Calista Kay Flockhart was born 11 November, 1964 in Freeport, Illinois. Her mother, Kay (Honohan), was a school teacher, and her father, Ronald Flockhart, worked for Kraft Foods Inc. She has Irish, Scottish, German, and English ancestry. Calista was named after her great-grandmother.
Flockhart attended Rutgers University in New Jersey to study acting. After college, she worked in regional theatre in Cleveland, Louisville, Chicago and Houston for $400 for eight weeks of work. In 1994, she got her first Broadway role playing "Laura" in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie", for which she was recognized with the Theater World and Clarence Darwent Awards. She's also played in an all-star production of Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" playing "Natasha". She wasn't too fond of TV before Ally McBeal (1997), but did take part in a 1992 episode of the HBO series Lifestories: Families in Crisis (1992). She did take part in many movies, but among them is the remake of The Birdcage (1996).