Swoosie Kurtz

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Swoosie Kurtz
Swoosie Kurtz Shankbone 2009 Tribeca.jpg
Kurtz at the 2009 premiere of PoliWood
Born (1944-09-06) September 6, 1944 (age 70)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1968–present

Swoosie Kurtz (/ˌswsi ˈkɜrts/, SWOO-si; born September 6, 1944) is an American actress. She is an Emmy Award winner and two-time Tony Award winner.

Kurtz made her Broadway debut in the 1975 revival of Ah, Wilderness. She has received five Tony Award nominations, winning two, for Fifth of July in 1981 and The House of Blue Leaves in 1986. Her other nominations were for Tartuffe in 1988, Frozen in 2004 and Heartbreak House in 2007.

For her television work, she has received eight Emmy Award nominations, with one win for Carol and Company in 1990. Other television credits include the NBC drama Sisters (1991-1996), Huff (2004-2006), Pushing Daisies (2007-2009) and since 2010, the hit CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. Her films include, Wildcats (1986), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Stanley and Iris (1990), Citizen Ruth (1996) and Liar Liar (1997).

Early life[edit]

Kurtz was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the only child of author Margaret "Margo" (née Rogers) and Air Force Colonel Frank Allen Kurtz, Jr., a much-decorated WWII American bomber pilot.[1][2][3] She got her unique first name "Swoosie" (which rhymes with Lucy, rather than woozy) from her father. It is derived from the sole surviving example of the early Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress bomber, named "The Swoose" or simply "Swoose"—half swan, half goose—which her father piloted, breaking all Pacific records[4] during World War II.[5] As a military brat, Kurtz moved frequently. Kurtz attended the University of Southern California where she majored in drama. She then attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

John Guare and Kurtz at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

Kurtz's first television appearance at age seventeen was on The Donna Reed Show 4th season episode "The Golden Trap" (February, 1962). She also appeared on To Tell the Truth at eighteen, identifying her father from two impostors. Kurtz began her career in theater, making her Broadway debut in the 1975 revival of Ah, Wilderness!. She first gained wide recognition in 1978 for two theatrical productions, Uncommon Women and Others, the breakthrough play by Wendy Wasserstein in which she appeared in a 1977 workshop at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and then Off-Broadway, and the musical A History of the American Film for which she won a Drama Desk Award. Kurtz was soon awarded Broadway's "triple crown" (the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards) for her portrayal of Gwen in Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July. She won a second Tony for her performance as Bananas in a 1986 revival of The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare. She starred as playwright Lillian Hellman in the 2002 Nora Ephron play Imaginary Friends.[6]

Cynthia Nixon, John Hurt and Kurtz at the premiere of An Englishman in New York.

In 1978, Kurtz was part of the ensemble cast of Mary Tyler Moore's short-lived variety series Mary, that also included David Letterman and Michael Keaton. In 1981, Kurtz began two seasons alongside Tony Randall in the sitcom Love, Sidney, in a role that earned her the first of her 10 Emmy Award nominations. In 1990, she won her first Emmy for a guest-starring role on Carol Burnett's comedy series Carol & Company.

From 1991 to 1996, Kurtz had her longest-running television role, starring as wealthy divorcee Alex Reed Halsey on the NBC drama Sisters, a role that earned her two more Emmy Award nominations. She also starred in the ABC television series Pushing Daisies as Lily Charles.

In recent years, Kurtz has guest-starred on the hit shows ER and Lost and Desperate Housewives and has also had recurring roles as Valerie on the drama That's Life, as Judy's mother Helen on the sitcom Still Standing, as Madeleine Sullivan on the Showtime drama series Huff, and most recently as part of a lesbian married couple with Blythe Danner in the TV drama Nurse Jackie. In 2010, Kurtz began starring in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly as Joyce Flynn.

