Emmy-winning actress Laurie Metcalf was shot to stardom while portraying Marjorie “Jackie” Harris (1988-1997), the title character's intelligent but emotionally needy younger sister on ABC hit sitcom "Roseanne." Afterward, she starred as Laurie Freeman (1999-2001), one of Norm's fellow social workers on ABC sitcom "The Norm Show," and played the recurring role as Carolyn Bigsby (2006), the nosy neighbor of Kyle MacLachlan's Orson and Valerie Mahaffey's Alma on ABC popular, award-winning drama comedy series "Desperate Housewives."
On the big screen, Metcalf could be seen in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Making Mr. Right (1987), Uncle Buck (1989), JFK (1991), U-Turn (1997), Scream 2 (1997), Bulworth (1998), Runaway Bride (1999), Toy Story 2 (1999; voice), Fun with Dick and Jane (2005) and Beer League (2006). She will appear in the upcoming films Georgia Rule, Garry Marshall's comedy-drama starring Lindsay Lohan and Jane Fonda, and Disney's computer-animated film Meet the Robinsons, adapted from William Joyce’s illustrated book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson.”
Metcalf, the great-niece of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Zoe Akins, is a founding member of Chicago's celebrated Steppenwolf Theater. She won an OBIE Award for her New York stage debut as a prostitute in Lanford Wilson's "Balm in Gilead" (1983).
On a more personal front, the 5' 6½" tall performer once dated Steppenwolf actor Terry Kinney. She has been married twice: to Steppenwolf founding member Jeff Perry and actor Matt Roth. She has two daughters and one son.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Carbondale, Illinois on June 16, 1955, Lauren Ophelia Metcalfe, who would later be popular as Laurie Metcalf, grew up in the town of Edwardsville, Illinois. Her father was the comptroller at Southern Illinois University and her mother was a librarian. She is also the great-niece of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Zoe Akins.
Metcalf, the oldest of three children, graduated from Edwardsville High School. She attended Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Theater in 1977. While studying there, she met fellow theater students, including John Malkovich, Joan Allen and Gary Sinise, who went on to set up Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Metcalf has been married twice, first to Steppenwolf founding member Jeff Perry, with whom she has one daughter, Zoe Perry (born in 1984; named after Metcalf's great-aunt Zoe Atkins). After they divorced, Metcalf married actor Matt Roth, whom she met on the set of “Roseanne,” playing her abusive boyfriend, Fisher. The couple has two children, son Will Theron Metcalf (born on November 20, 1993) and daughter Mae (born on July 3, 2005 by a surrogate).
Balm in Gilead
"I don’t know if ISU (Illinois State University) helped me become what I am, but I know that if I hadn’t gone there, I wouldn’t be what I am today." Laurie Metcalf.
Beginning her professional career at Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Laurie Metcalf was brought on as a performer on NBC weekly late night 90-minute comedy-variety show "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) in 1981 for their cast. But she appeared in only one episode as the season suddenly ended because of a writer's strike, and was not requested back in the fall. Two years later, she headed for the New York to appear in a Steppenwolf production of Lanford Wilson's 1965 play "Balm in Gilead," playing as a prostitute, for which she received the 1984 Obie Award for Best Actress.
Metcalf subsequently moved to Manhattan and began to work in both film and theater. In 1985, she made her feature film debut, Desperately Seeking Susan, a romantic drama comedy by director Susan Seidelman starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna. In the film, she portrayed Leslie Glass, Arquette's husband-seeking sister-in-law. That same year, she also co-starred opposite Jeff Fahey and Morgan Freeman in the true story-based TV movie The Execution of Raymond Graham.
In 1988, Metcalf landed her first series regular role on ABC hit sitcom "Roseanne," playing Marjorie “Jackie” Harris, the title character's intelligent but emotionally needy younger sister. She stayed in the long-running show until 1997 and won three Emmy awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
During her 11 years stint in "Roseanne," Metcalf also played significant roles in Susan Seidelman's sci-fi comedy film Making Mr. Right (1987; starring John Malkovich), writer-director John Hughes' comedy-drama Uncle Buck (1989; starring John Candy, Jean Louisa Kelly and Macaulay Culkin) and Mike Figgis' crime thriller movie Internal Affairs (1990; with Richard Gere and Andy García). Additionally, she was cast in Oliver Stone's Oscar-winning thriller drama about the investigations into the murder of the former president, J.F.K. (1991; with Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon and Tommy Lee Jones), and Barry Primus' drama comedy Mistress (1992; starring Robert Wuhl, Martin Landau and Robert De Niro).
Metcalf made her Broadway debut in 1995 with "My Thing of Love" before co-starring in Garry Marshall's comedy film Dear God (1996; opposite Greg Kinnear). The next year, she delivered a pivotal performance as the tightly wound aspiring reporter Debbie Salt in Wes Craven's second part of the Scream trilogy, Scream 2, starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, and reunited with Oliver Stone in his adaptation of John Ridley's book, U Turn, starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Nolte. She then was seen in writer-director-actor Warren Beatty's political drama Bulworth (1998; also starring Halle Berry), had an uncredited role in Garry Marshall's romantic comedy Runaway Bride (1999; starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts), and lent her voice in the CGI animation film Toy Story 2 (1999).
After her contract with "Roseanne" ended, Metcalf starred opposite Norm Macdonald in ABC sitcom "The Norm Show," playing Laurie Freeman (1999-2001), one of Norm's fellow social workers. Meanwhile, she had a regular role as Donna Allman on NBC short-lived animated series "God, the Devil and Bob" (2000) and returned on stage replacing Julie Walters in the London stage production of Arthur Miller's 1947 play "All My Sons."
The next years saw Metcalf worked mostly on the small screen. She appeared in several made-for-TV movies and guest-starred in such shows as Fox’s award-winning sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle," NBC popular sitcom "Frasier," British sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous" and CBS drama "Without a Trace." And after briefly returned to film with an uncredited role as Jane’s boss in the 2005 remake of the 1977 crime-comedy film Fun with Dick and Jane (starring Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni), Metcalf received a recurring role as Carolyn Bigsby, the nosy neighbor of Kyle MacLachlan's Orson and Valerie Mahaffey's Alma in the third season of ABC popular, award-winning drama comedy series "Desperate Housewives."
Besides "Desperate Housewives," Metcalf also appeared in writer-director Brian Jun's crime drama film Steel City and Frank Sebastiano's softball comedy movie Beer League (both in 2006), playing the mother of an unemployed underachiever (played by Artie Lange). Additionally, she was spotted as a guest in USA Network's Emmy-winning show starring Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" (Metcalf earned an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series), on ABC award-winning primetime medical drama "Grey's Anatomy," and TBS sitcom "My Boys."
Metcalf just completed her latest film, Georgia Rule, Garry Marshall's comedy-drama starring Lindsay Lohan and Jane Fonda. She will also soon finish another project, Disney's computer-animated film Meet the Robinsons, based on the characters and events in the illustrated book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” by William Joyce.
- Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, "Roseanne," 1994
- Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, "Roseanne," 1993
- Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, "Roseanne," 1992
- Obie: Best Actress, "Balm in Gilead," 1984