Bess Fanning is a versatile actress whose roles have ranged from kind, witty ingenues to on-the-ball, sharp professionals. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1996, her television roles have included a white trash female wrestler on NBC's MY NAME IS EARL, a harried HMO doctor on CBS' PROMISED LAND, and a recurring role as Karen's sassy assistant on the critically acclaimed ONCE & AGAIN on ABC. She has played a sweet mom, a thoughtful daughter, and a housewife strung out on the drug "Charlie Sheen" on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE. She co-starred on the Web Series "Quarterlife," directed by Eric Stoltz. In the film short "The Recipe," she played a wife who exacts revenge on her philandering husband by adding a special ingredient to the lasagna. Some of her commercial appearances include Walgreens, Progresso Soup, Singulair, Special K, and Hardees. Bess exercised her versatility in recent theatre roles including Rosie in THE WEDDING SINGER, a Venticello in AMADEUS, Susie the nurse in WIT, Nadine and Juanita in DEARLY DEPARTED, and Lovey the Fairy Godmother in LOVE IN PIECES. Bess has written several one woman shows and performed them locally in Los Angeles. She also wrote, Executive Produced, and starred in "An Excellent Choice," a short film that was accepted to three film festivals in 2007, including the Newport Beach Film Festival and San Diego International Film Festival. It is now posted on

Bess studied acting at Florida State University in the BFA program. Some of her favorite roles at FSU included Joan of Arc in George Bernard Shaw's ST. JOAN, Poppy Norton-Taylor in Michael Frayn's NOISES OFF, and multiple roles in the musical QUILTERS. While at FSU, Bess also explored directing with a full production of Richard Greenberg's EASTERN STANDARD. The summer after her senior year, she spent a month at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia on an exchange program where she played Varya in Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD.

Upon graduation, Bess continued her career in Chicago under the name Elizabeth Swan. There she found a lively theatre scene and she happily got to work producing a one-woman show, PERSONALITY, by Gina Wendkos and Ellen Ratner at Cafe Voltaire. This led to many other stage roles, including FRONTIERS (like QUILTERS but without the music!) and HENRY IV, PART ONE at the Folio Theatre, ALABAMA RAIN, produced by Halcyone Theatre and co-starring Tina Fey, and THE TROJAN WOMEN at Bailiwick's Director's Festival. After having worked as an actress in the musical HANS BRINKER, Bess was hired to direct two staged readings of the children's musical THE WELL OF THE GUELPHS at New Tuners Theatre. She also continued her singing in performances with ARS Musica Chicago, a group specializing in Early Music, and with the Jingle Singers, a Christmas carolling quartet.

Bess Fanning lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Padraic Keohane, and their children, Kent and Juniper. She has enjoyed a varied career and looks forward to continued success in film and television. "I like playing characters," she says. "I may look very middle of the road, but I'm not."
©2019 Bess Fanning, MJVdesign. All Rights Reserved.