Alison Brie was born in Hollywood, California, to Joanne (Brenner), who worked at a non-profit child care agency, and Charles Terry Schermerhorn, a musician and entertainment reporter. Her mother is Jewish and her father has Scottish, Dutch, English, German, and Norwegian ancestry. Brie grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South Pasadena. Interested in acting at an early age, she began her career performing in community theater shows at the Jewish Community Center in Los Feliz. Her very first role was "Toto" in the Wizard of Oz. After graduating from South Pasadena High School in 2001; Alison attended California Institute of the Arts where she received her BFA in Acting. While there, she was one of the original cast members in the world premiere of The Peach Blossom Fan, performed as the inaugural theater production at Disney's REDCAT Theater in Downtown LA. During that time, Alison also studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland.