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Kate Walsh (actress)

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Kate Walsh
Walsh in 2011
Kathleen Erin Walsh

(1967-10-13) October 13, 1967 (age 56)
  • Actress
  • businesswoman
Years active1995–present
(m. 2007; div. 2010)

Kathleen Erin Walsh (born October 13, 1967)[1] is an American actress and businesswoman. She is best known for her role as Dr. Addison Montgomery in the ABC medical drama series Grey's Anatomy (2005–2012, 2021–2023) and Private Practice (2007–2013).

Walsh is also known for her roles as Nicki Fifer in the ABC sitcom The Drew Carey Show (1997–2002), Rebecca Wright in the NBC legal sitcom Bad Judge (2014–2015), Olivia Baker in the Netflix teen drama series 13 Reasons Why (2017–2019), The Handler in the Netflix superhero drama series The Umbrella Academy (2019–2022), and Madeline Wheeler in the Netflix comedy-drama series Emily in Paris (2020–present).

Early life[edit]

Walsh was born in San Jose, California,[1] the daughter of Angela and Joseph Patrick Walsh Sr.[2][3] She grew up in a Catholic household[4] in Tucson, Arizona. Her mother is of Italian descent,[5][6][7] and her father was Irish, from Navan in County Meath.

Walsh graduated from Catalina Magnet High School and studied acting at the University of Arizona before dropping out. Walsh moved to New York City and joined a comedy troupe, Burn Manhattan, supporting herself by waitressing.[8][9]


Walsh worked at fast-food outlets before modeling and teaching English in Japan in the 1980s. Later, she moved to Chicago and worked with the Piven Theatre Workshop.[10][11] She performed on National Public Radio in the production of the radio play Born Guilty.[12]

Walsh founded Boyfriend LLC, a beauty and lifestyle company, in 2010.[13]

Television roles[edit]

Walsh at the HBO Post-Emmys Party in 2008.

After playing Cathy Buxton in the Homicide: Life on the Street episode "Stakeout" in 1996 and Navy Lieutenant Kirstin Blair in the Law & Order episode "Navy Blues", Walsh's first major television appearance was in 1997, when she appeared on The Drew Carey Show as Drew Carey's love interest, Nicki Fifer. She wore a fatsuit in some episodes of the show.

Walsh went on to portray Carol Nelson in HBO's The Mind of the Married Man television series, and played Norm Macdonald's romantic interest in the sitcom The Norm Show. She made a guest appearance on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Mimosa, a transgender woman. She sometimes appeared in sketches on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Walsh had a recurring role on Karen Sisco as Detective Marley Novak in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, she was cast in her breakout role in the ABC series Grey's Anatomy, as Dr. Addison Montgomery, the estranged spouse of Derek Shepherd ("Dr. McDreamy", played by Patrick Dempsey). In February 2007, Walsh's Grey's Anatomy character received a spin-off of Grey's Anatomy that began airing in September 2007. Taye Diggs, Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Chris Lowell, and Audra McDonald were cast in the spin-off, Private Practice.[14][15] Walsh would return for six episodes across the fourth through eighth seasons of Grey's Anatomy, including the musical episode "Song Beneath the Song".

On June 12, 2012, Walsh announced that the sixth season of Private Practice would be her final season.[16] However, she mentioned she'd be open to reprise her role in Grey's Anatomy for a few guest spots.

In 2013, Walsh appeared in Full Circle, a 10-episode ensemble drama series created by Neil LaBute and airing on DirecTV's Audience Network channel.[17]

In 2014, Walsh had a supporting role in the first season of FX's television series Fargo. She had a guest starring role in Hulu's original series The Hotwives of Orlando and later starred in the NBC series Bad Judge, which aired for one season. From 2017 to 2019, Walsh starred in the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why, as the mother of a child who dies by suicide. Her performance was met with critical acclaim, having been dubbed the "best work" of her career.[18]

In 2019 and 2020, Walsh had a significant recurring role as "the Handler" in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy. Her most recent role has been on Netflix Original, Emily in Paris, where she plays Emily's boss who gets pregnant and can no longer move to Paris for their marketing job, so she sends Emily instead. In September 2021, Walsh announced she would be reprising her role as Dr. Addison Montgomery in the eighteenth season of Grey's Anatomy in a guest starring role.[19]

Film roles[edit]

In 1995, Walsh starred in her first film. Normal Life, a crime drama, was her film debut; she played the sister of a bank robber played by Luke Perry. In Peppermills, she portrayed a kleptomaniac. Walsh appeared in the cult film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part II. She gained attention in a major Hollywood production as Will Ferrell's character's wife in the family comedy, Kicking & Screaming. Walsh has appeared in several other films with Ferrell, including Bewitched and in Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, an "alternate film" to Anchorman.

