bug as a child while putting on plays with her two sisters in their backyard. She attended Brown University, where she starred in Guys and Dolls, Stage Door and Lemon Sky. While earning a degree in Italian Renaissance studies, she also spent a year in Florence, Italy and became fluent in Italian.

During her senior year at Brown, Bowen landed the lead role in the independent film "Five Spot Jewel," and was featured in actor-director Ed Burns’ debut film, "No Visible Bruises." She guest-starred on the dramatic series "Class of ‘96," then moved to Los Angeles where, within weeks, she landed the lead in the Showtime drama Runaway Daughters, directed by Joe Dante.

For three seasons Bowen played Carol Vessey, the dream girl of former classmate-turned-lawyer Ed Stevens on the charming NBC series "Ed." She then joined James Spader and William Shatner for two seasons on ABC’s "Boston Legal." Other television credits include a recurring role as Matthew Fox’s wife on the hit ABC series "Lost," and a guest star arc as Lisa Ferris, a cheese shop owner who seduces a younger man, on the darkly comedic Showtime series "Weeds."

Bowen recently completed work on the feature film "Knife Fight," opposite Rob Lowe, and was seen in the two hit summer films "Horrible Bosses" from New Line and Sony’s "Jumping the Broom." Previous film credits include "Multiplicity" with Michael Keaton, "Crazy on the Outside" with Tim Allen, and the modern classic "Happy Gilmore" opposite Adam Sandler.

In the advertising world, Bowen has been both the face of Neutrogena and the voice of Pampers. She has also lent her support to the charitable efforts of Maxwell House and the March of Dimes.