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Betty Thomas

Betty Thomas

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Also Known As: Betty Thomas Nienhauser Died:
Born: July 27, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, schoolteacher, waitress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A former public school art teacher, actress Betty Thomas turned a side job as waitress at Chicago's Second City improv club into an acting career that brought her an Emmy on "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-87) as dedicated officer Lucy Bates. Thomas later found even greater success as a director for television and features, including such top-grossing films as "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995), "Private Parts" (1997) and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." If critics occasionally dismissed her movies as lightweight fluff, there was no denying that they brought audiences to theaters and drew sizable profits, which in turn made Thomas one of the most accomplished female directors in Hollywood.

A former public school art teacher, actress Betty Thomas turned a side job as waitress at Chicago's Second City improv club into an acting career that brought her an Emmy on "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-87) as dedicated officer Lucy Bates. Thomas later found even greater success as a director for television and features, including such top-grossing films as "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995), "Private Parts" (1997) and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." If critics occasionally dismissed her movies as lightweight fluff, there was no denying that they brought audiences to theaters and drew sizable profits, which in turn made Thomas one of the most accomplished female directors in Hollywood.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Desperados (2012)
3.
  Dallas (2007)
5.
  I Spy (2002) Director
6.
  28 Days (2000) Director
7.
  Private Parts (1997) Director
8.
  Late Shift, The (1996) Director
9.
  Brady Bunch Movie, The (1995) Director
10.
  My Breast (1994) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Troop Beverly Hills (1989) Velda Plendor
3.
 Prison For Children (1987) Angela Brannon
4.
 When Your Lover Leaves (1983) Maude
5.
 Homework (1982)
6.
 Nashville Grab (1981) Maxine Pearce
7.
 Used Cars (1980) Bunny
8.
 Outside Chance (1978) Katherine
9.
 Tunnelvision (1976)
10.
 Jackson County Jail (1976) Waitress
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as a schoolteacher
:
Began waiting tables at the Second City in Chicago
:
Was a company Member of Second City
1976:
Acted in four features, "Jackson County Jail", "Chesty Anderson--USN" (re-released in 1984), "Tunnelvision" and "The Last Affair"
1976:
TV debut as regular, "The Fun Factory" (NBC)
:
Moved to Los Angeles
1978:
TV-movie acting debut, "Outside Chance" (CBS)
:
Played policewoman Lucy Bates on the NBC drama series "Hill Street Blues"; won 1985 Emmy as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series; also received six additional nominations
1989:
Acted opposite Shelley Long in the feature "Troop Beverly Hills"
1989:
Directed episodes of "Hooperman" (ABC)
1989:
Helmed premiere episode of the ABC series "Doogie Howser, M.D."
:
Directed episodes of HBO sitcom "Dream On"; earned Emmy and CableACE Awards for the "For Pete's Sake" episode
1991:
Directed pilot and premiere episode of "Arresting Behavior" (ABC)
1992:
Feature directorial debut, "Only You", a direct-to-video release
1994:
TV-movie directorial debut, "My Breast" (CBS); earned Emmy nomination
1995:
Directed feature, "The Brady Bunch Movie", reteaming with Long, who played the role created by Florence Henderson
1996:
Helmed "The Late Shift" for HBO; earned Emmy nomination
1997:
Directed Howard Stern in film adaptation of his memoirs "Private Parts"
1998:
Directed the non-musical remake of "Dr. Dolittle", starring Eddie Murphy
1998:
Signed to direct "Male Pattern Baldness" from a Joe Eszterhas script
2000:
Helmed the rehab-set comedy-drama "28 Days", starring Sandra Bullock
2002:
Directed feature film adaptation of TV hit "I Spy," reteaming with Murphy who co-starred with Owen Wilson
2004:
Produced the comedy "Surviving Christmas" starring Ben Affleck
2006:
Directed "John Tucker Must Die" a comedy about three high school girls who seek revenge on their cheating ex
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Ohio: Athens , Ohio -

Notes

Thomas' nickname on the set of "Dream On" was 'The Midnight Queen' "alluding to the long hours cast and crew members put in when she's helming." --From THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, December 7, 1993

"I didn't know much about the show. I'd seen it a couple of times in reruns. And my boyfriend's son watched it . . . He was sort of mesmerized by it. But what the kids get from watching, I still have no idea." --Thomas on "The Brady Bunch" in USA TODAY, March 7, 1995

About deciding to direct HBO's "The Late Shift": "When the best-selling book this film is based on first came out, I picked it up, but I only read a little bit of it. I just wasn't that interested. So when Ivan Reitman sent me the Bill Carter script, I was surprised that I couldn't put it down. This is very unusual. Generally, I will pick up a script and read for a while and put it down and come back, but I always worry about the script from that point on. Then my mother--who is from St Louis, doesn't know much about the business and doesn't really like late night television--read it and couldn't put it down. I knew I had to direct this project if my own mother couldn't put it down." --Betty Thomas quoted in DGA MAGAZINE, March-April 1996

"I think I have a style that's starting to emerge. It's sort of a dry, even-toned approach to comedy. I like that naturalistic approach to comedy--I don't want to lean on it [or make] it louder, I just want it there. If you think it's funny, you're gonna laugh." --Thomas in DAILY NEWS, March 5, 1997

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