“Most of the parts I've played have been passive girls who are just sort of there. I have trouble with that because I'm not like that and being passive gets you in big trouble personally. It's not the kind of quality that young girls should be looking up to.” Jami Gertz
Actress Jami Gertz is probably best known for portraying Judy Miller in the CBS comedy series “Still Standing” (2002-2006), in which she picked up a Young Artist nomination for her performance. First gaining notice on TV with her costarring role of Muffy Tepperman on “Square Pegs” (1982-1983), she scored regular roles in the short lived series “Dreams” (1984, as Martha Spino) and “Sibs” (1991, as Lily) as well as recurring roles on the popular shows “The Facts of Life” (1983-1984, as Boots St. Claire), “ER” (1997, as Dr. Nina Pomerantz) and “Ally McBeal” (2000-2002, as Kimmy Bishop). She received an Emmy nomination for her guest performance in the latter show. After “Still Standing” ended, Gertz portrayed Marlo Klein on the HBO series “Entourage” (2009). She has also acted in several TV films, including “Gilda Radner: It's Always Something” (2002) and “Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story” (2007) and guest starred the TV shows “Diff'rent Strokes,” “Seinfeld” and “Shark.” Debuting on the big screen with “Endless Love” (1981), with Tom Cruise, the wide eyed performer is recognized for playing roles in “The Lost Boys” (1987), “Less Than Zero” (1987), “Twister” (1996) and “Keeping Up with the Steins” (2006).
Gertz has been married to Tony Ressler since 1989. The couple lives in Los Angeles with their three sons. Gertz is of Italian descent and Jewish.
Ms. Gertz participated in Hole in the Wall Gang camp. Discussing her involvement in the charity, she said, “This camp is really important to all of us. My goal is that we will truly be able to help many children for years and years and make a real difference in their lives.”
Childhood and Family:
Jami Beth Gertz was born on October 28, 1965, in Chicago, Illinois, to Walter Gertz, a successful contractor in Chicago, and Sharon Gertz. She was raised in a conservative Jewish home in Glenview, Illinois. She has two brothers named Michael and Scott.
When she was younger Jami wanted to be a figure skater, but subsequently changed her mind after getting the role of Dorothy in her fifth grade production of “The Wizard of Oz.” After graduating from Maine East High School in 1983, she studied drama at New York University in New York. She also trained at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.
On June 16, 1989, Jami married Tony Ressler. Her first child, son Oliver Jordan Ressler, was born on May 6, 1992. She gave birth to her second son, Nicholas Simon Ressler, on February 17, 1995. The family welcomed a third son, Theo Ressler, in 1998.
Jami Gertz received her first acting experience when she landed the role of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” in the fifth grade. She was spotted in high school by renowned producer Norman Lear during a nationwide talent search.
Gertz made her feature film acting debut in “Endless Love” (1981), a romantic movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt. An adaptation of Scott Spencer's novel of the same name, the film was panned by critics but was a commercial success at the box office. Actor Tom Cruise also made his debut in the film. Also in 1981, Gertz briefly appeared in the independent film “On the Right Track,” which was directed by Lee Philips and starred Gary Coleman and Maureen Stapleton.
The following year, Gertz landed her first regular role on the CBS comedy series “Square Pegs,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker. She played preppy Muffy Tepperman during the show's run from September 1982 to March 1983. After she appeared in the show, Gertz, who at the time was still in high school, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Most Likely to be Remembered” at her school.
After the cancellation of “Square Pegs,” Gertz received a recurring role on the NBC long running sitcom “The Facts of Life” (1983-1984), where she played Boots St. Claire, the friend and fellow schoolmate of Blair Warner (played by Lisa Whelchel). She also appeared in episodes of “Diff'rent Strokes” (1983), with Andrew Dice Clay, and “Family Ties” (1984), portraying Jocelyn Clark, and made her TV movie debut in “For Members Only” (1983). She returned to series TV as a regular when she was cast as Martha Spino in the comedy series “Dreams” (1984), opposite John Stamos. The show, however, was canceled after five episodes.
Gertz returned to the big screen when she costarred with Vincent Spano, Michael Winslow and Kate Vernon in the independent drama “Alphabet City” (1984), which was directed by Amos Poe. The same year, she also appeared as Robin in the John Hughes coming of age film “Sixteen Candles,” starring Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling and Anthony Michael Hall, as well as in a TV commercial for the game “Dungeons & Dragons.”
In 1985, the dark haired actress offered a notable portrayal of Rosalie in the drama “Mischief,” opposite Doug McKeon, Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelly Preston. The film was directed by Mel Damski and written by Noel Black. It was followed by performances in Thomas Michael Donnelly's “Quicksilver” (1986), in which she starred with Kevin Bacon, Walter Hill's “Crossroads” (1986), with Ralph Macchio, and the Alan Johnson science fiction movie “Solarbabies” (1986), opposite Jason Patric and Lukas Haas. Prior to “Solarbabies,” she and Jason Patric had acted together in a Los Angeles production of “Outta Gas on Lover's Leap” (also 1986).
