Bebe Neuwirth

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Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth at BCEFA.jpg
At the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Annual Grand Auction and Flea Market, September 2006
BornBeatrice Neuwirth
(1958-12-31) December 31, 1958 (age 55)
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Paul Dorman (1984–1991)
Chris Calkins (2009–present)
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Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth at BCEFA.jpg
At the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Annual Grand Auction and Flea Market, September 2006
BornBeatrice Neuwirth
(1958-12-31) December 31, 1958 (age 55)
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Paul Dorman (1984–1991)
Chris Calkins (2009–present)

Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth (/ˌbətrɪs ˌbb ˈnjwɜrθ/; born December 31, 1958) is an American actress, musician and dancer. She has worked in television and is known for her portrayal of Dr. Lilith Sternin, Dr. Frasier Crane's wife (later ex-wife), on both the TV sitcom Cheers (in a starring role), and its spin-off Frasier (in a recurring guest role). On stage, she is also known for the role of Nickie in the revival of Sweet Charity, the role of Velma Kelly in the revival of Chicago (for both of which she won Tony Awards) and for the role of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family musical.

As of 2014, she currently stars as Nadine Tolliver in Madam Secretary.

Early life[edit]

Neuwirth was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of Sydney Anne, a painter, and Lee Paul Neuwirth,[1] a mathematician. She has an older brother Peter, an actuary.[2][3] Neuwirth is Jewish, and attended Chapin School in New Jersey as well as Princeton Day School (New Jersey) of Princeton, but graduated from Princeton High School (a public school) in 1976.[4]

She began to study ballet at the age of five, and chose it as her field of concentration when she attended Juilliard in New York City in 1976 and 1977,[5] during which time she performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, and Coppélia, also appearing in community theater musicals. Neuwirth always dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer; the only other career she reportedly seriously contemplated was being a veterinarian.[6]


Theatre work[edit]

Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line in 1980. She later appeared in revivals of Little Me (1982) Sweet Charity (1986), for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Damn Yankees (1994). 1996 saw her play Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago. That role brought her her greatest stage recognition to date, and several awards including the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Neuwirth would later return to the still-running revival of Chicago in 2006, this time as Roxie Hart.[citation needed]

She appeared in a musical revue Here Lies Jenny, that featured songs by Kurt Weill, sung and danced by Neuwirth and a four-person supporting cast, as part of an unspoken ambiguous story in an anonymous seedy bar possibly in Berlin in the 1930s. The show ran from May 7 through October 3, 2004, in the Zipper Theater in New York City.[7] Here Lies Jenny was also presented by Neuwirth in San Francisco in 2005. In 2009, Neuwirth toured a one-woman cabaret show with pianist Scott Cady. The cabaret included music by Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Waits, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Kander and Fred Ebb amongst others. In 2010, she returned to Broadway to create the role of Morticia Addams in the original production of The Addams Family opposite Nathan Lane.[8]

Film and television[edit]

At the Governor's Ball after the 43rd Annual Emmy Awards, August 25, 1991

Her screen credits include Green Card, Bugsy, Say Anything..., Jumanji, Summer of Sam, Liberty Heights, Tadpole (for which the Seattle Film Critics named her Best Supporting Actress), The Associate, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Malice, The Big Bounce, The Faculty and Woody Allen's Celebrity.

On television, from 1986 to 1993 Neuwirth played Dr. Lilith Sternin, who married Dr. Frasier Crane in the hit comedy series Cheers. From the fourth to the seventh season, Neuwirth portrayed Lilith in a regular recurring role, and she appeared on the show as a main star from season eight to the final season, season eleven. Like Kelsey Grammer when he started on the show as Frasier Crane, she was not immediately given star billing in the opening credits, but at the end for seasons eight and nine; she appeared in the opening credits with her own portrait in seasons ten and eleven. She auditioned for this role with her arm in a sling, following a fall a week earlier. She won two Emmy Awards for the role, in 1990 and 1991. The character also made an appearance in the series Wings and in 12 episodes of the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which earned her a 1995 Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Other small-screen credits include a guest appearance in the first season of NewsRadio, a small role on The Adventures of Pete and Pete (episode: "The Call"), Deadline (2000), Hack (2003), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999 as a modeling agent/suspect; 2005 as A.D.A Tracey Kibre), and the miniseries Wild Palms and the fourth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, First Contact, as Lanel.

She appeared as herself in episodes of Will and Grace, Strangers with Candy and Celebrity Jeopardy!. In 2009, she co-starred as Ms. Kraft in the remake of Fame. She recently had a recurring role as Caroline, the literary editor of Jonathan Ames, on the HBO series Bored to Death. She is currently a member of the cast in Madam Secretary on CBS.

