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Also Known As: Lesley Warren, Lesley Warren Died:
Born: August 16, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, dancer, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A greatly underutilized talent in features, this stage-trained actress has shone in numerous TV-movies, miniseries and music-oriented specials. America first discovered Lesley Ann Warren as a fresh-faced ingenue; she was a radiant "Cinderella" (CBS, 1966) in the now classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical TV special. The next year, Warren made her feature debut in "The Happiest Millionaire", a Disney musical starring Fred MacMurray. She followed up with another Disney songfest, "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" (1968), in which she was the love interest of John Davidson. Warren then turned her attention to the small screen, appearing in numerous TV-movies, busted pilots, miniseries and guest spots. Whereas feature assignments were few and far between--only three between 1968 and 1982--TV realized Warren's potential as a lead. Warren could ennoble some dubious material. She brought conviction, toughness and sympathy to her portrayals of B-girls, struggling moms, and plucky careerists. Her many miniseries credits include portraying a plucky poor girl who becomes a high class madam in "Harold Robbins' '79 Park Avenue'" (NBC, 1977), the mistress of a plantation romanced by a Yankee in...

A greatly underutilized talent in features, this stage-trained actress has shone in numerous TV-movies, miniseries and music-oriented specials. America first discovered Lesley Ann Warren as a fresh-faced ingenue; she was a radiant "Cinderella" (CBS, 1966) in the now classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical TV special. The next year, Warren made her feature debut in "The Happiest Millionaire", a Disney musical starring Fred MacMurray. She followed up with another Disney songfest, "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" (1968), in which she was the love interest of John Davidson. Warren then turned her attention to the small screen, appearing in numerous TV-movies, busted pilots, miniseries and guest spots. Whereas feature assignments were few and far between--only three between 1968 and 1982--TV realized Warren's potential as a lead.

Warren could ennoble some dubious material. She brought conviction, toughness and sympathy to her portrayals of B-girls, struggling moms, and plucky careerists. Her many miniseries credits include portraying a plucky poor girl who becomes a high class madam in "Harold Robbins' '79 Park Avenue'" (NBC, 1977), the mistress of a plantation romanced by a Yankee in "Beaulah Land" (NBC, 1980) and a Jewish immigrant in "Evergreen" (NBC, 1985). In 1986's "A Fight for Jenny", she was a woman embroiled in a custody battle due to her relationship with a black man. Despite her roots as an affluent Jewish-American from New York City, Warren has often played Southern woman as in "Baja Oklahoma" (HBO, 1988), and "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" (ABC, 1992). Other TV-movies have had such provocative titles as "Portrait of a Stripper" (CBS, 1979) and "Portrait of a Showgirl" (CBS, 1982).

Warren's feature career was revived after an Oscar-nominated turn as the bleached blonde moll of a gangster (James Garner) in Blake Edwards' "Victor/Victoria" (1982). Her Norma Cassidy evoked memories of both Jean Harlow (for her sultry presence) and Jean Hagen's "Singing in the Rain" character (for her whiny 'Noo Yawk' accent). But whatever career momentum Warren might have gained was dissipated with less than stellar follow-up roles. She appeared in the disastrous "A Night in Heaven" (1993) as a neglected wife who embarks on an affair with a male stripper (Christopher Atkins). She fared slightly better in two Alan Rudolph films, "Choose Me" and "Songwriter" (both 1984), although she was wasted as the female lead in Mel Brooks' "Life Stinks" (1991) and as the manager of a C&W singer in "Pure Country" (1992). Warren did win critical admiration for her sexy mother of a returning Korean War veteran in "Going All the Way" (1997).

Over the next several years, Warren continued to take on a wide range of roles, including playing an aging actress in Steven Soderbergh's film "The Limey" and the artful "Twin Falls, Idaho" (both 1999). She also made somewhat frequent appearances on television, including a recurring stint on "Will & Grace" as the loelorn mistress of Will's father (Syndey Pollack) beginning in 2001, and had multiple appearances on the NBC crime drama "Crossing Jordan." In 2002, Warren had a supporting role as Maggie Gyllenhaal's mother in the award winning film "Secretary." In 2005 she joined Bob Newhart for a multiepisode stint on "Despearte Housewives," in which she played Sophie, the mother of Susan Meyer (Teri Hatcher).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Jobs (2013)
2.
 Peep World (2011)
3.
 Little Help, A (2010)
5.
6.
 Constellation (2007)
7.
 My Tiny Universe (2006)
8.
 When Do We Eat? (2006)
9.
 10th and Wolf (2006)
10.
 Shore, The (2005)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Reportedly was the youngest person ever to be accepted as a member of the Actors Studio
1963:
Professional Broadway debut at age 16, "110 in the Shade", the musical version of "The Rainmaker"
1966:
Breakthrough role, starring in the CBS-TV adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella"
1967:
Feature debut, "The Happiest Millionaire", a Disney musical; final film overseen by Walt Disney
:
Signed to a feature contract by Robert Evans, then president of Paramount
1969:
TV-movie debut, "Seven in Darkness", a plane crash drama starring Milton Berle
1970:
Joined the cast of the popular CBS espionage series, "Mission: Impossible" for one season as Dana Lambert
1975:
Starred as Lois Lane in the ABC-TV adaptation of the Broadway musical, "It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman"
1982:
Played her best known feature role, Norma Cassidy, the moll of James Garner in Blake Edward's "Victor/Victoria"; earned Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination
1983:
Starred in the critically-drubbed "A Night in Heaven"
1985:
Had leading role in NBC miniseries "Evergreen"
1991:
Was Mel Brooks' leading lady in "Life Stinks"
1997:
Returned to Broadway as co-star of the musical "Dream: The Johnny Mercer Musical"
1999:
Played recurring role as Christina Applegate's mother on the NBC sitcom "Jessie"
1999:
Co-starred in the Steven Soderbergh-directed "The Limey"
2000:
Reteamed with Alan Rudolph as co-star of "Trixie"; screened at the Sundance Film Festival
2000:
Had occasional recurring role on "Will & Grace" (NBC)
2001:
Appeared in crime drama "The Quickie"
2002:
Had supporting role in "Secretary" won Special Jury Prize at Sundance
2005:
Guest-starred as the high-maintenance mother of Susan (Hatcher) on the ABC drama "Desperate Housewives"
2006:
Starred as the mom in the Jewish comedy "When Do We Eat?"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

High School of Music and Art: New York , New York -
Professional Children's School: New York , New York -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -

Notes

"If there comes a point where you're not playing the sexy mother, so what."---Warren to People, May 23, 2005.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Jon Peters. Executive. Former hairdresser turned film executive; married in 1967; divorced in 1977.
companion:
Jeffrey Hornaday. Choreographer. Together 1980-87.
companion:
Scott Baio. Actor. Dated briefly.
husband:
Ron Taft. Executive. Former vice president of Columbia; now vice president of Electric Entertainment; born c. 1947; became engaged in October 1996; married in January 2000.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Warren. Real estate agent. Changed family surname from Warrenoff.
mother:
Carol Warren. Singer.
son:
Christopher Peters. Producer. Warren took a hiatus from acting to raise him; born c. 1968.

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