Signed photo of Garr in the 1970s
|Born||Terry Ann Garr
December 11, 1947
(year of birth disputed; other years cited include 1944, 1945 and 1949)
Lakewood, Ohio, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, singer, comedian|
|Years active||1963–2007 (hiatus)|
|Spouse(s)||John O'Neil (1993–1996)|
|Partner(s)||Roger Birnbaum (1979–1983)
David Kipper (1983–1990)
Terry Ann Garr (born December 11, 1947) — known as Teri Garr — is an American actress, singer, comedian, dancer, and voice artist. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1982 film, Tootsie. She notably appeared on television as Phoebe Abbott in three episodes of the sitcom Friends (1997–1998), and had a starring guest appearance in the 1968 Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth".
Garr was born in Lakewood, Ohio. Her father, Eddie Garr (born Edward Leo Gonnoud), was a vaudeville performer, comedian, and actor whose career peaked when he briefly took over the lead role in the Broadway drama Tobacco Road. He changed his surname before Teri's birth. Her mother, Phyllis Lind (born Emma Schmotzer), was a dancer, a Rockette, wardrobe mistress, and model. Her father was of Irish descent and her maternal grandparents were Austrian immigrants.
Early in her career she was credited as Terri Garr, Terry Garr, Teri Hope, or Terry Carr. Her movie debut was as an extra in A Swingin' Affair (1963). At the end of her senior year at Magnificat High School, she auditioned for the cast of the Los Angeles road company production of West Side Story, where she met one of the most important people in her early career, David Winters, who became her friend, her dance teacher, and her mentor and cast her in many of his early movies and projects.
Garr began as a background dancer in uncredited roles for youth-oriented films and TV shows choreographed by Winters, including Pajama Party, a beach party film, the T.A.M.I. Show, Shindig!, Hullabaloo, Movin' with Nancy, and nine Elvis Presley features (many of which were also choreographed by Winters, including Presley's most profitable film, Viva Las Vegas). When asked in a magazine interview about how she landed jobs in so many Presley films, Garr answered, "One of the dancers in the road show of West Side Story (David Winters), started to choreograph movies, and whatever job he got I was one of the girls he'd hire. So he was chosen to do Viva Las Vegas. That was my first movie."
Her first speaking role in a motion picture was a brief appearance as a damsel in distress in the Monkees film Head (1968), written by Jack Nicholson. She landed her first significant motion-picture role in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974). Her career breakthrough came in the Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein (also 1974) as Inga. She appeared in a string of highly successful films, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) with Richard Dreyfuss, Oh, God! (1977) with George Burns, The Black Stallion (1979) with Mickey Rooney, Mr. Mom (1983) with Michael Keaton, After Hours (1985) with Griffin Dunne, and Let It Ride (1989), also with Dreyfuss. Garr was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role as Dustin Hoffman's character's actress friend in Tootsie (1982).
She also appeared frequently on television. She began as a go-go dancer on several musical variety shows, along with friend Toni Basil, such as Shindig! and Hullabaloo. In 1966 Garr made one appearance on Batman (episode 7, uncredited). In 1968 she appeared in both The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. and was in two episodes of It Takes a Thief.
In 1968 she was featured as secretary Roberta Lincoln in the Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth", designed as a backdoor pilot episode for a new series which was not commissioned. In the early 1970s, she was a regular cast member on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, dancing and acting in comedy sketches. She had a recurring role on McCloud, and appeared on M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, The Odd Couple, Maude, Barnaby Jones, and Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers. She hosted Saturday Night Live three times (in 1980, 1983, and 1985), and was a frequent visitor on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
As a recurring guest on Late Night with David Letterman, she was renowned for her unscripted banter with David Letterman, who once goaded her into showering in his office while the camera rolled. She landed a role as recurring character Phoebe Abbott in Friends, the estranged birth mother of Phoebe Buffay.
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Garr's daughter, Molly O'Neil, was born in November 1993. Garr married contractor John O'Neil on the day their adopted daughter was born. Garr and O'Neil divorced in 1996.
