Leah Remini

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Leah Remini
BornLeah Marie Remini
(1970-06-15) June 15, 1970 (age 44)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
OccupationActress, Model, comedian, producer, former talk show host
Years active1988–present
Home townLos Angeles, California, U.S.
TelevisionThe King of Queens
The Talk (former co-host)
The Exes
The Family Tools
Leah Remini: It's All Relative
ReligionScientology (1976–2013)
Spouse(s)Angelo Pagán (m. 2003)
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Leah Remini
BornLeah Marie Remini
(1970-06-15) June 15, 1970 (age 44)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
OccupationActress, Model, comedian, producer, former talk show host
Years active1988–present
Home townLos Angeles, California, U.S.
TelevisionThe King of Queens
The Talk (former co-host)
The Exes
The Family Tools
Leah Remini: It's All Relative
ReligionScientology (1976–2013)
Spouse(s)Angelo Pagán (m. 2003)

Leah Marie Remini (born June 15, 1970)[1] is an American actress and comedian. She is best known for her role as Carrie Heffernan on the CBS hit sitcom The King of Queens from 1998 to 2007. Prior to The King of Queens, she was known for her six-episode stint as Stacey Carosi in 1991 on the NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell. She was also one of the co-hosts on the CBS network daytime talk show The Talk before being fired in 2011.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Leah Remini was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to private-school teacher Vicki Marshall and George Remini, who owned an asbestos-removal company.[4] Her mother is of Austrian Jewish background and her father was Sicilian.[5][6] Remini has an older sister, Nicole Remini (born 1969), who was her assistant on The King of Queens. She also has four half-sisters, including Christina (born 1969). Remini moved to Los Angeles, California, at age 13 with her mother[5] to pursue an acting career.[7]

Television career[edit]

One of Remini's early television roles was on Who's the Boss? as Charlie Briscoe, which led to a spin-off series entitled Living Dolls, where Remini starred with Halle Berry. The show premiered in late 1989 and ran for 12 episodes before a series of negative reviews from television critics and poor ratings led to its cancellation.[8][9]

Remini guest-starred on Saved by the Bell, playing Stacey Carosi. She then appeared in two short-lived series, First Time Out and Fired Up. In 1993 she guest starred on Cheers as the daughter of Carla and Nick Tortelli. In 1994, Remini auditioned for the role of Monica Geller in Friends, but the role went to Courteney Cox; however, she did appear in the 1995 episode "The One with the Birth." In 1998, Remini landed the role of Carrie Heffernan on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens. During her time on the show, she had a supporting role in the comedy film Old School (2003). Remini also starred in her own reality show, which aired on VH1. The King of Queens ran for nine seasons, from September 21, 1998, to May 14, 2007. Since The King of Queens ended, Remini has starred in nine-episode webisodes of In the Motherhood, along with Chelsea Handler and Jenny McCarthy. She has made two guest appearances on Chelsea Lately. On December 15, 2009, Remini appeared as Carrie Heffernan on Lopez Tonight, with George Lopez as Doug Heffernan in an episode reuniting the cast of the George Lopez sitcom.[10] Remini and Holly Robinson Peete appeared on The Young and the Restless on July 28, 2011.[11]

In October 2011, it was announced that Remini signed a talent development deal at ABC and ABC Studios that requires the network and the studio to develop a comedy project for Remini to star in and produce.[12][13] In March 2012, it was announced that Remini will star in the ABC comedy Family Tools, a remake of the UK comedy series White Van Man.[14] The series premiered on May 1, 2013, and was not renewed owing to low ratings, ending its run on July 10, 2013.[15]

On September 4 that year, it was announced publicly on Good Morning America that Remini would compete as a contestant on season 17 of Dancing with the Stars, in which she was partnered with professional dancer Tony Dovolani.[16] The couple were eliminated on the tenth week of competition, reaching fifth place and losing a place in the final. She later returned in season 19 as a guest co-host on week 6, due to Erin Andrews' commitments to cover the 2014 World Series.[17] On November 22, 2013, it was announced that Remini joined the cast of the TV Land comedy The Exes, filling a recurring role starting in the third season.[18]

