Christine Lahti

Active - 1978 - 2019  |   Born - Apr 4, 1950 in Birmingham, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Unpredictable American actress Christine Lahti majored in drama at the University of Michigan, then toured Europe with a group of pantomimists. She studied with Uta Hagen in New York, taking whatever stage work that came along (including her Obie award-winning performance in an Off-Broadway revival of Little Murders) before being steadily employed on TV. In 1978, Lahti was co-starred in The Harvey Korman Show as Korman's daughter. The following year, she made her first film, ...And Justice for All. A scene stealer par excellence, Lahti often found her film roles reduced in the cutting room, usually at the behest of nervous stars. Her performance as Hazel Zenutti in Swing Shift (1984) was severely pared down after previews, but that didn't prevent Lahti from being nominated for an Oscar. The endearingly off-balance nature of many of Lahti's screen characters is best summed up by her scene in Housekeeping (1987), in which she calmly carries on a conversation while her living room fills up with water. In 1995, Lahti joined the cast of the Emmy-Award-winning TV medical drama Chicago Hope, playing the part of heart-surgeon Dr. Kathryn Austin.

Movie Highlights

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  • Worked as a mime in New York City's Central Park during the early 1970s.
  • Made her first big-screen appearance in Norman Jewison's 1979 drama ...And Justice for All, which costarred Al Pacino and Jeffrey Tambor.
  • Won a CableACE Award for her role in the 1991 TNT drama Crazy From the Heart, which was directed by her husband, Thomas Schlamme. 
  • Received a Drama Desk nomination for her role in the play Three Hotels, costarring Richard Dreyfuss.
  • Was in the bathroom when she won her Golden Globe for Chicago Hope in 1998; presented an award at the following year's Globes with a piece of toilet paper purposely stuck to her shoe as a joke.
  • Made her feature directing debut with the 2001 comedy-drama My First Mister, starring Albert Brooks and Leelee Sobieski.