Although her main focus has been television, Kurtz has starred in several major Hollywood films including the Agatha Christie drama Caribbean Mystery in 1983, Dangerous Liaisons in 1988, its 1999 remake Cruel Intentions, as a lesbian activist in the acclaimed indie film Citizen Ruth, and perhaps most notably, alongside Jim Carrey in 1997's Liar Liar.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1968 The Firebugs Ann
1970 The Effect of Gamma Rays Tillie/Janice Vickery
1977 Slap Shot Shirley Upton
1977 First Love Marsha
1978 Oliver's Story Gwen Simpson
1979 Walking Through the Fire Caria Television movie
1980 Marriage is Alive and Well Jane Tremont Television movie
1980 The Mating Season Roberta Television movie
1982 The World According to Garp The Hooker
1983 A Caribbean Mystery Ruth Walter
1984 Against All Odds Edie
1985 Guilty Conscience Jackie Willis Television movie
1985 A Time to Live Patricia Television movie
1986 Wildcats Verna McGrath
1986 True Stories Miss Rollings
1988 Baja Oklahoma Doris Steadman Television movie
Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1988 Vice Versa Tina Brooks / Turk
1988 Bright Lights, Big City Megan
1988 Dangerous Liaisons Madame de Volanges
1990 The Image Joanne Winstow-Darvish Television movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1990 Stanley & Iris Sharon
1990 A Shock to the System Leslie Marshall
1991 Walking the Dog N/A Short film
1991 Terror on Track 9 Marcia Hobbs Television movie
1993 The Positively True Adventures of the
Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom
Marla Harper Television movie
1993 And the Band Played On Mrs. Johnstone Television movie
Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1994 Reality Bites Charlane McGregor
1994 One Christmas Emily Television movie
1995 Betrayed: A Story of Three Women Joan Bixler Television movie
1996 Citizen Ruth' Diane Siegler
1996 A Promise to Carolyn Kay Television movie
1996 Harvey Veta Simmons Television movie
1996 Storybook Queen Evilia
1997 Little Girls in Pretty Boxes Allison Bryant Television movie
1997 Liar Liar Dana Appleton
1998 My Own Country Hope Flanders Television movie
1998 Outside Ozona Rosalee
1999 Cruel Intentions Dr. Greenbaum
1999 The White River Kid Mummy Weed
2001 Get Over It Beverly Landers
2001 Bubble Boy Mrs. Livingston
2001 The Wilde Girls Sierra Lambert Television movie
2002 The Rules of Attraction Mrs. Jared
2003 Duplex Jean aka Our House
2004 Sleep Easy, Hutch Rimes Binny Redwine
2005 True N/A Television movie
2005 Category 7: The End of the World Penny Hall Television movie
2005 Nadine in Date Land N/A Television movie
2007 Superman: Doomsday Martha Kent (voice)
2008 Living Proof Elizabeth Television movie
2009 An Englishman in New York Connie Clausen

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Donna Reed Show Mimi Episode: "The Golden Trap"
1971 As the World Turns Ellie Bradley [7] Unknown episodes
1976 Kojak Julie Di Nata Episode: "Black Thorn"
1978 Mary Skit characters Unknown episodes
1979 Uncommon Women and Others Rita Altabel Unknown episodes
1981–1983 Love, Sidney Laurie Morgan 44 episode
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1982–83)
1987 American Playhouse Bananas Shaughnessy / Gwen Landis 2 episodes
1987 Trying Times Wanda Episode: "The Visit"
1990 Carol & Company Laurie Episode: "Reunion"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1995 Hope and Gloria Herself Episode: "How to Get an Ed in Business"
1995 The Magic School Bus Dorothy Ann's Mom Episode: "Out of This World"
1991–1996 Sisters Alex Reed Barker 127 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1993–94)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
1996 Party Girl Judy Burkhard 3 episodes
1997 Touched by an Angel Libby King Episode: "Charades"
1996–1997 Suddenly Susan Liz Miller Keane 3 episodes
1998 ER Tina Marie Chambliss Episode: "Suffer the Little Children"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
1998 More Tales of the City Betty Borg Ramsey 3 episodes
1999–2000 Love & Money Effie Conklin 13 episodes
2000 The Outer Limits Justice Kendall Woods Episode: "Final Appeal"
2001 The Fighting Fitzgeralds Unknown Episode: "When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'"
2001–2002 That's Life Valerie Wilkinson 4 episodes
2002 Street Time Victoria Van Kleek Episode: "The Truth Hurts... Bad"
2003 The Wild Thornberrys Michelle Naidell (voice) Episode: "The Wild Snob-berry"
2005 Lost Emily Annabeth Locke Episode: "Deus Ex Machina"
2005–2013 American Dad! Betty Smith 4 episodes
2005 Still Standing Helen Michaels 2 episodes
2004–2006 Huff Madeleine Sullivan 8 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2005–06)
2007–2009 Pushing Daisies Lily Charles 15 episodes
2009 Desperate Housewives Jessie Episode: "The Story of Lucy and Jessie"
2009 Heroes Millie Houston 2 episodes
2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Hilda Marsden Episode: "Crush"
2009 Rita Rocks Marilyn 7 episodes
2010 Chuck Laura Turner Episode: "Chuck Versus the Role Models"
2009–2011 Nurse Jackie Mrs. Scheinhorn 2 episodes
2010–present Mike & Molly Joyce Flynn 91 episodes

