Harriet Sansom Harris
Harriet Sansom Harris
|Born||January 8, 1955|
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Juilliard School (BFA)|
Harriet Sansom Harris (born January 8, 1955), often credited as Harriet Harris, is an American actress known for her theater performances and for her portrayals of Bebe Glazer on Frasier and Felicia Tilman on Desperate Housewives.
Harris won a Tony Award in 2002 as a Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie. In addition to television and theater, she has made various film appearances, including Memento, Addams Family Values, Nurse Betty and Phantom Thread.
Harris was born in Fort Worth, Texas, one of two daughters. On her mother's side, she is a descendant of one of the brothers of Marion Sansom, a 20th-century rancher and civic leader. Sansom Park is named after him. She began acting as a youngster, attending Arlington Heights High School. She attended Fort Worth Country Day School and graduated from there in 1973. At age 17, she was accepted at the Juilliard School's Drama Division (1973–77, Group 6) where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
After graduation from Juilliard, she joined John Houseman's touring repertory company The Acting Company, where she stayed for three years. During this time, she performed in productions of Shakespeare's King Lear and Romeo and Juliet, Antigone, and Mother Courage and Her Children.
Harris worked extensively on and Off-Broadway, including a 1989 performance at Second Stage Theatre in What a Man Weighs. One of her breakthrough performances was in the original cast of Paul Rudnick's Jeffrey, in which she was the sole female cast member.
In 1992, Harris made her Broadway debut in Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. That same year, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her portrayal in the Off-Broadway play Bella, Belle of Byelorussia. In 1993, she received a second Drama Desk nomination for her performance in Jeffrey. She won both a Drama Desk and Tony Award in 2002 as a Featured Actress in a Musical for playing the role of Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Since 2005, Harris has appeared in various stage productions across the United States. In summer 2006, she appeared as Vera Charles in the Kennedy Center's production of Mame opposite Christine Baranski in the title role. In early 2007, Harris appeared as Amanda Wingfield in the production of The Glass Menagerie at the Guthrie Theater. In summer 2007, she appeared on Broadway in the revival of the John Van Druten comedy Old Acquaintance as Mildred Watson Drake with Margaret Colin at the American Airlines Theatre.
In 2007, Harris returned to Broadway and joined the cast of the musical Cry-Baby, based on the John Waters film of the same name. The show previewed on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on March 15, 2008 and opened on April 24. The production was nominated for Best Musical at the 2008 Tony Awards, and closed on June 22, 2008. She returned to Broadway as the Evil Stepmother in Cinderella in 2013. In 2015, Harris took on the role as the mother of the groom-to-be (who secretly wishes that her son was gay) in the musical comedy It Shoulda Been You, sparring with Tyne Daly who played the mother of the bride-to-be. Harris played the role of Fanny, head of the Cavendish family, in the musical The Royal Family of Broadway at the Barrington Stage Company, Massachusetts, from June to July of 2018.
Harris's work in Jeffrey led to numerous television guest appearances, including a recurring role on the sitcom Frasier as Frasier's conniving agent Bebe Glazer from 1993 to 2004. Harris co-starred in several short-lived series, including The 5 Mrs. Buchanans, Union Square, The Beast, and It's All Relative, but played notable guest roles on multiple hit series, including Ghost Whisperer, Murphy Brown, Ally McBeal, Six Feet Under, Frasier and Ellen. Among them was her performance on The X-Files in the 1993 episode "Eve" as Dr. Sally Kendrick and her "Eve" clones. In 2006, she starred in the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries The Lost Room as Margaret Milne.
In 1989, Harris appeared on the last episode of Highway to Heaven, playing Ruth Ann Kifer in the episode "Merry Christmas From Grandpa" - season 5, episode 13.
