Ricki Lake

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Ricki Lake
Ricki Lake by David Shankbone.jpg
Lake in April 2007, at the premiere of The Business of Being Born
BornRicki Pamela Lake
(1968-09-21) September 21, 1968 (age 46)
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, television host, producer
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Rob Sussman (m. 1994–2005)
Christian Evans (m. 2012–14)
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This article is about the person. For the talk show, see Ricki Lake (TV series).
Ricki Lake
Ricki Lake by David Shankbone.jpg
Lake in April 2007, at the premiere of The Business of Being Born
BornRicki Pamela Lake
(1968-09-21) September 21, 1968 (age 46)
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, television host, producer
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Rob Sussman (m. 1994–2005)
Christian Evans (m. 2012–14)

Ricki Pamela Lake (born September 21, 1968)[1] is an American actress, producer, and Emmy Award-winning television host. She is best known for her talk show which was broadcast internationally 1993–2004.[2][3][4] In autumn 2012, Lake embarked on a second syndicated talk show endeavor airing on weekdays.

Early life[edit]

Lake was born to Barry (a pharmacist) and Jill (a homemaker) Lake, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York,[1] but was largely brought up by her paternal grandmother, Sylvia Lake, until Sylvia's death from breast cancer in 1978.



Lake made her film debut as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character in John Waters' 1988 cult-classic Hairspray. Lake also starred in other Waters films including Cry-Baby (with Johnny Depp and Susan Tyrrell), Cecil B. Demented (with Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff), and Serial Mom (with Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston). She starred in Mrs. Winterbourne with Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser, Cabin Boy, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Cookie, and Inside Monkey Zetterland.

She joined the cast of the Vietnam War drama series China Beach as a Red Cross volunteer, Holly "the Donut Dolly" Pelegrino, for the show's third season. She also had a recurring role on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens as Doug's sister Stephanie. She guest-starred on television series including Drop Dead Diva and a voice role on King of the Hill, and starred in the television movie Baby Cakes. She has a cameo appearance in the 2007 remake of the original cult-classic Hairspray as a William Morris talent agent, and teamed up with star Nikki Blonsky, who had played the role of Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 movie musical remake, and Marissa Jaret Winokur, who had played the role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway musical based on the original 1988 film, to record "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" for the soundtrack, which is played at the film's end credits. She later reunited with original Hairspray co-star Deborah Harry for the film Hotel Gramercy Park, which was released in 2008. Lake is currently[when?] filming her next feature film titled Angel, to be released in theaters in 2012.[citation needed]

Talk shows[edit]

Ricki Lake was Lake's first daytime talk show and was the youngest person at the time to host a talk show format at age 24 (that record would later be broken by eight-year-old Philippine child actress Ryzza Mae Dizon in 2013). The show specialized in topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience.[5][6][7]

The show debuted in syndication on September 13, 1993, and ended first-run episodes on May 25, 2004. In 2000, Lake told Rosie O'Donnell in an interview that she had signed on for four additional years. Although Sony Pictures Television had many stations contracted through the 2004–2005 season, Lake decided to end the show in August 2004, citing (among other things) a desire to spend time with her family. She moved from Los Angeles to New York to tape the 11th season of the show, then returned to California when taping was complete. Lake returned to the talk show platform when she hosted a second talk show which premiered in September 2012 and was cancelled after one season.[8]

2006–2010: Other projects[edit]

Lake at the premiere of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story in 2007

After her talk show had wrapped production on its final season, Lake went on to host the 2006 CBS limited series Gameshow Marathon, which re-created classic game shows with celebrity contestants.[9] She also signed a development deal with Gameshow Marathon production company FremantleMedia for other ventures, including creating and producing future programs and projects. In October 2007, Lake appeared in the Lifetime TV movie Matters of Life and Dating. Lake also had a cameo in the 2007 film Hairspray as a talent agent and also sang "Mama I'm A Big Girl Now" with Nikki Blonsky and Marissa Jaret Winokur for the film's end credits.

The Business of Being Born, Lake's documentary about home birth and midwifery, was released in limited markets on January 18, 2008.[10] The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Red Envelope released the film in New York, L.A. and San Francisco in October;[11] it also screened in Australia.[12] The Business of Being Born included footage and details of Lake's own "life-changing" home-birthing experience and followed a midwife going about her work. Tribeca called it "The Inconvenient Truth of Childbirth".[12] Lake described it as her life's work for the last three years and expressed hopes that the film educated and empowered people to really know their choices in childbirth.[13]

She performed in the CBS television special Loving Leah in January of that year. Lake also jointly wrote a book on the world of natural childbirth and birthing options, along with Abby Epstein and Jacques Moritz, Your Best Birth, which was published by Wellness Central on May 1, 2009.[14] Lake and Epstein also launched MyBestBirth.com, an online social network, powered by Ning, intended to allow parents and medical professionals to dialogue about varying birthing options and resources.