Theatre credits[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1968 The Firebugs Ann Martinique Theatre
July 1, 1968 – July 7, 1968
1970 The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Janice Vickery Mercer Arts Center
April 07, 1970 – May 14, 1972
1975 Ah, Wilderness! Muriel McComber Circle in the Square Theatre
September 18, 1975 – November 23, 1975
1976 Children Jane Stage 73
October 20, 1976
1977 Uncommon Women and Others Rita Altabel Marymount Manhattan Theatre
November 17, 1977 – December 4, 1977
1977 Tartuffe Mariane Circle in the Square Theatre
September 25, 1977 – November 20, 1977
1978 A History of the American Film Bette ANTA Playhouse
March 30, 1978 – April 16, 1978
1979 Wine Untouched Unknown Harold Clurman Theater
June 18, 1979 – June 28, 1979
1980 Fifth of July Gwen Landis New Apollo Theatre
November 5, 1980 – January 24, 1982
1985 The Beach House Annie Circle Repertory Company
December 19, 1985 – February 2, 1986
1986 The House of Blue Leaves Bananas Shaughnessy Vivian Beaumont Theater
April 29, 1986 – March 15, 1987
1989 Love Letters Melissa Gardner (replacement) Edison Theatre
November 14, 1989 – November 19, 1989
1991 Lips Together, Teeth Apart Sally Truman New York City Center
May 28, 1991 – January 5, 1992
1999 The Mineola Twins Myrna/Myra Laura Pels Theatre
February 18, 1999 – May 30, 1999
1999 The Vagina Monologues Unknown Westside Theatre
October 03, 1999 – January 26, 2003
2002 The Guys Unknown The Flea Theater
January 17, 2002 – December 20, 2002
2002 Imaginary Friends Lillian Hellman Ethel Barrymore Theatre
December 12, 2002 – February 16, 2003
2003 Intrigue with Faye Woman Acorn Theater
June 11, 2003 – July 16, 2003
2004 Frozen Nancy Circle in the Square Theatre
May 4, 2004 – August 22, 2004
2006 Heartbreak House Hesione Hushabye American Airlines Theatre
October 11, 2006 – December 17, 2006

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
1978 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play Tartuffe Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Uncommon Women and Others Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical A History of the American Film Won
1981 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play Fifth of July Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Won
1982 Emmy Award Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Love, Sidney Nominated
1983 Nominated
1986 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play The House of Blue Leaves Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
1993 Emmy Award Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sisters Nominated
1994 Nominated
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special And the Band Played On Nominated
1998 Guest Actress in a Drama Series ER Nominated
1999 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play The Mineola Twins Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
2004 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play Frozen Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
2005 Emmy Award Guest Actress in a Drama Series Huff Nominated
2006 Nominated
2007 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play Heartbreak House Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Swoosie Kurtz - Profile, Latest News and Related Articles
  2. ^ Swoosie Kurtz Biography (1944-)
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ National Archives photo 342-FH-3A40681A-21320AC shows the B-17 crew that broke all records in the Pacific. Annotated photo available at Fold3 with crew list on the reverse side
  5. ^ Friends Journal, published by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., Vol 31, No 3, Fall 2008, p 15
  6. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. Jones, Kurtz, Groener Become Bway's Imaginary Friends, Nov. 25; Opens Dec. 12. Playbill. 20 July 2002 [2]
  7. ^ Poll, Julie (1996). As the World Turns: The Complete Family Scrapbook, Special 40th Anniversary Edition. General Publishing Group. p. 295. 

External links[edit]