||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (August 2011)|
|Will & Grace character|
|Last appearance||"The Finale"
|Created by||David Kohan
|Portrayed by||Debra Messing|
|Full name||Grace Elizabeth Adler
Grace Elizabeth Adler-Markus
|Nickname(s)||Gracie, G, Gracious|
Dr. Jay Markus
Dr. Marvin "Leo" Markus
(husband; 1st time [divorced])
(husband; 2nd time)
(daughter, with Leo)
(son-in-law, via Lila)
Grace Elizabeth Adler-Markus (née Adler) is a fictional character in the American sitcom Will & Grace, portrayed by Debra Messing. She is a Jewish interior designer, living in New York City with her gay best friend Will Truman (played by Eric McCormack). She is originally from Schenectady, New York, and has graduated from Columbia University. She also mentions in season 2 that she attended the Fashion Institute.
Fictional character history
Grace was born on April 26, 1967, in Schenectady, New York. She has been particularly influenced by her mother, Bobbi (Debbie Reynolds), a flamboyant actor from whom she inherited her many neuroses (as displayed in Bobbi's first appearance in season 1's "The Unsinkable Mommy Adler"). Grace also constantly strives for the affection of her father Martin (Alan Arkin), competing with her two sisters (one younger, one older), who have more obvious problems than she (Joyce, played by Sara Rue, is a mentally slow compulsive overeater, while Janet, portrayed by Geena Davis, is rarely employed and promiscuous). Grace herself is decidedly selfish and neurotic, but this is usually played for laughs, like when her husband Leo asked, "You want me to be happy, right?" and she sweetly replied "Not if it affects me negatively in any way." She is also somewhat vain, once declaring herself to be a "frickin' bombshell" and believing that she bears a strong resemblance to red-haired celebrities like Rita Hayworth (once even thinking a photo of Hayworth was one of herself) and Nicole Kidman. This, however, leads to her being taken down a peg, and she is usually the butt of numerous jokes by other characters. In one episode, while in Los Angeles, she is repeatedly mistaken for Kathy Griffin by tourists.
Grace's characteristics are often fodder for the show's antics. We even see her ballet slippers as a child and Will comments on how huge they are ("I went from a four to an eight in a month!"). Her feet are gargantuan, even for her height, and she's often ridiculed for them. She comments on the fact "feet the size of canoes" were the only things her father ever gave her. There is a general running joke of her being slovenly and unladylike, which contrasts with Will's uptight nature, usually for purposes of comedy. She is very cheap and often hoards on free stuff and even steals. She once mentions selling Will's college term papers for a profit, of which Will had no knowledge. One time, she even observes someone else's private workout and just follows the trainer and the trainee.
Grace has become infamous for her string of boyfriends, many played by guest stars such as Woody Harrelson and Gregory Hines. Grace married the Jewish doctor Leo Markus, played by Harry Connick, Jr., on November 21, 2002, but the marriage failed when he had a one-night stand with a doctor from the Red Cross while working in Cambodia with Doctors Without Borders. In season 8, the two reunited briefly during a flight to London when they coincidentally met on the plane. Leo was on his way to Thailand, while Grace was stopping in London. This mile high tryst led to Grace getting pregnant, but she didn't tell Leo because he was engaged to another woman, Kate. However, in the series finale, she and Leo reunite and raise the baby, a girl named Lila, together. Lila is born in Rome, Italy, where Leo was working at a hospital as a researcher. After one year in Rome the family move to New York, to their apartment in Brooklyn. Lila goes on to attend college and there meets Will and Vince's son, Ben. Lila and Ben were living in dorm rooms opposite each other's while at college; the same scenario that Will and Grace found themselves in while they attended college. Ben and Lila marry.
Grace also has a reputation for "turning" men gay. Several of her boyfriends - such as Will himself, and her second-season boyfriend Josh - ended up gay or bisexual, and she has a recurring fear that this will happen again. (At one point she entered a room to find Jack, Will, and Nathan (played by Harrelson) all passed out on a bed together, and moaned, "Oh, no, I turned another one.") In season 8, she took this to a new level when she briefly married James Hanson, Will's Canadian boyfriend in search of a green card. They annulled the marriage a few days later because of James' lack of respect towards people with disabilities.
Grace's best friend since college is Will Truman, and their relationship is the focus of the show. They met at a college party at Columbia University. Through the third-season episode "Lows in the Mid-Eighties," we see they began dating and Grace did not realize that Will was gay at the time, and Will had not come out of the closet yet. When Will met Jack McFarland at a party, he made him realize his homosexuality. Will "proposed" to Grace during Thanksgiving, in an effort to postpone actually having sex with her. When he finally came out to her hours later, Grace was so angry with him that she didn't speak to him for a year. They ran into each other at a grocery store a year later and made up. Ever since then, they remained very close. Grace moves into Will's apartment in season one when she breaks up with her fiance Danny (with whom she was living), moves out in season 2 to declare her independence (although the apartment is across the hall from Will's), but then moves back in the 3rd season. She eventually moves to Brooklyn in season five when she marries Leo but moves back in with Will in season 7 when she divorces Leo. Their closeness is often made fun of by other characters like Jack or Karen, referring to them as a married couple. They can finish each other's sentences at times, which helps them in their fast rounds in trivia and parlor games. They can also be quite dysfunctional and co-dependent, sometimes even requiring the other's approval of clothing and boyfriends. When Will began dating Vince in season 6, he was very nervous about Grace's opinion of him, noting relationships have ended because of Grace not liking one detail about his boyfriend (one example given is that all Grace had to say about one such boyfriend was "mock turtleneck," and the relationship was ruined). Despite this, they are generally caring and supportive of each other.
Aside from Will, Grace also has a strong relationship with her assistant, Karen Walker, a rich, alcoholic socialite who does virtually no work. Karen is nevertheless useful to Grace, as she pays for her employer's health insurance, gives Grace holiday bonuses, and occasionally uses her society connections to help Grace get work. Otherwise, Karen spends her "work" hours belittling Grace and Karen's maid Rosario, and trading banter with her flamboyantly gay friend Jack. She routinely criticizes Grace's breast size and choices in fashion (usually by disdainfully asking, "Honey, what's this all about?") and men. Nonetheless, Grace and Karen became close friends over the years. Grace eventually learns to look past Karen's faults, and Karen occasionally does stop ridiculing her or being outrageous to reveal a softer, more caring side. In one episode, Grace stands up to Milo (played by Andy García) who refuses to go on a second date with Karen, who was going through a divorce with her husband Stan and was very vulnerable at the time. In another instance, Karen seemingly turns down Grace's proposal for a business loan out of mean behavior, but she reveals she really did it to protect Grace, who didn't really have a strong business plan.
Grace also has a somewhat close bond with Jack McFarland. During earlier seasons, Jack often spoke poorly about Grace and even claimed to "not be into her" at one point, partially because of his jealousy of the closeness between Grace and Will. However, after they spend time together while Will is in the Cayman Islands between Seasons two and three, they develop a closer friendship, later discovering they share a love of ice skating and Antiques On The Road (a fictional version of Antiques Roadshow). Despite their friendship, however, they often antagonize one another, often leading to Grace striking Jack in some manner.