Kate Walsh (actress)

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Kate Walsh
Kate Walsh 2011 crop.jpg
Walsh at the 2011 Voice Awards
Kathleen Erin Walsh

(1967-10-13) October 13, 1967 (age 52)
  • Actress
  • businesswoman
Years active1995–present
m. 2007; div. 2010)

Kathleen Erin Walsh (born October 13, 1967)[1] is an American actress and businesswoman. Her roles include Dr. Addison Montgomery on the ABC television dramas Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, Rebecca Wright on the short-lived NBC sitcom Bad Judge, Olivia Baker on the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why and The Handler in The Umbrella Academy.

Early life[edit]

Walsh was born in San Jose, California,[1] the daughter of Angela Walsh.[2] She grew up in a Catholic household[3] in Tucson, Arizona. Her mother is of Italian descent.[4][5][6]

Walsh graduated from Catalina Magnet High School and studied acting at the University of Arizona before dropping out. Walsh then moved to New York City and joined a comedy troupe, Burn Manhattan, supporting herself by waitressing.[7][8]


Kate Walsh at the HBO Post-Emmys Party, in 2008

Before modeling, Walsh worked at Burger King and Dairy Queen. She began as a model in Japan in the 1980s where she also taught English. Later, she moved to Chicago and worked with the Piven Theatre Workshop. She also performed on National Public Radio in the production of the radio play Born Guilty.

Television roles[edit]

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", her 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, as the Nicki character was a formerly obese woman who lost weight and slowly started to gain it back.

She 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. Walsh also 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. She 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).

It was announced in February 2007 that Walsh's Grey's Anatomy character would be in 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.[9][10] Walsh would return for six episodes across the fourth through eighth seasons of Grey's Anatomy, including the musical episode "Song Beneath the Song".

Walsh at the HBO Post-Emmys Party in September 2008

Beginning in September 2007, Walsh has appeared in television commercials for the 2008 Cadillac CTS.[11] She is also the current spokeswoman for Caress' Exotic Oil Infusions body wash.[12] On June 12, 2012, Walsh announced that the sixth season of Private Practice would be her final season.[13] 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.[14]

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. As of 2017, Walsh stars in the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why, as the mother of a child who commits suicide. Her performance was met with critical acclaim, having been dubbed the "best work" of her career.[15]

In 2019, Walsh had a significant recurring role as "the Handler" in the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy.

Film roles[edit]

In 1995, she starred in her first movie. Normal Life was her debut on the big screen. The crime drama marked 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 movie, 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, alongside Robert Duvall and Mike Ditka. Walsh has appeared in several other films with Ferrell, including Bewitched (with Nicole Kidman) and an "alternate film" to Anchorman titled, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie.

In 2003, Walsh appeared in Under the Tuscan Sun, with Diane Lane and Sandra Oh. She played the partner of Oh's character. 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!"[16]

Walsh was set to star opposite John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in the supernatural thriller 1408, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.[17] Walsh starred alongside Dennis Quaid and Paul Bettany in the biblical horror film Legion, that was released on January 22, 2010.[18] 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."[19] 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.[20]


Walsh founded Boyfriend LLC, a beauty and lifestyle company in 2010.[21] The company launched its first product in November 2010: a perfume called "Boyfriend".[22] HSN, a leading multichannel retailer, and Walsh partnered to launch the "Boyfriend" fragrance with live appearances by the actress/entrepreneur on HSN, November 11 and 12.[23] Walsh's fragrance train case, including Boyfriend eau de perfume, pulse point oil and votive candles, sold out on day one exceeding sales expectations.[24]

Leading up to the launch of Boyfriend, Walsh released eight webimercials written and directed by the actress herself, relaying the sentiments the Boyfriend scent was developed to evoke.[25] Launched via various social media channels, including Twitter, YouTube and select blogs, the Boyfriend webimercials have been viewed more than 200,000 times to date and were released by Walsh prior to her appearance on HSN to drive excitement and anticipation.[26]

Personal life[edit]