In 2003, Walsh appeared in Under the Tuscan Sun. Regarding her lesbian roles, Walsh said: "Do I give off a girl-on-girl vibe, I wonder? Or is it because I'm tall? I guess the chicks just dig me!"[20]

Walsh was set to star opposite in the supernatural thriller 1408, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.[21] Walsh starred in the biblical horror film Legion, that was released on January 22, 2010.[22] She played Charlie's mother in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


In May 2010, Walsh made her off-Broadway debut opposite Paul Sparks in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Stephen Belber's Dusk Rings a Bell. The new play began previews on May 19 and opened May 27 at Atlantic Stage 2 and played through June 26. The New York Times called it "a sublime, beautifully acted drama".[23] She also had a long theater career in Chicago, which included roles in Happy Birthday Wanda June, The Danube, Moon Under Miami and Troilus and Cressida. In New York, Walsh was a member of the improvisational comedy troupe Burn Manhattan and the New York City Players theater ensemble.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Walsh married 20th Century Fox executive Alex Young on September 1, 2007.[25] On December 11, 2008, Young filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences; the official date of separation in the divorce petition was listed as November 22.[26] On December 24, 2008, Walsh counterfiled for divorce, contesting the date of separation listed in Young's divorce papers.[27] The divorce was finalized on February 5, 2010.[28]

In October 2022, Walsh revealed she was engaged to Australian farmer Andrew Nixon.[29] Walsh resides in Perth, Western Australia.[30]


In September 2017, Walsh revealed that she was diagnosed with a benign meningioma in 2015. She underwent surgery for removal of the tumor and took a nine-month break to recover.[31] She underwent a hip replacement in November 2019.[32]

Social and political activism[edit]

Since the summer of 2007, Walsh has been the spokesperson for Narcolepsy Network, working to promote national awareness of narcolepsy through infomercials and DVDs.[33] In January 2008, Walsh participated in a video for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called "Yes We Can", produced by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.[34] She also campaigned for Obama in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.[35][36]

In July 2008, Walsh 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.[37] On September 18, 2008, Walsh was elected to serve on the SAG board for a three-year term.[38]

Walsh supports pet adoption and frequently campaigns for the cause. On February 7, 2008, she cut the ribbon to a new dog adoption center in Times Square.[39] In 2005, Walsh joined the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)'s Board of Advocates, and in 2008 received the PPFA Maggie Award for an Artist who Stands Up for Reproductive Health and Freedom. She has participated in numerous Planned Parenthood activities, including national fundraisers, local Planned Parenthood affiliate events, the PPFA Awards Gala, and lobby day on Capitol Hill promoting the need for comprehensive sex education. In January 2009, she spoke at the Planned Parenthood Presidential Inauguration Brunch in Washington, D.C.[40]

As announced in late 2009, Walsh partnered with ocean conservancy and advocacy group Oceana to call for increased sea turtle protections. She joined experts from the group on a trip to the Virgin Islands to witness the turtles' hatching and moving to the sea.[41]

During the 2016 election, Walsh was a supporter of Hillary Clinton, publicly endorsing her and campaigning for her several times in California, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Virginia.[42]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Normal Life Cindy Anderson
1997 Peppermills Lena
Night of the Lawyers Pressie Brooks (Biker)
1998 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part II Cricket
Three Below Zero Moirat
Heaven Diner
2000 The Family Man Jeannie
2002 Anatomy of a Breakup Lorra
A Day in the Life of Nancy M. Pimental Kate
2003 Under the Tuscan Sun Grace
2004 After the Sunset Shelia
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Sue Direct-to-DVD
2005 Kicking & Screaming Barbara Weston
Inside Out Tyne
Bewitched Sexy Waitress
2007 Veritas, Prince of Truth Nemesii
2009 One Way to Valhalla Raina
2010 Legion Sandra Anderson
2011 Angels Crest Roxanne
2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower Mrs. Kelmeckis
2013 Scary Movie 5 Mal Colb
2014 Dermaphoria Morell
2015 Just Before I Go Kathleen Morgan
Staten Island Summer Danny's Mom
Any Day Bethley
2017 Girls Trip Liz Davelli
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House Pat Miller
Reality High Dr. Fiona Shively
If I Forget Holly Fischer
2018 Ideal Home Kate
2019 Almost Love Elizabeth
3022 Jackie Miller
2020 Honest Thief Annie Wilkins
2021 Sometime Other Than Now Kate