In October 2002, Garr publicly confirmed that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After years of uncertainty and secrecy surrounding her diagnosis, Garr explained her reasons for deciding to go public: "I'm telling my story for the first time so I can help people. I can help people know they aren't alone and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because, today, treatment options are available." In interviews, she has commented that she first started noticing symptoms while in New York filming Tootsie.
After disclosing her condition, she became a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and National Chair for the Society's Women Against MS program (WAMS). In November 2005, Garr was honored as the society's Ambassador of the Year. This honor had been given only four times since the society was founded.
In 2006 she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. After therapy, she regained her affected speech and motor skills and in 2008 appeared on Late Show with David Letterman to promote Expired, a 2007 film in which she played a set of twins.
She has not acted in films or television since 2007, though she did publicly appear at the 19th Annual Race to Erase MS (multiple sclerosis) event in 2012. Closer reported in 2015 that she credited her positive attitude and support of her family as helping her fight the disease.
Awards and nominations
- Academy Award (Oscar)
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)
- National Society of Film Critics, USA
- National Board of Review, USA
- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
- CableACE Awards
- 1983 Nominated for "Actress in a Dramatic Presentation" in Faerie Tale Theatre For episode "The Tale of the Frog Prince".
- Fun in Acapulco (1963), backup dancer
- Kissin' Cousins (1964), backup dancer
- Viva Las Vegas (1964), backup dancer
- What a Way to Go! (1964), backup dancer
- Roustabout (1964), backup dancer
- Pajama Party (1964), backup dancer
- T.A.M.I. Show (1964), backup dancer
- John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1965)
- Red Line 7000 (1965)
- Girl Happy (1965), backup dancer
- Clambake (1967), backup dancer
- Head (1968) -- her first speaking role
- Changes (1969)
- The Moonshine War (1970)
- The Conversation (1974)
- Young Frankenstein (1974)
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
- Oh, God! (1977)
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
- Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979)
- The Black Stallion (1979)
- Witches' Brew (1980)
- Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)
- One from the Heart (1982)
- The Escape Artist (1982)
- Tootsie (1982)
- The Sting II (1983)
- The Black Stallion Returns (1983)
- Mr. Mom (1983)
- The Winter of Our Discontent (1983)
- Firstborn (1984)
- After Hours (1985)
- Miracles (1986)
- Full Moon in Blue Water (1988)
- Out Cold (1989)
- Let It Ride (1989)
- Short Time (1990)
- The Player (1992)
- Mom and Dad Save the World (1992)
- Pack of Lies ([VHS released 1993])
- Dumb and Dumber (1994)
- Ready to Wear (1994)
- Perfect Alibi (1995)
- Michael (1996)
- A Simple Wish (1997)
- Dick (1999)
- The Sky Is Falling (2000)
- Ghost World (2001)
- Life Without Dick (2002)
- Unaccompanied Minors (2006)
- Expired (2007)
- Kabluey (2007)
- Where Is the Bus? (1966)
- The Absent-Minded Waiter (1977)
- Java Junkie (1979), shown on Saturday Night Live
- Save the Rabbits (1994)
- God Out the Window (2007)
- Mr. Novak (1 episode, 1964)
- Dr. Kildare (1 episode, 1965)
- Batman (episode 7,uncredited, 1966)
- That Girl (1 episode, 1967)
- The Andy Griffith Show (1 episode, 1968)
- Star Trek ("Assignment: Earth", 1968)
- Mayberry R.F.D. (1 episode, 1968)
- The Mothers-In-Law (1 episode, 1969)
- It Takes a Thief (2 episodes, 1969)
- Room 222 (1 episode, 1969)
- The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (13 episodes, 1971–72)
- Banyon (1 episode, 1972)
- Sesame Street (1 episode, 1986)
- The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1 episode, 1973)
- The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour (1973) (unknown episodes)
- The Girl with Something Extra (4 episodes, 1973–74)
- The Bob Newhart Show (2 episodes, 1973–1974)
- McCloud (5 episodes, 1973–75)
- M*A*S*H (2 episodes, 1973–78)
- The Odd Couple (1 episode, 1974)
- Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (1 episode, 1974)
