Armstrong in On Our Own (1977).
Elizabeth Key Armstrong|
December 11, 1953
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
John Fiedler (1985–present) 3 children|
Chris Carreras (1983–1984) (divorced)
Elizabeth Key "Bess" Armstrong (born December 11, 1953) is an American film, stage and television actress. She is best known for her roles in films The Four Seasons (1981), High Road to China (1983), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Nothing in Common (1986). Armstrong also starred in the ABC drama series My So-Called Life and had lead roles in a number of made-for-television films.
Armstrong was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Louise Allen (née Parlange), who taught at Bryn Mawr, and Alexander Armstrong, an English teacher at the Gilman School. She attended the Bryn Mawr School for Girls and Brown University, from which she graduated with degrees in Latin and Theater (studying acting with Jim Barnhill and John Emigh). While at Bryn Mawr and Brown, Armstrong appeared in over one hundred stage plays.
Armstrong's professional acting career began in 1975 with the Off-Off Broadway debut, Harmony House. Then, in 1977, Armstrong made her television debut as Julia Peters on the CBS sitcom, On Our Own. In 1978 Armstrong starred opposite Richard Thomas in her first TV-movie Getting Married. She co-starred again with Richard Thomas in a 1981 stage production in Seattle of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, from which a video was made for HBO broadcast that year.
Armstrong continued to make several films for both the big and small screens in the 1980s, among them High Road to China opposite Tom Selleck; Jaws 3-D with Dennis Quaid; Alan Alda's The Four Seasons; the TV miniseries Lace; and Nothing in Common, starring Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason.
The 1990s brought Armstrong to her best-known role, playing Patty Chase on the series My So-Called Life. She later starred in several television films. In 2000, she appeared on the NBC sitcom Frasier, in the episode "Mary Christmas." In 2008, Armstrong played Penelope Kendall on ABC's Boston Legal. Armstrong remains active in films, television, and the stage. She had a recurring role in the Showtime series House of Lies as Julianne Hotschragar. She also appeared in Castle, Mad Men and NCIS.
|1978||Getting Married||Kristine Lawrence||TV Movie|
|1978||How to Pick Up Girls!||Sally Claybrook||TV Movie|
|1979||Walking Through the Fire||Walking Through the Fire||TV Movie|
|1979||11th Victim||Jill Kelso||TV Movie|
|1981||The Four Seasons||Ginny Newley|
|1982||Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again||Mary Carew|
|1983||High Road to China||Eve||Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1983||Jaws 3-D||Dr. Kathryn 'Kay' Morgan|
|1983||This Girl for Hire||B.T. Brady|
|1984||Lace||Judy Hale||TV miniseries|
|1984||The House of God||Cissy Anderson|
|1986||Nothing in Common||Donna Mildred Martin|
|1989||Mother, Mother||Kate Watson|
|1989||Second Sight||Sister Elizabeth|
|1993||The Skateboard Kid||Maggie|
|1994||Serial Mom||Eugene Sutphin's Nurse||Cameo|
|1994||Take Me Home Again||Connie||TV Movie|
|1995||She Stood Alone: The Tailhook Scandal||Barbara Pope||TV Movie|
|1995||Stolen Innocence||Becky Sapp||TV Movie|
|1995||Mixed Blessings||Pilar Graham Coleman||TV Movie|
|1996||Forgotten Sins||Roberta 'Bobbie' Bradshaw||TV Movie|
|1996||The Perfect Daughter||Jill Michaelson||TV Movie|
|1996||She Cried No||Denise Connell||TV Movie|
|1996||Christmas Every Day||Molly Jackson||TV Movie|
|1997||That Darn Cat||Judy Randall|
|1998||Forever Love||Gail||TV Movie|
|1998||When It Clicks||Betsy Cummings|
|2000||Diamond Men||Katie Harnish|
|2002||Her Best Friend's Husband||Mandy Roberts||TV Movie|
|2008||Corporate Affairs||Emily Parker|
|2008||Next of Kin||Susan|
|2012||I Married Who?||Elaine||TV Movie|
|1977–1978||On Our Own||Julia Peters||Series regular, 22 episodes|
|1978||The Love Boat||Laura Stanton||Episode: "The Man Who Loved Women/A Different Girl/Oh, My Aching Brother"|
|1986||All Is Forgiven||Paula Winters Russell||Series regular, 9 episodes|
|1990–1991||Married People||Elizabeth Meyers||Series regular, 18 episodes|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Erma||Episode: "What's Cookin"|
|1994–1995||My So-Called Life||Patty Chase||Series regular, 19 episodes|
|1998||Touched by an Angel||Mary||Episode: "How Do You Spell Faith?"|
|1994, 1998||The Nanny||Sarah Sheffield||Episodes: "I Don't Remember Mama" and "The Wedding"|
|2002||That Was Then||Mickey Glass||Series regular, 4 episodes|
|2002||Good Morning, Miami||Louise Messinger||Episode: "If It's Not One Thing, It's a Mother"|
|2000, 2004||Frasier||Kelly Kirkland||Episodes: "Mary Christmas" and "Frasier-Lite"|
|2008||Boston Legal||Penelope Kimball||Episodes: "Mad About You" and "Made in China"|
|2009||Criminal Minds||Sheila Hawkes||Episode: "Zoe's Reprise"|
|2004, 2010||One Tree Hill||Lydia James||Recurring role, 5 episodes|
|2010||Castle||Paula Casillas||Episode: "He's Dead, She's Dead"|
|2012||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Patricia Lydecker||Episode: "CSI Unplugged"|
|2012||Mad Men||Catherine Orcutt||Episode: "Far Away Places"|
|2013||Reckless||Catherine Harrison||TV pilot|
|2013–2014||House of Lies||Julianne Hotschragar||Recurring role, 10 episodes|
|2014||NCIS||U.S. Senator Denise O'Hara||Episode: "Dressed to Kill"|
|2014||Reckless||Melinda Rayder||Recurring role|
|2015||Zoo||Dr. Elizabeth Oz||Episode: "Fight or Flight"|
|2015-2017||Switched at Birth||Professor Beth Marillo||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2016||Damien||Damien's Mother||Episode: "Temptress"|
|2016||Longmire||Nancy Crandall||Episode: "From This Day Forward"|
|2016||Conviction||Harper Morrison||Episode: The pilot, "Bridge And Tunnel Vision"|
|2017||Scandal||Senator Greenwald||Episode “Watch Me”|
- "Bess Armstrong Biography (1953-)". Filmreference.com. 1953-12-11. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
- Bess Armstrong - Yahoo! Movies Archived January 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "'House of Lies' Actress Bess Armstrong Joins ABC Drama Pilot 'Reckless'". TheWrap. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2013-10-08). "T.I. Joins 'House Of Lies', 'The Blacklist', 'Reckless' & 'Teen Wolf' Add Recurring". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-03-19.