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Cathy Buxton Episode: "Stakeout"
Swift Justice Paula "Paulie" Goddard Episode: "The Haze"
1997 Law & Order Lt. Kirstin Blair Episode: "Navy Blues"
1997–2002 The Drew Carey Show Nicki Fifer Recurring role; 22 episodes
1998 Cupid Heidi Episode: "Meat Market"
1999 Turks Terry 1 episode
The Mike O'Malley Show Marcia Episodes: "Pilot", "Out of Their League"
2000 Cursed Stace Episode: "...And Then He Had to Give a Thumbs Up"
2000–2001 The Norm Show Jenny Recurring role; 5 episodes
2001 The Fugitive Agent Eve Hilliard Recurring role; 3 episodes
The Mind of the Married Man Carol Nelson Recurring role; 6 episodes
2003–2004 Karen Sisco Marley Novak Episode: "Nobody's Perfect", "No One's Girl"
2004 The Men's Room Karen Recurring role; 3 episodes
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Mimosa Episode: "Ch-Ch-Changes"
Complete Savages Maggie Episode: "My Two Sons"
2005 Bobby Cannon London Television film
Eyes Kendall Judd Episode: "Wings"
2005–2012, 2021–2023 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Addison Montgomery Main role (seasons 2–3); Special guest star (seasons 1, 4–8, 18–19); 67 episodes
2007–2013 Private Practice Main role; 111 episodes
2008 Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat Guest Monologist Television film
2009 King of the Hill Kat Savage (voice) Episode: "Uncool Customer"
2010 Childrens Hospital Herself Episode: "The End of the Middle"
2011 Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen Roaster Television special
2013 Full Circle Trisha Campbell Recurring role; 3 episodes
2014 Fargo Gina Hess Recurring role; 4 episodes
2014–2015 Bad Judge Rebecca Wright Lead role; 13 episodes
Also executive producer
2015 Undateable Customer Episode: "A Live Show Walks Into a Bar"
2017–2019 13 Reasons Why Olivia Baker Main role (seasons 1–2), guest (season 3); 27 episodes
2019 Fam Jolene Episode: "Jolene, Jolene..."
2019–2022 The Umbrella Academy The Handler Recurring role (season 1), Main role (season 2), Guest role (season 3); 14 episodes
2020–present Emily in Paris Madeline Wheeler Recurring role; 8 episodes
2022 Sprung Paula Tackleberry Recurring role; 5 episodes

Video games[edit]

Kate Walsh video game work
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Club Dead Lana Powers (voice)
2016 Marvel Avengers Academy The Ancient One (voice)
2019 MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Ryana Campbell (voice)


