McGrath at the 2014 Music & Movies: CFC Gala & Auction Fundraiser
|Alma mater||Ryerson University|
|Little Mosque on the Prairie|
McGrath first started her career with three years as a member of The Second City Toronto, Ontario, from 1983-1985, where she was a writer and actress, and eventually a director. She was best known for a take-off of Marilyn Monroe, and the song Condoms are a Girl's Best Friend. During the late 1980s, she appeared with Second City at anniversary, comedy festival and Club Soda performances.
In 1987, McGrath starred in Spoof, a comedy pilot written by Brian Cooke and Perry Rosemond. In 1989, she had a major role in Allan King's film Termini Station. She also appeared in Eugene Levy's 1992 TV film Partners 'N Love, in which she played a lawyer whose client's divorce was found to be invalid.
In 1990, with Linda Kash, McGrath co-created My Talk Show, a sitcom featuring a talk show broadcast from the host's basement. The series ran for one year, with fifty-nine episodes. Producer Bob Tischler cast Cynthia Stevenson as the host, while McGrath played a local dinner theatre owner, actress and head of the Chamber of Commerce. Initial reviews were very positive, predicting that McGrath would become the Carl Reiner of the 1990s. However, ratings were low, the host character left the show and McGrath's character became the host. Ratings did not improve (one reviewer considered that McGrath's character was "a grating, overbearing bimbo whose I-have-no-idea-who-my-guests-are routine gets boring fast") and the show folded after one season. McGrath was also a co-writer of the Canadian Women's Television Network's Go Girl!, a send-up of a cable TV talk show that debuted in 1997.
In 2002, McGrath appeared in the film Expecting, directed by Deborah Day, which won Most Popular Canadian Film at the 2002 Vancouver International Film Festival. McGrath played a dermatologist, the childless older sister of the pregnant star, and her performance was noted by several reviewers as "show[ing] the wounded heart beneath the careerist's brittle exterior"; "McGrath is the other standout as Anita, by far the richest character in the film. Neurotic and condescending to everyone around her, Anita is quick to deliver zingers, then filled with regret for what she's said. McGrath is sharp and touching, surprisingly substantial in a film that's ultimately fluff." For this role, McGrath won the award for Best Performance in a Feature (Female) at the 2004 Canadian Comedy Awards.
With her husband, Colin Mochrie, and Deborah Day, McGrath co-created and starred in the CBC television series Getting Along Famously (2006), about a fictional couple who star in a 1960s TV variety show. The 2005 pilot show of Getting Along Famously was nominated for two Gemini Awards, including Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series. She also starred in the children's series Seven Little Monsters (2000-2003), and in Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007-2012) in which she played Mayor Popowitcz. She co-starred with Spencer Rice in Single White Spenny in 2011.
In 2003, she formed a comedy troupe called Women Fully Clothed with four other Canadian comedy artists. Fellow cast members Kathy Greenwood, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Teresa Pavlinek and McGrath perform sketches about situations ordinary women face every day. One reviewer considered that "Although all five comedians have performance skills in spades, Kathryn Greenwood and Debra McGrath are standouts, ... the latter for her dancing skills. ... McGrath cuts a mean rug in her tap shoes, and her monologue in the routine about being on the phone with her mum and granny hit very close to the bone." McGrath left the troupe in the first half of 2009.
McGrath played Cornelia in the 2003 live-action films Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime. She has made numerous guest appearances on a variety of Canadian TV series and had a regular role in seasons one (2001) and two (2004) of Paradise Falls. She has also voiced characters in many other animated shows, including The Raccoons (1991), The Busy World of Richard Scarry (1993-1997), Stories From My Childhood (1998), George and Martha (Valerie Chuckles, 1999-2000), Babar (2000), George Shrinks (Mrs Lopez, 2000-2001), Peep and the Big Wide World and Franklin and the Green Knight (2000).