- Barnaby Jones (1 episode, 1974)
- Maude (1 episode, 1975)
- Cher (1 episode, 1975)
- The Sonny and Cher Show (unknown episodes, 1976–77)
- Law and Order (1976)
- Once Upon a Brothers Grimm (1977)
- Hunter (1 episode, 1977)
- Saturday Night Live (1 episode, 1979)
- Doctor Franken (1980)
- Faerie Tale Theatre (1 episode, 1982)
- Prime Suspect (1982)
- Hallmark Hall of Fame (2 episodes, 1983–87)
- To Catch a King (1984)
- The New Show (1 episode, 1984)
- Fresno (1986)
- Intimate Strangers (1986)
- Trying Times (1 episode, 1987)
- Paul Reiser Out on a Whim (1987)
- Teri Garr in Flapjack Floozie (1988)
- Martin Mull Live from North Ridgeville, Ohio (1988)
- A Quiet Little Neighborhood, a Perfect Little Murder (1990)
- Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme (1990)
- Stranger in the Family (1991)
- Good & Evil (1991) (unknown episodes)
- Tales from the Crypt (1 episode, 1991)
- Adventures in Wonderland (1992)
- Dream On (1 episode, 1992)
- Deliver Them from Evil: The Taking of Alta View (1992)
- Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert (1993)
- The General Motors Playwrights Theater (1 episode, 1993)
- Good Advice (1993) (unknown episodes, 1994)
- Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man (1 episode, 1994)
- Aliens for Breakfast (1994)
- Frasier (1 episode, 1995)
- Shining Time Station Specials (1 episode, 1995)
- Women of the House (12 episodes, 1995)
- Men Behaving Badly (1 episode, 1996)
- Double Jeopardy (1996)
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1 episode, 1997)
- NightScream (1997)
- Ronnie & Julie (1997)
- Murder Live! (1997)
- Friends (3 episodes, 1997–98)
- Casper Meets Wendy (1998)
- Sin City Spectacular (1 episode, 1998 or 1999)
- Batman Beyond: The Movie (1999) (voice)
- Chicken Soup for the Soul (1999) (unknown episodes)
- Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (1 episode, 1999) (voice, as self)
- ER (1 episode, 1999)
- Half a Dozen Babies (1999)
- Batman Beyond (8 episodes, 1999–2000)
- King of the Hill (1 episode, 2000)
- Felicity (1 episode, 2001)
- A Colder Kind of Death (2001)
- Strong Medicine (1 episode, 2001)
- What's New, Scooby-Doo? (1 episode, 2003)
- Life with Bonnie (1 episode, 2003)
- Greetings from Tucson (1 episode, 2003)
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1 episode, 2005)
- Crumbs (1 episode, 2006)
- David Carson. "Teri Garr - Who's Alive and Who's Dead". Wa-wd.com. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
- "Teri Garr Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
- "Teri Garr Biography (1949?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
- Garr, Teri; Mantel, Henriette (November 2005). Speedbumps: Flooring it Through Hollywood. Hudson Street Press. p. 68. ISBN 1-59463-007-0.
Autobiography by Teri Garr
- Guthmann, Edward (January 7, 2004). "As acting jobs dwindle, Teri Garr takes up her pen". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Boston.com Local Search - Boston Globe Archives".
- "Teri Garr - My Life So Far" Ability Magazine; accessed April 7, 2014.
- David Winters Bio at IMDb
- "Teri Garr bio". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
- "January 2004 Talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation", David Winters.net; accessed April 7, 2014.
- Teri Garr at the Internet Movie Database
- Wascalus, Jacob. "Teri Garr - My Life So Far". 2007 (1). Ability Magazine. Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- "David Letterman - 25 Years and Still Going Strong" (PDF). CBS. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- "Teri Garr Biography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
- "Teri Garr reveals she has multiple sclerosis". CNN. October 9, 2002. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- "Actress Teri Garr named as multiple sclerosis national chairwoman". News-Medical.net. April 29, 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- Tan, Michelle (January 2, 2007). "Teri Garr Recovering from Brain Aneurysm". People. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- "19th Annual Race To Erase MS - Inside Photos and Images". Getty Images. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
- "Teri Garr Battles Multiple Sclerosis With a Positive Outlook With the Help of Her Family". Closer Weekly. 2015-08-23. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
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