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Mercedes Ruehl

Mercedes Ruehl

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Also Known As: Mercedes J Ruehl Died:
Born: February 28, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Queens, New York, USA Profession: actor, waitress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Like many who achieve "overnight success," Mercedes Ruehl had spent many years honing her craft on stage and in small roles in film and TV before breaking through in 1988 with two high profile parts. The New York native spent a somewhat peripatetic childhood, moving frequently until her FBI agent father and teacher mother finally settled in Silver Spring, Maryland. After returning to New York to attend college, Ruehl settled in Manhattan and studied acting with Uta Hagen while supporting herself with the usual battery of odd jobs (e.g., waitressing). She landed her first film role (a bit part as a policewoman) in 1979's "The Warriors". Ruehl went on to spend the next two years as a company member of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, acting in such works as "Medea" and "Much Ado About Nothing."

Like many who achieve "overnight success," Mercedes Ruehl had spent many years honing her craft on stage and in small roles in film and TV before breaking through in 1988 with two high profile parts. The New York native spent a somewhat peripatetic childhood, moving frequently until her FBI agent father and teacher mother finally settled in Silver Spring, Maryland. After returning to New York to attend college, Ruehl settled in Manhattan and studied acting with Uta Hagen while supporting herself with the usual battery of odd jobs (e.g., waitressing). She landed her first film role (a bit part as a policewoman) in 1979's "The Warriors". Ruehl went on to spend the next two years as a company member of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, acting in such works as "Medea" and "Much Ado About Nothing."

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Loving Leah (2009)
4.
 Mom at Sixteen (2005)
5.
 Bad Apple (2004) Loraine Gibbons
6.
7.
 Spooky House (2002) Boss
8.
 Amati Girls, The (2001) Grace
9.
 What's Cooking? (2000) Elizabeth Avila
10.
 Lost Child, The (2000) Rebecca Miller
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as waitress while studying acting; performed in workshops and occasional Off-Off-Broadway showcases
:
Went on year-long tour of high schools and colleges with "Come Blow Your Horn" and "The Miracle Worker"
1979:
Film debut, "The Warriors" as a poicewoman
1980:
Joined the company acting in repertory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts
1983:
Appeared in Off-Off-Broadway revival of "June Moon" in NYC
1985:
Guest starred in an episode of the ABC police drama "Our Family Honor"
1985:
Had featured role in "Coming of Age in SoHo" at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater
1985:
Was a member of the ensemble of Christopher Durang's award-winning stage comedy "The Marriage of Bette and Boo"
1986:
Broadway debut in "I'm Not Rappaport"
1987:
Made guest appearance on the CBS sitcom "Kate and Allie"
1988:
Portrayed Josh's mom in the comedy "Big"
1988:
Breakthrough screen role as Mafia wife Connie Russo in "Married to the Mob"
1989:
Co-starred in the Off-Broadway play "Other People's Money"
1991:
First starring role on Broadway, "Lost in Yonkers"; won Tony Award
1991:
Co-starred with Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in "The Fisher King"; received Academy Award for performance
1993:
Recreated award-winning stage role in the film version of Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers"
1994:
Returned to Broadway in revival of the Pulitzer-winning drama "The Shadow Box"
1994:
Had featured role in "On Hope"; JoBeth Williams' Oscar-nominated short film (aired on Showtime)
1995:
Cast as Serafina opposite Anthony LaPaglia's Mangiacavallo in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo"
1995:
Portrayed a deputy district attorney prosecuting a case of alleged child abuse in the based-on-fact HBO drama "Indictment: The McMartin Trial"
1995:
Played recurring role of Kate Costas, the new station boss, on the NBC sitcom "Frasier"
1997:
Portrayed the ailing wife of an Italian man who wants to be buried in her family's cemetery plot in the comedy "For Roseanna"
1997:
Co-starred in the Showtime adaptation of Israel Horovitz's play "North Shore Fish"
1998:
Portrayed Kathleen Carangi, the mother of the titular model, "Gia" (HBO)
1999:
With Brian Cox, played an unhappily married couple who unwittingly take in a serial killer as a boarder in "The Minus Man"
2000:
Cast as the matriarch of an Hispanic family preparing for Thanksgiving in "What's Cooking?"; premiered at Sundance
2000:
Played a sympathetic psychiatrist in the fact-based "The Mary Kay Letourneau Story: All-American Girl" (USA Network)
2000:
Delivered a strong turn as an adoptee who discovers her Native American roots in the CBS "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production "The Lost Child"
2001:
Headlined the cast of the independent feature "The Amati Girls"
2001:
Starred in the ABC miniseries "Widows"
2001:
Acted onstage opposite Patrick Stewart in a stage production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at the Guthrie Theatre
2002:
Had lead in Court TV's first made-for-television movie, "Guilt by Association"
2002:
Starred opposite Bill Pullman in the Broadway production of Edward Albee's play "The Goat, or, Who Is Sylvia?"
2004:
Featured in the Canadian film, "Zeyda and the Hitman"
2006:
Guest-starred as Vincent Chase's (Adrian Grenier) mom in an episode of "Entourage" (HBO)
2008:
Cast in the world premiere of Edward Albee's "Occupant" at Signature Theatre Company
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

College of New Rochelle: New Rochelle , New York -

Notes

"Film requires very intense and short terms of concentration. In theater, once you step on stage, nobody can stop you. The director can't make you redo it his way, the writer can't say, 'Stop that's not the right word I wrote.'"---Ruehl to Venice, June 2005.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
David Geiser. Artist.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Christopher. Gave up for adoption when she was 28; reunited in the late 1990s when he turned 21; godfather of Jake.
son:
Jake Xavier Ruehl Geiser. Adopted in 1997.

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