Amy Brenneman

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Amy Brenneman
Brenneman in 2009
Amy Frederica Brenneman

(1964-06-22) June 22, 1964 (age 59)
EducationHarvard University (BA)
  • Actress
  • producer
Years active1992–present
(m. 1995)

Amy Frederica Brenneman (born June 22, 1964)[1] is an American actress and producer. She worked extensively in television, coming to prominence as Detective Janice Licalsi in the ABC police drama series NYPD Blue (1993–1994). Brenneman next co-created and starred as Judge Amy Gray in the CBS drama series Judging Amy (1999–2005). She received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations for these roles.

In subsequent years, Brenneman has had starring roles as Violet Turner in the Shonda Rhimes medical drama series Private Practice (2007–2013), and as Laurie Garvey on the HBO drama series The Leftovers (2014–2017). She is also known for her recurring role as Faye Moskowitz on Frasier and has starred in various films, including Heat (1995), Fear (1996), Daylight (1996), Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000), Nine Lives (2005), and The Jane Austen Book Club (2007).

Early life[edit]

Brenneman was born in New London, Connecticut, to Frederica Joanne (née Shoenfield), a judge of the Connecticut State Superior Court, and Russell Langdon Brenneman Jr., an environmental lawyer.[2][3] Her aunt was Cold War-era journalist Beryl D. Hines.[4] Her mother was Jewish, and joined a Congregationalist church as an adult.[5] Her father, who was of English, Irish, and Swiss descent, was from a Protestant background.[6]

Brenneman was raised in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where she participated in theatre as a teenager, both in school at Glastonbury High School and with a local theater group. She graduated from Harvard University, where she majored in comparative religion, in 1987. While at Harvard, she co-founded Cornerstone Theatre Company, with which she traveled for several years after graduation.[7]


Brenneman began her career in the short-lived CBS series Middle Ages in 1992. The next year she was cast in her first major role as mob-connected uniformed officer Janice Licalsi on the ABC police drama series, NYPD Blue. Her story arc, which included a romantic relationship with David Caruso's character, ran through the show's first season (1993–1994) and the first few episodes of the second season. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1994 and for Outstanding Guest Actress the following year.[8]

After leaving NYPD Blue, Brenneman made her way into film. In 1995, she appeared in Bye Bye Love, Casper, and the critically acclaimed crime drama Heat.[3] In 1996, Brenneman had the female lead role opposite Sylvester Stallone in disaster thriller Daylight, and also starred in another thriller, Fear. In 1997, she played the leading role in the independent drama film Nevada.[9] The next year she starred in Your Friends & Neighbors directed by Neil LaBute.[10] In 1998–1999 season, she returned to television with a recurring role on the NBC comedy, Frasier, as Faye Moskowitz.[11]

In 1999, Brenneman became creator and executive producer of her own television series Judging Amy, in which she played the title character.[11] Brenneman portrayed a divorced single mother working as a Family Court Judge in Hartford, Connecticut. The show's concept was based on the real-life experiences of her mother, Frederica Brenneman, as a superior court judge in the state of Connecticut. Frederica Brenneman was one of Harvard Law School's first female graduates and became a juvenile court judge in Connecticut when Amy was three years old. Amy has said, "I play my mother's job, not my mother."[12] Judging Amy ran on CBS for six seasons and 138 episodes from September 19, 1999, to May 3, 2005, to good ratings. In 2002, she was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of her excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television.[13]

Brenneman starred in ensemble cast film Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her directed by Rodrigo García in 2000. In 2005, she starred in another Rodrigo García's independent drama, Nine Lives. In 2007, Brenneman played the role of Sylvia Avila in The Jane Austen Book Club based on 2004 novel of the same name by Karen Joy Fowler.[14] In 2008, Brenneman co-starred in 88 Minutes alongside Al Pacino.[15]

In March 2007, Brenneman was cast as Violet Turner in the Grey's Anatomy spin-off, Private Practice.[16] The Shonda Rhimes series ran on ABC from September 26, 2007, to January 22, 2013. She later starred in films The Face of Love and Words and Pictures, and was cast in HBO drama series The Leftovers opposite Justin Theroux.[17][18][19] Also in 2013, Brenneman played the role of Mary of Guise, the series' lead character's mother, in Reign.[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

