“In a really well-written musical, you talk until you just can't talk anymore. You're going to have to sing and when you're just so full you can't sing anymore, then you have to dance. It's a natural progression.” Bebe Neuwirth
Starting out as a dancer and vocalist, Bebe Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in 1980 in the musical “A Chorus Line.” She won Tony Awards for her work in the musicals "Sweet Charity" (1986) and "Chicago" (1996). She also appeared on Broadway's “Damn Yankees,” “Dancin',” “Little Me,” and “Fosse.”
“I don't see my dancing or acting as two separate things. I don't define them separately, so I can't say one has helped the other. It's all the same thing. More than anything, I love being on stage and performing.” Bebe Neuwirth
On the small screen, Neuwirth is widely recognized for her Emmy-winning role as the stern intellectual psychologist Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane in the NBC sitcoms “Cheers” and “Frasier.” She has also starred in the TV series "Deadline" (2000-2001) and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005-2006).
As for the big screen, the versatile actress could be seen in the films "Say Anything" (1989), "Jumanji" (1995), "The Associate" (1996), "The Faculty" (1998), "Liberty Heights" (1999), "Tadpole" (2002), "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003), "Divorce, Le" (2003), "The Big Bounce" (2004), "Game 6" (2005), and "Adopt a Sailor" (2008). She is currently filming a remake of the 1980 musical "Fame" with Kelsey Grammer, Kay Panabaker, Megan Mullally, and Charles S. Dutton.
“Stage and film are just two wildly different animals. Why compare the two?” Bebe Neuwirth
More personally, this 5' 4" talented woman was married to Paul Dorman from 1984 to 1991. Since then, she has been romantically linked to Michael Danek, George Stephanopolous, and C J Wilson.
“If you have to ask how to be sexy after 40, you probably can't do it.” Bebe Neuwirth
New Jersey Girl
Childhood and Family:
“My parents are such great people. They wanted me to do whatever it was that I loved doing.” Bebe Neuwirth
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, on New Year's Eve, 1958, Beatrice J. Neuwirth grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. The daughter of Lee Neuwirth, a mathematician, and Sydney Anne Neuwirth, an artist, Neuwirth has one older brother named Peter.
“I am just a plain Jew; I mean have no training.” Bebe Neuwirth
After graduating from Princeton High School in 1976, Neuwirth, who began taking dance lessons at the age of five, moved to New York City to study dance at the prestigious Juilliard School from 1976 to 1977.
“I'll always be a dancer first.” Bebe Neuwirth
Neuwirth married Paul Dorman in 1984, but they divorced in 1991. She then began a relationship with Michael Danek (born in 1955) and they became engaged in July 1997. After separating with Danek in late 1999, Neuwirth dated George Stephanopolous from December 1999 until June 2000. In fall 2000, she began dating C J Wilson.
“People are at their happiest if they are true to themselves. I think that applies to their chosen profession, friends and relationships. It goes for your health too. If you are true to yourself, it seems to me everything should work out pretty well.” Bebe Neuwirth
“Ballet has always been how I defined myself, even as a child. It's never been just a thing to do.” Bebe Neuwirth
Dancing by age 5, Bebe Neuwirth began appearing in local ballet productions and community theater productions while still a student at Princeton High School. After high school, she studied dance at New York's prestigious Juilliard School, during which time she performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in “Peter and the Wolf,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Coppélia.” She also appeared in community musicals.
In 1980, Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the musical “A Chorus Line.” She returned two years later in a Broadway revival of the musicals “Little Me” and Bob Fosse's “Dancin'” (both in 1982). She also co-starred with Debbie Allen in a revival of “Sweet Charity” (1985), which was directed by Bob Fosse. She won a Tony Award in 1986 for Best Actress (Featured Role – Musical).
1986 saw Neuwirth join the NBC sitcom “Cheers,” playing the stern intellectual psychiatrist Lilith Sternin-Crane until 1993. Her performance in the show won her two Emmy Awards in 1990 and 1991 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Later, in 1992, the character of Lilith was written out of the show at Neuwirth's request so she could focus her energy on feature film work.
