Melanie Chartoff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Melanie Chartoff
Melanie Chartoff 80.jpg
Chartoff in 1980
Born (1948-12-15) December 15, 1948 (age 73)[1]
Alma materAdelphi University
  • Actress
  • comedian
Years active1976–present
Stan Friedman
(m. 2013)

Melanie Barbara Chartoff (born December 15, 1948) is an American actress and comedian. She first became famous for her comedy work on the ABC series Fridays (1980–82), and in the 1990s Fox sitcom Parker Lewis Can't Lose. She voiced both Didi Pickles and Grandma Minka, Didi's mother on the Nickelodeon animated series Rugrats and All Grown Up!.[2]

Early life[edit]

Chartoff was born on December 15, 1948, in New Haven, Connecticut, and attended West Haven High School. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Adelphi University. She is Jewish.[3]


Her first Broadway appearances were in Galt MacDermot's space opera Via Galactica (1972), directed by Peter Hall, and The Young Vic's Scapino, starring Jim Dale (1974).

Chartoff's first TV role came in 1976 when she played a nurse on Search For Tomorrow, after which appeared in the 1978 motion picture American Hot Wax. She first became a nationally known figure on ABC's Fridays, which was ABC's attempt to create its own version of Saturday Night Live. She immediately stood out on the series, partly thanks to her regular role as the anchor on the show's fake newscasts, but also due to her comedic skills (particularly an impression of Nancy Reagan). On one sketch, she was cold-cocked on live TV when co-star Maryedith Burrell failed to pull her punch during a skit and chipped Chartoff's tooth.[2]

Between the demise of Fridays in 1982 and her return to a regular series in 1990 with Parker Lewis Can't Lose (in which she co-starred for three seasons as the high-strung Principal Grace Musso), Chartoff continued to work steadily on television throughout the 1980s, including appearances on Mr. Belvedere, Wiseguy, and St. Elsewhere, as well as a recurring role on Newhart as Dr. Kaiser. She made two appearances on Seinfeld, including one in the 1998 series finale in which four of her former Fridays co-stars were also involved (including Michael Richards). She appeared in the 2006 season finale of Desperate Housewives.[2]

In the Los Angeles premiere of Bill Finn and James Lapine's musical March of the Falsettos (1982), for which she won a Drama-Logue Award, she played Trina. She played Mary Jane Wilkes in the La Jolla Playhouse premiere of Big River (1984). At South Coast Repertory she appeared in the world Premiere of On the Jump. She played Dot in the West Coast premiere of Sunday in the Park with George at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (1986).


In 1991, Chartoff and fellow voice actor Michael Bell conceived the Grayway Rotating Drain, a graywater recycling device for reuse of shower and sink water in the home. The following year, they finished and patented the product with the help of Ronald K. Ford.[4][5][6][7][8]

Voice acting and current projects[edit]

Chartoff's first voice-over work was a guest role on Challenge of the Super Friends. She has continued her work as an in-demand voice actress and also takes occasional TV and stage roles. She works as a coach to both actors and non-actors to make them more charismatic in public performances.[9] In 2005, she interviewed Laraine Newman for Autograph Collector magazine. She writes for The Huffington Post, The Jewish Journal, Defenestration Magazine, and The Funny Times. She performs her original material at such Los Angeles venues as Comedy Central's "Sit n' Spin," "Tasty Words," and "I Love a Good Story."


From 1991 to 2008, Chartoff voiced Didi Pickles and Grandma Minka, Didi's mother on Nickelodeon's hit series Rugrats, for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She continued to voice Didi on the Rugrats spin-off series, All Grown Up!. For the 2021 revival series of the same name, Chartoff was replaced by actress Ashley Spillers, who currently voices Didi Pickles.[10]


Aside from Drama-Logue and Daytime Emmy Awards, she was cited by the City of Hope for creating and producing the yearly event Halloween for Hope to benefit children's cancer research and received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Mayor of Los Angeles for her concerts for the homeless. She is listed in Who's Who in California, and Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.



