Mel Harris

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Mel Harris
Mary Ellen Harris

(1956-07-12) July 12, 1956 (age 63)
Years active1986-present
Spouse(s)David Silbergeld (1978–79)
Brian Kilcommons (1980–82)
David Hume Kennerly (1983–88)
Cotter Smith (1988–96)
Michael Toomey (2001–06)
Bob Brush (current)

Mary Ellen "Mel" Harris (born July 12, 1956) is an American actress best known for her role as role as Hope Murdoch Steadman in the ABC television series Thirtysomething (1987–1991), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination in 1990.


Personal life[edit]

Harris was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the daughter to Mary Michael "Mike", a high school science teacher, and Warren Harris, football coach at Bethlehem High School and Princeton University.[1] Harris grew up in North Brunswick, New Jersey[2] and graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1974.[3]

Harris has been married six times. Her marriages (in chronological order) include: David Silbergeld (1978–79), Brian Kilcommons (1980–82), photographer David Hume Kennerly (1983–88) (with whom she had son Byron in 1984), actor Cotter Smith (1988–96) (with whom she had daughter Madeline in April 1990), investment banker Michael Toomey (2001–06), and current husband screenwriter and producer Bob Brush.[4][5]


Before finding success as an actress, Harris had appeared as a contestant on the game show Pyramid on two separate occasions: in 1979 on the ABC-TV daytime version known as The $20,000 Pyramid, and in 1985 on the syndicated version known as The $100,000 Pyramid, both versions hosted by Dick Clark. She later appeared as a celebrity on the third week of The $100,000 Pyramid hosted by John Davidson in 1991, with a clip of her big win in 1985 as shown in a flashback clip.

Harris is best known for her role as Hope Murdoch Steadman on the popular 1980s television show thirtysomething (1987–1991). She also had a starring role in the 1988 horror film Cameron's Closet. In 1989, Harper's Bazaar named her one of "America's 10 Most Beautiful Women". That same year, she appeared in K-9, along with James Belushi and dog actor "Jerry Lee". In 1993, she played Dr. Renee Descartes in the film Suture. From 1996 to 1998, she starred with Jere Burns on the NBC sitcom Something So Right.

Harris has appeared in a number of other television programs including The West Wing, Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest, Dawson's Creek, Touched by an Angel, Close to Home and House. She played real-life victim Madge Oberholtzer in the TV mini-series Cross of Fire (1989) and starred in the Scott Turow legal thriller The Burden of Proof in 1992. She had a recurring role on Stargate SG-1 as Oma Desala. In 1994, she starred in TV Movie, Ultimate Betrayal.

Harris played Sylvia Capshaw on the MyNetworkTV limited-run serial Saints & Sinners.


  1. ^ Mel Harris Biography (1957–)
  2. ^ Gold, Todd. "Yuppie Babies, Beaus and Tales of Woe on Thirtysomething Plunk a Responsive Chord for Mel Harris", People (magazine), October 26, 1987. Accessed January 30, 2013. "She learned that the hard way. Born in Bethlehem, Pa., and raised in North Brunswick, N.J., Harris says that her parents' home was loveless long before their divorce in 1969."
  3. ^ The Ultimate New Jersey High School Year Book. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ appearance on Oprah Where Are They Now
  5. ^

External links[edit]