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Mel Harris

Mel Harris

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Also Known As: Mary Ellen Harris Died:
Born: July 12, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A dark, striking leading lady of TV, Mel Harris is a former model who, after a few false starts in feature films ("Wanted: Dead or Alive" 1986, "Cameron's Closet" 1988) and TV ("Harry's Hong Kong" 1987), lent an understated sincerity and authority to the role of Hope, a woman attempting to juggle marriage, children and a career, in ABC's acclaimed, not-for-yuppies-only serial "thirtysomething." Harris tried a change of pace with her next series, the sitcom "Something So Right" (NBC, 1996-97; ABC, 1997-1998), in which she played a thrice-married woman coping with her new husband and their respective children.

A dark, striking leading lady of TV, Mel Harris is a former model who, after a few false starts in feature films ("Wanted: Dead or Alive" 1986, "Cameron's Closet" 1988) and TV ("Harry's Hong Kong" 1987), lent an understated sincerity and authority to the role of Hope, a woman attempting to juggle marriage, children and a career, in ABC's acclaimed, not-for-yuppies-only serial "thirtysomething." Harris tried a change of pace with her next series, the sitcom "Something So Right" (NBC, 1996-97; ABC, 1997-1998), in which she played a thrice-married woman coping with her new husband and their respective children.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Purple Heart (2008)
2.
 Arc (2006)
3.
 Veritas Project: Hangman's Curse, The (2003) Sarah Springfield
4.
 Another Pretty Face (2002) Diana Downs
5.
 Family Under Siege (2002) Fay Baxter
6.
 Firetrap (2001) Cordelia Calloway
7.
 Sonic Impact (2000)
8.
 Out of Time (2000) Annie Epson
9.
 Murder, She Wrote: South By Southwest (1997) Sarah Mcleish
10.
 What Kind of Mother Are You? (1996) Laura Hyler
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1984:
Gave up modeling to pursue acting studies and career
1992:
Made NYC stage debut at the Circle Repertory Company in "Empty Hearts"; played opposite then-husband Cotter Smith
1989:
Played Madge Oberholtzer in NBC miniseries about the Ku Klux Klan, "Cross of Fire"
:
Grew up in North Brunswick, New Jersey
:
Starred in sitcom "Something So Right" (NBC, 1996-1997; ABC, 1997-1998)
1986:
Played bit parts in TV series, "Rags to Riches" and "The Wizard"
:
Portrayed Hope Stedman on ABC's primetime serial, "thirtysomething"
:
Accepted at Barnard College of Columbia University; intended to pursue studies leading to a career in law, but modeling opportunities kept taking her to France and Italy; withdrew after deferring studies for two years
1987:
Appeared in first TV-movie, "Harry's Hong Kong", opposite David Soul
1986:
Made film debut in "Wanted: Dead or Alive" opposite Rutger Hauer
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

The name "Mel" comes from Harris's childhood. Her sister was unable to say "Mary Ellen" and kept saying "Melon", a nickname which was shortened to "Mel".

"The camera loves her. You just don't catch her acting."--Ken Olin, Harris's TV husband on "thirtysomething" (quoted in TV GUIDE, January 23, 1988)

Tartly referring to the competition she encountered during her days as a model, the dark-haired, dark-eyed Harris mused, "Blonde-and-blue sells. It's like sliced white bread in America."--quoted in TV GUIDE, January 23, 1988

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
David Hume Kennerly. Photographer. Second husband; married in October 1983, divorced c. 1988; worked for <i>Time</i> magazine; won Pulitzer Prize; former White House photographer during the Ford administration.
husband:
Cotter Smith. Actor. Third husband; born c. 1950; star of ABC TV series, "Equal Justice"; met in 1987 on set of feature film, "Cameron's Closet" (1988) in which they co-starred; announced separation in April 1996; divorced.
husband:
Mike Toomey. Investment banker. Born c. 1960; married in 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Warren Harris. Football coach. Coached defensive line of team at Princeton University.
mother:
Mary Michael Harris. High school science teacher.
son:
Byron Kennerly. Born in 1984; father, David Hume Kennerly.
daughter:
Madeline Michael Smith. Born on April 3, 1990; father, Cotter Smith.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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