Remini and her husband Angelo star in a reality television series titled Leah Remini: It's All Relative. The show focuses on Remini's family life. It premiered on TLC on July 10, 2014.[19] According to Remini, the purpose of the show is to highlight the fact that she's a normal person just like everyone else and that celebrity doesn't change that.[20]

The Talk[edit]

Remini was a co-host on The Talk, a CBS talk show which premiered October 18, 2010. Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete, and Sharon Osbourne were her co-hosts. The show is similar to The View and seeks to address motherhood and contemporary issues.[21] Remini drew criticism within the first week of the show's debut, accused of being too loud, brash, and obtrusive. It was stated on one episode that she had received a significant amount of negative Twitter feedback on this subject. Remini addressed the issue, stating she refused to change who she is and asserting that thousands of fans like her for who she is. Her co-hosts supported her response.[22] After the first season ended, Remini was not asked to return to the show. Just weeks after Remini was let go, her former co-host Holly Robinson Peete was also informed that her contract was not being renewed.

A refusal to disclose why Remini and Peete were fired brought on a great deal of criticism of the show and protests from the stars' fans.[23][24] While there was much speculation that their former Talk co-host, Julie Chen, had involvement in the decision as she's married to the CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, it was Sharon Osbourne, their other former Talk co-host, who explained their dismissals in December 2011 on The Howard Stern Show, stating: "Some people don't really know who they are. And you have to know who you are when you're in something like this. You can't pretend to be something you're not. You have to know your brand. You can't be all things to everyone." Osbourne replied to criticism about refusal to let Remini and Peete know why they were let go, rhetorically asking, "Why should we call them to discuss?"[2][3]

In March 2012, a heavily publicized Twitter dispute ignited between Remini and Osbourne when Remini fired back at Osbourne for her comments on The Howard Stern Show. In response to questions from her Twitter followers, Remini tweeted:

"Ask Sharon. She had us fired...Sharon thought me and Holly were too 'Ghetto'. (her words) we were not funny, awkward and didn't know ourselves."[25][26] Haters Gon' Hate. True. But, Haters have the balls to say they 'Hate'...not call themselves your friend. She had us fired all the while calling me and Holly her friend. Heartbreaking. Yes. She had us fired she told Howard Stern. Explains why she never called us back."[25]

In response, Osbourne tweeted:

"I had absolutely nothing to do with her departure from the show and have no idea why she continues to take to Twitter to spread this false gossip."[25][27]

Leah knows that I have never been in the position to hire or fire anyone on the show. That being said, my only wish is that Leah would just stop all this negative, unprofessional and childish behavior.[26] It's been seven months. It's time to move on. Leah is a very talented actress and I only wish her happiness and success.[25][26][28] I know that better things are to come if she can just get beyond this negativity."[25]

Remini tweeted by challenging Osbourne to establish what statements of Remini's were untrue in a court of law.[25]

While co-hosting The Talk, Remini turned down various parts on situation comedies, stating that any new role would make her feel as if she were cheating on Doug Heffernan, her character's husband on The King of Queens. She also stated she needs more time for her daughter, Sofia.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Remini met Puerto Rican salsa musician Angelo Pagán in 1996 at a Cuban restaurant. Pagán has three sons from previous relationships. In January 2003, Remini announced their engagement; they were married on July 19, 2003.[30] Remini gave birth to a daughter, Sofia, in 2004.[31]

Religious beliefs[edit]

For more than 30 years Remini was a member of the Church of Scientology.[6][32] In December 2005, she helped promote the gala opening of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.[33] Responding to criticism of Scientology during an interview on CNN, Remini said:

If somebody is going to get turned off about something because of what they read or heard, then that person's not smart enough to even enter a church. If you're really against something, then know what you're against.[6]

In July 2013, Remini left the Church of Scientology[34] owing to policies that forbid members from questioning the management of church leader David Miscavige, which she believed was corrupt; the reported abuse of members of its Sea Org religious order; its policy of "disconnection"; and its practice of branding those who have left the church of their own accord as "Suppressive Persons."[35] According to former high-ranking Sea Org member Mike Rinder, Remini's problems with the Church began when she asked about the whereabouts of Miscavige's wife Shelly at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and was told profanely that she lacked the rank to do so. Remini then filed a "knowledge report" that was critical of Miscavige, Cruise, and other senior Scientology members and behavior on the part of members that was inconsistent with Church rules. She was subsequently "subjected to years of 'interrogations' and 'thought modification'" that led to her being blacklisted within the Church, while fellow parishioners with whom she had been friends for decades wrote internal reports about her, resulting in a Church investigation into her family.[35][36][37][38] During a September 9, 2013, appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Remini discussed her departure from the Church and the loss of friends who are still in the Church and, according to Remini, not permitted to have contact with her.[34]

Following her departure from the Church, she publicly expressed her appreciation for those who supported her departure.[39][40] Remini's sister, Nicole, who had earlier left the Church herself,[41] revealed that the rest of their family left the Church along with her in order to avoid being split up by the Church's disconnection policy.[42][43] Writer/director Paul Haggis, who had previously been the most famous person to publicly disavow Scientology, wrote an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter in which he thanked Remini for standing by him after he left the Church and praised her "enormous amount of integrity and compassion."[44] She is reportedly planning to publish a memoir about her life and experiences with Scientology.[45] In August 2013, it was disclosed that Remini had filed a missing-person report with the Los Angeles Police Department concerning the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige.[46]

After the report was filed, the Los Angeles Police Department looked into the matter, allegedly met with Shelly Miscavige in person and closed the missing-person investigation and said Remini's report was 'unfounded.' The Church said in a statement that the whole affair was simply harassment and a publicity stunt for the actress.[47][48][49]

In October 2013 it was reported that Remini has been subpoenaed to testify in a Comal County, Texas, lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige regarding acts of alleged harassment and surveillance against former member Monique Rathbun (who was married to ex-Scientology executive Marty Rathbun). Rathbun's attorney, Ray Jeffery, says he wants Remini, a former Scientologist, to give a deposition in the hopes she could testify that Miscavige has vast influence over the operations of the church and had to have known about the alleged harassment.[32]

On Twitter, Remini identified as a Roman Catholic. [50]


1997Critics and Other FreaksActress at Audition
1998Follow Your HeartAngie
2003Old SchoolLara Campbell
1988Head of the Class1 episode
1989Who's the Boss?Charlie Briscoe2 episodes
Living DollsCharlie Briscoe12 episodes
1990Normal LifeCarol1 episode
1991ParadiseRose1 episode
The Hogan FamilyJoanne1 episode
The Man in the FamilyTina Bavasso6 episodes
Saved by the BellStacey Carosi6 episodes
1991–1993CheersSerafina Tortelli2 episodes
1992BlossomEllen1 episode
Getting Up and Going HomeStephanie O'NeilTelevision film
1993Evening ShadeDaisy3 episodes
Harlan & MerleenFrankieTelevision film
1994The CommishGail Ross1 episode
RenegadeTina1 episode
1994–1995Phantom 2040Sagan Cruz (voice)8 episodes
1995Star WitnessTelevision movie
Diagnosis: MurderAgnes Benedetto1 episode
FriendsLydia1 episode, "The One with the Birth"
First Time OutDominique Costellano12 episodes
1996Biker Mice from MarsCarbine (voice)2 episodes
NYPD BlueAngela Bohi1 episode
1997–1998Fired UpTerry Reynolds28 episodes
1998–2007The King of QueensCarrie Heffernan207 episodes
2001Hooves of Fire (American redub)Vixen (voice)Television film
2002Legend of the Lost Tribe (American redub)Koala (voice)Television film
2005Fat ActressHerself1 Episode, "The Koi Effect"
2007–2008In the MotherhoodKim8 episodes
2009Married Not DeadJessicaTelevision film
2009Lopez TonightCarrie HeffernanCameo appearance
2010–2011The TalkHerselfTalk show host
2011The Young and the RestlessHerself1 episode
2013The Family ToolsTerry BaumgardnerLead character, 10 episodes
2013Dancing With The StarsHerselfEliminated 8th; 5th Place
2014-PresentThe ExesNikki GardnerRecurring role
2014RuPaul's Drag RaceHerself (Guest Judge)Episode: "Glamazon by Colorevolution"
2014Phineas and FerbDoreen the Organizer
Mean Woman
2 episodes
2014Leah Remini: It's All RelativeHerselfTLC reality show
Video games
1993Gabriel Knight: Sins of the FathersGrace NakimuraVoice