In April 2007, Walsh began dating 20th Century Fox executive Alex Young. Young proposed to Walsh during a trip to San Francisco, California.[27] They married on September 1, 2007 at the Ojai Presbyterian Church in Ojai, California.[28] 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.[29] On December 24, 2008, Walsh counterfiled for divorce, contesting the date of separation listed in Young's divorce papers.[30] The divorce was finalized on February 5, 2010.[31]


In September 2017, Walsh revealed that she was diagnosed with a benign meningioma in 2015. She underwent surgery and had the tumor successfully removed. Walsh took a nine-month break to recover.[32] Walsh underwent a hip replacement in November 2019.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35] She also campaigned for Obama in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.[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 named 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]

Walsh referenced Oceana during a September 16, 2010 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She told Jay Leno that her dress was covered in sushi and sashimi as an homage to a dress made of beef worn by Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. While she claimed it was sustainable seafood, Walsh later admitted via her Twitter account that the sushi was fake.[42]

She attended a meeting on Capitol Hill in which they marked the one year anniversary since the BP oil spill.[43] On November 3, 2012, Walsh spoke in Dubuque, Iowa, during one of President Obama's campaign stops days before Election Day.

During the 2016 election, Walsh was a supporter of Hillary Clinton, publicly endorsing her and campaigning for her several times in California, Arizona, and Virginia.[44]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Normal Life Cindy Anderson
1997 Peppermills Lena
1997 Night of the Lawyers Pressie Brooks (Biker)
1998 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part II Cricket
1998 Three Below Zero Moirat
1998 Heaven Diner
2000 The Family Man Jeannie
2002 Anatomy of a Breakup Lorra
2002 A Day in the Life of Nancy M. Pimental Kate
2003 Under the Tuscan Sun Grace
2004 After the Sunset Shelia
2004 Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Sue Direct-to-DVD
2005 Kicking & Screaming Barbara Weston
2005 Inside Out Tyne
2005 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
2015 Staten Island Summer Danny's Mom
2015 Any Day Bethley
2017 Girls Trip Elizabeth
2017 Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House Pat Miller
2017 Reality High Dr. Fiona Shively
2017 If I Forget Holly Fischer
2018 Ideal Home Kate
2019 Almost Love Elizabeth
2019 3022 Jackie Miller
2020 Honest Thief Annie Post-production
2020 Sometime Other Than Now Kate Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Cathy Buxton 1 episode
1996 Swift Justice Paula "Paulie" Goddard 1 episode
1997 Law & Order Lt. Kirstin Blair 1 episode
1997–2002 The Drew Carey Show Nicki Fifer Recurring
1998 Cupid Heidi 1 episode
1999 Turks Terry 1 episode
1999 The Mike O'Malley Show Marcia Recurring
2000 Cursed Stace 1 episode
2000–2001 The Norm Show Jenny Recurring
2001 The Fugitive Agent Eve Hilliard Recurring
2001 The Mind of the Married Man Carol Nelson Recurring
2003–2004 Karen Sisco Marley Novak Recurring
2004 Joint Custody Florence 1 episode
2004 The Men's Room Karen Recurring
2004 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Mimosa 1 episode
2004 Complete Savages Maggie 1 episode
2005 Bobby Cannon London Television film
2005 Eyes Kendall Judd 1 episode
2005–2012 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Addison Montgomery Guest (Season 1)
Main cast (Season 2–3)
Special guest star (Season 4–8)
59 episodes
2007–2013 Private Practice Dr. Addison Montgomery Main role
2008 Upright Citizens Brigade: Asssscat Guest Monologist Television film
2009 King of the Hill Kat Savage 1 episode
2011 Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen Roaster Special
2013 Full Circle Trisha Main role
2014 Fargo Gina Hess Recurring
2014–2015 Bad Judge Rebecca Wright Main role
2015 Undateable Customer 1 episode
2017–2019 13 Reasons Why Olivia Baker Main role (seasons 1–2), guest (season 3); 27 episodes
2019 Fam Jolene 1 episode
2019–present The Umbrella Academy The Handler Recurring role (season 1), Main role (season 2)
2020 Emily in Paris TBA Post-production