Lake returned to television on May 11, 2009, succeeding Sharon Osbourne as host for the third season of VH1's Charm School.[15][16] On November 10, 2010, Lake joined fellow talkers Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, and Montel Williams as guests of Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show, marking the first time those hosts ever appeared together on one show since their programs left the air.[17]


In March 2011, it was reported that three television studios, Twentieth Television, Universal Media Studios and CBS Television Distribution, were interested in bringing Lake back to the talk show realm in 2012. This after Lake began appearing on various programs in which she expressed a desire to return to the genre.[18]

Lake competed on the thirteenth season of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with three-time champion Derek Hough and cited Kirstie Alley's appearance as an inspiration to do the show. Lake achieved tremendous success on the show, not only by consistently scoring high, but also by losing 20 pounds due to her dancing. After making the finals, Lake was announced as the contestant in third place, losing to TV personality Rob Kardashian and actor and Army veteran J. R. Martinez, despite having higher scores than both.

On April 20, 2011, Lake signed with Twentieth Television to develop The Ricki Lake Show, which premiered in September 2012. The new program has a more "Oprah"-like format than that of her former talk show.[8] It was cancelled after one season.[19] Lake won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2013.

As of February 2014, Lake is working with director Abby Epstein on a documentary about the dangers of hormonal birth control, titled Sweetening the Pill. The film is based on Holly Grigg-Spall's upcoming 2015 book titled Sweetening The Pill Or How We Became Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control. The film will explore the flurry of lawsuits related to these methods, as well as alternative options such as Natural Family Planning. Lake and Epstein said, "now [hormonal birth control is] making women sick and so our goal with this film is to wake women up to the unexposed side effects of these powerful medications and the unforeseen consequences of repressing women’s natural cycles."[20]

Personal life[edit]

Lake married illustrator-bartender Rob Sussman in Las Vegas in March 1994.[21] They have two sons: Milo Sebastian Sussman (born 1997), and Owen Tyler Sussman (born 2001).[22] Lake and Sussman separated in August 2003,[23] and divorced in 2005.[24] Lake began dating Christian Evans in the summer of 2009.[24] They became engaged in August 2011,[25] and married on April 8, 2012.[26]

In early 2007, Lake pursued a "new routine" resulting in 24 pounds of weight loss, taking her down to 120 pounds (55 kg). In the early 1990s, her weight peaked at 260 pounds (122 kg).[27] In November 2007, Lake cited sexual abuse as a child as a reason for her obesity.[28]

On September 18, 2010, Lake's rented Malibu home was destroyed by fire. She and her sons escaped without injury.[29]

On January 15, 2011, Lake finished in sixth place in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Luxury Ladies Poker Event, collecting $5,587 of the prize pool.[30]


1988HairsprayTracy Turnblad
1988The In CrowdDancerUncredited
1988Working GirlBridesmaid
1989Baby CakesGrace
1989Last Exit to BrooklynDonna
1990Cry-BabyPepper Walker
1992Where the Day Takes YouBrenda
1992Buffy the Vampire SlayerCharlotteUncredited
1992Inside Monkey ZetterlandBella the Stalker
1993SkinnerKerry Tate
1994Cabin BoyFigurehead
1994Serial MomMisty Sutphin
1996Mrs. WinterbourneConnie Doyle/Patricia Winterbourne
2000Cecil B. DementedLibby
2004A Dirty ShameHerselfCaméo
2007HairsprayTalent agent
2008The Business of Being Born
Executive producer
2009Loving LeahRabbi Gerry
1987Kate & AllieTeri1 episode
1988ABC Afterschool SpecialCarmen1 episode
1989Baby CakesGraceTelevision movie
1989Starting NowRicki RossTelevision series pilot
1989–1990China BeachHolly Pelegrino13 episodes
1990Gravedale HighCleofatra (Voice)Unknown episodes
1991The ChaseTammieTelevision movie
1991Riders in the SkyBroadway Baby1 episode
1992Based on an Untrue StoryVelourTelevision movie
1993–2004Ricki LakeHostFirst syndicated talk show
1998Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy MysteryMary Minor "Harry" HaristeenTelevision movie
2000–2001The King of QueensStephanie Heffernan6 episodes
2004Higglytown HeroesCarpenter Hero (Voice)1 episode
2006Gameshow MarathonHost7 episodes
2006King of the HillLila (Voice)1 episode
2007Matters of Life and DatingLindaTelevision movie
Executive producer
2009Loving LeahRabbi GerryTelevision movie
Co-executive producer
2009Charm School with Ricki LakeHead-mistress10 episodes
2010Drop Dead DivaSusan Semler1 episode
2010The Oprah Winfrey ShowHerselfGuest, "Talk Show Reunion"
2011Dancing with the StarsHerself/ContestantSeason 13/Third Place
2012–2013The Ricki Lake ShowHostSecond syndicated talk show