  1. ^ "Leah Remini". TVGuide.com. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Howard Stern Gets The Talk Hosts To Finally Talk About Holly Robinson Peete Leah Remini Diss". E! Online. December 13, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Chen, Joyce (March 15, 2012). "Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini in Twitter feud about 'King of Queens' actress' dismissal from 'The Talk'?". Daily News (New York). 
  4. ^ "Leah Remini Biography (1970–)". Film Reference. Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Brady, James (October 26, 2003). "Leah Rimini (TV and film actress)". Parade. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Sieberg, Daniel (April 20, 2001). "Leah Remini:Working hard as a queen among kings". CNN. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ Michael A., Lipton (March 29, 1999). "Tough Love". People 51 (11). 
  8. ^ "Throwing a Curveball: Surprising Spin-Offs". Screenrush. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  9. ^ "Halle Berry's Journey From Miss USA Runner-Up To Oscar Winner". Access Hollywood. June 16, 2011.
  10. ^ Lynette, Rice (March 25, 2009). "‘In the Motherhood’: Thanks, but no thanks, for your ideas, mommies!". ew.com. Retrieved July 21, 2009. 
  11. ^ SoapOperaDigest. Comings & Goings; p. 12. August 2, 2011 issue.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Leah Remini Signs Talent Deal With ABC". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Leah Remini Signs Talent Deal With ABC –". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "Leah Remini Joins ABC Comedy Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  15. ^ Weingus, Leigh (May 10, 2013). ""Family Tools" cancelled". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica (September 4, 2013). "Dancing with the Stars': Leah Remini, Valerie Harper". CBS News.
  17. ^ http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2014/10/20/no-erin-andrews-on-dwts-world-series-leah/
  18. ^ "'Dancing with the Stars' Leah Remini joins 'The Exes'". Digital Spy. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ Rice, Lynette (June 12, 2014). "TLC to air Leah Remini reality show". Entertainment Weekly.
  20. ^ Rizzo, Monica (January 14, 2013). "Leah Remini Promises Honesty and Fun on Her TLC Reality Show - TLC, Dancing With the Stars, The King of Queens, Leah Remini". People.com. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ Domanick, Andrea (August 11, 2010). "CBS' The Talk to Premiere Oct. 18". Broadcasting and Cable. 
  22. ^ "'The Talk': Let's talk ... what did you think? – Pop2it — Zap2it". Blog.zap2it.com. October 18, 2010. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ Nede, Jethro (September 7, 2011). "'The Talk' Without Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete: What THR Readers Are Saying". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  24. ^ "Holly Robinson Peete Opens Up About Being Fired From The Talk!". PerezHilton.com. November 4, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f Barnert, Deanna (March 15, 2012). "'The Talk' Twitter Battle: Osbourne vs. Remini". MSN Entertainment. 
  26. ^ a b c Harnick, Chris (March 14, 2012). "The Talk': Leah Remini Says Sharon Osbourne Had Her Fired For Being 'Ghetto". Huffington Post. 