Gertz was reunited with Patric for a third time in Joel Schumacher's horror movie “The Lost Boys” (1987), where Gertz costarred as Star. The film performed well at the box office by collecting over $32 million and spawned a sequel over two decades later titled “Lost Boys: The Tribe” (2008). She gained even more attention with her portrayal of Blair, an affluent girl who befriends a drug addict named Julian (played by Robert Downey, Jr.), in the Marek Kanievska helmed “Less Than Zero” (also 1987), which was adapted from Bret Easton Ellis' novel of the same name. The film also starred Andrew McCarthy as Blair's former boyfriend.
Following a year absence, Gertz resurfaced as a college debater in the film “Listen to Me” (1989), with Kirk Cameron and Roy Scheider. She went on to star as Eva Martin in “Silence Like Glass” (1990) and was reunited with “The Lost Boys” costar Kiefer Sutherland in Jack Sholder's “Renegades” (1989). She then delivered a noted turn as Emily Pear in the based-on-novel “Don't Tell Her It's Me” (1990), which was directed by Malcolm Mowbray and written by Sarah Bird.
After portraying Kirstie Alley's sister, Jeanine, in the comedy “Sibling Rivalry” (1990, directed by Carl Reiner), Gertz briefly revisited the small screen in the short lived series “Sibs” (1991). She quickly returned to films with a lead role in “Jersey Girl” (1992), opposite Dylan McDermott. She then took some time off to have a baby.
In 1993, Gertz embarked on stage in an off-Broadway production of “Wrong Turn at Lungfish,” alongside Tony Danza and George C. Scott. The play was written by Garry Marshall and Lowell Ganz. The next year, she memorably played Jane, one of Jerry's girlfriends, in the episode “The Stall” of the comedy series “Seinfeld,” supported Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Quinn and Jason Bateman in the TV film “This Can’t Be Love” (CBS) and portrayed Lily in the unsold TV series pilot “Related by Birth.” She also portrayed Jane Harnick in two episodes of the Emmy Award winning drama series “Dream On.” She returned to the show in 1995 when she played Martin Tupper's lover in the episode “Take Two Tablets and Get Me to Mt. Sinai.” The same year, she also guest starred in “Hudson Street.”
In 1996, Gertz scored a box office success with the hit movie “Twister,” which was directed by Jan de Bont and starred Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. With a budget of $92 million, the film grossed over $241 million in the United States and over $252 million elsewhere. It became the second highest grossing movie of 1996. Unfortunately, Gertz was nominated for a 1997 Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance. She then had a recurring role on the NBC hit series “ER” (1997), where she played psychologist Dr. Nina Pomerantz, and closed out the decade starring as Lisa in Paul Lazarus's “Seven Girlfriends.” The cast also included Tim Daly, Laura Leighton, Mimi Rogers, Olivia d'Abo and Melora Hardin.
Opening the new millennium, Gertz landed the recurring role of straight laced attorney Kimmy Bishop on four episodes of the Fox series “Ally McBeal,” a role she would reprise in an additional episode in 2002 called “Playing with Matches.” The role brought her a 2001 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She followed it up with performances in the NBC TV film “True Love” and the independent film “Lip Service,” where she starred as Kat, a heroine junkie (both 2001).
In 2002, Gertz starred as deceased comedy legend Gilda Radner in the ABC biopic “Gilda Radner: It s Always Something,” helmed by Duane Clark. She recalled, “People started telling me how much they loved Gilda and I was scared I wasn’t going to do her justice. What was profoundly sad to me was how desperately Gilda wanted a baby, because I have three children of my own. I was very aware that I am living the happy ending she would have wanted.”
Later that same year, the beautiful actress won a leading role on the CBS sitcom “Still Standing,” opposite Mark Addy. The show premiered on September 20, 2002, and ran until March 8, 2006. Playing Judy Miller, Addy's wife and the mother of their three children, she shared a 2004 Young Artist nomination for Most Popular Mom & Pop in a Television Series for her performance. While working on the series, she also starred as Brandi O'Neill in the CBS television movie “Undercover Christmas” (2003), with Shawn Christian, and Marilyn Gambrell in Lifetime's “Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story” (2005), opposite Ernie Hudson.
After “Still Standing” left the airwaves, Gertz resumed her film career with the role of Joanne Fiedler in “Keeping Up with the Steins” (2006), a comedy directed by Scott Marshall. The cast also included Daryl Sabara, Jeremy Piven, Larry Miller, Sandra Taylor, Carter Jenkins and Garry Marshall. She then portrayed Sara Metcalfe in an episode of “Shark” called “Sins of the Mother” (2006) and Suzanne Shemwell in the Lifetime TV movie “Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story” (2007), before joining the cast of HBO's “Entourage” in the recurring role of Marlo Klein in 2009. She appeared in the episodes “Amongst Friends,” “Running on E,” “Murphy's Lie” and “The Sorkin Notes.”