Year Title Role Notes
1978 American Hot Wax Debbie film debut
1979 Can You Hear the Laughter? The Story of Freddie Prinze Fan (uncredited) Television Movie
1982 Having It All Dace Television Movie
1985 Doin' Time Linda Libel
1986 Stoogemania Beverly
Hardesty House Judy Werner Television Movie
1987 Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues Deborah Television Movie
1993 Wind in the Wire unknown role Television Movie
1997 Plato's Run Stephanie Direct-to-Video
A Rugrats Vacation Didi Pickles (voice) Direct-to-Video
1998 The Rugrats Movie Didi Pickles/Minka (voice)
2000 Big Brother Trouble Frances Dobson
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie Didi Pickles (voice)
2001 The Rugrats: All Growed Up Television Movie
2003 Rugrats Go Wild
2006 Dr. Dolittle 3 Black & White Hen (voice) Direct-to-Video
2012 And Out, Into the Bright Sky unknown role Short film
2017 Alexander IRL Maureen Finn


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Search for Tomorrow Nancy Craig Television debut
1973 The Doctors Nurse (uncredited) Episode: "#1.2824"
1978 Wonder Woman Nadia Episode: "Screaming Javelins"
The Tony Randall Show Ginny Episode: "Adios, Mr. Chips"
Richie Brockelman, Private Eye Police-Woman Ronnie Episode: "Escape from Caine Abel"
1978–1980 Challenge of the Super Friends additional voices (voice) series regular; 16 episodes
1980–1982 Fridays Various series regular; 54 episodes
1983 Oh Madeline unknown role Episode: "Sisters"
1985 Mr. Belvedere Detective Wentworth Episode: "What I Did for Love"
St. Elsewhere Kate Larson Episode: "Fathers and Sons"
1986 The Love Boat Betty Bell Episode: "Hippies and Yuppies/Frat Wars/Return of the Lambdas"
Fresno Desiree DeMornay Television Miniseries; 5 episodes
1987 Take Five Laraine McDermott recurring role; 6 episodes
1987–1990 Newhart Dr. Mary Kaiser recurring role; 5 episodes
1988 Wiseguy Lillah Warfield recurring role; 3 episodes
1989 The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Tawny Tyler Episode: "Adee Don't/Karate Koopa"
1990 The Fanelli Boys Becky Episode: "Pilot"
1990-1993 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Principal Grace Musso series regular; 72 episodes
1991–2004 Rugrats Didi Pickles/Minka Kropotkin/additional voices (voice) series regular; 155 episodes
1993 Married...with Children Laurie Diamond, Attorney Episode: "Un-Alful Entry"
1994 Living Single Madeline Flayvin Episode: "They've Gotta Have It"
Seinfeld Robin Episode: "The Fire"
1996–1998 Weird Science Marcia Donnelly recurring role; 5 episodes
1996–1999 Jumanji Aunt Nora Shepherd (voice role) series regular; 22 episodes
1998 Seinfeld Robin Episode: "The Finale"
Ally McBeal Joanne Poole Episode: "Happy Trails"
2000 Touched by an Angel Connie Burger Episode: "Bar Mitzvah"
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Grape Fox (voice) Episode: "Aesop's Fables: A Whodunit Musical"
2001 JAG Senator Anne Pick Episode: "Ambush"
2002 Taina Sasha Simmons Episode: "Desperately Seeking Agent"
The Zeta Project Lead Scientist Episode: "Cabin Pressure"
Body & Soul Colleen McKinney Episode: "Letting Go"
Half & Half Bridget Episode: "The Big in with the in Crowd Episode"
2003–2008 All Grown Up! Didi Pickles/Minka Kropotkin (voice) series regular; 32 episodes
2005 Unfabulous Health Teacher Episode: "The Little Sister"
2006 Desperate Housewives Sally Episode: "Remember (Part 1)"
2007 Tak & the Power of Juju Chief Tina-Tina (voice) Episode: "The Three Chiefs/The Party"
2010 No Ordinary Family Iris Mitchell Episode: "Pilot"
2014 Extraordinary Faith Director/Consulting Producer

Television Documentary; 2 episodes

2015 Switched at Birth Producer Episode: "There Is My Heart"
2018 OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes Sunshine (voice) recurring role; 4 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Rugrats Adventure Game Didi Pickles (voice)
Rugrats: Search for Reptar
1999 Rugrats: Studio Tour


  1. ^ Profile, Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Melanie Chartoff at IMDb
  3. ^ "Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: December 15, 2017". Haaretz.
  4. ^ *U.S. Patent 5,274,861, "Gray water recycling system" (Jan. 4, 1994)
  5. ^ "GRAYWAY ROTATING DRAIN - Graywater Recycling Device". Archived from the original on August 5, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018 – via
  6. ^ "Grayway FAQ". Archived from the original on November 18, 2003. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  7. ^ "Melanie Chartoff is also an inventor". Record-Journal. September 28, 1992. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  8. ^ "United States Patent: 5274861 - Gray water recycling system". Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Melanie Chartoff Charismatizing". Retrieved June 9, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Hullender, Tatiana (May 26, 2021). "Ashley Spillers & Tommy Dewey Interview: Rugrats". Screen Rant. Retrieved August 23, 2021.

External links[edit]