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Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper) demystifies math

April 25, 2009 |  3:15 pm

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Danica McKellar, America’s favorite girl next door (“The Wonder Years’ ” Winnie Cooper!), is all grown up —wit h a French manicure and pedicure, patent-leather peep-toe heels and a mauve satin dress as she appeared at the L.A. Times stage at the book festival on Saturday.

The UCLA grad was right at home on campus, proudly announcing her Bruin status. McKellar spent her childhood on television and then pursued mathematics -- something she's ultra-passionate about, though she still does some acting. Math, she says, is “the gift that brings true happiness.”

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The goal of her two books — “Math Doesn’t Suck” and “Kiss My Math” — is to get young girls interested in math  and empower them through strong math skills, and it seems to be working!

Several middle school girls lined up for math tips, which McKellar happily provided. She also told a pair of sixth-grade sisters to e-mail specific questions on the FOIL Method for her direct attention. The young girls were smart and confident, just like McKellar herself. In addition to the young mathematicians in the tent were McKellar’s “Wonder Years” costar Dan Laurie and her real-life mother.

The former child star is newly married and hopes to have children one day, who will no doubt be good with numbers.

For now, she’s working on her third fun math book and acting here and there — on a recent episode of  VH1’s “Free Radio” and with Faye Dunaway in the upcoming film “21 and Wake-Up.”  The multi-talented brunette from the nostalgic television show now works in an age-old yet always-current business:  numbers.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photos: Leslie Anne Wiggins

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