Shiri Appleby was born in Los Angeles, California, on December 7, 1978, to Dina (Bouader), a Hebrew School teacher, and Jerry Appleby, a telecommunications executive. She has a brother, Evan. Her father is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and her mother, who is from Israel, is of Moroccan Sephardi Jewish background. Shiri has been acting since the age of 4, landing jobs in several commercials for Cheerios, M&Ms, and Taco Bell. Her first television job was on the soap Santa Barbara (1984). Next came various roles on Thirtysomething (1987), The Bronx Zoo (1987) and Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989). She made her film debut in the low-budget sequel Curse II: The Bite (1989). I Love You to Death (1990) came next and Shiri finally started to get secure work as an actress. For the next four years, she worked steadily in television movies and made various television appearances. When she entered high school, she took a small break and took part in Yearbook, Student Council, and Cheerleading.