Actress Annie Potts began appearing on the small screen in the late 1970s and received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in her film debut "Corvette Summer" (1978). She earned even more attention for portraying Janine Melnitz in the hit comedy film "Ghost Busters" (1984) and its sequel, "Ghostbusters II" (1989). She also starred in the film "Texasville" (1990) and voiced Bo Peep in "Toy Story" (1995) and "Toy Story 2" (1999).
On television, Potts became a TV star after portraying designer Mary Jo Shively on the popular CBS sitcom "Designing Women" (1986-1993). She also received praise for co-starring as Mary Elizabeth Sims, an outgoing Caucasian girl who befriends a shy Africa-American girl (played by Lorraine Toussaint), in the Lifetime original drama "Any Day Now" (1998-2002).
Additionally, Potts had recurring roles on "Huff" (as Doris Johnson; 2004), "Joan of Arcadia" (as Lieutenant Lucy Preston; 2004-2005), "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (as Sophie Devere; 2005-2007), and "Men in Trees" (as Mary Alice/Annie's mother; 2007).
The perky 5' 3" attractive mother of three has been married four times. Her present husband is television director James Hayman, whom she married in 1990.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 28, 1952, Annie Potts spent her formative years in Franklin, Kentucky. Daughter of Powell Grisette Potts and Dorothy Harris (Billingslea) Potts, Annie has two older sisters, Mary Eleanor and Elizabeth Grissette.
After graduating from Franklin-Simpson High School, in Franklin, Kentucky, Annie, who was involved in amateur theatre as a child, went to Stephens College in Missouri, the same college Joan Crawford attended in the 1920s. Annie earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree (in theater arts) and followed it up with graduate work at California’s Institute of the Arts. Annie is a Board Member of Stephens College and a visiting professor of Drama at the college. She has also been instrumental in fund-raising efforts for the college for many years.
In 1973, when she was 20, Annie married her college sweetheart, Steven Hartley. Not long after, she and her husband were involved in a car accident. They were hit by a car driven by a drunken man, which left Annie with two broken legs and traumatic arthritis that still persists today. Sadly, her husband lost a leg because of the wreck.
In 1978, Annie divorced Steven. That same year on June 21, she married Greg Antonacci, but the marriage only lasted two years. One year later, on February 8, 1981, she married her third husband, B. Scott Senechal, and has one son with him, Clay Samuel Senechal (born on April 29, 1981). This marriage also ended in divorce in 1989 and Annie married her present husband, television director James Hayman, on September 2, 1990. Hayman has been a director on such hit TV series as “Law & Order,” “ER,” “Any Day Now” and “Judging Amy.” Annie and Hayman have two sons together, James Powell Hayman (born on May 25, 1992) and Isaac Harris Hayman (born on December 27, 1995).
Any Day Now
Annie Potts made her amateur stage debut at age 12 in a stage production of "Heidi." She then joined a summer stock theater and spent some time at the Community Theater of Santa Fe, in New Mexico, where she worked in the costume and set design area.
In 1976, the aspiring actress shared the stage with Roddy McDowall, Vincent Price and Coral Browne while touring with a production of Brandon Thomas' three-act farce, "Charley's Aunt." The following year, she made her small screen debut in a NBC failed pilot called "Hollywood High" and appeared in her first made-for-television movie, "Black Market Baby," ABC's movie inspired by a novel by Elizabeth Christman.
The newcomer appeared on the big screen in 1978 in the Matthew Robbins-directed comedy "Corvette Summer." Her performance received general positive reviews and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Acting Debut – Female.
In 1981, Potts received a Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress for her role in Donald Shebib's independent motion picture "Heartaches," which also stars Margot Kidder, Winston Rekert and Robert Carradine. Two years later, in 1983, she offered a memorable supporting turn as Janine Melnitz, the personal secretary to the "Ghost Busters" (played by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis), in Ivan Reitman's horror comedy film of the same name.
From 1986 to 1993, Potts played Mary Jo Shively, the pragmatic interior designer, on the popular CBS sitcom "Designing Women." She also had a small part as the advice-giving friend of Molly Ringwald's lead character in Howard Deutch's popular teenage film "Pretty in Pink" (1986), reprised her role in "Ghostbusters II" (1989), and gave a distinctive supporting turn as the unhappy wife of Jeff Bridges' character in Peter Bogdanovich's "Texasville" (1990), the sequel to "The Last Picture Show" and based on the book of the same name by Larry McMurtry. She also appeared in a TV commercial for Pop Secret Popcorn.
"When people ask me about 'Designing Women' now, I feel how James Taylor must feel when he has to play 'Fire and Rain' again. To tell the truth, I've moved on." Annie Potts
After “Designing Women” ended in 1993, Potts joined the cast of the CBS sitcom "Love & War," replacing Susan Dey as the series' female lead Dana Palladino. She stayed with the show until it was canceled in 1995 and her work was awarded with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Potts then lent her voice to character Bo Peep in the computer animated hit "Toy Story" (1995), which she reprised later in its sequel, "Toy Story 2" (1999).
Potts returned to series TV in the ABC drama series "Dangerous Minds" (1996). In the show that was based on the continuation story of the 1995 autobiographical motion picture film of the same name starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Potts took the role that was previously played by Pfeiffer, LouAnne Johnson, a Marine who left her career to become a teacher.
Potts was subsequently cast in the short-lived ABC sitcom "Over the Top" (1997), opposite Tim Curry, and appeared in a TV commercial for Jolly Time Popcorn. The following year, she scored another TV series regular role, this time on the Lifetime original drama "Any Day Now" (1998). In the show, she co-starred with Lorraine Toussaint playing best friends of a different race. On the show until 2002, Potts received Screen Actors Guild Award nominations twice (1999 and 2000), both for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series category. During her "Any Day Now" stint, Potts also appeared in a number of TV commercials and made her New York stage debut in April 2000 in "The Vagina Monologues."
When "Any Day Now" came to end in 2002, Potts starred in the made-for-television movies "Defending Our Kids: The Julie Posey Story" (2003) and the NBC comedy "Stuck in the Middle with You" (2003). She also returned to Stephens College in December 2003 to join students in a production of "A Little Night Music."
After supporting John Corbett and Kim Basinger in Joel Zwick's romantic comedy film "Elvis Has Left the Building" (2004), Potts played the recurring role of Doris Johnson in the Showtime drama series "Huff." She also played Lieutenant Lucy Preston (2004-2005) in the CBS drama series starring Amber Tambyln, “Joan of Arcadia.”
From 2005 until 2007, Potts portrayed the recurring role of Sophie Devere in the NBC drama series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." She also appeared as Mary Alice/Annie's (Emily Bergl) mother (2007) in ABC's romantic series starring Anne Heche, "Men in Trees." During this time, Potts also starred in the play "Diva" (January-February 2006), a Hollywood satire about a TV sitcom star, at The Pasadena Playhouse, in Pasadena, California, and was spotted as a guest in an episode of CBS’ legal drama series "Close to Home." She also appeared in the pilot episode of the action comedy show "Julie Reno, Bounty Hunter" and starred in the failed pilot "Spellbound" (2007). She then portrayed the lead in Danielle Shamash's 15-minute short film "The Sunday Man" (2007).
Most recently, in 2008, Potts could be seen as a guest in an episode of ABC's award-winning comedy starring America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty," and portraying the mother in the Lifetime movie starring Nikki Blonsky, "Queen Sized."
Potts will next be seen acting opposite William H. Macy in the TV movie "Family Man" and provide her voice in "Ghostbusters: The Video Game."
Genie: Best Performance by a Foreign Actress, "Heartaches," 1982