Eileen Grubba was born into a family of eight children in Anchorage, Alaska. At a young age, she became an award-winning artist, went to college on an art scholarship, then shifted her creative focus to acting, singing and casting. She began her professional career in Atlanta, Georgia where she trained at the Alliance Theater, sang in a choir, performed in musicals, worked in commercials, and independent film. She next moved to New York City, trained at HB Studios, sang cabaret, and then moved to Los Angeles where she soon realized her dream of becoming a lifetime member of the world-renowned Actors Studio.
Under the tutelage of Martin Landau, Allan Miller, Barbara Bain, Lou Antonio, and more, she learned how to use her life’s challenges in her work. Considered a “force” on stage and screen, Eileen has been compared to theatre greats Geraldine Page, Eleanora Duse and Kim Stanley by accomplished members of The Actors Studio. Academy Award winner, Martin Landau said, "Because of her life experience and her willingness to use it, Eileen has the potential to be one of the greatest actresses of our time. She is sitting on a volcano and knows how to use it.”
Eileen has appeared in many films and television series, including NBC’s New Amsterdam and Game Of Silence, HBO’s Watchmen, CBS’s SWAT, and ALL Rise, The Politician on Netflix, ABC's Stumptown, Fear The Walking Dead, Criminal Minds, Bones, Sons of Anarchy, Hung, Enlightened, CSI: Miami, The Mentalist, Cold Case, Nip/Tuck, The Closer, Monk. E.R. and more.
Perhaps what is most unique about Eileen is her extreme life experience. At just under five years old, a bad vaccine nearly killed her, causing a C1-C4 incomplete spinal cord injury, and paralyzed her from the waist down. Doctors said she would never walk again, but she forced herself out of a wheelchair and learned to walk. She endured many surgeries, yet by high school, was the captain of her cheerleading team. She lost both parents to cancer at young ages, and later was diagnosed, not only with the cancer that killed her father, but also the same genetic cancer syndrome that caused her mother’s ovarian cancer. A difficult diagnosis to accept, Eileen went into warrior mode and found a way to turn it around. She is now on her eighteenth-year cancer-free and thriving. Her indomitable spirit and persistence are a constant inspiration to others. She is an advocate for children with disabilities, and fights for the inclusion of disabled performers in the entertainment industry, fighting to create a world of greater understanding and acceptance for all. Eileen is an active public speaker on issues of disability inclusion, anti-bullying, women’s empowerment, patient advocacy, and living your dreams. She travels nationwide to speak at events, companies, and colleges, including Florida State Film School and even at the FBI where her story streamed nationally to every FBI field office. She was then invited into the FBI Citizens Academy for community leaders and gave the class graduation speech in 2019.
A fighter all her life, Eileen refuses to give up her quest to create an all-inclusive entertainment industry. She learned as an actress with a visible limp, she would have to change perceptions of disability if she wanted to work. She also realized her unique experience and stories could change our world, so she moved towards writing, directing, and producing. She wrote and directed a successful disability-inclusive children’s musical theater event to supplement the loss of the arts in public schools. She has written, directed, and produced many disability-inclusive projects which have won awards in festivals across the country. One of her comedy pilots was nominated for a Humanitas Award. She won the Mary Austin Excellence In Screenwriting Awards in 2019 and 2020. Also in 2020, Eileen was honored with the WeSpark award for social impact in the entertainment industry.
Eileen is a member of the Television Academy and an active member of the national PWD Diversity committee at SAG/AFTRA. She helps organize casting events for performers with disabilities to work with prominent CSA casting directors, at no expense to the actors. She is an active writer and producer for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge to give roles and experience to PWD performers. She was named Brand Ambassador for Global Disability Inclusion in 2019. She is on the board of Angels In Waiting, a non-profit run by NICU nurses that rescues babies abandoned at birth due to disability. Her advocacy for this community has taken her all the way to Cambridge, England where she was a judge alongside Professor Stephen Hawking. Eileen was on the cover of “Ability Magazine” in 2017 and on the cover of the first national issue of “Inspiring Lives” Magazine in April 2018. Her story recently appeared in Forbes Women and on the Emmys/TV academy official website.
Eileen draws on her rich life experience to create dramatic characters with gut-wrenching emotional depth, strength, and compassion, on stage, on screen, and in her writing. She finds humor within the tragedies of life, which she hopes will encourage others who are faced with tremendous challenges.