Louise Lasser

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Louise Lasser
Louise Lasser Mary Hartman 1976.JPG
Lasser as Mary Hartman, 1976.
Born (1939-04-11) April 11, 1939 (age 75)
New York City
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Woody Allen (1966–1970; divorced)

Louise Lasser (born April 11, 1939) is an American actress. She is known for her portrayal of the title character on the soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She was married to Woody Allen and appeared in several of his films.

Personal life[edit]

Lasser was born in New York City, the daughter of Paula and S. Jay Lasser, a tax expert.[1] She was raised Jewish.[2] Lasser studied political science at Brandeis University.[3] She was married to Woody Allen from 1966 to 1970. She lives in Manhattan and teaches acting technique at HB Studio.

Early career[edit]

Lasser was the understudy for Barbra Streisand in the Broadway musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale. She also appeared on the soap opera The Doctors and television commercials. Lasser appeared in the Woody Allen films Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971), and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972), as well as being one of the voices for his earlier spoof dubbing of a Japanese spy movie, What's Up Tiger Lily? (1966); she also had a brief cameo in his film Stardust Memories (1980). In 1973, she appeared in the episode "The Roller Coaster Stops Here" of the NBC romantic anthology television series Love Story.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman[edit]

Lasser became a household name for starring as the neurotic, unhappy housewife Mary Hartman in the serialized parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. The show aired five nights a week in 1976–1977. Lasser decided to leave the series after 2 seasons (325 episodes). The serial was rebranded as Forever Fernwood and continued on for 26 weeks.

In 2000, Lasser appeared on a panel with her former cast members at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills (taped for the museum archives).

Lasser was interviewed about the series in the bonus features in the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Complete Series DVD box-set from Shout Factory which was released December 2013.

Other roles and appearances[edit]

On July 24, 1976, Lasser hosted Saturday Night Live at the end of the first season. Her performance is best known for her opening monologue in which she has a Mary Hartman-esque meltdown and locks herself in her dressing room. She is then coaxed out by Chevy Chase/Land Shark.[4] There is an urban legend that Lasser was banned from the show because of this, which she flatly denies.[5]

Lasser wrote the telemovie Just Me and You (1978), starring in it alongside Charles Grodin.

She had a recurring role as Alex's ex-wife on the hit series Taxi and starred in the 1981–82 season of the TV series It's a Living, playing waitress Maggie McBurney. (This reunited her with her former Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman co-star, Marian Mercer, who played her supervisor, Nancy.)

Lasser also had a recurring role as Victor Erlich's Aunt Charise, a neurotic comic character on St. Elsewhere in the mid-1980s. In 1989, Lasser played the mother of the main character in the movie Sing (1989).

In 1998, she appeared as the mother of the three main female characters in Todd Solondz's film Happiness. She appeared in the film Mystery Men (1999) as the mother of Hank Azaria's character.

Lasser had a role in Darren Aronofsky's film Requiem for a Dream (2000), and she co-starred with Renée Taylor in National Lampoon's Gold Diggers (2003)

Lasser acted in 2 episodes of HBO's Girls as a Manhattan artist for the series' 3rd season (2014).

Lasser is currently a member of faculty at HB Studio, where she teaches acting technique.


External links[edit]