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Danica McKellar Became a Mathematician to Find 'Value' Beyond The Wonder Years

The actress played Winnie Cooper on the sitcom for six seasons.
  • Danica McKellar (Photos: Everett Collection)
    Danica McKellar (Photos: Everett Collection)

    The Wonder Years' child actress turned Hallmark star, Danica McKellar, is also an accomplished mathematician and children's book author. Her career outside of acting may be a bit unexpected, but the actress said it was important for her to find "value" beyond her identity as Winnie Cooper in the hit sitcom, a role she played from 1988 to 1993.

    According to the actress, she had a hard time escaping the character when she grew up. This led to her decision to go to college and pursue mathematics. During an interview with her 11-year-old son, Draco, via Entertainment Tonight, McKellar recalled what it was like being known as such an iconic character.

    "I went to UCLA, but when I got to school, everywhere I went, people all over campus would shout across campus, you know, 'Hey Winnie!' [or] 'Hey, loved you on The Wonder Years!" She recalled being synonymous with Winnie Cooper, saying, "I couldn't get away from it."

    "So I needed to find out how I was valuable outside of Winnie Cooper, and math was challenging and I did well at it," she said. "And I love this feeling that my value, the important stuff had nothing to do with how I looked or television."

    McKellar, who is known now for her many roles in Hallmark films, has gone on to write 11 children's books about math.

    The Wonder Years is available to stream on Hulu.

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    Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.

    TOPICS: Danica McKellar, ABC, Hallmark Channel, Hulu, The Wonder Years (1988 Series)