Mercedes Ruehl

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Mercedes Ruehl
Ruehl in 2009
Mercedes J. Ruehl

(1948-02-28) February 28, 1948 (age 71)
Nationality American
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s) David Geiser

Mercedes J. Ruehl (born February 28, 1948) is an American theater, television, and film actor. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1992 for The Fisher King , and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 1991 for Lost in Yonkers . She also received Tony Award nominations for The Shadow Box (1995) and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2002). Her other film appearances include Big (1988), Married to the Mob (1988), Lost in Yonkers (1993), and Last Action Hero (1993).

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a supporting role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Supporting Actor winner.

<i>The Fisher King</i> 1991 film by Terry Gilliam

The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. Starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, with Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer, and Michael Jeter in supporting roles, the film tells the story of a radio shock jock who tries to find redemption by helping a man whose life he inadvertently shattered.


Personal life

Ruehl was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, [1] the daughter of Mercedes J. Ruehl, a schoolteacher, and Vincent Ruehl, an FBI agent. [2] [3] She was raised Catholic. [4] Her father was of German and Irish descent and her mother was of Cuban and Irish ancestry. [5] [6] Ruehl attended College of New Rochelle [7] and graduated in 1969. She is married to painter David Geiser, with whom she adopted a son, Jake (born 1995). [8] She had another son, Christopher, whom she gave up for adoption in 1976 when she was 28. She reunited in the late 1990s with Christopher when he turned 21, and he later became Jake's godfather. [8]

Jackson Heights, Queens Neighborhood of Queens in New York City

Jackson Heights is a neighborhood in the northwestern portion of the borough of Queens in New York City. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 3. Jackson Heights is neighbored by North Corona to the east, Elmhurst to the south, Woodside to the west, northern Astoria (Ditmars-Steinway) to the northwest, and East Elmhurst to the northeast. The main ZIP code of Jackson Heights is 11372. According to the 2010 United States Census, the neighborhood has a population of 108,152.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Her brother, Peter Ruehl, moved to Australia in 1987 where he was a popular newspaper columnist until his death in 2011. [9]

Vincent Peter Ruehl, known as Peter Ruehl, was an American-born Australian newspaper columnist, best known for the humorous column he wrote thrice weekly for The Australian Financial Review, in which he offered an American view on life in Australia. During his career, he also contributed to The Australian and the Herald Sun.


Ruehl began her career in regional theatre with the Denver Center Theatre Company, taking odd jobs between engagements. Her first starring role on Broadway came in 1984's I'm Not Rappaport . She then went on to win the 1984 Obie Award for her performance in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and twenty years later, an Obie for Woman Before a Glass. She also received a 1991 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers and continued her role in the show during its tour with co-star Mercedes McCambridge. Her performances in two other plays earned her two other Tony nominations: in 1995, as Best Actress (Featured Role – Play) for a revival of The Shadow Box ; and in 2002, as Best Actress (Play) for Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? . [10]

Denver Center for the Performing Arts organization

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts(DCPA) is an organization in Denver, Colorado which provides a showcase for live theatre, a nurturing ground for new plays, a preferred stop on the Broadway touring circuit, acting classes for the community and rental facilities. It was founded in 1972.

I'm Not Rappaport is a play by Herb Gardner, which originally ran on Broadway in 1985.

The Obie Awards or Off-Broadway Theater Awards are annual awards originally given by The Village Voice newspaper to theatre artists and groups in New York City. In September 2014, the awards were jointly presented and administered with the American Theatre Wing. As the Tony Awards cover Broadway productions, the Obie Awards cover Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions.

Her most acclaimed film role was in The Fisher King ; her performance in the film earned her the 1991 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as an American Comedy Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and a Golden Globe. Earlier she had won the 1989 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Married to the Mob . She played KACL station manager Kate Costas in five episodes of Frasier , and had a major role in the made-for-TV film All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story . She is the first Cuban-American female Academy Award winner. In 2005, she (along with Esai Morales) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. She later played the mother of main character Vincent Chase in HBO's Entourage .

The National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) is an American film critic organization. The organization is known for its highbrow tastes, and its annual awards are one of the most prestigious film critics awards in the United States. As of January 2014 the NSFC have approximately 60 members who write for a variety of weekly and daily newspapers along with major publications and media outlets.