  1. ^ a b "Kate Walsh Biography". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on May 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Bonawitz, Amy (October 19, 2006). "'Grey's Anatomy' Hits Close To Home". CBS News. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  3. ^ @katewalsh (January 13, 2016). "This handsome devil...was my father, Joseph Patrick Walsh, Sr. b Jan 16, 1930 & left us 25yrs" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "Private Practice – Interview Festival TV Monte Carlo 2009 – Partie 1". YouTube. June 9, 2009. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "Kate Walsh "The Elegant, Sexy and Luxurious CTS"". mycadillacstory.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009.
  6. ^ "Kate Walsh: Interview with the Private..." Chatelaine.com. September 21, 2011. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  7. ^ Melby, Leah. "Kate Walsh Hair and Makeup Interview – Kate Walsh Spring Summer Beauty 2012". Real Beauty. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Kate Walsh > Biography". People.com. Archived from the original on August 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Veric, Vanja. ""Practice" Makes Perfect: An Interview with Kate Walsh". AZFoothills.com. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "Kate Walsh to Be Honored by Piven Theatre Workshop | TheaterMania". theatermania.com. September 20, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "» Kate Walsh & Billy Dec recipients of this year's piven workshop arts, theatre & community awards". Archived from the original on August 8, 2022. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  12. ^ Roselli, Via Pietro; 4Rome 00153 (September 20, 2018). "An evening in Conversation with actress Kate Walsh". Graduate School - American University of Rome. Retrieved February 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "Boyfriend Perfume, Hand & Body Crème, & More | BoyfriendPerfume.com". Boyfriend. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  14. ^ "Grey's Anatomy" Spin-Off Planned, Dr. Addison Shepherd to Leave Seattle Grace Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, WSBTV.com, March 5, 2007
  15. ^ Edward Wyatt (April 28, 2007). "Well-Known Secret: 'Grey's Anatomy' Spinoff for ABC". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
  16. ^ Harnick, Chris (June 12, 2012). "Kate Walsh Leaving 'Private Practice': Actress Says Season 6 Will Be Her Last (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  17. ^ Cheney, Alexandra (October 9, 2013). "Kate Walsh Comes 'Full Circle'". WSJ.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  18. ^ Ryan, Maureen (March 21, 2017). "TV Review: '13 Reasons Why' on Netflix". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (September 2, 2021). "'Grey's Anatomy': Kate Walsh To Return In Season 18 As Addison". Deadline. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  20. ^ Walls, Jeannette (November 1, 2006). "Notes from all over". Today.com.
  21. ^ Mohr, Ian (August 13, 2009). "'1408' books a new tenant". variety.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  22. ^ Fleming, Michael (March 27, 2008). "Quaid, Walsh join Stewart's 'Legion'". variety.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  23. ^ "Dusk Rings A Bell". The New York Times. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  24. ^ "Private Practice Star Kate Walsh and Paul Sparks to Star in Dusk Rings a Bell at the Atlantic". Broadway.com. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  25. ^ Wihlborg, Ulrica (September 1, 2007). "Grey's Anatomy's Kate Walsh Marries Movie Executive". People. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Kate Walsh and Her Husband Split". People. December 11, 2008. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  27. ^ "Kate Walsh & Ex Disagree on Date of Split". People. December 24, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  28. ^ Lee, Ken (February 5, 2010). "Kate Walsh and Ex to Flip Coin over Furniture in Divorce". People. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  29. ^ Hirini, Rangi (October 6, 2022). "Walsh accidentally reveals she's ENGAGED to WA beau". PerthNow. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  30. ^ Senanayake, Natalia (December 21, 2022). "Kate Walsh Shows Off Her New Home in Australia with Fiance Andrew Nixon: 'I Feel Really Lucky'". People. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  31. ^ Dibdin, Emma (September 18, 2017). "Kate Walsh Reveals She Was Diagnosed With A Brain Tumor Two Years Ago". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  32. ^ Kiki, Meola (April 2, 2020). "Kate Walsh Shows Us Booty and Leg Workouts to Do at Home". Us Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  33. ^ "Actress Kate Walsh Partners With The Narcolepsy Network To Raise Awareness Of Narcolepsy". prnewswire.com. March 5, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  34. ^ "will.i.am's "Yes We Can Song" Video Awarded Emmy for New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment". reuters.com. June 16, 2008. Archived from the original on December 25, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  35. ^ Olanoff, Lynn (September 13, 2008). "Television star Kate Walsh stumps for Barack Obama in Bethlehem". lehighvalleylive.com. The Express-Times. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  36. ^ Parker, Ashley (January 11, 2009). "Hollywood Clamors to Be a Part of Obama's Big Day". nytimes.com. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  37. ^ "Hollywood actors' union faces internal rift". ABC News. Reuters. July 25, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  38. ^ McNary, Dave (September 18, 2008). "SAG power shifts". variety.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  39. ^ "KATE WALSH- WALSH OPENS DOG ADOPTION CENTER". contactmusic.com. February 8, 2008. Retrieved February 28, 2009.
  40. ^ "Board of Advocates". Plannedparenthood.org. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  41. ^ "Oceana Newsletter Fall 2009: Kate Walsh Wants to Get Sea Turtles Off The Hook". Na.oceana.org. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  42. ^ "KATE WALSH". KATE WALSH. Retrieved October 5, 2020.

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