In 1995, Brenneman married director Brad Silberling in the garden at her parents' home. They had originally met on the set of NYPD Blue. Brenneman and Silberling have two children, Charlotte Tucker and Bodhi Russell, in Pasadena.[22][23]

Brenneman is an Episcopalian.[24][25]

Brenneman signed the "We Had Abortions" petition which appears in the October 2006 issue of Ms. Magazine. The petition contains signatures of over 5,000 women declaring that they had an abortion and were "unashamed of the choice they made."[26]

In the February 28, 2007, all-star benefit reading of The Gift of Peace at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, she portrays an entrepreneur, alongside actors Ed Asner, Barbara Bain, George Coe, Wendie Malick, and James Pickens, Jr. The play was an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution 808, which sought to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the United States government, funded by a two percent diversion of The Pentagon's annual budget.[27]

In July 2008, Brenneman was nominated as a candidate on the Unite for Strength slate for a place on the national governing board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in elections scheduled for September 18, 2008.[28] The bid was successful.[29]

Brenneman is also a strong supporter of more restrictive gun laws, and in 2009 she hosted the Target for a Safe America gala at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group that favors restrictive gun laws and supports gun bans.[30]


die Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Bye Bye Love Susan
1995 Casper Amelia
1995 Heat Eady
1996 Fear Laura Walker
1996 Daylight Madelyne "Maddy" Thompson
1997 Nevada Chrysty
1997 Lesser Prophets Annie
1998 City of Angels Angel Uncredited cameo
1998 Your Friends & Neighbors Mary
1999 The Suburbans Grace
2000 Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her Det. Kathy Faber Segment: "Love Waits for Kathy"
2003 Off the Map Adult Bo Groden
2005 Nine Lives Lorna
2007 88 Minutes Shelly Barnes
2007 The Jane Austen Book Club Sylvia
2008 Downloading Nancy Carol
2009 Mother and Child Dr. Eleanor Stone
2013 Words and Pictures Elspeth
2013 The Face of Love Ann
2016 In the Shadows of the Rainbow Short film
2019 Peel Lucille
2019 Her Mind in Pieces Mother Segment: "Here Now"
2019 Foster Boy Kim Trainer
2021 Sweet Girl Diana Morgan


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Middle Ages Blanche Episodes: "The Pig in the Python", "Night Moves", "Murmur of the Heart"
1992 Murder, She Wrote Amy Wainwright Episode: "A Christmas Secret"
1993–94 NYPD Blue Det. Janice Licalsi Main role, 18 episodes
1997 Duckman Lauren Simone (voice) Episode: "A Trophied Duck"
1998–99 Frasier Faye Moskowitz Recurring role, 4 episodes
1999 A.T.F. Agent Robin O'Brien TV film
1999 Mary Cassatt: An American Impressionist Mary Cassatt TV film
1999–2005 Judging Amy Amy Gray Lead role, 138 episodes
2004 Sesame Street Herself
2007 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Violet Turner Episode: "The Other Side of This Life: Parts 1 & 2"
2007–13 Private Practice Dr. Violet Turner Main role, 106 episodes
2011 Robot Chicken Dorothy Gale / Various (voice) Episode: "The Departy Monster"
2014–15 Reign Marie de Guise Episodes: "The Consummation", "Forbidden", "The Price"
2014–17 The Leftovers Laurie Garvey Main role, 20 episodes
2016 No Tomorrow Herself Episode: "No Holds Barred"
2017 Veep Regina Pell Episode: "Library"
2017 The Get Ellen Television film
2018 Jane the Virgin Donna Episode: "Chapter Eighty"
2019 Goliath Diana Blackwood 8 episodes
2021 Tell Me Your Secrets Mary Barlow Main cast
2022 Shining Girls Rachel
2022 The Old Man Zoe Main cast

Music videos[edit]

Year Artist Title Role Ref.
2014 Various "Imagine" (UNICEF: World version) Herself [31]