<i>Married to the Mob</i> 1988 American comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme

Married to the Mob is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine.

<i>Frasier</i> US sitcom (1993–2004)

Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for 11 seasons, premiering on September 16, 1993, and concluding on May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee in association with Grammnet (2004) and Paramount Network Television. The series was created as a spin-off of Cheers, continuing the story of psychiatrist Frasier Crane as he returned to his hometown of Seattle and started building a new life as a radio advice show host while reconnecting with his father and brother and making new friends. Frasier stars Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin, and John Mahoney. The show was critically acclaimed, with the show itself and the cast winning thirty-seven Primetime Emmy Awards, a record at the time for a scripted series. It also won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for five consecutive years. As of 2019, the possibility of a revival is being discussed.

In 2009, Ruehl returned to the Broadway stage in Manhattan Theater Club's production of Richard Greenberg's The American Plan playing the role of Eva Adler. [11] The production opened at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and the limited engagement ran From January 22 until March 22. [12] In his rave review in The New York Times , Ben Brantley called Ruehl's performance "masterly". [13] Ruehl next appeared in the drama/horror film What Ever Happened to Barker Daniels?, which was released in 2009. In January 2012, Ruehl starred in Sarah Treem's play The How and The Why, directed by Emily Mann at McCarter Theatre of Princeton University. [14]

Richard Greenberg is an American playwright and television writer known for his subversively humorous depictions of middle-class American life. He has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off-broadway in New York City and eight at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, including The Violet Hour, Everett Beekin, and Hurrah at Last.

The American Plan is a play by Richard Greenberg, which ran both Off-Broadway in 1990 and on Broadway in 2009.

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Broadway theater in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States

The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 261 West 47th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

Ruehl appeared in the role of Ma in Harvey Fierstein's revamped and renamed revival of his play Torch Song Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theater. The play began previews on September 26, and opened officially on October 19, 2017. [15] The production later transferred to Broadway.

Ruehl is currently on the faculty of HB Studio in New York City. [16]


Though not a singer herself, Ruehl was involved in the production of the album Haunted by Poe; she also reads passages from the book House of Leaves by Poe's brother Mark Z. Danielewski on the CD Don't be Scared, issued to cross-promote both projects.


1976 Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands American girl in casinoFilm debut


1979 The Warriors Policewoman
1981 Four Friends Woman in Taxi
1986 Heartburn Eve
Twisted Cybelle
1987 Radio Days Ad Man
84 Charing Cross Road Kay
The Secret of My Succe$s Sheila
Leader of the Band Miss Cooper
1988 Big Miss Baskin
Married to the Mob Connie Russo
1989 Slaves of New York Samantha
Crimes and Misdemeanors Party GuestUncredited
1990 Crazy People Dr. Liz Baylor
1991 Another You Elaine/Mimi Kravitz
The Fisher King Anne
1993 Lost in Yonkers Bella Kurnitz
Last Action Hero Irene Madigan
1994On HopeWendyShort film
1997 Roseanna's Grave Roseanna 'Rosa'
1999 The Minus Man Jane
Out of the Cold Tina
2000 What's Cooking? Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Avila
More Dogs Than BonesVictoria 'Vic' Galletti
The Amati Girls Grace
2002 Spooky House Boss
2004 Zeyda and the Hitman Esther
2010Goldstar, OhioAdriana RockShort film
2014Chu and BlossomMrs. Fefterg
2016Good BusinessLorraineShort film
2019 Hustlers Post-production
1984 ABC Afterschool Specials SandyTelevision debut

Episode: "Mom's on Strike"

1985 Our Family Honor Louise TaylorEpisode: "Homecoming"
1986 Kate & Allie MillieEpisode: "Late Bloomer"

Credited as Mercedes Ruehle

1990 The Cosby Show Bernadette FoleyEpisode: "The Moves"
1995 Indictment: The McMartin Trial Lael RubinTelevision movie
1995–1996 Frasier Kate CostasRecurring role; 5 episodes
1997North Shore FishFlorenceTelevision movie
SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground LeylaTelevision movie