  27. ^ Day, Patrick Kevin (March 14, 2012). "Leah Remini fired from 'The Talk': Sharon Osbourne's fault, she says". Los Angeles Times. 
  28. ^ "Leah Remini blames Sharon Osbourne for 'Talk' firing". USA Today. March 14, 2012. 
  29. ^ "The Jacksonville Observer: Leah Remini Admits The Talk Is Harder Than She Thought". The Jacksonville Observer. March 1, 2011. 
  30. ^ "I Do, I Do, I Do!". People 60 (8). August 25, 2003. 
  31. ^ Bricker, Tierney (March 5, 2014). "Leah Remini to Star in Reality-TV Show for TLC". E! News. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  32. ^ a b "Leah Remini Subpoenaed to Testify in Harassment Suit Against Church of Scientology". ABC News. October 4, 2013.
  33. ^ Vargas, Sibila (December 20, 2005). "Showbiz Tonight". CNN. Retrieved June 8, 2006. 
  34. ^ a b Eggenberger, Nicole (September 10, 2013). "Leah Remini Tells Ellen DeGeneres She 'Lost Friends"'After Leaving Scientology". US Weekly.
  35. ^ a b "Exclusive: Actress Leah Remini quits Scientology after years of 'interrogations'". New York Post. July 11, 2013. 
  36. ^ Clark, Cindy (July 11, 2013). "Leah Remini quits Church of Scientology". USA Today. 
  37. ^ Goodman, Jessica (July 11, 2013). "Leah Remini Quits Scientology After 'Years Of Interrogations'". The Huffington Post.
  38. ^ Killoran, Ellen (July 11, 2013). "Leah Remini Scientology Split ‘A Huge Threat’ To Controversial Church". International Business Times.
  39. ^ Carlson, Erin (July 11, 2013). "Leah Remini Leaves Scientology After Questioning David Miscavige's Leadership". The Hollywood Reporter.
  40. ^ Marcesca, Rachel (July 12, 2013). "Leah Remini speaks out after leaving the Church of Scientology, thanks fans for support". Daily News (New York).
  41. ^ Lindstrom, Colleen (July 17, 2013). "Scientology and the Remini Family: How it began". myTalk 107.1 FM.
  42. ^ Traynor, Bradley (July 17, 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: Leah Remini's Sister Nicole Talks!". myTalk 107.1 FM.
  43. ^ "New Details on Why Leah Remini Left Scientology". ABC News. July 18, 2013.
  44. ^ Haggis, Paul (July 31, 2013). "Paul Haggis Pens Open Letter Praising Leah Remini's 'Brave' Break With Scientology". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  45. ^ Kelsey, Eric (August 3, 2013). "Actress Remini to publish memoir after leaving Scientology -source". Reuters. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Leah Remini Files Missing Person Report for Scientology Leader David Miscavige's Wife". The Hollywood Reporter. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  47. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (August 9, 2013). "Scientology leader's wife located by LAPD after Leah Remini inquiry". Los Angeles Times.
  48. ^ Harris, Dan (August 9, 2013). "LAPD Dismisses Leah Remini's Missing Person Report on Wife of Scientology Leader". ABC News.
  49. ^ Finn, Natalie (August 8, 2013). "Leah Remini Files Missing Person Report for Scientology Leader's Wife, Shelly Miscavige; Church Slams 'Harassment'". E!
  50. ^ http://iajournal.com/leah-remini-catholic-quitting-church-scientology/

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson
Dancing with the Stars (US) quarter-finalist
Season 17 (Fall 2013 with Tony Dovolani)
Succeeded by
Charlie White & Sharna Burgess