Family & Companions
Glamorous and with a perfectly arch delivery, Wendie Malick made a career playing sharp, formidable women. Often cast as an ex-wife, doctor or authority figure, she was able to command - and steal - any scene she played, and racked up perhaps one of the most impressive list of TV credits of any of her peers. Whether it was as the wry Judith Tupper Stone on "Dream On" (HBO, 1990-96), her beloved turn as the boozy, brilliant ex-model Nina Van Horn on "Just Shoot Me!" (NBC, 1997-2003), or one of the other countless programs or movies on her résumé, Malick and her talent stood out. With a devilish grin and wit to match, she always seemed smarter, sexier and more stylish than her material, which kept audiences hoping to see her pop up as often as possible.
Born Dec. 13, 1950, in Buffalo, NY, Wendy Malick (she later changed it to Wendie) was the daughter of Gigi, a former model, and Ken Malick, who worked in sales. She studied art and minored in theater, graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1972, and used her exotic beauty (her father was Egyptian) to become a Wilhelmina model, traveling throughout Europe and Asia. Much more than a pretty face, Malick quit modeling to work for Republican Congressman Jack Kemp. Although she gave up politics as a profession in favor of becoming an actress, it would remain a vital interest of Malick's all her life. After pounding the pavement for awhile, Malick landed her first film role, the small role of Philomena, an oboist who has an affair with Tim Matheson in the strange romantic comedy, "A Little Sex" (1982). Although she did not snag the role of Diane Chambers that she auditioned for on the new sitcom "Cheers" (NBC, 1982-1993), Malick lucked out on the domestic front, marrying screenwriter and former Rolling Stone writer, Mitch Glazer.
Impressively prolific, Malick held the distinction of working nearly consistently since her early-1980s debut, appearing in a handful of film or TV projects every year. She played Dr. Brigitte Blaine on the short-lived series "Trauma Center" (1983) and spent the rest of the decade carving out an exhaustive 1980s television guest star pedigree. Malick returned to the movies with a tiny part in her husband's "Scrooged" (1988), the sardonic Bill Murray take on "A Christmas Carol," before recurring memorably as Jane Curtain's ex-husband's new wife on the popular and respected sitcom, "Kate & Allie" (CBS 1984-89). Off-screen, however, she and Glazer would divorce in 1989.
Malick's true onscreen breakthrough came with her role as Judith Tupper Stone, the ex-wife of Martin Tupper (Brian Benben), on the cable sitcom, "Dream On" (HBO, 1990-96). Created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the show broke ground by taking a familiar sitcom premise - a harried New York single man deals with the stresses of life -and injecting it with more sophisticated elements available only because of its pay-cable home, including nudity and foul language, as well as interspersed clips of old movies and television shows. Later, programs like "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) would cement the idea of pay-cable being an ideal outlet for the most groundbreaking and controversial programming, but "Dream On" paved the way. For her frequently-recurring role as the arch Judith, Malick received raves from critics and a string of four Best Actress Cable ACE Awards.
Malick spent the 1990s improving on her unusual-by-Hollywood-standards professional clip, earning an amazing wealth of guest-starring TV credits and lensing a successful small role in the Warren Beatty film "Bugsy" (1991). She added to her gallery of ex-wives by playing David Hasselhoff's former Mrs. for seven episodes on "Baywatch" (NBC, 1989-1990; syndicated, 1991-2001), bringing her patented brand of intelligence, wry humor and depth to the show beloved the world over for its gratuitous blend of beef- and cheesecake. Her ability to elevate inferior projects continued to impress casting directors, and Malick received strong notices for her TV movie role as Camille Barbone, the hotheaded lesbian manager of the young Michigan-born singer-actress in the TV movie, "Madonna: Innocence Lost" (Fox, 1994). She also nailed a small but juicy role in the Michael Douglas romantic comedy/drama "The American President" (1995) as a passionate environmentalist and colleague of Annette Bening.
