Julie Bowen (born March 3, 1970) is an American film and television actress. Bowen first appeared in film and television in 1992 in minor and supporting roles in film and television. She then gained recognition for portraying the role of Carol Vessey on Ed. Before then gaining wider fame for her potrayal of Denise Bauer on Boston Legal. The role of Claire Dunphy on Modern Family earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series" for her which she has portrayed since the shows debut in September 2009.Throughout Bowen's career she has maintained supporting roles in films including Happy Gilmore (1996), Multiplicity (1996), Venus and Mars (2001), Joe Somebody (2001), Kids in America (2005), Sex and Death 101 (2007), Crazy on the Outside (2010), Jumping the Broom (2011) and Horrible Bosses (2011).
Bowen first gained prominence on the television series Ed, where she played high school English teacher Carol Vessey and the love interest of the protagonist, Ed Stevens. Since then, Bowen guest starred as the character of Sarah Shephard in five episodes of Lost. In the fall of 2005, Bowen joined the cast of Boston Legal, playing attorney Denise Bauer. She left the series in 2007 and returned for guest appearances in 2008. In 2008, she had a recurring role on Weeds playing Silas's love interest, Lisa.
Since fall 2009, Bowen has co-starred on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, playing Claire Dunphy. On July 8, 2010, Bowen was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series, submitting the episode "My Funky Valentine".
Bowen was a spokesmodel for Neutrogena, most recently advertising the Pure Glow products. She also appeared on an episode of Jeopardy! on August 31, 2010.