Alison Brie Schermerhorn was born on December 29, 1982, in Hollywood, California. Her father, Charles Terry Schermerhorn, is a musician and freelance entertainment reporter. Her mother, Joanne Brenner, works at Para los Niños (“For the Children”), a non-profit childcare agency. She has an older sister named Lauren. Brie’s mother is Jewish. Her father was raised Catholic, and has Dutch, English, and Scottish ancestry. While being raised by her divorced parents, she occasionally attended a “Christian–Hindu hybrid church” called the Self-Realization Fellowship with her father. However, her mother “would always make sure we knew we were Jewish”. Brie graduated from South Pasadena High School in 2001.
Brie began acting onstage at the Jewish Community Center in Southern California. She graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in theater in 2005. She also studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. She later worked as a clown at birthday parties and performed in theater in California.
Her breakthrough came with the role of Trudy Campbell in the drama series Mad Men (2007–2015), which won her a Screen Actors Guild Award. She gained recognition for her role as Annie Edison in the comedy series Community (2009–2015) and voicing Diane Nguyen in the animated comedy series BoJack Horseman (2014–2020). For playing Ruth Wilder in the comedy-drama series GLOW (2017–2019) she received nominations for two Golden Globes and two Critics’ Choice Awards.
In addition to her television work, Brie has also starred in films such as Scream 4 (2011), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), The Lego Movie (2014), Get Hard (2015), Sleeping with Other People (2015), How to Be Single (2016), The Little Hours (2017), The Disaster Artist (2017), The Post (2017), Promising Young Woman (2020), Horse Girl (2020), The Rental (2020), and Happiest Season (2020).