Bebe Neuwirth

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Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth at BCEFA.jpg
At the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Annual Grand Auction and Flea Market, September 2006
Born Beatrice Neuwirth
(1958-12-31) December 31, 1958 (age 55)
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Paul Dorman (1984–1991)
Chris Calkins (2009–present)

Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth (/ˌbətrɪs ˌbb ˈnjwɜrθ/; born December 31, 1958) is an American actress, musician and dancer. She has worked in television and is known for her portrayal of Dr. Lilith Sternin, Dr. Frasier Crane's wife (later ex-wife), on both the TV sitcom Cheers (in a starring role), and its spin-off Frasier (in a recurring guest role). On stage, she is also known for the role of Nickie in the revival of Sweet Charity, the role of Velma Kelly in the revival of Chicago (for both of which she won Tony Awards) and for the role of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family musical. Neuwirth has been performing the role of Velma Kelly since 1996 to present.

Early life[edit]

Neuwirth was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of Sydney Anne, a painter, and Lee Paul Neuwirth,[1] a mathematician. She has an older brother Peter, an actuary.[2][3] Neuwirth is Jewish, and attended Chapin School in New Jersey as well as Princeton Day School (New Jersey) of Princeton, but graduated from Princeton High School (a public school) in 1976.[4]

She began to study ballet at the age of five, and chose it as her field of concentration when she attended Juilliard in New York City in 1976 and 1977,[5] during which time she performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, and Coppélia, also appearing in community theater musicals. Neuwirth always dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer; the only other career she reportedly seriously contemplated was being a veterinarian.[6]

Career[edit]

Theatre work[edit]

Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line in 1980. She later appeared in revivals of Little Me (1982) Sweet Charity (1986), for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Damn Yankees (1994). 1996 saw her play Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago. That role brought her her greatest stage recognition to date, and several awards including the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Neuwirth would later return to the still-running revival of Chicago in 2006, this time as Roxie Hart.[citation needed]

She appeared in a musical revue Here Lies Jenny, that featured songs by Kurt Weill, sung and danced by Neuwirth and a four-person supporting cast, as part of an unspoken ambiguous story in an anonymous seedy bar possibly in Berlin in the 1930s. The show ran from May 7 through October 3, 2004, in the Zipper Theater in New York City.[7] Here Lies Jenny was also presented by Neuwirth in San Francisco in 2005. In 2009, Neuwirth toured a one-woman cabaret show with pianist Scott Cady. The cabaret included music by Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Waits, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Kander and Fred Ebb amongst others. In 2010, she returned to Broadway to create the role of Morticia Addams in the original production of The Addams Family opposite Nathan Lane.[8]

Film and television[edit]

At the Governor's Ball after the 43rd Annual Emmy Awards, August 25, 1991

Her screen credits include Green Card, Bugsy, Say Anything..., Jumanji, Summer of Sam, Liberty Heights, Tadpole (for which the Seattle Film Critics named her Best Supporting Actress), The Associate, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Malice, The Big Bounce, The Faculty and Woody Allen's Celebrity.

On television, from 1986 to 1993 Neuwirth played Dr. Lilith Sternin, who married Dr. Frasier Crane in the hit comedy series Cheers. From the fourth to the seventh season, Neuwirth portrayed Lilith in a regular recurring role, and she appeared on the show as a main star from season eight to the final season, season eleven. Like Kelsey Grammer when he started on the show as Frasier Crane, she was not immediately given star billing in the opening credits, but at the end for seasons eight and nine; she appeared in the opening credits with her own portrait in seasons ten and eleven. She auditioned for this role with her arm in a sling, following a fall a week earlier. She won two Emmy Awards for the role, in 1990 and 1991. The character also made an appearance in the series Wings and in 12 episodes of the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which earned her a 1995 Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Other small-screen credits include a guest appearance in the first season of NewsRadio, a small role on The Adventures of Pete and Pete (episode: "The Call"), Deadline (2000), Hack (2003), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999 as a modeling agent/suspect; 2005 as A.D.A Tracey Kibre), and the miniseries Wild Palms[when?] and the fourth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, First Contact, as Lanel.

She appeared as herself in episodes of Will and Grace, Strangers with Candy and Celebrity Jeopardy!. In 2009, she co-starred as Ms. Kraft in the remake of Fame. She recently had a recurring role as Caroline, the literary editor of Jonathan Ames, on the HBO series Bored to Death.