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardResultCategoryFilm or series
2013Daytime Emmy AwardsWonOutstanding Talk Show HostThe Ricki Lake Show
1994NominatedOutstanding Talk Show HostRicki Lake
1989Independent Spirit AwardBest Female LeadHairspray


  1. ^ a b "Ricki Lake Biography (1968-)". FilmReference.com. 
  2. ^ "Shopping In Syndication Hell". Newsweek. February 5, 1995. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  3. ^ Zoglin, Richard (January 30, 1995). "Talking Trash". Time. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  4. ^ Corliss, Richard (February 29, 1988). "Cinema: Buxom Belles in Baltimore 'Hairspray'". Time. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  5. ^ Werts, Diane (December 6, 1993). "Respect earns Ricki Lake success on TV". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  6. ^ Cagle, Jess (December 30, 1994). "Entertainer 8: Ricki Lake". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  7. ^ Ikenberg, Tamara (February 28, 1999). "Gen-X Cinderella has the knack". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  8. ^ a b Albiniak, Paige (April 20, 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Ricki Lake Returning to Daytime". Broadcasting & Cable. 
  9. ^ Bonawitz, Amy (June 15, 2006). "Ricki Lake Is Back In The Game". CBS News. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  10. ^ "The Business of Being Born (2008) - Movie Details". Yahoo! Movies. 
  11. ^ "Ricki Lake's The Business of Being Born to Be Released in October". Variety. MovieWeb.com. August 29, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-01. 
  12. ^ a b "Benefit Screening: The Business of Being Born". [dead link]
  13. ^ "Ricki Lake: Ricki Lake On The Business Of Being Born". The Huffington Post. April 17, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Your Best Birth". Hachette Book Group. Archived from the original on 2009-04-22. 
  15. ^ "Ricki Lake Is the New Headmistress of VH1's Third Installment of Charm School". VH1 Press Release. Futon Critic. February 5, 2009. 
  16. ^ "VH1's Charm School with Ricki Lake". VH1.com. 
  17. ^ "Donahue, Sally, Geraldo, Montel, Ricki: Talk Show Hosts Together For The First Time". Oprah.com. November 8, 2010. 
  18. ^ Albiniak, Paige (March 14, 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Ricki Lake Poised for a 2012 Comeback". Broadcasting & Cable. 
  19. ^ "Ricki Lake's talk show cancelled". 3news. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  20. ^ Yamato, Jen (February 12, 2014). "Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein Push ‘Sweetening The Pill’ Birth Control Doc". Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ Castro, Peter (May 23, 1994). "Down the Alleys With...Ricki Lake". People 41 (19). Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  22. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (2001). "Lake's Water Baby". People. Retrieved 2009-05-15.  Note: Archived article erroneously dated August 22, 1997.
  23. ^ "All Talked Out: After Nine Years of Marriage and Two Kids, Ricki Lake Separates from Her Husband". People. September 8, 2003. 
  24. ^ a b McNeil, Liz (May 23, 2010). "Ricki Lake Has a New Boyfriend". People. 
  25. ^ Schwartz, Alison (August 11, 2011). "Ricki Lake Is Engaged". People. 
  26. ^ McNeil, Liz (April 10, 2012). "Ricki Lake Elopes". People. 
  27. ^ "Ricki Lake learned to lose weight the right way". Access Hollywood. MSNBC.com. May 9, 2007. 
  28. ^ "Ricki Lake Gets Personal In New Book About Childbirth". Access Hollywood. May 26, 2009. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Ricki Lake and family escape death as fire burns down beachside vacation home in 30 minutes". Daily Mail (London). 19 September 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  30. ^ Sanger, David E. (January 15, 2011). "2011 PCA: Kristin Bihr wins Luxury Ladies Event". PokerStarsBlog.com. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 

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