Christina Pickles

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Christina Pickles
Christina Pickles.jpg
Pickles in 1987
Christine Pickles[1]

(1935-02-17) 17 February 1935 (age 86)
Years active1961–present
Victor Lobl
(m. 1962; div. 1985)

(m. 2005)


Christina Pickles (born 17 February 1935) is a British-American actress. She is known for her role as Nurse Helen Rosenthal in the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere (1982–1988), for which she received five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She is also known for her recurring role as Judy Geller on the NBC sitcom Friends (1994–2003), for which she was nominated for the 1995 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Pickles appeared in Broadway plays in the 1960s and 1970s, including The Misanthrope (1968) and Sherlock Holmes (1975), and starred on the daytime soap operas Guiding Light (1970–1972) and Another World (1977–1979). Her film appearances include Masters of the Universe (1987), Legends of the Fall (1994), Romeo + Juliet (1996), and The Wedding Singer (1998). She won the 2018 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for the Vimeo series Break a Hip.

Early life[edit]

Christina Pickles was born in Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire,[2] the daughter of Arthur Pickles, Liberal politician and Mayor of Halifax, and Gladys (née Crampton) Pickles. She is the niece of radio presenter Wilfred Pickles and the sister of judge James Pickles. Her niece Carolyn Pickles is also an actress.

Christina Pickles began attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London at age 15 and studied alongside Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole, and Brian Bedford.[2] After graduating,[3][4] she moved to New York City in the late 1950s, residing initially with friend and classmate Donald Moffat and his wife.[2]


In 1961, Pickles began her acting career in Look Back in Anger at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. She performed in Measure for Measure in Joe Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park, then won the lead role in George Devine's The Way of the World, despite auditioning for the maid's role.[2] After her Broadway debut in A Severed Head in 1964,[2] other Broadway productions followed, including Inadmissible Evidence, You Can't Take It with You, War and Peace, The Misanthrope, Hamlet, and Sherlock Holmes.[5]

At the same time, Pickles debuted on television, playing Linell Conway on Guiding Light (1970–1972). She played Countess Elena dePoulignac on the NBC soap opera Another World (1977–1979). She appeared in such feature films as Seizure (1974) and Rush It (1977). After moving from New York City to Los Angeles, Pickles was cast as Nurse Helen Rosenthal in the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. The series aired from 1982 to 1988. She remained on St. Elsewhere for its entire six-year run and was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on the series.[6]

She later was a regular on the short-lived CBS sitcom The People Next Door, which aired in 1989. She went to appear on Family Ties, Who's the Boss?, In the Heat of the Night, Matlock, The Nanny, Murder, She Wrote, and Touched by an Angel.[7]

From 1994 to 2003, Pickles played the recurring role of Judy Geller, the mother of Ross and Monica Geller (David Schwimmer and Courteney Cox), in the NBC sitcom Friends, making appearances throughout the 10-year run of the series. She received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series nomination for this role in 1995.[6] Pickles played the mother of Harmon Rabb in the CBS drama series JAG from 1998 to 2000. From 1999 to 2000, she starred in the short-lived Fox comedy-drama series Get Real.[7]

Pickles has appeared in many films, including Masters of the Universe (1987), Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love (1994), Legends of the Fall (1994) directed by Edward Zwick, Grace of My Heart (1996), Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), The Wedding Singer (1998), Sol Goode (2003), George of the Jungle 2 (2003), and Atlas Shrugged: Part I (2011). She has had roles in a number of made-for-television movies.[7]

In the 2000s, Pickles appeared in a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother as Lily Aldrin's grandmother, and guest-starred on The Division, Medium, and Childrens Hospital. In 2016, she was cast in the ABC drama pilot The Death Of Eva Sofia Valdez, starring Gina Torres in a title role.[8] In 2018, she received her seventh Emmy nomination (in category for "Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series"), and her first in 23 years, for the comedic web series Break a Hip.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Pickles was married to producer/director Victor Lobl for 23 years, divorcing in 1985. She became a United States citizen in 1989. She was romantically linked to actor Herb Edelman, who also played her significant other on St. Elsewhere, from the mid-1980s until his death in 1996.[10]

