“I was one of those people who was literally famous for doing nothing. I was always a part of the club scene in New York and eventually was able to produce my own musical about AIDS (“Positive Me”) because of the audience and press I received as a club kid. Eventually I was called in to screen test for this MTV show because word was out I was this neat club kid turned playwright. I got the job and basically was humiliated on the air every day. I'm an actor, not a hostess. It was horrifying. I had all this baby fat so I was just HUGE on camera. I still can't watch one frame of the show. Then I got all this hate mail because I couldn't play the part right. Luckily the show got canceled after seven months. I was so relieved.” Lisa Edelstein
Lisa Edelstein is best known for portraying hospital administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the hit medical drama “House M.D.” (Fox, 2004-present), from which she picked up a Satellite Award in 2005. Prior to her award winning performance, she portrayed recurring roles on the TV series “Seinfeld” (1993), “The West Wing” (1999-2000), “Ally McBeal” (2000-2001), “Felicity” (2001-2002), “The Practice” (2003) and “Relativity” (1996-1997). She has also appeared as a guest star in such popular series as “ER,” “Mad About You,” “Frasier” and “Family Law.” Edelstein has had small roles in several films, including Oliver Stone's “The Doors” (1991), “Love Affair” (1994), “As Good as It Gets” (1997), “Susan's Plan” (1999), “Keeping the Faith” (2000), “What Women Want” (2000), “Daddy Day Care” (2003), “Say Uncle” (2005) and “Grilled” (2006) and provided her vocals for such animated projects as “Superman: The Animated Series” (1996-1997) and “Justice League” (2003-2005), among others.
“The hardest part about being vegan is shoes. I mean really, that's the only difficult part, finding shoes that don't have leather on them.” Lisa Edelstein
Edelstein is a vegan and animal lover who now resides in Los Angeles with her cat and three dogs. She has volunteered for the animal sanctuary Best Friends. Edelstein is also a loyal practitioner of yoga. Other interests include painting, music and writing.
Childhood and Family:
Lisa Edelstein, nickname Lisa E., was born on May 21, 1966, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Alvin Edelstein, a pediatrician, and Bonnie Edelstein. She studied theater at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. It was during her time at NYU that she gained notoriety as part of the city's nightlife and was profiled in Cosmopolitan and The New York Times Magazine.
After making a stir in New York as part of the city's club scene, Lisa Edelstein built a reputation as an actress by appearing in stage productions. She co-wrote, produced and starred in the AIDS-themed musical production “Positive Me,” which debuted at New York City's LaMaMa Theatre in 1989. Her first TV gig arrived the following year when she was hired as a host on the MTV morning show “Awake on the Wild Side” (1990). She then received a small role in the Oliver Stone drama “The Doors” (1991), which was based on the 1960s rock band and its lead vocalist and composer Jim Morrison.
Edelstein followed it up with a series of one episode roles on TV series like “Mad About You” (1992), “L.A. Law” (1992), “Wings” (1993) and “The Larry Sanders Show” (1994) and appeared in a recurring role on the popular NBC sitcom “Seinfeld” (1993), in which she portrayed the girlfriend of George Costanza. She made her next big screen appearance in “Love Affair” (1994), a disappointing comedy starring Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. In 1995, Edelstein landed a nine episode role on the CBS sitcom “Almost Perfect,” a gig she held until 1997. She graduated to a series regular the next year when she won the popular role of David Conrad's sister, Rhonda Roth, on the ABC brief-lived drama “Relativity” (1996-1997).
The attractive actress next appeared in an episode of “ER” (1997) and as Kristen Clark in the 1997 episode “Earthquake” of the series “Cybill.” She then received a cameo role in the James L. Brooks directed film “As Good as It Gets” (1997), which starred Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. She also did voiceover work for the animated TV series “Superman,” where she voiced Mercy Graves, the bodyguard of Lex Luthor, from 1996-1997, and the video game adaptation of “Blade Runner” (1997), as the voice of Crystal Steele.
After securing a regular gig on the series “In the Loop” (1998), opposite Patrick Breen and Joely Fisher, Edelstein made guest appearances in TV series like “Frasier” and “Just Shoot Me!” (both 1998), played Beth Sussman on the made-for-TV film “Indiscreet” (also 1998), and had supporting parts in the films “I'm Losing You” and “Susan's Plan.” In 1999, she portrayed Bobbi Bernstein in two episodes of ABC's “Sports Night” and began a recurring role on the NBC series “The West Wing,” where she played Brittany 'Laurie' Rollins. She stayed with the successful drama series until 2000. 1999 also found the actress playing Danielle in the movie “30 Days” and starring in the TV movie “Legal Aid.”
Entering the new millennium, Edelstein was cast as the date of Ben Stiller in the comedy film “Keeping the Faith” (2000), which was helmed by Edward Norton. She then supported Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in Nancy Meyers' “What Women Want” (2000), but did not resurface in movies until three years later when she appeared in the Eddie Murphy vehicle “Daddy Day Care” (2003), where she portrayed Crispin's mother. In between her film projects, she took on recurring roles on Fox's “Ally McBeal” (2000-2001) and the J.J. Abrams created series “Felicity” (2001-2002). She also appeared as Dr. Rachel Thompkins in an episode of “Family Law” (2001) and costarred on the NBC mid-season replacement sitcom “Leap of Faith” (2002), in which she portrayed Patty.
Edelstein continued to appear in such TV series as “The Practice” (2003, as the love interest of James Spider), “Without a Trace” (2003), “Judging Amy” (2004) and “Miss Match” and also reprised her voice role of Mercy Graves for the cartoon series “Justice League” (2003-2005). However, she did not score a huge breakthrough until she landed the starring role of Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the medical drama “House M.D.” (2004), which went on to become a surprise hit on Fox Network. Starring opposite Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, she was handed a 2005 Satellite for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
Aside from her TV series work, Edelstein teamed up with Bradley Whitford, Samantha Mathis and Aiden James Fort for the drama “Fathers and Sons” (2005, TV), played Sarah Faber on Peter Paige's feature directorial debut “Say Uncle” (2005), appeared with Ray Romano, Kevin James and Sofía Vergara in the comedy “Grilled” (2006) and starred as Linda Gottleib in the short film “My Lunch with Larry” (2007), which was directed by Barry Edelstein. She also had voice roles in episodes of “American Dad” and “King of the Hill” (both 2007) and played Maxine Carter in the TV film “Special Delivery” (2008). The comedy was directed by Michael Scott and written by Matt Dearborn.
Satellite: Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, “House M.D.,” 2005