Lisa Ann Walter

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Lisa Ann Walter
Lisa Ann Walter February 2015.jpg
Walter in 2015
Born (1963-08-03) August 3, 1963 (age 58)
OccupationActress, comedian
Years active1995–present

Lisa Ann Walter is an American actress and comedian, and television producer, best known as the creator and executive producer of Oxygen network reality weight-loss competition series, Dance Your Ass Off.[1] Her other reality television work include her stint as a judge on ABC's reality television series The Next Best Thing: Who Is the Greatest Celebrity Impersonator?, and as winning a celebrity edition of the game show The Weakest Link. She also created and starred in the short-lived 1996–1997 sitcom, Life's Work, and appeared in such films as the 1998 version of The Parent Trap, Bruce Almighty, Shall We Dance, and War of the Worlds.

Early life[edit]

Walter was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. She and her older sister, Laura, are the children of a geophysicist father who was born in France, and a substitute-teacher mother who was born in Sicily. The family lived in different places following their father's work, and their childhood homes included Germany and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.[2] Her ancestry also includes German.[3] She graduated with a theater degree from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1983.[2]


After five years of standup comedy, Walter was cast to star in her own Fox Network comedy series, My Wildest Dreams, followed by an ABC sitcom, Life's Work, which she both created and starred in. Walter also co-starred in the Bravo series Breaking News and in the NBC sitcom Emeril.[4]

In addition to Bruce Almighty (2003) and Shall We Dance (2004), Walter co-starred in the Disney film The Parent Trap (1998); in the remake of the original classic, she appeared as Chessy, the nanny to Dennis Quaid's character's daughter, who was played by a young Lindsay Lohan. Prior to that, she played Whoopi Goldberg's tarty sidekick Claudine in Eddie (1996).[5]

In early 2007, Walter had a supporting role as Mabel the bartender in the MyNetworkTV soap opera Watch Over Me. Later that May she served as a judge on the ABC reality TV show The Next Best Thing, which searched for the best celebrity impersonators in America. In early 2008, Walter was in the comedy film Drillbit Taylor, and also starred on the VH1 reality series Celebracadabra, in which celebrities competed to see who was the best magician among them. She made it to the final three but was eliminated in the sixth episode. She has developed a series for the Oxygen network called Dance Your Ass Off. On December 19, 2011, she appeared on Rizzoli & Isles as a ballet coach, J.J. It was far from her usual role, as she played a very serious character in a drama.[5]

Her comic memoir, The Best Thing About My Ass Is That It's Behind Me, was published in May 2011.[6]

Beginning in May 2011, Walter hosted The Fabulous Lisa Ann Walter Show, a talk show on the Los Angeles radio station KFI. The program aired for three hours each Saturday and Sunday. In August 2014, Walter quit in order to focus on her acting career.[7]

Starting in January 2022, Walter appears in the ABC comedy Abbott Elementary as second grade teacher, Melissa Schemmenti. The comedy and its ensemble cast are garnering attention and audiences for the show’s witty, fresh, and honest approach in a documentary-style filming of the teaching profession in the 21st century.[4][8]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Eddie Claudine
1998 The Parent Trap Chessy
2000 Get Your Stuff Nancy Perry
2001 Early Bird Special Janet
2003 Bruce Almighty Debbie
2004 Shall We Dance? Bobbie
2005 War of the Worlds Cheryl
2005 The Trouble with Dee Dee Dee Dee Rutherford
2006 Room 6 Sgt. Burch
2006 Coffee Date Sara
2006 Man vs. Monday Joan Short film
2007 Graduation Carol
2007 Entry Level Kathie
2008 Drillbit Taylor Dolores
2010 Wreckage Dr. Richardson
2010 Killers Olivia Brooks
2010 Monsters Under the Bed Leslie Branson Short film
2012 Wedding Day Chef Cherie
2013 Feels So Good Lisa Wright
2014 Wish Wizard Helga Short film
2015 You Can't Have It Suzanne
2015 Dependent's Day Bette
2015 The LA Spinster Lisa Short film
2017 The Ice Cream Truck Christina
2019 Stripped Margot Mathison


Year Title Role Notes
1995 My Wildest Dreams Lisa McGinnis Main role
1996–1997 Life's Work Lisa Ann Hunter Main role
1997 Late Bloomer Cassie Baltic TV film
1998 The Love Boat: The Next Wave Audrey Cranston "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
2000 Curb Your Enthusiasm Nurse "Interior Decorator"
2000–2001 Emeril Cassandra Gilman Recurring role
2001 Strong Medicine Rita Harper "Hot Flash"
2002 Breaking News Rachel Glass Main role
2004 Las Vegas Rose Gluck "Sons and Lovers"
2006 Modern Men Iris "Kyle Dates Up"
2006 Nip/Tuck Mrs. Hickock "Reefer"
2006 Watch Over Me Mabel "Pilot", "The Engagement", "Goodbye"
2011 Rizzoli & Isles Coach JJ "Don't Stop Dancing, Girl"
2013–2015 The Exes Margo "Defending Your Wife", "What Dreams May Come", "Along Came Holly"
2016 The Odd Couple Linda "All About Eavesdropping", "All The Residents' Men"
2017 GLOW Lorene "Debbie Does Something"
2019 Grey's Anatomy Shirley Gregory "Reunited"
2020 Sydney to the Max Marlene "Father of the Bribe", "Night Not at the Museum"
2021 9-1-1 Delia Narwood "9-1-1, What's Your Grievance?"
2021–present Abbott Elementary Melissa Schemmenti Main role


  1. ^ "KFI's Lisa Ann Walter: Self-esteem begins with accepting the derriere you have". Los Angeles Daily News. August 7, 2011. Archived from the original on August 17, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Knutzen, Eirik (October 20, 1996). "Pennsylvanians Collaborate on 'Life's Work'". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on July 19, 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2020. Born in Bellefonte to a geophysicist father born in Alsace and a substitute teacher mother from Sicily, Walter and her older sister, Laura, grew up on the road as their father's profession took them to the Max Planek Institute in Germany and NASA positions in the Washington, D.C. area.
  3. ^ Walter, Lisa Ann [@LisaAnnWalter] (July 23, 2014). "I'M part German, but not FROM there" (Tweet). Archived from the original on July 19, 2020 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b Jacobs, Matthew (March 22, 2022). "Like Abbott Elementary's Melissa, Lisa Ann Walter Has a Guy for Everything". Vulture.
  5. ^ a b "Lisa Ann Walter". IMDb.
  6. ^ Walter, Lisa Ann (May 16, 2011). "Actress recalls her Italian family's love of food".
  7. ^ "Maggie McKay shares memories of KFWB". Daily News. September 3, 2014.
  8. ^ Webber, Stephanie (March 15, 2022). "Abbott Elementary's Lisa Ann Walter: 'Miracle' to Land a Show Like This". Us Weekly.

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