Born April 10, 1954 in Chatham, New Jersey, USA
Delightfully offbeat, redheaded comedic actress Deborah Rush, from theater, films and TV, was born on April 10, 1954, in Chatham, New Jersey and developed an early interest in making people laugh as a child. Following high school, she decided to pursue acting headfirst, apprenticing with the Play-House of the Ridiculous comedy troupe for starters. She headed for New York and made her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning musical "Dance with Me" (1975) which ran nearly a year. Later in the decade she appeared winningly in a number of New York Shakespeare productions for Joseph Papp including "The Misanthrope," "All's Well That Ends Well" and as Bianca to Meryl Streep's Katherine and Raul Julia's Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew." She also understudied Streep as Alice in Papp's "Alice in Concert" musical, based on the popular Lewis Carroll character. Film and TV began coming Deborah's way in the late 1970s, making her movie debut in a bit part in Oliver's Story (1978), the wan remake of the romantic tearjerker Love Story (1970). By her second film, however, she was starting to grab notice even in the smallest of contributions with just a vacant look or manipulating her trademark scratchy voice to comic effect. Who can forget her hilarious scene as the cooey-voiced dental assistant with patient Dudley Moore and Blake Edwards in 10 (1979)? Elsewhere, her stage performances in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1982) (as Hermia), and in the musical Alice at the Palace (1982) were engagingly recaptured on TV. She remained strongly rooted to her first love, the theatre, over the years. Other plays that captured her special brand of eccentrics included "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You," "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong," "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" and "The Sisters Rosenzweig." In 1983, Deborah returned to Broadway as nascent, hilariously myopic actress Brooke Ashton in the slapstick farce "Noises Off," capturing a Tony nomination as well as Drama Desk Award. She returned to Broadway a couple of years later to co-star with Rosemary Harris and Campbell Scott in Noël Coward's "Hay Fever" (1985). Although top character stardom proved elusive, Deborah has remained a durable comic presence for five decades and has provided amusing secondary finesse for a host of notable directors throughout the 1980's, including Woody Allen (twice, with Zelig (1983) and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)); John Schlesinger (with Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)); John G. Avildsen (with A Night in Heaven (1983)); and Frank Perry (with Compromising Positions (1985)); Bob Balaban (with (Parents (1989)); Sidney Lumet (with Family Business (1989)); and Susan Seidelman (with She-Devil (1989)). She maintains that lovable habit of grabbing attention wherever she works. On television Deborah played the recurring role of the Mayor's wife on the comedy series Spin City (1996) and had a regular part on the short-lived but critically-acclaimed series Strangers with Candy (1999). A prequel of sorts was made later with the feature film version of Strangers with Candy (2005). Comedy took center stage in a number of 90's film credits: My Blue Heaven (1990) headed by Steve Martin; the "eccentric relatives" ensemble movie Passed Away (1992); the zany Christmas time crimer Reckless (1995); the madcap gay farce In & Out (1997) starring Kevin Kline; and the classic Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic heart-warmer You've Got Mail (1998). Into the millennium, Deborah has exhibited wonderfully off-kilter parts in both comedy and drama, including The Good Girl (2002) with Jennifer Aniston; the second "American Pie" sequel American Wedding (2003); and the dramatic film Half Nelson (2006) as Ryan Gosling's wacky mom; Stage sightings included a Broadway return (after a two- decade absence) in the revival of "Absurd Person Singular" in 2005 as well as an off-Broadway stage role as Henrietta Iscariot in "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" opposite Sam Rockwell's title role that same year. She also appeared in a production of "Blithe Spirit" in 2009. Other comic outings on film have included The Good Life (2007), Julie & Julia (2009), Rhymes with Banana (2012), Women Who Kill (2016) and Accommodations (2018), while on TV she hit both funny and serious marks on such programs as "The Good Wife," "Law and Order," "Inside Amy Schumer," "The Blacklist" and recurring roles on Big Lake (2010), Orange Is the New Black (2013) (as Piper's mother), and Billions (2016). Rush has been married since 1985 to Chip Cronkite (né Walter Leland Cronkite III), son of the iconic news anchor, and is the mother of their two sons: Walter Cronkite IV and Peter.