McGrath was formerly married to Dana Andersen. She married fellow comedian and Second City alumnus Colin Mochrie in 1989. They live in Leaside, Toronto. They have one child, a daughter, Kinley. McGrath collects 1950s Italian Murano glass.
|1985||One Magic Christmas||Mrs. Noonan|
|1989||Termini Station||Liz Dunshane|
|1997||The Real Blonde||Cis|
|2000||Franklin and the Green Knight: The Movie||Warbler||Direct-to-video|
Credited as Deb McGrath
|2002||Expecting||Anita||Writer - Dialogue|
|2005||Burnt Toast: The Argument||Wife||Video short|
|2013||The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain||Narrator||Voice|
Credited as Deb McGrath
|2016||Duty Calls||Drunk||Short film|
|2019||Home in Time||Fran||Short film|
|1983||SCTV Channel||McConnachie||Season 6 episode 1: "Maudlin O' the Night"|
|1987||Really Weird Tales||Mother||TV movie|
Segment: "I'll Be Loving"
|1988||110 Lombard||TV short|
|1989-1993||Street Legal||Julia McCrindle / Real Estate Agent||2 episodes|
|1990||My Talk Show||Anne Marie Snelling||Episode: "Uptown Anne Marie"|
Writer - 6 episodes
|1991||The Raccoons||Nurse Peck||Voice|
Season 5 episode 2: "Stress Test!"
|1992||Partners 'n Love||Rosemary Hudson||TV movie|
|1993-1997||The Busy World of Richard Scarry||Voice|
|1994||RoboCop||Bambi Taker||Episode 3: "Prime Suspect"|
|Due South||Tammy Markles||Season 1 episode 5: "Pizzas and Promises"|
|1998||Stories from My Childhood||Credited as Debbie McGrath|
Episode 12: "The Prince and the Swan"
|1997-1999||Wind at My Back||Reenie Bigelow||3 episodes|
|1998-1999||Ned's Newt||Mrs. Pluck / Agent Spam / Lion 2||Voice|
Credited as Deb McGrath
|1999-2000||George and Martha||Valerie Chuckles||Voice|
Main role (26 episodes)
|2000||Code Name: Eternity||Nurse||Episode 1: "Ethaniel's Story"|
|2000-2001||George Shrinks||Mrs. Lopez||Voice|
|2000-2003||Seven Little Monsters||Mama||Main role (49 episodes)|
|2001-2004||Paradise Falls||Shirley Armstrong / Shirley||25 episodes|
|2003||DC 9/11: Time of Crisis||Mary Matalin||TV movie|
|2005||Getting Along Famously||Ruby Kendall||TV movie pilot|
|Burnt Toast||Ursula||TV movie|
|2006||This Is Wonderland||Marty Klein||Episode #3.9|
|Getting Along Famously||Ruby Kendall||Main role |
|2007||The Jane Show||Sally||Season 2 episode 14: "Who's Got Spirit?"|
|Women Fully Clothed: All Dressed Up and Places to Go||Herself||TV documentary|
|2007-2012||Little Mosque on the Prairie||Mayor Ann Popowicz||Main role (90 episodes and one special)|
|2009-2010||Winnipeg Comedy Festival||Herself||Host - Season 7 episode 1: "Tying the Knot"|
Season 8 episode 4: "The Holiday Show" - Credited as Deb McGrath
Writer (2 episodes)
|2009-2013||The Ron James Show||Ted's Wife||8 episodes|
|2010||Love Letters||Melissa||TV short|
|Winnipeg Comedy Festival||Herself||TV documentary|
|2011||Single White Spenny||Sheila||Main role|
|The Casting Room||Herself||Season 2 episode 4: "Debra McGrath"|
|2012||Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town||Mrs. Pepperleigh||TV movie|
|2016||Coming In||Mitchell's Mom||2 episodes|
|2018||Let's Get Physical||Kathy Vanslooten||Credited as Deb McGrath|
Episode 8: "CAC Fight!"
|2019||Private Eyes||Deena Duncan||Season 3 episode 12: "Glazed and Confused"|
|Carter||Gretchen Jacott||Season 2 episode 1: "Harley Wears A Wig"|
|2020||Baroness von Sketch Show||Roberta|
|2018||Far Cry 5||Nancy||Voice|
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- McGrath, Debra. "Colin Mochrie: What My Daughter Taught Me When She Came Out As Trans". Reader's Digest. Canada. Retrieved June 18, 2019.