Catherine Lisa Bell (born August 14, 1968) is an American actress known for her role of Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie of the television show JAG from 1997 to 2005. Currently she stars in the Lifetime Television series Army Wives as Denise Sherwood. Bell was born in London, England, the daughter of Mina, a personal assistant and nurse, and Peter Bell, an architect. Her mother is Iranian and her father Scottish. She originally wanted to become a doctor and studied biology at UCLA. Explaining her journey to become an actress, she said: 'I had a creative side, as well as a scientific/mathematical side and the arts won out. I started doing some modeling and went to Japan and when I came back, I took an acting class, fell in love with that and never went back to school.' One of Bell's first modeling jobs was an extended assignment in Japan. When she returned to California, she studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse with Milton Katselas.