In 2005, she married Australian-American journalist Ian Masters.[11]



Year Title Role Notes
1974 Seizure Nicole Blackstone
1978 Rush It Eve
1984 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear Chris
1987 Masters of the Universe Sorceress of Castle Grayskull
1989 The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro Charlotte Television film
1992 Nightmare in the Daylight Sarah Jenner Television film
1993 A Twist of the Knife Marilyn Cabot Television film
1994 Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love Tippy
1994 Legends of the Fall Isabel Ludlow
1996 Grace of My Heart Mrs. Buxton
1996 Romeo + Juliet Caroline Montague
1996 No Easy Way Mrs. Livingston
1997 Weapons of Mass Distraction Mrs. Frieda Messinger Television film
1997 The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island Elsie (voice)
1998 The Wedding Singer Angie Sullivan
1998 Monday After the Miracle Kate Keller
1998 Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery Mim Sanburne Television film
1999 Valerie Flake Meg Darnell
1999 Poseidon's Fury: Escape from the Lost City Goddess Short film
2002 Angels Don't Sleep Here Angela Porter
2003 Sol Goode Sol's Mom
2003 George of the Jungle 2 Beatrice Stanhope
2007 The Family Holiday Mrs. Pendergast
2008 Collectibles Narrator
2008 Immigrants Harriet (voice)
2009 Flower Girl Evangeline Walker
2011 Atlas Shrugged: Part I Mother Rearden
2013 Live at the Foxes Den Mrs. Ducksworth
2014 Wild & Precious Bea Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1977–1979 Another World Countess Elena DePoulignac 51 episodes
1981 The White Shadow Christine 1 episode
1982 Lou Grant Elsa 1 episode
1988 Roseanne Perfume Saleswoman 1 episode
1982–1988 St. Elsewhere Nurse Helen Rosenthal 137 episodes
1988 Family Ties Ruth Hobart 2 episodes
1988 Who's the Boss? Laura 1 episode
1989 The People Next Door Cissy MacIntyre 10 episodes
1991 In the Heat of the Night Dr. Lureen Allcott 1 episode
1991 Veronica Clare Kelsey Horne 3 episodes
1992 Matlock Diana Huntington 2 episodes
1992 Nightmare in the Daylight Sarah Jenner Television film
1992 Laurie Hill Mary 2 episodes
1994 Sisters Didi Poncell 1 episode
1995 Cybill Betty 1 episode
1995 Murder, She Wrote Susan McGregor 1 episode
1996 Diagnosis: Murder Bea Michaels 1 episode
1998–2000 JAG Trish Burnett 3 episodes
1999–2002 Get Real Elizabeth Parker 22 episodes
1994–2003 Friends Judy Geller 19 episodes
2004 The Division Florence Hayes 1 episode
2006 Medium Mrs. Walker 1 episode
1971–2007 Guiding Light Linell Conway 8 episodes
2009–2011 How I Met Your Mother Rita 2 episodes
2013 Animal Practice Sabrina French 1 episode
2017 Great News Mildred Marlock 2 episodes
2017 9JKL Lenore 1 episode
2019 Dollface Silvia Goldwyn 1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1983 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series St. Elsewhere Nominated
1985 Nominated
1986 Nominated
1987 Nominated
1988 Nominated
1995 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Friends Nominated
2018 Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Break a Hip Won


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed April 10, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Behrens, Deborah (27 July 2011). "Hal Linden and Christina Pickles Summer On Golden Pond". @ This Stage. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Christina Pickles profile". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Christina Pickles". Colony Theatre. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Christina Pickles". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Christina Pickles". Television Academy. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Christina Pickles at IMDb
  8. ^ Petski, Denise. "'Drew': Rob McClure Cast In CBS' Nancy Drew Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  9. ^ Pond, Steve (22 August 2018). "How 'St. Elsewhere' Star Christina Pickles Got Another Emmy Shot at Age 83 (Video)". TheWrap.
  10. ^ Oliver, Myrna (24 July 1996). "Herbert Edelman; TV Character Actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  11. ^ Closer Staff (29 August 2015). "'Friends' Star Christina Pickles Invites Closer Into Her Cozy LA Home". Closer.

External links[edit]