Personal life[edit]

Neuwirth's 1984 marriage to Paul Dorman ended in divorce in 1991. Since 2009, she has been married to Chris Calkins.[9]

In May 2006, she had a total hip replacement.[10]



1989Say Anything...Mrs. Evans
1990Without Her ConsentGloria AllredTelevision movie
1990Green CardLauren
1991BugsyCountess di Frasso
1993MaliceDet. Dana Harris
1995JumanjiNora Shepherd
1996All Dogs Go to Heaven 2Anabelle, the Dog Angel (voice)
1996The Adventures of PinocchioFelinet
1996The AssociateCamille Scott
1996Dear DiaryN/AShort film
1998CelebrityNina, the hooker
1998The FacultyPrincipal Valerie Drake
1998An All Dogs Christmas CarolAnnabelle/Belladonna (voice)
1999Getting to Know YouTrix
1999Summer of SamGloria
1999Dash and LillyDorothy ParkerTelevision movie
1999Liberty HeightsAda Kurtzman
2000An Extremely Goofy MovieSylvia Marpole (voice)
2000Cupid and CateFrancesca DeAngeloTelevision movie
2000TadpoleDiane Lodder
2003How to Lose a Guy in 10 DaysLana Jong
2003Le DivorceJulia Manchevering
2004The Big BounceAlison Ritchie
2005Game 6Joanne Bourne
2008Adopt a SailorPatricia
2009FameMs. Kraft
2013BrowsersJulianna Mancuso-BruniTelevision movie


1986–1993CheersDr. Lilith Sternin-Crane80 episodes
1986Simon & SimonReceptionistEpisode: "Family Forecast"
1986FamePhyllis TurnerEpisode: "Stagefright"
1990The Famous Teddy ZUnknownEpisode: "Teddy Gets a Guru"
1990Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorDr. Lilith SterninEpisode: "Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration"
1991Star Trek: The Next GenerationLanelEpisode: "First Contact"
1992WingsDr. Lilith Sternin-CraneEpisode: "Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes"
1993Wild PalmsTabba Schwartzkopf5 episodes
1994The Adventures of Pete & PeteMailcarrier2 episodes
1994–1995AladdinMirage (voice)6 episodes
1994–2003FrasierDr. Lilith Sternin12 episodes
1995NewsRadioSandi AngeliniEpisode: "Friends"
1996Duckman: Private Dick/Family ManTamara La Boinque (voice)Episode: "Noir Gang"
1996Freakazoid!Deadpan (voice)Episode: "The Wrath of Guitierrez"
1996–1998All Dogs Go to Heaven: The SeriesAnabelle/Belladonna (voice)5 episodes
1997The Magic School BusFlora WhiffEpisode: "Makes a Stink"
1997Jungle CubsLa LaEpisode: "Old Green Teeth/The Elephant Who Couldn't Say No"
1999Sabrina, the Teenage WitchJulietteEpisode: "Salem and Juliette"
1999Law & Order: Special Victims UnitNina LaszloEpisode: "Or Just Look Like One"
2000–2001DeadlineNikki Masucci13 episodes
2002–2003CyberchaseBinky the Cat (voice)2 episodes
2003HackFaith O'Connor5 episodes
2005Law & Order: Special Victims UnitA.D.A. Tracey KibreEpisode: "Night"
2005–2006Law & Order: Trial by JuryA.D.A. Tracey Kibre13 episodes
2009–2011Bored to DeathCaroline Taylor3 episodes
2010The Late Show with David LettermanMorticia AddamsEpisode: "17.117"
2010The Cleveland ShowSarah Friedman (voice)Episode: "Brotherly Love"
2012–2013The Good WifeJudge Claudia Friend3 episodes
2013–2014Blue BloodsKelly Peterson5 episodes
2014–presentMadam SecretaryNadine Tolliver10 episodes
2014Over the Garden WallMargueritte Grey (voice)Episode: "Mad Love"


1975–1990A Chorus LineSheila
1982Little MeBoom Boom Girl
1986–1987Sweet CharityNickie
1994-1995Damn YankeesLola
1996–2014ChicagoVelma Kelly
2002–2003Funny GirlFanny Brice
2010–2011The Addams FamilyMorticia Addams

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1986Drama Desk AwardsOutstanding Featured Actress in a MusicalSweet CharityNominated
1986Tony AwardsBest Featured Actress in a MusicalWon
1990Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesCheersWon
1990Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy SeriesNominated
1991Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesWon
1991Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy SeriesNominated
1995Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesFrasierNominated
1997Drama Desk AwardsOutstanding Actress in a MusicalChicagoWon
1997Tony AwardsBest Actress in a MusicalWon
1999American Comedy AwardsFunniest Female Guest Appearance in a Television SeriesFrasierNominated
1999Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a MovieDash and LillyNominated
2000American Comedy AwardsFunniest Female Guest Appearance in a Television SeriesFrasierNominated
2002Seattle Film Critics AwardsBest Supporting ActressTadpoleWon
2003Satellite AwardsBest Supporting Actress – Motion PictureNominated


  1. ^ Lee Paul Neuwirth at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Television "Cheers": A Comprehensive Guide, p. 98
  3. ^ "Bebe Neuwirth Biography". filmreference. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  4. ^ Bloom, Nate (June 25, 2004). "Celebrity Jews: Bebe and Lilith". Jewish News Weekly. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Alumni News: February 2009". Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. "Bebe Neuwirth (’77, dance)" 
  6. ^ Television "Cheers": A Comprehensive Guide
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Jenny Made Her Mind Up: Here Lies Jenny Will Extend One Last Time, to Oct. 3", August 27, 2004
  8. ^ "The Addams Family Lands Bebe Neuwirth And Tempts Nathan Lane", New York Post
  9. ^ Mary Green (May 5, 2009). "Frasier's Bebe Neuwirth Ties the Knot". People magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Bebe Neuwirth on Dancerhips"

External links[edit]