Year Title Notes
1997 Nevada Co-producer
1999–2005 Judging Amy Executive producer, writer/creator (138 episodes)
2016 Heartbeat Executive producer (10 episodes)
2018 Intelligent Lives Executive producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1994 Viewers for Quality Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series NYPD Blue Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
1995 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Judging Amy Nominated
TV Guide Award Favorite Actress in a New Series Won
Producers Guild of America Award Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Award Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series Nominated
2001 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Nominated
TV Guide Award Actress of the Year in a Drama Series Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2002 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Series – Drama Nominated
Women in Film Lucy Award Lucy Award Won
2003 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Judging Amy Nominated
2005 Locarno International Film Festival Best Actress Nine Lives Won
Gotham Award Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
2007 TV Land Award TV Moment That Became Headline News
For appearing nude in the pilot episode
NYPD Blue Nominated


  1. ^ "Brenneman, Amy 1964–". Cengage. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Who's Who in American Law. Marquis Who's Who. 1983. p. 78. ISBN 0837935032.
  3. ^ a b Amy Brenneman Biography, Yahoo! Movies; accessed December 24, 2017.Archived December 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Cold War Journalist Beryl D. Hines, 84". The Washington Post. August 16, 2007.
  5. ^ Miller, Gerri (March 21, 2016). "Hollywood Now: Interfaith Stars and How They Raise Their Kids - InterfaithFamily". Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  6. ^ "Blog Archive » Race: Whose Problem Is It, Anyway?". Amy Brenneman. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  7. ^ Julia Collins, "Brennemans on the Bench",; accessed December 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "Amy Brenneman | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  9. ^ "Nevada (1997) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  10. ^ "Your Friends & Neighbors", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved June 5, 2017
  11. ^ a b JAMES ENDRST (1999-05-10). "Brenneman Takes Up Art, Courts Frasier, Seeks Own Show". The Hartford Courant. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  12. ^ Hal Erickson Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series About ..., p. 147, at Google Books
  13. ^ "Past Recipients". Archived from the original on August 30, 2011.
  14. ^ "The Jane Austen Book Club - Cast, Reviews, Summary, and Awards - AllRovi". Archived from the original on March 23, 2009.
  15. ^ RON DICKER (2008-04-13). "Amy Brenneman Not The Boss Anymore, And It's Nice". HARTFORD COURANT. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  16. ^ "Applegate, Smart, Brenneman cast in pilots". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ "'Private Practice's' Amy Brenneman to Co-Star in HBO's 'Leftovers'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 25, 2013). "Amy Brenneman To Co-Star In HBO Pilot 'The Leftovers'". Deadline. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Highfill, Samantha (2013-09-16). "HBO gives series order to Damon Lindelof's 'The Leftovers'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  20. ^ Highfill, Samantha (2013-11-25). "Amy Brenneman joins 'Reign' as Mary's mom". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  21. ^ "Amy Brenneman Joins CW's 'Reign'". Variety. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  22. ^ The Frostig Focus December 2020
  23. ^ "Amy Brenneman — Chiming In". ABILITY Magazine (Amy Brenneman Issue). Apr–May 2013.
  24. ^ "Mouth Wide Open Program: Program Notes: Amy Brenneman Opens Up | A.R.T. - American Repertory Theater".
  25. ^ "Amy Brenneman | Hollywood Prayer Network". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.
  26. ^ Q&A: Amy Brenneman on Defining—and Devoting Herself to—Feminism. Ms. Magazine, 19 May 2017
  27. ^ Martino, Stacey (2007-02-28). "The Peace Alliance". The Gift of Peace. Archived from the original on 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
  28. ^ "Hollywood actors' union faces internal rift". ABC News. Reuters. 2008-07-25. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  29. ^ "National Board of Directors". Screen Actors Guild. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  30. ^ "Amy Brenneman hosts the Brady Center Target for a Safe America gala, Los Angeles 2009". Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence web site. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  31. ^ Rowles, Dustin (2014-11-21). "'Imagine' Gets the Star-Studded 'We Are The World' Treatment for UNICEF". Pajiba. Retrieved 2021-05-24.

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