Little wizards had a role model first.
The premiere Harry Potter book was published in 1997. It imagined a world where a young boy leading an unsatisfactory life could be whisked away at a certain age to live life as a powerful wizard.
But what about us lady witches?
A year later, that question was answered by a Disney Channel original movie called Halloweentown, about 13-year-old Marnie Piper, whose overbearing mother doesn’t want her to find out she’s secretly a witch. On Halloween, her kooky grandmother shows up and -- you guessed it -- whisks her and her two siblings away to a magical world where they’re all witches and wizards. Naturally, it was a huge hit. There were three follow-ups to the original Halloweentown movie, the last of which aired in 2006.
In three of the original films, the excitable Marnie Piper was played by the adorable and relatable Kimberly J. Brown.
Some Questions You Might Have About Kimberly J. Brown Now
What does the “J” stand for?
It stands for “Jean,” according to IMDB.
How did Kimberly J. Brown get started acting?
She was the voice of the cereal catchphrase “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!” and things kind of took off from there. She was an accomplished Broadway actress before the age of nine. She was 7 when she played Robin in Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. She also played young Cosette in Les Miz on Broadway and actually set the record at age nine as the youngest actress to appear in three Broadway shows: Four Baboons, Les Miz, and Showboat. Impressive!
She was also in The Babysitter’s Club TV series, did a voice in A Bug’s Life and acted in sketches for Saturday Night Live, The Late Show and Conan O’Brien. She was also on the Olsen twins sitcom, Two of a Kind. Girl can’t get away from multiple birth babies.
Oh my god, wait. Was Kimberly J. Brown also in Quints?
Yes! I was waiting for you to ask that. That’s the movie I most remember her from. She was Disney’s head bitch in charge for a while, and somehow she didn’t end up like Lindsay Lohan. It’s truly a Halloween miracle.
Why did Kimberly J. Brown take the role in Halloweentown?
She auditioned with Disney and was offered the role. She took it because she liked the idea that costumes and magic were real in this world, and that “real” people were the ones considered strange. “I also was excited to play a witch, because I wished so many times through my childhood that I could have magical powers!” Brown told Oct31.org in 2010.
Wait. There’s a Web site entirely devoted to Halloween called Oct31.org?
Looks like it. I’m as weirded out as you are.
I feel like I saw her in another movie where she looked really different. Was she in Be Cool?
She was! She can’t be a kid forever, guys. In ‘Be Cool,’ she played a goth receptionist with facial piercings and black hair. She even got to meet John Travolta!
Was she also in Bringing Down the House with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah?
Yes! She played Steve Martin’s rebellious daughter!
Was she also on Guiding Light?
Yep. She was one of three incarnations of the character Marah Lewis from 1993 until 2006. The role won her a nomination for a Daytime Emmy at the young age of 11.
Kimberly J. Brown was nominated for an Emmy?
Yeah! I watched her reel on her site and she’s a pretty good actress. She was in this drama called Tumbleweeds in 1999 that wasn’t a great movie, but she was pretty good in it.
Was Kimberly J. Brown also on that creepy episode of Law and Order: SVU?
You’re going to have to be more specific.
Ugh, the one where Gale Harold plays a screwed-up fertility doctor making teenage runaways pregnant?
Oh yep! She was in that one. It’s from Season 4 and it’s called “Perfect.” She played Jessica Morse / Margory Maddox, one of the runaways. The episode is on Netflix actually. I just watched it. Super creepy.
Is the Halloweentown book Aggie reads from in the movies real?
It is! It was made especially for the shoot, though, so there’s only a few copies. I found some version of the book called “The Witches Amulet: Tales from Halloween” on Amazon but it’s less cool.
Why wasn’t Kimberly J. Brown in the last Halloweentown movie, Return to Halloweentown?
She’s not sure. According to Oct31.org, Kimberly J. Brown wanted to play Marnie in the fourth movie and was fully available for the shoot. Disney decided not to use her. “I was definitely disappointed not to do it,” she said.
Really? Kimberly J. Brown doesn’t know why they picked Sara Paxton to play Marnie?
Apparently, she’s no longer commenting on it. Ouch. That being said, she’s still totally down to play Marnie in college if Disney ever decides to make another Halloweentown movie. (Dear god, yes.)
What is Kimberly J. Brown’s favorite Halloween costume?
She actually kept the witches hat and coat from Halloweentown and wears it sometimes on Halloween. So she’s being...herself, I guess.
Does Kimberly J. Brown even like Halloween?
She does! Mostly because she does a lot of appearances and interviews around this time. Work, girl.
Does Kimberly J. Brown want to keep acting?
She does! As of last year, she was finishing college, and getting her BS in Business Management. (She graduated the same year as I did, I was surprised to find out.) Her last two films, Sony’s Friendship, and Universal’s Big Bad Wolf, were released on DVD. Friendship is a German road-trip comedy, which I had no idea was a genre that could exist, and Big Bad Wolf is a campy horror movie. But, she says, they’re definitely more for adult audiences.
What is Kimberly J. Brown’s official Web site?
It’s KimberlyJBrown.com and it’s still active. There’s some really pretty pictures of her on there. You can also email her at Kimberly@KimberlyJBrown.com. Unfortunately, she hasn’t updated her site’s blog since July. Boooo.
Does Kimberly J. Brown has Twitter or Facebook?
She does and her Twitter is actually amazing. She’s the only Disney role model who looked like a normal girl and who hasn’t gone wild. She tweets interviews with old Halloweentown co-stars and about having dinner with Christy Romano (from Even Stevens). She loves Kelly Clarkson, gets Follow Friday-ed by Lacey Chabert, @replies fans, and supports LGBT rights with tweets about honoring Spirit Day. Her Facebook isn’t even a fan page, you can just friend her: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialKJB.
Tweet her this article and wish her a happy Halloween!