Family & Companions
A willowy blonde with a knack for playing beautiful, predatory women of means, Nicollette Sheridan was a film and television actress who gained her greatest fame on primetime soaps and dramas like "Knots Landing" (CBS, 1979-1993) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-12). She made her initial splash as the object of John Cusack's desire in "The Sure Thing" (1984) before segueing into her first memorable vamp, Paige Matheson, on "Knots" She struggled to regain her footing on TV after the show ended in 1993, but found her second stride as the more comical, if equally carnivorous Edie Britt on "Housewives." Though the show brought her newfound fame and a Golden Globe nomination, her tenure there ended in rancor in 2009 with allegations of abuse at the hands of its creator, Marc Cherry. Sheridan's ability to spoof her own image, as well as generate headline-grabbing news, made her among the most entertaining personalities on television for nearly three decades.
Born in the seaside town of Worthing in West Sussex, England on Nov. 21, 1963, she was the daughter of actress Sally Sheridan, who was also known as Dani Sheridan and Sally Adams, and regarded her stepfather, Telly Savalas, as her real father. After attending school at Millfield in Somerset, she moved to America with her family in 1973. Sheridan entered into the public eye as a teenager by moving into the home of pop star and actor Leif Garrett when she was just 15. The couple split six years later, just as Sheridan was making her acting debut on the primetime soap "Paper Dolls" (ABC, 1984). The series, which followed the action in the boardrooms and bedrooms of a large cosmetics firm, was a guilty pleasure for its small but loyal audience, who found Sheridan's pill-popping, diva-esque model one of its juiciest elements.
In 1985, Sheridan made her feature debut as the title role in Rob Reiner's "The Sure Thing." The winning comedy, about a hapless college student who travels across country to bed a woman who is reportedly guaranteed to sleep with him, gave Sheridan a chance to flex some unexpected comic muscles. She would return to such self-deprecating roles throughout her career. The following year, she received her star-making role as the villainous Paige Matheson on "Knot's Landing" The long-lost daughter of Kevin Dobson's stalwart Mack and Anne Matheson (Michelle Phillips), who rivaled her daughter in sheer venom, Paige turned up on Mack's doorstep and proceeded to bring turmoil into his life and that of just about everyone around him. Sheridan truly hit her stride on the series when her character was paired with William Devane's Greg Sumner, one of the great heels of 20th century television. Their scenes together shone with malicious glee, and earned Sheridan two Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1990 and 1991. During this period, Sheridan was engaged in a tumultuous marriage to actor Harry Hamlin, which lasted from 1991 to 1993.
After "Landing" came to an end in 1993, Sheridan bounced between television and film, largely in unmemorable projects that emphasized her physical appeal over her acting abilities. There were a few exceptions: "A Time to Heal" (NBC, 1994) gave her the chance to show her dramatic range as a woman who suffers a stroke due to protein deficiency, and the slapstick comedies "Spy Hard" (1996), with Leslie Nielsen and "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997), with Chris Farley, displayed an ingratiating willingness to spoof her own glamorous image. But by the turn of the new millennium, Sheridan was treading water in mediocre TV movies and vocal performances for "The Legend of Tarzan" (UPN, 2001-03), and missing opportunities for greater exposure like the role of Grace Adler on "Will and Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006). Even her personal life was in turmoil; her 2004 engagement to personal trainer Nicklas Soderblom had fallen apart less than a year later with much back and forth vitriol flying between them in the press.
Her career got the boost it needed when she was cast as the predatory Edie Britt on "Desperate Housewives." The sudsy, tongue-in-cheek drama-comedy originally utilized Edie as a supporting character whose main purpose was to upset the lives of the other characters. Sheridan was not even featured in the print ads like her co-stars Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and newcomer Eva Longoria. A real estate agent with two failed marriages under her belt and only the vaguest notion of appropriate behavior with spouses, children and friends, Edie was soon one of the show's most popular characters, and was promoted to a series regular in its third season. For her efforts, Sheridan received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 2005.
Sheridan attempted to parlay her popularity on "Housewives" into other projects, but none, including "Code Name: The Cleaner" (2007), a comedy with Cedric the Entertainer, bore any fruit. Indeed, the sole project outside of the show that garnered any attention was a skit on "Monday Night Football" (ABC/ESPN, 1970- ) which suggested that she had disrobed in front of her co-star, then-Philadelphia Eagles star Terrell Owens. The bit was widely condemned by most viewers and sports broadcasters, and later investigated - to no avail - by the Federal Communications Commission who deemed the spot inappropriate.
Her longtime relationship to singer Michael Bolton also had its ups and down and kept her in the news. She had initially dated Bolton in the mid-1990s after leaving the devastated Hamlin. After her 2004 breakup with Soderblom, Bolton and Sheridan magically reconnected after a decade, eventually announcing their own nuptials in 2006. They were smitten enough to perform a duet on Bolton's album Bolton Swings Sinatra that same year. But in 2008, the union was declared officially defunct. A year later, Edie Britt would also cease to exist. Sheridan announced her departure from the series in February of 2009, and her character was killed by quite graphically from electric shock in April of that same year.
However, the drama surrounding Sheridan and "Housewives" was only beginning to heat up. In 2010, she filed a $20 million lawsuit against the show's creator, Marc Cherry, for allegedly striking her after she questioned a script, and then firing her after she complained to ABC. Rumors had flown for some time that there was no love lost between the two for the last few years and that her graphic death scene was Cherry's way of expressing his true feelings for the actress. Her suit stated that she was not the only actor to suffer abuse at the hands of Cherry, though an investigation by ABC found no merit to the charges. After weeks of trial testimony from Cherry, Sheridan and even co-star James Denton in early 2012, the case was deadlocked and a mistrial declared in March.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Emigrated to the United States from England
Landed a small part on an episode of the short-lived "Scene of the Crime" (NBC), a mystery series hosted by Orson Welles
First major role, ABC's "Paper Dolls" (cancelled after 13 episodes)
Feature film debut, playing John Cusack's object of desire in Rob Reiner's "The Sure Thing"
Joined the cast of the long-running primetime soap "Knots Landing" (CBS) as the manipulative Paige Matheson
Starred opposite former husband Harry Hamlin in the Showtime movie "Deceptions"
Cast as Lucky Santangelo in the NBC miniseries "Lucky/Chances," based on the novels by Jackie Collins
Starred opposite Michael Caine and Carol Burnett in Peter Bogdanovich's comedy "Noises Off"
Played Russian agent Veronique Ukrinksy (a.k.a. 3.14) opposite Leslie Nielson in "Spy Hard"
Cast opposite Chris Farley in the comedy "Beverly Hills Ninja"
Co-starred with John Ritter in the dark comedy "Dead Husbands"
Appeared on the season finale of "Will and Grace" (NBC) as the beautiful doctor who threatened Grace's marriage to Leo
Cast as serial divorcee Edie Britt on ABC's hit series "Desperate Housewives"; left the series at the end of the fifth season; received a Golden Globe nomination for Supporting Actress (2004)
Cast opposite Cedric the Entertainer in the comedy "Code Name: The Cleaner"
Lent her voice to the CGI animated feature "Fly Me to the Moon"
Starred in The Hallmark Channel movie "Honeymoon for One"