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)


  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. ^ "Private Practice - Interview Festival TV Monte Carlo 2009 - Partie 1". YouTube. June 9, 2009. Event occurs at ???. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  4. ^ "Kate Walsh "The Elegant, Sexy and Luxurious CTS"". mycadillacstory.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "Kate Walsh: Interview with the Private..." Chatelaine.com. September 21, 2011. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  6. ^ Melby, Leah. "Kate Walsh Hair and Makeup Interview - Kate Walsh Spring Summer Beauty 2012". Real Beauty. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "Kate Walsh > Biography". People.com. Archived from the original on August 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Veric, Vanja. ""Practice" Makes Perfect: An Interview with Kate Walsh". AZFoothills.com. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  9. ^ "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
  10. ^ Edward Wyatt (April 28, 2007). "Well-Known Secret: 'Grey's Anatomy' Spinoff for ABC". New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
  11. ^ Garfield, Bob (October 1, 2007). "Taking Cadillac from Stodgy to Sexy: Kate Walsh". adage.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  12. ^ "Grey's Anatomy's Kate Walsh Stars in 21st Century Fairytale Webisodes". ivnnetwork.com. November 15, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Cheney, Alexandra (October 9, 2013). "Kate Walsh Comes 'Full Circle'". WSJ.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  15. ^ Ryan, Maureen (March 21, 2017). "TV Review: '13 Reasons Why' on Netflix". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  16. ^ Walls, Jeannette (November 1, 2006). "Notes from all over". Today.com.
  17. ^ Mohr, Ian (August 13, 2009). "'1408' books a new tenant". variety.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  18. ^ Fleming, Michael (March 27, 2008). "Quaid, Walsh join Stewart's 'Legion'". variety.com. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  19. ^ "Dusk Rings A Bell". The New York Times. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  20. ^ Private Practice Star Kate Walsh and Paul Sparks to Star in Dusk Rings a Bell at the Atlantic
  21. ^ "Boyfriend Perfume, Hand & Body Crème, & More | BoyfriendPerfume.com". Boyfriend. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "Official website of BOYFRIEND perfume". yourboyfriend.com.
  23. ^ "Actress Kate Walsh Partners With HSN for Exclusive Launch of Sensual New Beauty Line Called 'BOYFRIEND'". hsni.com. October 15, 2010.
  24. ^ "HSN and Kate Walsh Sell Out 'Boyfriend' at Launch". hsni.com. November 17, 2010.
  25. ^ "Our Story - Inspired by beloved actress Kate Walsh". yourboyfriend.com.
  26. ^ "Kate Walsh". YouTube. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  27. ^ Serpe, Gina (May 16, 2007). "Kate Walsh Bags a McFiance". eonline.com. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Kate Walsh and Her Husband Split". People. December 11, 2008. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  30. ^ "Kate Walsh & Ex Disagree on Date of Split". People. December 24, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  31. ^ Lee, Ken (February 5, 2010). "Kate Walsh and Ex to Flip Coin over Furniture in Divorce". People. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  32. ^ Dibdin, Emma (September 18, 2017). "Kate Walsh Reveals She Was Diagnosed With A Brain Tumor Two Years Ago". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  33. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/B5LthppnZuy/
  34. ^ "Actress Kate Walsh Partners With The Narcolepsy Network To Raise Awareness Of Narcolepsy". prnewswire.com. March 5, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  35. ^ "will.i.am's "Yes We Can Song" Video Awarded Emmy for New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment". reuters.com. June 16, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  36. ^ Walsh discussed this in an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman on February 11, 2008.
  37. ^ "Hollywood actors' union faces internal rift". 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. ^ "Twitter / Opgeschort". Twitter.com. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  43. ^ "Actress Kate Walsh: Americans Who Support Offshore Drilling Are 'Misinformed'". YouTube. April 20, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  44. ^ http://katewalsh.com/post/147976493069/repost-hillaryclinton-imwithher-hillary-has

She played Addison Montgomery in Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy.

External links[edit]