Harris played Martha Huber's sister Felicia Tilman on the ABC drama series Desperate Housewives in 2004. The narrative saw Felicia arrive on Wisteria Lane to discover who was behind her sister's murder. She soon came to the conclusion that Paul Young was responsible, but before she could act out her revenge, she was attacked by his son Zach Young. To finish the story-line, she returned for the second season in 2005, which followed Felicia as she planned her final acts of revenge against Paul. She departed at the end of the second series by faking her own murder, framing Paul, and sending him to prison. She returned to Desperate Housewives for the series' seventh season. On playing the character Harris commented:
People do find Felicia evil. I think she's just determined. She's a zealot pursuing an objective that no-one wants her to pursue. And it makes her really eccentric. And even though a man she's pursuing is the one who committed murder, he's only considered creepy by people and Felicia is always considered evil. I think that's so interesting because he's really the bad person. She's just trying to get him caught. But she is extreme. I think she doesn't stop when others would. She keeps on, she keeps pursuing and I think that is a scary thing. She just keeps scraping away until she eventually gets what she wants. And if she doesn't get it one way, she'll go around and do it another way. She's completely unapologetic about it. She doesn't care what anybody else thinks.
In 2018, Harris appeared as Madelyn in the American Horror Story: Apocalypse episode "Sojourn", and as Adriana in the Dynasty episode "Queen of Cups". She appeared in the Netflix drama series Ratched.
|1993||Addams Family Values||Ellen Buckman|
|1994||Quiz Show||Enright's Secretary|
|1996||Romeo + Juliet||Susan Santandiago|
|1998||The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story||Turtle / Rhesus (voice)|
|2001||The One||Nurse Besson|
|2009||Moonlight Serenade||Angelica Webster|
|2014||Love Is Strange||Honey|
|2017||Phantom Thread||Barbara Rose|
|2021||Licorice Pizza||Mary Grady|
|1983||Another World||Cathy Harris||Episode: "20 May 1983"|
|1989||Doctor Doctor||Peggy Murtaugh||Episode: "The Murtagh Conundrum"|
|1989||Highway to Heaven||Ruth Ann Kifer||Episode: "Merry Christmas from Granpa"|
|1991||Golden Years||Francie Will||2 episodes|
|1991||Law & Order||Sheila||Episode: "The Troubles"|
|1992||Fool's Fire||Lady Clairce||Television movie|
|1992||Law & Order||Mrs. Kenny||Episode: "The Corporate Veil"|
|1993||Lifestories: Families in Crisis||Cedall||Episode: "Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story"|
|1993||The X-Files||Sally Kendrick/Eves 6, 7, & 8||Episode: "Eve"|
|1993–2004||Frasier||Bebe Glazer||11 episodes|
|1994||Murphy Brown||Yvonne Bentley||Episode: "The Deal of the Art"|
|1994||The George Carlin Show||Anya||Episode: "George Helps Sydney"|
|1994||Good Advice||Marilyn||Episode: "Brother, Can You Spare a Date?"|
|1994–1995||The 5 Mrs. Buchanans||Vivian Buchanan||17 episodes|
|1995||The Crew||Loretta||Episode: "The Worst Noel"|
|1995–1996||Space: Above and Beyond||Ambassador Diane Hayden||2 episodes|
|1996||Sisters||Alam Klaus||Episode: "A Sudden Change of Heart"|
|1996||Chicago Hope||Mrs. Holgren||Episode: "Women on the Verge"|
|1996||Ellen||Claire||Episode: "Looking Out for Number One"|
|1997||Friends 'Til the End||Mrs. Boxer||Television movie|
|1997||Millennium||Maureen Murphy||Episode: "Loin Like a Hunting Flame"|
|1997||Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest||Millie Ogden||Television movie|
|1997||Caroline in the City||Miss McGowan||Episode: "Caroline and the Desperate Cat"|
|1997–1998||Union Square||Suzanne Barkley||14 episodes|
|1998||The Practice||Ellen Blake||Episode: "The Pursuit of Dignity"|
|1998||Ally McBeal||Cheryl Bonner||Episode: "Happy Birthday, Baby"|
|1998||Maggie||Sister Anastasia||Episode: "If You Could See What I Hear"|
|1998||The Gregory Hines Show||Gloria||Episode: "Mug the One You're With"|
|1999–2000||Stark Raving Mad||Audrey Radford||4 episodes|
|2000||Diagnosis: Murder||Marisa Parkhurst||Episode: "Too Many Cooks"|
|2000||Family Law||Lois Nelson||Episode: "A Mother's Son"|
|2000||God, the Devil and Bob||Martha Stewart (voice)||Episode: "The Devil's Birthday"|
|2000||Love & Money||Kiki Farrington||2 episodes|
|2001||The Lot||Libby Wilson||3 episodes|
|2001||The Beast||Mrs. Sweeney||6 episodes|
|2002||Six Feet Under||Catherine Collins||2 episodes|