Personal life[edit]

Neuwirth's 1984 marriage to Paul Dorman ended in divorce in 1991. Since 2009, she has been married to Chris Calkins.[9]

In May 2006, she had a total hip replacement.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Say Anything... Mrs. Evans
1990 Without Her Consent Gloria Allred Television movie
1990 Green Card Lauren
1991 Bugsy Countess di Frasso
1993 Malice Det. Dana Harris
1995 Jumanji Nora Shepherd
1996 All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Anabelle, the Dog Angel
1996 The Adventures of Pinocchio Felinet
1996 The Associate Camille Scott
1998 Celebrity Nina, the hooker
1998 The Faculty Principal Valerie Drake
1998 An All Dogs Christmas Carol Annabelle/Belladonna
1999 Getting to Know You Trix
1999 Summer of Sam Gloria
1999 Dash and Lilly Dorothy Parker Television movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1999 Liberty Heights Ada Kurtzman
2000 An Extremely Goofy Movie Sylvia Marpole
2000 Cupid and Cate Francesca DeAngelo
2000 Tadpole Diane Lodder Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Lana Jong
2003 Le Divorce Julia Manchevering
2004 The Big Bounce Alison Ritchie
2005 Game 6 Joanne Bourne
2008 Adopt a Sailor Patricia
2009 Fame Ms. Kraft

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1986–1993 Cheers Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane 80 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1990 & 1991)
1986 Simon & Simon Receptionist Episode: "Family Forecast"
1986 Fame Phyllis Turner Episode: "Stagefright"
1990 The Famous Teddy Z Unknown Episode: "Teddy Gets a Guru"
1990 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Dr. Lilith Sternin Episode: "Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration"
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Lanel Episode: "First Contact"
1992 Wings Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane Episode: "Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes"
1993 Wild Palms Tabba Schwartzkopf 5 episodes
1994 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Mailcarrier 2 episodes
1994–1995 Aladdin Mirage 6 episodes
1994–2003 Frasier Dr. Lilith Sternin 12 episodes
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Guest Appearance in a Comedy (1999-2000)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1995 NewsRadio Sandi Angelini Episode: "Friends"
1996 Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man Tamara La Boinque Episode: "Noir Gang"
1996 Freakazoid! Deadpan Episode: "The Wrath of Guitierrez"
1996–1998 All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Anabelle/Belladonna 5 episodes
1997 The Magic School Bus Flora Whiff Episode: "Makes a Stink"
1997 Jungle Cubs La La Episode: "Old Green Teeth/The Elephant Who Couldn't Say No"
1999 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Juliette Episode: "Salem and Juliette"
1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Nina Laszlo Episode: "Or Just Look Like One"
2000–2001 Deadline Nikki Masucci 13 episodes
2002–2003 Cyberchase Binky 2 episodes
2003 Hack Faith O'Connor 5 episodes
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit A.D.A. Tracey Kibre Episode: "Night"
2005–2006 Law & Order: Trial by Jury A.D.A. Tracey Kibre 13 episodes
2009–2011 Bored to Death Caroline Taylor 3 episodes
2010 The Cleveland Show Sarah Friedman Episode: "Brotherly Love"
2012–2013 The Good Wife Judge Claudia Friend 3 episodes
2013–2014 Blue Bloods Inspector General Peterson 5 episodes

Stage[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1975-1990 A Chorus Line Sheila
1978-1982 Dancin' Replacement
1982 Little Me Boom Boom Girl
1986-1987 Sweet Charity Nickie Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
1994-1995 Damn Yankees Lola
1996–2014 Chicago Velma Kelly

Roxie Hart (Dec. 31, 2006-Mar. 25, 2007)

Mama Morton (Jan. 14-Mar. 9, 2014)

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical
2002-2003 Funny Girl Fanny Brice
2010-2011 The Addams Family Morticia Addams

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lee Paul Neuwirth at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Television "Cheers": A Comprehensive Guide, p. 98
  3. ^ "Bebe Neuwirth Biography". filmreference. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  4. ^ Bloom, Nate (June 25, 2004). "Celebrity Jews: Bebe and Lilith". Jewish News Weekly. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Alumni News: February 2009". Juilliard.edu. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. "Bebe Neuwirth (’77, dance)" 
  6. ^ Television "Cheers": A Comprehensive Guide
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Jenny Made Her Mind Up: Here Lies Jenny Will Extend One Last Time, to Oct. 3" playbill.com, August 27, 2004
  8. ^ "The Addams Family Lands Bebe Neuwirth And Tempts Nathan Lane", New York Post
  9. ^ Mary Green (May 5, 2009). "Frasier's Bebe Neuwirth Ties the Knot". People magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Bebe Neuwirth on Dancerhips" http://dancerhips.com/bebe.html

External links[edit]