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Swoosie Kurtz

Swoosie Kurtz

American actress
Swoosie Kurtz
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress
Is Actor Stage actor Film actor Television actor Voice actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 6 September 1944, Omaha, USA
Age 76 years
Star sign Virgo
Father: Frank Kurtz
Peoplepill ID swoosie-kurtz
The details


Swoosie Kurtz (/ˈswsi/ SWOO-see; born September 6, 1944) is an American actress. She is an Emmy Award winner and a two-time Tony Award winner.

Kurtz made her Broadway debut in the 1975 revival of Ah, Wilderness. She has received five Tony Award nominations, winning for both Fifth of July (1981) and The House of Blue Leaves (1986); her other nominations were for Tartuffe (1988), Frozen (2004), and Heartbreak House (2007).

For her television work, she has received eight Emmy Award nominations, with one win for Carol and Company in 1990. Other television credits include the NBC drama Sisters (1991–1996), Huff (2004–2006), Pushing Daisies (2007–2009), and the hit CBS sitcom Mike & Molly (2010–2016). Her films include, Wildcats (1986), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Stanley & Iris (1990), Citizen Ruth (1996), Liar Liar (1997) and Bubble Boy (2001).

Early life

Kurtz was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the only child of author Margaret "Margo" (née Rogers) and Air Force Colonel Frank Allen Kurtz, Jr., a much-decorated World War II American bomber pilot. She got her first name "Swoosie" (which rhymes with Lucy, rather than woozy) from her father. It is derived from the sole surviving example of the early Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress bomber, named "The Swoose" or simply "Swoose"—half swan, half goose—which her father piloted, breaking all Pacific records during World War II. As a military brat, Kurtz moved frequently. Kurtz attended the University of Southern California where she majored in drama. She then attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.


Kurtz's first television appearance at age seventeen was on The Donna Reed Show 4th-season episode "The Golden Trap" (February, 1962). She also appeared on To Tell the Truth at eighteen, identifying her father from two impostors. She made her debut as a series regular on the daytime drama As The World Turns in 1971. Kurtz began her career in theater, making her Broadway debut in the 1975 revival of Ah, Wilderness!. She first gained wide recognition in 1978 for two theatrical productions, Uncommon Women and Others, the breakthrough play by Wendy Wasserstein in which she appeared in a 1977 workshop at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and then Off-Broadway, and the musical A History of the American Film for which she won a Drama Desk Award. Kurtz was soon awarded Broadway's "triple crown" (the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards) for her portrayal of Gwen in Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July. She won a second Tony for her performance as Bananas in a 1986 revival of The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare. She starred as playwright Lillian Hellman in the 2002 Nora Ephron play Imaginary Friends.

In 1978, Kurtz was part of the ensemble cast of Mary Tyler Moore's short-lived variety series Mary, that also included David Letterman and Michael Keaton. In 1981, Kurtz began two seasons alongside Tony Randall in the sitcom Love, Sidney, in a role that earned her the first of her 10 Emmy Award nominations. In 1990, she won her first Emmy for a guest-starring role on Carol Burnett's comedy series Carol & Company.

From 1991 to 1996, Kurtz had her longest-running television role, starring as wealthy divorcee Alex Reed Halsey on the NBC drama Sisters, a role that earned her two more Emmy Award nominations. She also starred in the ABC television series Pushing Daisies as Lily Charles.

In recent years, Kurtz has guest-starred on the hit series ER and Lost and Desperate Housewives and has also had recurring roles as Valerie on the drama That's Life, as Judy's mother Helen on the sitcom Still Standing, as Madeleine Sullivan on the Showtime drama series Huff, and most recently as part of a lesbian married couple with Blythe Danner on the drama series Nurse Jackie. In 2010, Kurtz began starring on the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly as Joyce Flynn. Most recently, Kurtz has appeared in a recurring part as Matt LeBlanc's mother in the comedy series Man with a Plan.

Although her main focus has been television, Kurtz has starred in several major Hollywood films including the Agatha Christie drama Caribbean Mystery (1983), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), its remake Cruel Intentions (1999), as a lesbian activist in the acclaimed indie film Citizen Ruth (1996), and alongside Jim Carrey in Liar Liar (1997).

Personal life

From 1964 to 1970 Kurtz was romantically involved with Joshua White of the Joshua Light Show. Kurtz has never been married and has no children.

Theatre credits

Year Show Role Notes
1968 The Firebugs Ann Martinique Theatre
July 1, 1968 – July 7, 1968
1970 The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Janice Vickery Mercer Arts Center
April 07, 1970 – May 14, 1972
1975 Ah, Wilderness! Muriel McComber Circle in the Square Theatre
September 18, 1975 – November 23, 1975
1976 Children Jane Stage 73
October 20, 1976
1977 Uncommon Women and Others Rita Altabel Marymount Manhattan Theatre
November 17, 1977 – December 4, 1977
1977 Tartuffe Mariane Circle in the Square Theatre
September 25, 1977 – November 20, 1977
1978 A History of the American Film Bette ANTA Playhouse
March 30, 1978 – April 16, 1978
1979 Wine Untouched Unknown Harold Clurman Theater
June 18, 1979 – June 28, 1979
1980 Fifth of July Gwen Landis New Apollo Theatre
November 5, 1980 – January 24, 1982
1985 The Beach House Annie Circle Repertory Company
December 19, 1985 – February 2, 1986
1986 The House of Blue Leaves Bananas Shaughnessy Vivian Beaumont Theater
April 29, 1986 – March 15, 1987
1989 Love Letters Melissa Gardner Edison Theatre
November 14, 1989 – November 19, 1989
1991 Lips Together, Teeth Apart Sally Truman New York City Center
May 28, 1991 – January 5, 1992
1999 The Mineola Twins Myrna/Myra Laura Pels Theatre
February 18, 1999 – May 30, 1999
1999 The Vagina Monologues Unknown Westside Theatre
October 03, 1999 – January 26, 2003
2002 The Guys Unknown The Flea Theater
January 17, 2002 – December 20, 2002
2002 Imaginary Friends Lillian Hellman Ethel Barrymore Theatre
December 12, 2002 – February 16, 2003
2003 Intrigue with Faye Woman Acorn Theater
June 11, 2003 – July 16, 2003
2004 Frozen Nancy Circle in the Square Theatre
May 4, 2004 – August 22, 2004
2006 Heartbreak House Hesione Hushabye American Airlines Theatre
October 11, 2006 – December 17, 2006

Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Work Result
1978 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Tartuffe Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Uncommon Women and Others Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical A History of the American Film Won
1981 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Fifth of July Won
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play Won
1982 Emmy Awards (Primetime) Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Love, Sidney Nominated
1983 Nominated
1986 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play The House of Blue Leaves Won
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
1990 Emmy Awards (Primetime) Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Carol and Company Won
1993 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sisters Nominated
1994 Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie And the Band Played On Nominated
1998 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series ER Nominated
1999 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play The Mineola Twins Nominated
Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
2004 Tony Awards Best Leading Actress in a Play Frozen Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
2005 Emmy Awards (Primetime) Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Huff Nominated
2006 Nominated
2007 Tony Awards Best Leading Actress in a Play Heartbreak House Nominated
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 19 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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