Swoosie Kurtz (/ˈswuːsi/ 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).
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).
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.
|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
|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|
|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|
|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|
|2007||Tony Awards||Best Leading Actress in a Play||Heartbreak House||Nominated|