|2002||Bram & Alice||Margaret O'Connor||Episode: "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"|
|2003–2004||It's All Relative||Audrey O'Neil||22 episodes|
|2004||Quintuplets||Ms. Hentschel||Episode: "Shakespeare in Lust"|
|2004||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Eva||Episode: "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?"|
|2005||Strong Medicine||Governor Barbara Curtis||Episode: "It Takes a Clinic"|
|2005||Sex, Love & Secrets||Dulah||Episode: "Danger"|
|Desperate Housewives||Felicia Tilman||28 episodes|
|2006||Help Me Help You||Dave's Mom||Episode: "Pink Freud"|
|2006||Ghost Whisperer||Marilyn Mandeville||Episode: "A Grave Matter"|
|2006||The Lost Room||Margaret Milne||2 episodes|
|2010||American Dad!||Mrs. Reagan (voice)||Episode: "Return of the Bling"|
|2011||Shake It Up||Dr. Pepper||Episode: "Shrink It Up"|
|2012||Electric City||(voice)||9 episodes|
|2012||Robot and Monster||Bea Holder (voice)||Episode: "Litterbug/Model Citizen"|
|2014||Submissions Only||Theresa Amsworth||2 episodes|
|2014||Wilfred||Lonnie Goldsmith||3 episodes|
|2016||Her Last Will||Dina Cotton||Television movie|
|2016||Supergirl||Sinead||Episode: "Worlds Finest"|
|2018||Dynasty||Adriana||Episode: "Queen of Cups"|
|2018||American Horror Story: Apocalypse||Madelyn||Episode: "Sojourn"|
|2020||Hollywood||Eleanor Roosevelt||Episode: "(Screen) Tests"|
|2020||Atlantic Crossing||Eleanor Roosevelt||8 episodes|
Awards and nominations
|1992||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Bella, Belle of Byelorussia||Nominated|||
|1993||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Jeffrey||Nominated|||
|2002||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Musical||Thoroughly Modern Millie||Won|||
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress In A Musical||Won|||
|2008||Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Featured Actress In A Musical||Cry-Baby||Nominated|||
|2017||Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||The Roads to Home||Nominated|||
|2018||Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||The Low Road||Nominated|||
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Nominated|||
|2022||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Hacks||Pending|||
- Fort Worth Country Day Yearbook "Flight" 1971, 1972, 1973.
- "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. September 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
- "Harriet Sansom Harris: Mrs. Sweeny on The Beast". WCHS-TV. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "Harriet Harris profile". filmreference.com. 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- The Royal Family of Broadway barringtonstageco.org, retrieved June 5, 2018
- Keck, William (June 30, 2010). "Keck's Exclusives: Harriet Sansom Harris to Join Mark Moses on Desperate Housewives". TV Guide. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- Shulman, Randy (June 8, 2006). "Harriet Harris: Stage and TV Actress Discusses Role in Mame and Frasier". Retrieved November 13, 2018 – via MetroWeekly.com.
- "Harriet Sansom Harris play Madelyn, a Satan worshipper". PopBuzz. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- Swift, Andy (January 14, 2019). "Ratched: Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon, Finn Wittrock and More Join the Cast of Ryan Murphy's Cuckoo's Nest Prequel". TVLine. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- "Harriet Harris – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- "The Tony Award Nominations". www.tonyawards.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- McKinley, Jesse (2002-05-20). "'Modern Millie' Leads Drama Desk Awards". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- "South Pacific Scores in Outer Critics Circle Awards". Observer. 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- "Drama League Awards 2017: And the Winners are..." New York Theater Guide. 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- "2018 Drama League Awards: The Band's Visit, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child & More Score Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- "SpongeBob SquarePants, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, My Fair Lady & More Win 2018 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
- "Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series Nominees / Winners 2022". Television Academy. Retrieved 2022-07-12.