Ruehl in East Hampton, New York in October 2009
|Born||Mercedes J. Ruehl
February 28, 1948
Queens, New York, U.S.
Personal life 
Ruehl was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, the daughter of Mercedes J. Ruehl, a school teacher, and Vincent Ruehl, an FBI agent. She was raised Catholic. Her father was of German and Irish descent and her mother was of Cuban and Irish ancestry. Ruehl attended College of New Rochelle and graduated in 1969. She is married to painter David Geiser, with whom she adopted a son, Jake (born 1997). She had another son, Christopher, whom she placed in adoption in 1976; he later became Jake's godfather.
Ruehl began her career in regional theatre with the Denver Center Theatre Company, taking odd jobs between engagements. In the late 1970s, Ruehl began chalking up New York stage successes, notably in I'm Not Rappaport (1984). On the stage, she won the 1984 Obie Award for her performance in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and twenty years later, an Obie for Woman Before a Glass. She also received a 1991 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. Her performances in two other plays earned her two other Tony nominations: in 1995, as Best Actress (Featured Role – Play) for a revival of The Shadow Box; and in 2002, as Best Actress (Play) for Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?.
Her most acclaimed film role was in The Fisher King; her performance in the film earned her the 1991 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as an American Comedy Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and a Golden Globe. Earlier she had won the 1989 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Married to the Mob. She played KACL station manager Kate Costas in five episodes of Frasier, and had a major role in the made-for-TV film All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story. She is the first Cuban American female Academy Award winner. In 2005, she (along with Esai Morales) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin actresses. She also played the mother of main character Vincent Chase in HBO's Entourage.
In 2008, Ruehl returned to the Broadway stage in Manhattan Theater Club's production of Richard Greenberg's The American Plan playing the role of Eva Adler. The production opened at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and the limited engagement ran until March 22, 2009. In his rave review in The New York Times, Ben Brantley called Ruehl's performance "masterly". Ruehl next appeared in the drama/horror film What Ever Happened to Barker Daniels?, which was released in 2009. Ruehl is currently starring in Sarah Treem's play The How and The Why, directed by Emily Mann at McCarter Theater.
Though not a singer herself, Ruehl was involved in the production of the album Haunted by Poe; she also reads passages from the book House of Leaves by Poe's brother Mark Z. Danielewski on the CD Don't be Scared, issued to cross-promote both projects.
|1984||Mom's on Strike||Sandy|
|1985||Our Family Honor||Louise Taylor||Episode: "Homecoming"|
|1986||Kate & Allie||Millie||Episode: "Late Bloomer"|
|1990||The Cosby Show||Bernadette Foley||Episode: "The Moves"|
|1995||Indictment: The McMartin Trial||Lael Rubin|
|1995–1996||Frasier||Kate Costas||5 episodes|
|1997||SUBWAY Stories: Tales from the Underground||Leyla||Segment: "Underground"|
|North Shore Fish||Florence|
|2000||All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story||Jane Newhall|
|The Lost Child||Rebecca||Hallmark Hall of Fame|
|2002||Guilt by Association||Susan Walker|
|2004||1-800-Missing||Emanuelle Baker||Episode: "These Dreams Before Me"|
|Bad Apple||Lorraine Gibbons|
|Law & Order||Zina Rybakov||Episode: "All in the Family"|
|2005||Mom at Sixteen||Terry Jeffries||Nominated — Prism Award Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries|
|2006||Entourage||Rita Chase||Episodes: "Aquamom" and "Return To Queens Blvd"|
|A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story||Sylvia Guerrero||Nominated — Imagen Award for Best Actress - Television|
|2007||Psych||Detective Goochberg||Episode: "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast"|
|2009||Law & Order||Judge Clara Lloyd||Episode: "By Perjury"|
- Trescott, Jacqueline. "Mercedes Ruehl, Driven; The Manic Actress On the Road to Oscar", The Washington Post, March 26, 1992. Accessed May 28, 2009.
- Mercedes Ruehl biography. Film Reference.com.
- Ruehl, Mercedes. Casting a new light on a dark subject - novelist Cynthia Ozick - Interview. Interview. August 1994. FindArticles.com.
- Corliss, Richard. That Old Feeling: The Oscar Race. Time magazine. 6 April 2002.
- About CNR. College of New Rochelle. Access date 6 January 2008.
- Mercedes Ruehl. Yahoo Movies.
- "Newspaper columnist Peter Ruehl dies". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- Ruehl & Rabe Are Mother and Daughter in Broadway's American Plan, Opening Jan. 22 Playbill.com
- Broadway's American Plan Is Extended to March 22 Playbill.com
- THEATER REVIEW | 'THE AMERICAN PLAN' MORE ON 'The American Plan' Rapunzel in the Catskills NY Times
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0950776/ Retrieved on 2009-24-04
- Mercedes Ruehl at the Internet Broadway Database
- Mercedes Ruehl at the Internet Movie Database
- Ruehl Rules, a May 2005 Playbill article
- Brief Encounter with Mercedes Ruehl, a May 2002 Playbill interview