Segment: "Underground"

1998 Gia Kathleen CarangiTelevision movie
2000Mary Kay Letourneau: All American GirlJane NewhallTelevision movie
The Lost ChildRebeccaTelevision movie
2001Mr. LifeTelevision movie
2002 Guilt by Association Susan WalkerTelevision movie
Widows Dolly RawlinsTelevision miniseries
4 episodes
2004Everyday LifeTelevision movie
1-800-Missing Emmanuelle BakerEpisode: "These Dreams Before Me"
Bab AppleLorraine GibbonsTelevision movie
2004–2009 Law & Order Judge Clara Lloyd/Zina Rybakov2 episodes
2005 Mom at Sixteen Terry JeffriesTelevision movie
2006So Here's What HappenedRochelleTelevision movie
A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story Sylvia GuerreroTelevision movie
2006–2008 Entourage Rita Chase2 episodes
2007 Psych Detective GoochbergEpisode: "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast"
2009 Loving Leah Janice LeverTelevision movie
2012El JefeDelmi RodriguezTelevision movie
Luck Renzo's MotherEpisode: "Episode Nine"
2013 Doubt Mrs. Syd NewmanTelevision movie
Monday Mornings Judge Beverly NathesonEpisode: "Wheels Within Wheels"
Star Spangled BannersRosalind BannerTelevision movie
2015 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lucia BarbaEpisode: "December Solstice"
2016 Life in Pieces MiaEpisode: "Hair Recital Rainbow Mom"
The Mysteries of Laura Val SantianiEpisode: "The Mystery of the End of Watch"
2 Broke Girls OlgaEpisode: "And the Godmama Drama"
2017 NCIS Marie QuinnEpisode: "A Bowl of Cherries"
2018 Bull (2016 TV series) Judge Tessa HudsonEpisode: "Jury Duty"
2017–2018 Power Connie TeresiRecurring role; 7 episodes


1985Coming of Age in SohoPatriciaPublic Theatre
1985The Marriage of Bette and BooJoan BrennanPublic Theatre
1985–1988 I'm Not Rappaport ClaraBooth Theatre
1988 American Notes KarenPublic Theatre
1989 Other People's Money Kate SullivanMinetta Lane Theatre
1991 Lost in Yonkers Bella KurnitzRichard Rodgers Theater
1992 Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra, ruler of EgyptActors Theater
1994–1995 The Shadow Box BeverlyCircle in the Square Theatre
1995 The Rose Tattoo Serafina Delle RoseCircle in the Square Theatre
2000 The Vagina Monologues MonologistWestside Theatre
2000–2001 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? MarthaGuthrie Theater
2002 The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? StevieJohn Golden Theatre
2005Woman Before a GlassPeggy GuggenheimThe Promenade Theater
2009 The American Plan Eva AdlerSamuel J. Friedman Theatre
2010 Edward Albee's Occupant Louise Nevelson Peter Norton Space
2012 The How and the Why Zelda KahnMcCarter Theatre
2017–2019 Torch Song Ma BeckoffOff Broadway: Second Stage Theater; Broadway: Helen Hayes Theatre

Awards and nominations

1989 Married to the Mob National Society of Film Critics Award, Best Supporting Actress Won
1991 The Fisher King Boston Society of Film Critics Award, Best Supporting Actress Won
Lost in Yonkers Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actress in a Play Won
The Fisher King Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, Best Supporting Actress Won
Lost in Yonkers Tony Award, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play Won
The Fisher King Venice Film Festival Award, Best Lead Actress Won
1992 Academy Award, Best Supporting Actress Won
American Comedy Award, Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Best Supporting Actor Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award, Best Supporting Actress Won
Golden Globe Award, Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Won
Saturn Award, Best Supporting Actress Won
1993 Boston Film Festival Award, Film Excellence award Won
1995 Indictment: The McMartin Trial CableACE Award, Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries Nominated
The Rose Tattoo Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
The Shadow Box Tony Award, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
2002 The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Tony Award, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
2006 Mom at Sixteen Prism Award, Performance in a Television Movie or Miniseries Nominated
2007 A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story Imagen Foundation Award, Best Actress - Television Nominated

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