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Kathryn Hahn was born in Westchester, Illinois, but her family then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she spent most of her time growing up. She is of German, Irish, and some English descent. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in theater from Northwestern University. She later attended Yale, where she enrolled in the school of drama. Kathryn got her role as "Lily" when she was "discovered" by an NBC casting director at the Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Crossing Jordan (2001) role was created for her by creator/producer Tim Kring.
She lives in Los Angeles, where she paints and practices yoga when she's not busy acting.