Already hailed by critics and by sharp-eyed TV fans, Malick broke through to the mainstream with her scene-devouring supporting work as the diva-esque model, Nina Van Horn, on the sitcom "Just Shoot Me!" (NBC, 1997-2003). In a talented cast that included Laura San Giacomo, David Spade and George Segal, Malick was a standout, somehow able to deliver bitchy quips, bizarre one-liners, physical comedy and a sense of charming vulnerability on the sitcom based in the world of magazine publishing. The show's best episode made headlines for being such a departure - a laugh-track free parody of "Biography" (syndication, 1962-63; A&E, 1987-2006; The Biography Channel, 2006- ) profiling Malick's character's incredibly colorful life. Although "Just Shoot Me!" itself was a quiet success - more popular with audiences than reviewers - critics raved over Malick, helping the actress earn nominations for two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her role.
Although she had a full-time job, Malick still found time to churn out an impressive stream of credits. Standing out on her overstuffed résumé was a starring role as both advice-giving twins, Dear Abby and Ann Landers, in the movie "Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story" (1999), as well as the silky-throated Malick's increasing presence in voiceover and cartoon work, including the big-screen Disney animated smash, "The Emperor's New Groove" (2000) alongside her friend David Spade. She recurred frequently as the smooth voice of authority on the animated spy kids program, "Fillmore!" (ABC, 2002-04). So malleable was her skill set, Malick moved easily from the end of "Just Shoot Me!" to the last season of "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004), where she played a lounge singer and former Crane babysitter who falls in love with - and marries - Martin (John Mahoney), the family's patriarch.
Very much in demand, she continued to notch credits on her own while searching for her next long-term job. While the John Stamos sitcom "Jake in Progress" (ABC, 2005-06) failed to launch, she did receive a Gracie Allen Award for her role on the matrimonial answer to Kiefer Sutherland's "24" (FOX, 2001-2010) called "Big Day" (ABC, 2006-07). Showing no sign of slowing down in the 2000s, Malick continued to work mostly in television and voiceover, but with the occasional film role. The actress proved up to any challenge, whether it was essaying a pre-op transsexual reconsidering her decision in "Waiting for Yvette" (2008), ruling an anti-shopping-addiction support group with an iron fist in "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (2009), or playing an outwardly cold principal who is secretly the world's biggest fan of the sweater-wearing rodents in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" (2009).
Throughout her career, Malick also stayed true to her devotion to politics, women's issues and charitable causes, including maintaining the charity, A Drop in the Bucket, to support a medical center in the Congo, and sharing an ongoing commitment to a women's shelter in Mexico. Professionally, Malick hit the ground running in the new decade, adding a starring role on the sitcom "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land, 2010-15) alongside Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Betty White. Malick charmed with a variation on her sly, sexy persona as Victoria, a Los Angeles-based soap opera star.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made screen debut in "A Little Sex"
Moved to L.A.
Was regular on "Trauma Center" (ABC)
Made first of several appearances on "Kate and Allie" (CBS) as Claire Lowell
Appeared on "Anything But Love" (ABC)
Appeared in "Baywatch" pilot and several episodes as David Hasselhoff's ex-wife (NBC)
Had recurring role on "The Fanelli Boys" (NBC)
Breakthrough TV role as Judith Tupper Stone on the HBO comedy series "Dream On"
Made several guest appearances on "NYPD Blue"
Had featured role in "The American President"
Was regular on "Good Company" (ABC)
Portrayed Nina Van Horn, a former model working at a magazine, in the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me"; nominated at the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1999, 2002), nominated at the Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture (1999)
Voiced the role of Chica in the Disney animated "The Emperor's New Groove"
Cast in the animated feature "Racing Stripes"
Voiced a recurring role on the animated series "The Emperor's New School"
Co-starred with Isla Fisher in the romantic comedy "Confessions of a Shopaholic"
Cast in Greg Mottola's coming-of-age comedy "Adventureland"
Appeared in the Betty Thomas-directed family film "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"
Co-starred in TV Land's ensemble comedy "Hot in Cleveland" opposite Jane Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli, and Betty White
Appeared in "What Happens Next"
Played Beatrice Horseman on the Netflix animated comedy "BoJack Horseman"
Nabbed a recurring part on the TV remake of "Rush Hour"
Nabbed a guest spot on the comedy series "Lady Dynamite"
Nabbed a supporting role on the long-running procedural drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
Voiced a recurring role on the animated series "Kulipari: An Army of Frogs"