“Part of the success of the show is that the audience sees themselves in the characters, becomes the characters. The more they inhabit the characters, the more they see.” Bebe Neuwirth
During her “Cheers” tenure, Neuwirth made her film debut in “Say Anything” (1989), Cameron Crowe's directorial debut. She also appeared in her first TV movies, “Without Consent” and “Unspeakable Acts” (both in 1990). On stage, she starred as Spider Woman/Aurora in the play by John Kander & Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally that was based on the novel by Manuel Puig, "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (October 20, 1992-July 17, 1993), at the Shaftesbury Theatre at London West End.
Neuwirth brought her “Cheers” character to its spinoff series, "Frasier," and stayed there from 1994 to 2003. Her work in the show earned her an Emmy Award nomination in 1995 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (for episode "Adventures In Paradise," part II), as well as two American Comedy Award nominations in 1999 and 2000 for Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series.
“I missed New York. Every break I had from the series, I'd fly back to the east coast just to get back onstage.” Bebe Neuwirth
Meanwhile, Neuwirth also starred as Lola, opposite Victor Garber, in the Broadway revival of “Damn Yankees” (1994) and returned to Broadway in 1996 in the revival of “Chicago,” for which she portrayed Velma Kelly and won her second Tony Award, this time for Best Actress in a Musical. She also starred as Jenny Diver in the revival of "The Threepenny Opera" (1997) in Los Angeles.
On the small screen, Neuwirth was nominated for an Annie Award in 1998 for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production for "All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series" (1996) and an Emmy Award in 1999 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her portrayal of Dorothy Parker in the A&E biopic “Dash and Lilly” (1999). By this time, she had appeared in TV commercials for M&M’s, VISA, and Lysol, and a print ad for North Shore Animal League.
Entering the new millennium, Neuwirth returned to TV series as a regular on the NBC drama series “Deadline” (2000-2001), starring opposite Oliver Platt. She also co-starred with Ann Reinking in the Broadway show “Fosse” (2001) and made a rare non-musical stage appearance in the Off-Broadway play “Everett Beekin” (2001).
“In New York, I was always offered the hot, sexy roles. But in L.A., I was offered the plain, dowdy roles. It says a lot about the difference between the coasts.” Bebe Neuwirth
In 2002, Neuwirth garnered praise for her supporting role of Diane Lodder in the Sundance-screened independent film “Tadpole.” The film won her the Best Supporting Actress Award at the Seattle Film Critics and earned her nominations at the Chlotrudis Awards (for Best Supporting Actress) and the Satellite Awards (for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical).
About the film, Neuwirth said, “It's more about who Oscar [ Aaron Stanford's character] is that these women are falling in love with him than just his age. In that sense, it's a little more European than we're used to.”
During the following years, Neuwirth appeared in the romantic comedy “How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days” and had a featured role in the Merchant Ivory production “Le Divorce” (both in 2003). She then appeared in the film “The Big Bounce” (2004) and starred in the Roger Rosenblatt play "Ashley Montana Goes Ashore in the Caicos . . . Or What Am I Doing Here?" (2005). She also appeared in 2005 print ads for America's Milk Processor's "got milk?" milk mustache campaign and starred as the tough, focused prosecutor Tracey Kibre on the NBC legal drama series "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005-2006).
Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of the four “Law & Order” series said, "Bebe is one of today's only true stars of stage, screen and television. I have no doubt that her presence in such a talented ensemble cast will help to seamlessly usher in the new series."
Neuwirth was subsequently cast opposite Michael Keaton in Michael Hoffman's Sundance-screened sports drama “Game 6” (2006) and returned to the cast of “Chicago” (2006), this time as Roxie Hart. She also co-starred with Dwayne the Rock Johnson in the comedy “The Game Plan” (2007) and teamed up with Peter Coyote in the dramatic film "Adopt a Sailor" (2008).
“It's very hard for a performer to trust the material and trust that we don't have to do anything but speak the truth.” Bebe Neuwirth
Next, Neuwirth will be seen alongside Kelsey Grammer, Kay Panabaker, Megan Mullally, and Charles S. Dutton in an updated version of the 1980 musical "Fame."
“I know when I'm bad. I know when I'm good and I know when I'm everything in between. I don't have any delusions of grandeur or delusions of failure. In terms of my work, I've got a pretty cold honest eye.” Bebe Neuwirth
Seattle Film Critics: Best Supporting Actress, "Tadpole," 2002
Tony: Best Actress (Musical), "Chicago," 1997
Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, "Cheers," 1991
Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, "Cheers," 1990
Tony: Best Actress (Featured Role – Musical), "Sweet Charity," 1986