Best known for her Emmy-nominated role as Celia Hodes on Showtime's dark comedy "Weeds" (2005-12), Elizabeth Perkins enjoyed a career of steady work in films including "Big" (1988) and "The Flintstones" (1994), before finally snaring her big critical breakthrough on the small screen at the age of 45. Perkins was a seasoned stage actress in both New York City and Chicago and a regular supporting player in some well-received films like "About Last Night" (1986), and was named Screen World's "Most Promising Actress" in 1986. Perkins beat the odds in 2005 with "Weeds;" finally being given the opportunity to showcase her range and her wicked wit.
Elizabeth Perkins was born Nov. 18, 1960, in Queens, NY. Following the split of her parents - a first generation Greek American businessman and a concert pianist - Perkins was raised on a farm outside of Brattleboro, VT. She attended Northfield Mount Herman boarding school in Western Massachusetts; eventually being expelled after skipping class, smoking pot in the bathroom, and generally spending too much time trying to be the center of attention. Her outgoing tendencies found a more suitable home at the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago. She graduated with a BFA in Acting in 1981, and became active in local theater productions including a run with the Steppenwolf Theater.
Perkins moved on to New York stages, beginning to build up a resume with performances at off-off Broadway venues like the experimental theater La Mama ETC. She caught her first break in 1983 with a role in the touring company of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs," debuting with the production on Broadway the following year. She appeared at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park in the summer of 1985 before she got her first offer to branch out into film - in a part that would make her a name virtually overnight. Starring as Demi Moore's wisecracking friend Joan in "About Last Night..." (1986), Perkins was a scene-stealer from the film's open, showcasing a great bitchy energy. Her hilarious scenes sparring with Jim Belushi's Bernie Litgo were the best in the film. With that tour de force performance, the offers began pouring in.
Starring opposite all the mid-80s hunks of the day, she played gal pals to Judd Nelson in "From the Hip" (1987) and Jeff Daniels in "Sweet Hearts Dance" (1988) before truly breaking out as the buttoned up business executive transformed by child-man Tom Hanks in "Big" (1988). She was critically-acclaimed for her role in Barry Levinson's ensemble piece "Avalon" (1990), and likewise wowed audiences by portraying a terminal cancer patient opposite William Hurt in "The Doctor" (1991). However, despite this almost instant big screen success, by 1993 she was beginning a lengthy career in TV movies - starting with the ABC pic, "For Their Own Good." The following year she stepped barefoot into Wilma Flintstone's role in the live action adaptation of "The Flintstones," and also took on the remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" (both 1994) in the role made famous by Maureen O'Hara. Both films made little noise at the box office.
After a return to the stage in a 1995 Los Angeles production of John Patrick Shanley's "Four Dogs and a Bone," Perkins headlined the female ensemble of the feature romantic comedy, "Moonlight and Valentino" (1995), as well as appeared in several more TV features including the NBC movie "Cloned" and Showtime's "Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Women" (both 1997). She also appeared as astronaut wife Marilyn Lovell in "The Original Wives Club" episode of HBO's highly acclaimed miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998), before returning to features with a convincing portrayal of a committed AIDS activist in "I'm Losing You" (1999) and as Sandra Bullock's beleaguered sister in "28 Days" (2000).
In 2000, the seasoned stage and film actress took her first crack as a series regular, playing the captain of a police precinct in the NBC sitcom "Battery Park" (2000). The show was short-lived, but the busy actress continued with a steady schedule of TV films including "What Girls Learn" (Showtime, 2001), "My Sister's Keeper" (CBS, 2002). She landed big screen supporting roles in "All I Want" (2003), "Finding Nemo" (2003), and "Must Love Dogs" (2005) before she hit creative and financial paydirt with the Showtime series "Weeds."
As co-lead of the quirky series that was "Weeds," critics and audiences alike loved Perkins in her role as Celia Hodes - the upstanding and well-coiffed suburban PTA mom who is oblivious to the fact that her widowed best friend (Mary-Louise Parker) is selling marijuana to make ends meet. Perkins earned Best Supporting Actress Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in 2006 and 2007. In the latter year, she and the rest of the cast were nominated for a "Best Acting Ensemble" award from the Screen Actors Guild. Meanwhile, she earned her third Emmy award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2009.
Cast (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Performed at Chicago's Goodman and North Light theaters
First appeared on the New York stage in the Off-Broadway play "The Arbor"
Landed a role in the touring company of "Brighton Beach Memoirs"; made Broadway debut the following year in the same part
Appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival staging of "Measure for Measure" in Central Park
Made her film debut in Edward Zwick's "About Last Night..."; played Demi Moore's cynical friend
Breakthrough feature role as the toy company co-worker of Tom Hanks in "Big"
Cast as Aidan Quinn's wife in Barry Levinson's "Avalon"
Portrayed a cancer patient who forms a bond with William Hurt's title character in "The Doctor"
Co-starred with Kevin Bacon, as rival reporters, in the romantic comedy "He Said, She Said"
Joined Mike Binder's ensemble film "Indian Summer"; also co-starring Diane Lane, Bill Paxton and Alan Arkin
Made television debut in the TV-movie "For Their Own Good" (ABC)
Played Wilma to John Goodman's Fred in the live-action version of "The Flintstones"
Appeared in the female-driven ensemble "Moonlight and Valentino"
Acted onstage in Los Angeles production of John Patrick Shanley's "Four Dogs and a Bone"; helmed by film director Larry Kasdan
Played the lead role in "Mamusha," a segment of Showtime's "Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Women"
Portrayed Marilyn Lovell in "The Original Wives Club" episode (directed by Sally Field) of the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon"
Appeared in "Crazy in Alabama", directed by Antonio Banderas
Offered a convincing turn as a committed AIDS activist in the grim "I'm Losing You"
Co-starred in the "1961" segment of HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk 2"
Played Sandra Bullock's beleaguered older sister in "28 Days"
TV series debut as regular, playing the captain of a police precinct in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Battery Park"
Starred opposite Jeff Goldblum in the live-action/animated "Cats & Dogs"
Cast as the voice of Coral in the animated hit "Finding Nemo"
Starred as a drunken mother in the indie film "Kids in America"
Cast as Celia Hodes, upstanding PTA mother on the Showtime series "Weeds"; earned Golden Globe (2006, 2007) and Emmy (2006, 2007, 2009) nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Starred as Diane Lane's sister in the romantic comedy "Must Love Dogs"
Played a Psychologist in the thriller "The Ring 2"
Once again starred opposite Diane Lane in Griffin Dunne's "Fierce People"
Nominated for the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series